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  1. Hot(tish) on the heels of the Mirage IIIC, I have finally finished this AH-1G Cobra. A little gem of a kit partly let down by stencils that are prone to silvering. I decided to add some PE, air intakes from BrenGun and bring some home-made improvements but it would really build nicely OOB. The WIP is there: I chose to build "the Gladiator" from C/16 Cav. at Can Tho in 1970. Not that I like movies about gladiators but the sharkmouth, red panels and black tailboom top bring some variety to the OD scheme. For once, I am rather pleased with the pictures: As usual, I am open to constructive criticism and do not hesitate to let me know if you spot anything wrong
  2. Hi, I am building this as part of a Group Build in a French forum. This Cobra variant was some badass mosquito! Aside from the 40mm XM149 grenade launcher and M134 minigun (up to 100rps) in the chin turret, it carried 2 rocket pods, an M18 minigun pod and the M-35 subsystem built around the M195 20mm gun (a short-barrelled M61A1 Vulcan) that could deliver 750 to 800 rpm! Having said that, the M18 tended to jam or continue firing after releasing the trigger and the M195 vibrations were such that the radios got damaged. The kit is the excellent Special Hobby AH-1G Cobra which is a joy to assemble and can be built very quickly OOB. Some might argue that the canopy in 5 parts can be a bit fiddly to assemble, the shape of the air intakes is not right and the presence of recessed rivets on the tail boom when they should be raised. I can live with that… This boxing was reviewed by Julien here: https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234981648-ah-1g-cobra-over-vietnam-with-m-35-gun-system-172-special-hobby/ Still, I decided to improve it using some aftermarket. - Bren Gun air intakes: an improvement over the kit part, though their replacement is not imperative IMHO - PE fret sold through Special Hobby but made by Eduard: useful for the cockpit details and the underbelly hatches - Masks for the canopy: really useful given the shape of the canopy elements - Chin turret from CMK: not essential but the minigun and grenade launcher barrels look nicer than those supplied in the kit. Decals are provided for four Cobras. As I do not not have any model bearing a sharkmouth and as this was the most colourful option, I chose to build “Camo D”: Having a low confidence level in my ability to conform the sharkmouth decals to the nose, I also cut some masks… I started the build last Sunday. Pictures will follow soon.
  3. Would this still have had its dielectric panels?
  4. Hello Britmodellers, Here's my take on the Airfix MiG 17. I wanted to build a slightly different machine than the famous '3020' so I did some decal juggling there. A few grainy pics show '3012' in a heavily weathered condition. It took me two tries before I ̶g̶o̶t̶ ̶f̶e̶d̶ ̶u̶p̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶i̶t̶ / got the effect somewhat acceptable. Other modifications were the KK-2 bangseat, reshaped inner wing leading edges and brass gun barrels. Thanks for watching! Luka
  5. Hello Britmodellers, Once upon a time, there was supposedly this one Vietnamse MiG 19 (J-6) with a camo pattern (pic linked), number 6066. There are many artist's renditions of this pattern, but I have never seen a single photo of a camouflaged VPAF MiG 19. Does anybody know if a source photo exists? Or is this another case of artists basing their work on another artist's work? Thanks, Luka
  6. Hi Everyone, Here is a model I finished in the end of 2023. As sunny spring days started - now it becomes easier to make photosessions so I'll try to catch up with some more models completed in 2023. No surprise - it is a classical Trumpeter 1/72 kit of a venerable USAF aircraft that saw super extensive use in the war in Vietnam - naturally in its classical SEA camo scheme. What I've chosen as a prototype - is a fairly well known F-105D of 354th TFS/355th TFW stationed at Takhli airbase in Thailand in circa 1967. This particular aircraft was decorated with a 'Honeypot II' nick name and had one MiG interception marking. Main duty of 355th Fighter Wing in Vietnam was carrying bombing missions from Thailand to various targets across North Vietnam. Something 355th TFW was doing for five long years between 1966 and 1970. I've long been thinking of more unusual bombload options but after all stopped with a very classical option of 6 mk.82 bombs on the fuselage MER, a Sidewinder on a starboard wing and a jamming pod on the port wing. Trumpeter kit is fairly simple and straightforward if built out of the box. However I did not look for easy paths and brought some aftermarket stuff and scratch built mods. First of all I obtained and used Aires cockpit set. It worked quite finely. It did require cleaning and thinning fuselage sides but at the end sat properly into right place. Cockpit set had enough photoetch parts to get even nicer result with detailed instrument panel, seat harness, etc. Other aftermarket mods included Quickboost afterburner air intakes, ventral fin, coloured wing tips, Master pitot tube, Reskit wheels. All worked finely except for wing tips which turned out to be thinner than the wing and I spent quite a lot of time sanding and puttying the joint line. Hand-made mods included some decorations in main gear bays, new centerline pylon and reinforcement stripes for MER, new pylon for Sidewinder, some minor additions such as internal side of speed brake behind the tail, correct positioning of engine pipe (Trumpeter suggests to put it too deeply), couple of antennae. I used Hasegawa weapon sets to get MER, mk.82 bombs, jamming pod and a Sidewinder. Paints are typical Hobby Color for SEA camo. Brown colour is heavily whitened H310. H303 and H309 for greens. H311 for FS36622. Undercarriage bays are vallejo green zinc chromate. Jamming pod and AIM-9 are painted Vallejo white. Decals are from PrintScale. I was very cautious about using them but in fact they turned out quite okay. Thin, strong - did not break apart. Despite experience of other modellers, they did not tend to wrap around themselves. So I was positively impressed. Printscale set also had necessary stencils so I do not think I used any original Trumpeter decals. Some final touches were made with Tamiya pigments to add a little dirty look especially on the undersides. And some close up photoes: Thanks for watching! Kind regards, Dennis
  7. Hi everybody, My first build in this section. I used to build 1/35 AFVs but switched happily to 1/72 aircrafts a few years ago. I was looking for a vehicle to place on a small scene with an AH-1G and found this: I know this brand has a reputation for tough kits that belong to some red room of pain buuut... ...They have made real progress lately, this model comes from a rather recent mould, the level is detail is good with a rather high number of parts and a small PE fret, the moulding is clean aaand... ...I did not have much choice in terms of Vietnam War area airfield vehicles anyway! More seriously, this is a good little kit with very decent fit of parts. The interior would be OK for the turret versions but not quite so for this open top version. It lacks details and is incorrect in some areas. As I decided to open one the side doors, improvements were necessary. Still there were no issues that plasticard, masking tape, copper and lead wire could not remedy. I focused on the interior first: - I added details to the crude driver seat is crude - I scratched the passenger seat as the one provided in the box is fantasist - The wheel arches sides are too steep (blue arrows). I sawed them off and replaced them with plasticard - The driver compartment floor is wrong, the winch compartment is missing, as well as the pedals and radio equipment - The fighting compartment seats and seat belts were missing along with the fire extinguishers, radio (the one I did is fantasy but will be hardly visible) - I scratched a side door as I had drilled and cut off the original one - I added the door handles, the vision blocks and other bit and bobs. I then turned my attention on the open top fighting compartment. I had scratched the top armoured plate in 0,2mm plasticard as the box offering was much too thick. As a result, the folding roof doors and MG shields looked really odd in comparison. So, I scratched them too... Dry fitting shows that the fit is not bad at all and that the interior remains visible: Next, I will paint the interior, glue everything together and finish the exterior detailing.
  8. Evening All, Having had some complicated builds of late (which shouldn't have been, but various builder related cock-ups got in the way) I was looking for something quick and simple that I could bosh together. I picked up the Vintage Classic Airfix Jetstream from Sywell Aviation Museum the other year - they sell them to raise funds for the restoration of their jetstream. I briefly considered trying to turn it into the one at Sywell but realised that was way beyond my skill set. Someone then mentioned it might make a good what-if subject. The kit is base don the USAF C-10 which was cancelled before any could be delivered, so the whole kit is basically a what-if anyway! I've always fancied doing something in USAF SEA camo, so thought this might be a good subject. I initially thought of doing some kind if tactical/in-theatre medevac version which would allow me to have the SEA camo and leave everything else pretty much as is. But then I thought it would look really neat with a black underside rather than the more normal grey. I figured a role that would need the black underside would be nocturnal monitoring of the seismic sensors that were laid along the Ho Chi Minh trail. And so I arrived at an EC-10 modified with some workstations and aerials for the role and SEA/black camo. Obligatory box contents shot: And my first attempt at drawing out a camo scheme loosely based on the C-130: Really quite tricky doing that and making all the colours line up across the various surfaces. The kit has some stretchers in the cabin, I won't be needed those for the sneaky-beaky role I have in mind. Will probably have a go at blanking out the windows on one side of the fuselage and adding some plastic card aerials. Did think of trying to make some basic operator stations for the interior, not sure about that, we'll see. Scratch building stuff is not something I usually have patience for. So already my nice simple mojo-restorer has grown legs and started sprinting away from me! 🙂 Don't think progress is going to be that fast as I have a Lightning to finish once I recover from the satin varnish disaster that it suffered last week. Plus real life is getting in the way at the moment... Al.
  9. Hi all, Yes, starting another build...(shouldn't you be finishing those other GB subjects ) This time the recently released ICM HueyCobra in 1/32 scale, which is not the usual for this kind of subject...most modern helicopter releases are in 1/35. @Julien already did a very nice in-box review of this kit here so I'm not going to repeat his efforts: All I'll say is, very nice kit and a major upgrade of the fifty-year old Revell kit which was all we've had in this scale up to now. Very nice options, loads of armament, and both types of tail enable pretty much any AH-1G model to be built from the kit. I'll also be adding the Quinta cockpit decoration set, my first experience of these much-vaunted accessories. Looks very good so far. Includes instrument panels, crew harnesses and other cockpit accessories. Hope it lives up to the hype! I'll be building this alongside the MRC/Academy Whiskey Cobra for the GB, by way of a comparison of the development of this excellent and innovative airframe. All the best, Alan
  10. 1/72 Academy A-37B Dragonfly - Supertweet USAF, 8th SOS, 14th SOW, Bien Hoa AB, Vietnam 1970 The fantastic, yet tiny, A-37B from Academy is a cracking build. Loads of fine detail, ordnance options but let down by the lousy decals that Academy own brand are famous for.... Airbrushed using Tamiya colours, little bit of etch thrown in for good measure and some stretched sprue for the wiggly bits. From what I have read, troops in contact loved the Supertweet during CAS missions. Cheers all, Phil
  11. Hello fellow modellers It's not exagerating to say that it's a pure joy to publish this topic, since it's my first finished model since last century !!! ( in fact my previously finished kit was a 1/48 Heller Rafale A completed in 1998 or so ... before this kit was even released ) . The famous 2001 Hasegawa kit is splendid in some areas , and bizarre , really inaccurate or approximate in others . To me , it's the exact link between vintage and modern kits . Anyway I fell in love with this kit , not to mention the aircraft itself and I plan to build at least ten more ... No aftermarket parts were used or hurt during the building , I tried to upgrade the model the old way , the modifications are as follows : - Model entirely rescribed - Cockpit / Canopy upgaded with PC , metal sheet , copper wire , tamiya tape etc .... - Seat almost totally rebuilt with head knocker , reshaped head rest , harness etc ... - Landing gear and doors modified and wired , front wheel visually detached from gear . - Scratch built landing lights well in left leading edge . - Slat wells reshaped to be flush with the extrados. - Canons drilled. - Armament pylons rescribed , modified with scratchbuilt sway bars and connections - Fuel tank rescribed and " welded " , drain added . - Shrike missiles and Mk82 bombs detailled with scratched parts . - RBF and pins . The WIP is located in the Skyhawk STGB here : https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235091381-a-4f-va-55-uss-hancock-nam-1972-hasegawa-148/ And now , here are the pics : Hope you like it . for passing by § Cheers !
  12. Morning All, I've just started building the Airfix Vintage Classics HP Jetstream which is modelled on the proposed USAF variant, the C-10. Rather than do the white/grey scheme I'm contemplating something a little more interesting - an SEA camo version as deployed for casevac and/or general transport duties in Vietnam. The camo is easy enough, standard colours, but I'm wondering about what markings I can use. I think I need a small full colour star and bar (these seem to be much more common than the outline black ones that I initially thought of). Based on pictures of TAC C-130s I've seen I'd quite like to have a white tailcode and TAC badge as well. I'm thinking I could model it as assigned to one of the C-130 units that was in theatre - does anyone know of a list of units and their tailcodes? Also, does anyone know of a decal sheet with suitably small star and bars and the lettering to make up the tail code - and even a TAC badge? The Jetstream fin is pretty small so I'm not sure if this bit's going to be possible. I could also do with some small white numbers to represent the serial.. Thanks for any input! Al.
  13. Hello, BRITMODELLER members. I started modeling for about a year, but I'm not good enough, but I joined to share my work and skills with the people here Please enjoy my first posting. Any suggestions are good Please show a lot of interest. Then have a good time. BR
  14. Forward Base (48303) OV-10A Bronco, AH-1G Cobra, US Pilots & Ground Crew 1:48 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd During the protracted period of the Vietnam war, the US Air Force used the OV-10A Bronco as Forward Air Control (FAC) and ground attack aircraft, so they had to be relatively close to the front to maximise loiter-time, often sharing a Forward Base with attack helicopters such as the AH-1G Cobra for similar reasons. These bases were crewed by mechanics for maintenance of the aircraft, as well as the usual force protection, administration staff, cooks & bottle-washers but in smaller numbers due to the risks of being closer to the enemy, who could melt into the jungle just as quickly as they would pop out with guns blazing. The Set This boxed set contains a total of two kits and two figure sets in a single box that is barely any bigger than a standard one, despite the quantity of plastic within. Each kit is separately bagged, and the instruction booklets/sheets have been corralled in a card folder, and have their decal sheets hidden between the pages. Incidentally, the weapons decals were missing from my boxing, but we have a photos from a previous boxing that give you the idea of what will be in your box. On with the motley! AH-1G Cobra This is a recent tool from ICM and brings us a long-overdue update to some of the older kits of the type on the market. This edition depicts Vietnam airframes, and inside the bag are eleven sprues in various sizes in grey styrene, a large clear sprue with a choice of canopies for upcoming versions, a decal sheet and their usual glossy A4 instruction booklet with spot colour throughout, and colour profiles of the decal options in the rear. There are a number of peach-coloured rectangles on the sprue diagrams, as they have been tooled with future boxings in mind, so after you’re done building it, you will likely have a number parts left over. I’d also recommend checking the sprues for parts that have come off the runners during shipping, as a fair few were loose in the initial boxing, so don’t go tossing the bag in the recycling before you’ve checked for stragglers. Detail is excellent, as we’ve come to expect from ICM, especially in the cockpit, the exterior surface and the rotors, and the instruction booklet takes you through the build process with colour and scrap diagrams used to clarify the process. Construction begins with the cockpit, which will be highly visible through the crystal-clear canopy parts, and this starts with the twin tub (no, not a 60s washing machine), into which the quilted rear bulkhead, twin pilot controls and tail rotor pedals are fitted, followed closely by a pair of instrument panels with decals and deep coamings to reduce glare coming though the big canopy panes. The panels are different for front and rear crew, but their seats are very similar with armoured wings and sides on the cushioned seat, made of four parts each. Remarkably quickly we’re starting prep of the fuselage halves by drilling out a number of holes, adding the nose cone and tail fin, taking care to align them carefully as well as choosing the right one, as there are two tails on the sprues. The rotor-head is installed on a flat plate, allowing the head to rotate if you’re careful with the glue, then it is inserted into the fuselage along with the cockpit tub and the short exhaust trunk, closing it up and leaving it to set up so you can deal with the seams, and fill a small hole near the rotor head. With that done, the cockpit is outfitted with more armour panels on the internal sidewalls and on the port side exterior, adding a number of appliqué panels in two parts. The underside of the fuselage is bereft of detail until you add the two armoured panels under the cockpit, and glue an insert into the hole in the underside after drilling out a pair of holes from within for one variant. Two main intakes above that slot into recesses on the fuselage sides. The Cobra has wings! Little ones that are essentially weapons carriers, and these both have a separate wingtip and root mounted ammo pod under each one, the port pod later feeding the M35 gatling gun and a link between the starboard and port pods. At the rear you have a choice of two styles of tail stabilisers, one covered in rivets, the other nice and smooth. Speaking of the tail, the boom is covered in nicely rendered raised rivets, as is correct for the type. Two pylons attach to the underside of the winglets, one in the tip, another fitting into two holes. The short circular exhaust ring is installed at the open end of the trunking, with two small strengthening plates just underneath them. With the fuselage flipped on its back, the nose turret is next, with a pair of inserts added into the main turret part, and a 7.62mm gatling gun in one aperture, plus a 40mm grenade launcher in the other that you’ll need to drill out the muzzles on if you feel the urge. The very tip of the nose cone is separate, and has a pitot probe added near the top, then it’s time to add a few antennae and clear lights, plus the BIG gun, which has a separate hollow muzzle part, ammo feed and two other small parts, which is suspended from the underside of the port winglet, and linked to the ammo pod as mentioned earlier. The skids with the thicker supports and a whip-like safety skid under the tail finish off the main fuselage for now, after which the rotating parts are made. The Cobra had a twin-blade tail rotor that slots straight into a hole in the top of the tail fin, with an M-shaped control mechanism fixed to the centre, and a couple of clear parts added to fairings nearby. The main rotor sits on a chunky axle, over which a faceted washer slides, that is joined to the base by a pair of actuators. The two main blades are moulded as a single item, and are first detailed with additional parts before they are glued to the top of the drive-shaft, and supported by a pair of long control rods linked to the blades to adjust their incidence. A scrap diagram shows the various parts in grey to help you get everything correctly aligned. It is lowered into the top fairing later and glued into place, but first the canopy is completed. The Cobra’s canopy opens on different sides for each crew member, and has the long narrow top is fixed first, with the windscreen moulded-in. A small instrument is glued to the side of the screen, 3.5mm up from the bottom, after which it is glued onto the fuselage. The pilots exit from opposite sides, so after the sloped starboard section and port rear section are fixed in place, the two openers can be mounted in the open position and supported by props to achieve the correct angle for them. In addition to guns the Cobra could carry rocket pods, and two each of the seven-shot M157, M158 and four of the 19-shot M200 pods are included on separate sprues, the M157 & M200 pods cylindrical and with detail inserts in both ends. The bare tubed M158 pods have two ends, a central section and a curved cover at the top that is attached to the pylon. The final assembly is the optional towing equipment pack. This consists of a pair of graft-on wheels that attach to a pair of pegs on the upper rear of the skids, lifting them off the ground, and a pair of towing bars that also have castors near the skid-end to facilitate movement when they’re off the airframe. The bars attach to the front of the skids, then it’s down to you to find a suitable towing vehicle if you wish. Markings There are four options on the decal sheet, which are all Vietnam-based, so are painted predominantly in dark green. From the box you can build one of the following: 66-15262 ‘Hulk’, Company D, 227th AHB, 1st Cavalry Division, Phuoc Vinh, Summer 1970 68-17068 ‘Cindy Ann’ 1st Sqn., 9th Cav., Phuoc Vinh, August 1970 68-17077 ‘Corsair’ Company D, 227th AHB, 1st Cavalry Division, Lai Khe 1970 68-15101 H-Troop, 10th Cav., Pleiku, Autumn 1972 Decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. OV-10A Bronco The Bronco was conceived as a light attack, long loiter aircraft of modest size, enabling it to operate from roads close to the combat zone. As so often seems the case, the final design turned out to be much larger and heavier due to the requirements of the avionics and ejection seats, thus limiting its use to conventional airfields. The twin boom aircraft first flew in 1965 and was destined to serve with the US Navy, Airforce and Marines as a replacement for the Cessna O-1 Bird Dog & O-2 Skymaster. The Marines were the first to take the OV-10 into service as a forward air controller platform operating both night and day missions. Whilst the Bronco is best known for its operations in Vietnam, it also served in later conflicts as late as the Gulf War before being retired from US service in 1995. The USAF received Broncos in 1968 and deployed the aircraft in the Forward Air Control (FAC) role, using smoke laying methods initially, and later using laser targeting designators. Eventually it carried its own ground attack armament including rockets, machine guns and bombs that gave it the capability of Light Attack Aircraft, and made it a daunting prospect for the enemy to see overhead. Seven export contracts were signed with other foreign operators including Germany, Columbia and Indonesia, the very last of which will be leaving service in the near future after long service. This recent tooling from ICM relieves us all of the ancient Testors kit with its legendarily incorrect wings and nacelle locations, which could only have been fixed with the help of a Paragon Designs set. This is a relief for this modeller, as there were also other blank areas that would have required some further work. Back to the matter in hand. A new tool from ICM, and inside the bag are ten sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, two sheets of decals and a glossy instruction booklet with spot colour inside and glossy colour profiles on the back pages. De-bagging the sprues reveals the detail is excellent, and the booms have raised as well as engraved rivets on their surface, which is just as it should be if you check out any walk arounds that get close enough to the aircraft to see them. The clear parts have been engineered so that they fit together as individual facets, and are crystal clear, allowing the modeller to see their hard work in the cockpit, providing they don’t put any gluey fingerprints on the glazing during the build. Overall, it looks like it will build into an excellent replica of the aircraft. Construction begins predictably with the cockpit, starting with the crew seats, of which there are two. The base of the seats are made from the curved lower and cushion, while the backs are formed from a shell with two cushions, one for the pilot’s back, the other for the headbox. The two elements are brought together and a small part is added to the headbox, then different rear detail and a launch rail are added to the rear of them both. There are colour call-outs as we go along, and two warning decals are supplied for the seats, although these are shown applied to the cushions, which seems odd, but having checked some references, that’s where they go. Every day’s a school day! The rear seat is glued to the cockpit floor which has a bulkhead and a shelf moulded into the rear, then side consoles are fixed onto the floor around the seat with control column on a lateral support, and a throttle quadrant that sits on top of a raised portion of the port console. A divider between the two seats is prepared with rudder pedals and other details, then has a choice of either of two instrument panels added atop the flat section, based on your decal choice. These are well detailed and have dial decals for each option. The divider is glued in place, then the front cockpit is made up starting with the seat again, but with a different set of launch rail parts with “antennae” to the side of the headbox. He too gets a control column and floor-mounted rudder pedals, after which the seat is bracketed by side consoles that have detailed tops, but no decals which is a shame. A bulkhead for within the footwell of the front cockpit is created from a number of parts, and fixed in place with the details facing forward, forming the rear bulkhead of the nose gear bay. The pilot gets a well-appointed instrument panel with coaming and decal, plus a number of small parts sitting on top of the coaming. This is glued in, and more details are added to the rear shelf in the shape of equipment boxes that probably have festive twinkling lights on the real thing, especially at Christmas. The cockpit is put to the side briefly while the crew nacelle is prepared with interior sidewall details, plus an internal frame that runs up the side of the canopy. You are advised to align this with the canopy sides, which have a shallow groove running top to bottom, so it would be an idea to glue the parts, then tape the canopy sides in place and align the frame with the groove, taping it in place until the glue sets. With the sides complete and painted internally, the cockpit can be secured inside and locked in place by bringing the two halves together. Providing you have painted the front of the crew nacelle, the nose gear bay is already complete and just needs the main strut, a diagonal support that goes far back under the canopy, and a pair of bay doors. The underside of the cockpit floor is then covered over by a well-detailed underside panel that has recesses ready for the stubby weapons pylons, and has a small central strake added toward the rear. Here it will be key to align the nacelle skins before the glue sets to avoid having to make good later and risk losing any of that lovely detail. The weapons “wings” need four holes drilling in their underside if you are going to hang weapons from them, then they are closed up around a small rectangular insert that the barrels later plug into, the wingtips are added, and each one has an insert applied to the leading edge that makes up the rest of the fairings for the weapons. These are glued into their recesses on the underside, and are fitted with shackles on the twin pylons on their undersides if you plan on using weapons. Another small nose gear door fits to the diagonal leg, and the four-part nose wheel with separate hub parts is first trapped between the yoke, which is then glued to the bottom of the nose strut along with the other half of the oleo scissor-link. I suspect this could be a weak point of the nose gear, so ensure you leave this to set up for a good while before attempting to put weight on it. The addition of the four gun barrels to the winglets and a couple of sensors completes the crew nacelle for now. The upper wing of the Bronco is a single full-width part that also has a section of the fuselage upper and the twin boom tops moulded-in, while the underside is in four sections. Before the two surfaces are joined, two spar sections are attached to the upper wing straddling the future location of the engine nacelles, and if you plan on adding wing pylons, there are a few holes to be drilled in the outer lower panel of the wings. All the flying surfaces are separate and the twin flap sections per side are made of three parts laminated together, while the ailerons are a single part each to which are added balances and trim actuators. When completed, the six flying surface sections are fitted to the cut-outs at the rear of the wing unit along with a pair of actuators for the ailerons, a pair of exhaust deflectors on top of the engine nacelles, and a large sensor blister at the centre-rear. The wing assembly is then mated to the crew gondola, and the canopy is begun. The blown windscreen that offers the pilot a good field of view has a sight fitted to the top centre before it is glued to the front of the cockpit, then has the clear canopy roof put in place, bridging the gap between the windscreen and cockpit rear. The two canopy sides are next, and these parts are each single pieces, which doesn’t give the modeller the opportunity to prop the front two sections in the open position without taking their life in their hands and cutting the parts with a razor saw or fine scriber and a lot of trepidation. No doubt an aftermarket company will step-in here. Building of the two nacelles begins with the gear bays, which starts with the making of the gear legs that have two main parts and a Y-shaped insert that traps the lower section in place but leaves it movable. Two more parts make up the suspension strut, which are also trapped in place by a V-shaped insert, and then glue is applied to the previously mobile joint, setting the correct angle for the leg permanently. It is glued to the stepped bay forward roof with a number of small parts, after which it is joined by the detailed sidewalls, rear bulkhead and another few parts to close over the rear of the roof and add more detail. The nacelle sides have a couple of holes drilled on each side, and these are joined around the bay assembly, capped off at the front by the intakes and propeller backing plate. Underneath, the triangular inserts with their many raised rivets are glued in carefully to avoid damaging that lovely detail, and two optional towel-rail antennae are glued into the holes on the sides of the nacelle. The two-part rudder is fixed to the tail, and an exhaust is made up from two halves, with baffles within. Align these carefully to minimise the join-line and check your references to get this right. A small intake is added to the side of the nacelle just forward of the exhaust. This process if carried out twice of course, in mirror-image so your Bronco doesn’t fly round in circles. The large horizontal elevator panel is made from top and bottom surfaces plus the elevator itself, and this is slotted into position between the nacelles as they are glued into place under the wings. You might need to grow another hand or two to make this happen, or get yourself one of those wonderful jigs like that of EBMA to help hold everything in place for this. Four optional shark-fin spoilers can be glued onto their corresponding slots in the top of each wing if you wish, or leave them in the box for a clean upper wing. The twin props have the three blades moulded as one, with a front and back boss, and take care to install the correct props on the nacelles, as the blades (and the turboprop engines) are handed, spinning in opposite directions to cancel out the effect of torque steer. A windscreen wiper and various sensor lumps are added around the fuselage, with more underneath, at which point you’ll notice that the main gear is without wheels. Each of these are made of a two-part wheel and two-part hub, with no weighting moulded-in, although that’s easily remedied by a quick sanding of a flat-spot on the bottom, just don’t overdo it so it looks like it needs more air. Fun with weapons is next, and this modeller thinks that the Bronco looks best when loaded for bear, as they say. There are two wing pylons on long supports to add to the outer wing panels, then it’s just a case of choosing which munitions you want to hang from them. There is a diagram showing which weapons can be fitted to which pylons, but if you’re aiming for realism, check your references to establish real-world load-outs for training and live-fire missions. In the box you get the following: 2 x LAU-33 twin rocket pods 2 x LAU-069A 21 rocket pods 2 x Mk.77 Incendiary bombs 2 x LAU-68 6 rocket pods 2 x 150gal fuel tanks 2 x Mk.81 Lowdrag iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.81 Snakeye iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.82 Snakeye iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x Mk.82 Lowdrag iron bombs with optional daisy-cutter fuse 2 x LAU-10A 4 rocket pods The detail of the individual weapons is excellent, with multiple parts for fins, fuses and rockets, and only the seamlines to clean up along the way. The canopy is about as clear as can be, so it’s going to be important to mask it up before you inadvertently ruin the startling clarity. Although masks aren’t included in the box, there is a handy template near the back of the instructions that you can place tape on and cut out masks for your use on the model. Each section is numbered and there is another drawing showing their location on the canopy. Very handy! Markings There are five options in the rear of the instructions in various shades of grey and camouflage green, and there’s also a new paint set from ICM themselves that gives you all the shades you’ll need to paint the majority of the airframe as depicted in this boxing. You can read about that in a later review that we’ll link back once we’ve had chance to spray them out. From the box you can build one of the following: OV-10A 155471 Light Attack Sqn. 4 (VAL-4), ‘Black Ponies’, Binh Thuy, 1971 OV-10A 155456 Marine Observation Sqn. 6 (VMO-6), Quang Tri, 1969 OV-10A 67-14649, 20th Tactical Air Support Sqn., Da Nang, 1972 OV-10A 155416 Marine Observation Sqn. 2 (VMO-2), Da Nang, 1969 OV-10A 155416 Marine Observation Sqn. 2 (VMO-2), Da Nang, 1970 The 4th and 5th options depict the same airframe at different periods, which possibly had light grey wings earlier in its career, which was later painted green on the topside, and may have been painted a lighter or darker grey on the underside. The profiles give you the option and leave it up to you. Decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners, with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The weapons all have stencils to apply, which are shown next to each profile, as their colours varied over time. There are also rear and white tip decals for the props, and the large wide T-shapes on the upper wings are also included as decals, as are the tapered exhaust gas “hiders” on some of the decal options. US Helicopter Pilots - Vietnam War (48089) This single grey sprue has parts for five pilots and other crew, broken down as torsos, heads, arms and legs, plus additional parts for details and hats. On the sprue you get two standing pilots in flight gear, one in a cap, the other still wearing a sizeable helmet with comms bulges on the sides, while two of the remaining three figures are dressed in tshirts and combat pants, one standing leaning against something, the other hunkered down. The last figure appears to be a gentleman that loves the smell of napalm in the morning (it smells like victory, apparently), as he is wearing a tailed BDU jacket, a neckerchief, and a traditional US cavalry hat with gold braid and tassles, much like the gentleman from the famous film. US Pilots & Ground Personnel – Vietnam War (48087) This figure set is also on a single sprue, but a slightly larger one than the one above. It also includes five figures broken down in a similar manner, containing two standing pilots, one in a cap, the other holding his helmet under one arm. The three other figures are also standing, one in tan uniform marking something off on a sheaf of papers, the other two in t-shirt and combat pants with one or two arms raised, working on an aircraft. Conclusion Another great value themed set from ICM, with two excellent totally modern aircraft kits from the Vietnam period that is improved on by the addition of the two well-detailed figure sets, totalling 10 figures. Perfect for a diorama or vignette. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  15. I'm looking to do either a Farmgate or VNAF T-28B. I'm considering the Roden T-28D kit because it includes the weapons, pylons and gun pods. The T-28Ds had three weapons pylons plus a streamlined gun pod on each wing. The B/Cs had had a larger underwing pod and only two weapons pylons on each wing. I believe the pylons were the same as the later D but the spacing looks different. The Roden T-28D kit has the all the right parts for B/C but the drill outs in the lower wing are for the D models. Does anyone have a photo or reference that clearly shows the weapon pylon spacing on the early Vietnam B/Cs? Thanks in advance Ron
  16. I present you Roden's model of the OV-1A Mohawk. The plane represents a machine of the 23rd special warfare aviation detachment of the US Army from 1963 in Vietnam. The basic task of this unit was intelligence and reconnaissance. In its first variant (presented here), the Mohawk also had certain offensive (self-defense) capabilities, which in further use of exploitation was a stumbling rock in the bureaucratic circles of the Army and Air Force. How much this machine was valued and hated by members of the National Front for the Liberation of the South (better known as the NLF or VietCog) is also shown by the fact that a special financial stimulus was paid for its shootig down. I don't have much to say about the model except that it is already well known and the only one in this scale. The fit is very good and the detailing is at a very solid level! As a minor problem, I would mention the unpolished plastic surface as well as the shallow panel lines, which can be a significant problem if the plastic surface is polished. What is absolutely reprehensible are Roden's decals, which already have a bad reputation. Rigid, semi-transparent, poorly reacting to decal setting solutions, prone to cracking... In one word, BAAAD! I used the Eduad Zoom PE set (FE320), which is designed for the OV-1B, but with the modification of the control panel works just fine. I also used the Eeduard`s PE set for air brakes (from the second set for the OV-1D), which significantly enriches the area of the air brakes. The rest of the cockpit is self-built, which includes the floor of the cabin, the back wall of the cabin, as well as hoses, cables and other small things... The painting was done so that you can feel the level of employment of these machines! The model is Hi-Vis semi gloss painted and has a glossy finish. I played a little bit with the degree of brightness of certain zones/panels on the model, and hence the non-uniformity of the brightness. Little due is from some old monogram model and the base is halved Eduard`s PSP base. Gunza colors with weathering effects in painter's oils, tamiya washes, dry pygmies, wooden crayons... In the end, I must say that I am very satisfied with how the model turned out! All criticisms and suggestions (as well as contributions in money, plastic, meat and sweets...) are more than welcome! P.S. I would like to apologize for the large number of photos! And details:
  17. Special Ops Skyraiders (48019a) 1:48 Iliad Designs The Skyraider was an enormous, single-engined ground-attack aircraft that was under development during WWII as a carrier-borne torpedo/dive bomber, but eventually became a highly proficient ground-attack and close-air-support (CAS) platform, that outlived at least one of its intended replacements. It was fitted with a powerful Wright-Cyclone engine that gave it immense load-carrying capacity, long loiter-time, and once unloaded, it was described as “climbing like a homesick angel” to get its pilot out of harm’s way and back home for another sortie. Its flexibility saw it used extensively in Vietnam, both for its original CAS and Ground Attack missions, but also in support of Special Operations, for which specialised squadrons were established as Special Operations Squadron (SOS) of Special Operations Group (SOG). This decal sheet contains markings for six such “sneaky beaky” aircraft, some of which are painted in non-standard Vietnam tri-colour greens and brown, which jars the eye a little on first viewing. They are quite a mixed bag of schemes, as you’d probably expect from such operators, and although the camouflage is there, it is often negated by a bright yellow symbol on the cowling, or in one case a red/white/blue tail or a snarling shark’s mouth. The decal sheet is exceptionally well-printed with good registration, sharpness and colour density, plus a thin glossy carrier film cut close to the printed surfaces. The set doesn’t include stencils of course, as these are usually included on the kit sheet. As well as side profiles, the opposite side of the instruction sheet shows overhead views and opposite side views of the aircraft without any decals, so that you can map out the camouflage on all three surfaces, which is rather helpful. Additional scrap diagrams show painting of the prop-tips, main gear spat codes, opposite sides of the cowling of one airframe that shows a different sized font, as well as arrowed call-outs of spot colours, interesting information and unseen decals in addition to the caption to the sides of all of the subject aircraft to assist you further. Conclusion Iliad always produce interesting subjects that are well-researched, have concise instructions, with excellent quality decals rounding out the package. Highly recommended. Iliad Decals are available from all good model shops. Review sample courtesy of
  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. Hello all 🥳 As announced yesterday, I present my new project today. This time it goes from North Africa directly to Southeast Asia 🌴🌴🌴 My scene is set at the end of the Vietnam War and shows the PAVN invasion of Saigon. The main role is not played by Jackie Chan, even if the title of the post might suggest it, but by Takom's T54 B 😎 As one of my favorite tanks, building it is an absolute must for me-the kit is also highly recommended. The older Russian technology has a special charm and just because represented in almost all conflicts, an endless topic for modelers. The beginning make some pictures of the construction of the model, whereby I must say that this is already some time ago. But to really show everything from A-Z, I do not want to withhold these steps 🤓 Have fun! MD the plastic strips help to align the rollers correctly you can even see the ball bearings-who needs a protective cap? the plastic tracks are very good with a little bit of sanding you don't always need complex PE fenders. A few simple aluminum strips suggest dented sheet metal also here with a dremel tool new holding clamps for the DSchK from a plastic sprue better 😁 with russki in love 🥰 ok, it probably won't work completely without PE and wire 😁 some tools and a machete is a must in the jungle protective tubes for the rear light wiring also here new protective tube for the searchlight cabling the characteristic extra fuel tanks here I used another kind of wire mesh See you!
  20. Hello everybody! A little deviation from my USAF jets series: two Skyraiders, all in Vietnam war style. The first one is the A-1E Skyraider, RVHP conversion kit. Of course, not a cheap built as you need to buy the superb A-1H/J from Hasegawa to recover most of the parts except the fuselage and canopy. But this is unfortunately the only option to get a decent "fat face" as the Revel kit is completely wrong. RVHP gives a fuselage, a very nice vacform canopy, some parts to create the "tub", a little decal sheet and that's it. So a good documentation is needed if you want a nice result from this investment and to master all the differences between a "E/ fat face" from its cousin, the H/J...and their are many! The surgery of the fuselage to the Hasegawa wings was done without any hassles, the fit is quite OK. What I did, to make it short: The full cockpit has been scratch built. The trickiest part was to make the unique ejection seats which are quite complicated to scratch built (However these seats were not present in all fat faces, a photo check is necessary). Thanks God, the rest of the "tub" has not that much amount of equipment, as in the real aircraft the seats and extra boxes were removed to save weight. Opening the nice canopy needs extra extra caution because you have only one. The engine: I selected a resin one (forgot the brand) and added wires; the typical front doors were removed; the undercarriage: Again the A-1E has some unique feature in this area such as an asymmetric front U/C doors with one including a landing light but not the other. Also, the wheel wells are different in shape from the H/J and the doors were removed; On the fuselage all the plates (cowling, antiglare) were made from aluminium can, much thinner. All the armament com from the surplus box, of cours not provided by RVHP. Camouflage: typical SEA, tired with some weathering. I chose an aircraft sporting a little shamrock on the left side seen in page 155 of the excellent "A-1 Skyraider in Vietnam, the last Spad war" which provides a good collection of pictures "in action". All decals are coming from the surplus box. So the pix: The real Spad: Mine: ...and the little dio: That's it for the Fat Face, hope you will enjoy it!
  21. Hello fellow modellers, (where have I heard that phrase before?) For this GB I'm going to build last year's Tamiya F-4B Phantom II as used by the United States Navy to make many a large hole in South East Asia back in the day.
  22. A radical departure for me on this one. Well, reasonably radical let’s say…. A helicopter and Vietnam - there’s nothing more synonymous with Vietnam than a Huey, is there? This project has come about through one of the biggest satisfactions I derive from my website, that being form time to time I come into contact with family members of the pilots or units I feature who usually express gratitude their loved ones’ stories are being told, and sometimes offer further information and materials to further enhance the site. In this case, the connection was a little more indirect but it came to pass that I began a correspondence with the son of an Australian soldier in Vietnam wounded in action and desperately needing medivac. His unit was under fire, and quite surrounded; the medivac choppers couldn’t get in to the LZ. Then, an Aussie gunship in full “Bushranger”mode arrived on the scene and laid down a storm of suppression fire sufficiently effective that the medivac could land and get the wounded trooper out. I am building this model of an Aussie Bushranger for the son to give to his father. In using the Italeri kit I have a few modifications and scratch building challenges, but I’m reasonably confident I can manage it. I have also included some Reskit enhancements, which added up with the cost of the kit still has the total come under the price of the Kittyhawk kit, which is rarer than hen’s teeth in Australia anyway. And last night I made a start, beginning with the little kit within a kit of the armoured seats. Made from PE and resin, they are fiddly as all get out but look good when assembled. I still have all the belts and fittings to add but so far so good. As this is a subject I know little about, and scratch building the some of the Bushranger weaponry will be a challenge, all suggestions and corrections are gratefully received! Below are a couple of pics of both the "Ned Kelly" configuration which was essentially the proof of concept and then on the right, the "Bushranger" configuration eventually adopted as standard. Cheers!
  23. B-26K with USAF Pilots & Ground Personnel (48280) 1:48 ICM via Hannants Ltd The A-26 was built by Douglas during WWII as the successor to the A-20 Havoc. Two types were designed, The C with a glass bomber nose and the B with a full metal nose filled with either 6 or 8 .50cal machine guns, which coupled with the three in each wing gave it quite a punch, deserving of the Strafer title. It also had a pair of turrets on the fuselage mid-upper and dorsal positions, which were both operated by a single gunner using a complex remote mechanism that flipped between the upper and lower turrets depending on where the gunner was looking through his binocular sights. This trained the guns accordingly and also calculated the correct offset for parallax and lead, but was very complex and caused some delays to it entering service, and even more issues with maintenance in the field. In 1948 it was re-designated as the B-26 by the US Air Force to confuse us, and later on back to the A-26 just to complete the process of befuddlement. It was developed a little after the Marauder and despite using the same engines it was conceived totally separately from its more rotund colleague. It was initially less than popular in the Pacific theatre where its poor cockpit view due to the canopy and engine position rendered it unloved by the first users. It was more popular in the European theatre and was accepted as a replacement for the Havoc fairly quickly. After the war it served in Korea, early Vietnam engagements and other conflicts, ending its days in US service with the Air National Guard in the early 70s. In the mid-1950s some Aircraft were converted to the Drone controller role with the DC prefix to launch Ryan Firebee drones in support of combat training. In a late twist the B-26 would be brought back in the 60s for the Vietnam War because it could still hold its own in combat. The aircraft externally still looked very much like the WWII aircraft, but the turrets were removed in favour of fixed forward firing guns and four hard points were fitted to each wing, allowing the carrying of 8,000lbs of ordnance. The wings of these aircraft were rebuilt and strengthened, the rudder was enlarged and permanent tip tanks (65 US Gal) were added to the main wings. Anti-icing was added to the airframe to cope with cold weather and higher altitudes, and a new anti-skid braking system was also added. In the cockpit the dials and displays were updated and a secondary control yoke was added to allow control from either seat. New 2,500hp engines were added inside the nacelles, along with cuffed broad chord props to cope with the enhanced power delivery. The USAF ordered 40 of the "new" aircraft which were known as Nimrods locally to their crews. As well as combat operations in South east Asia some aircraft flew on the down-low with the CIA in the Congo. The last aircraft were finally retired by 1969 when AC-130 gunships took over their night interdiction role. Only 6 of the type survive, with "Special Kay" having been restored to Flight as a memorial to crews who fought the covert missions in South East Asia. The Kit This is a new variant from the recent tooling from ICM, and this is the second boxing now of the so-called Counter Invader. While you get many parts from the original Invader boxings, this edition features a new fuselage sprue, new wing sprues, a new rudder, new engine nacelles, a pylon sprue, and weapons sprues ICM previously released as a stand-alone US Armament set. It also includes a new sprue filled with five crew figures, which we’ll cover toward the end of this review. It arrives in the familiar top opening box with a captive inner lid to the lower tray. Inside the box are a healthy fifteen sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, two decal sheets and the instruction booklet plus two extra instruction sheets for the armament & figures. A quick look over the sprues reveals that panel lines are very crisp, narrow and restrained, the surface is matt and very neat-looking, with plenty of engraved and raised details on the parts, plus subtly indented flying surfaces simulating their fabric covering. There are a number of red blocks printed over the sprue map, which shows how many of the parts will be left on the sprues once you have completed construction, such as original wings, props, cowlings and one of the canopies. If you’re a bit ham-fisted and plan on building many Invaders, you could well find these come in useful down the line. New Parts Original Parts Construction begins with the internal bomb load, which is then placed within the port fuselage half along with some detail panels and bulkheads. The former gunner’s position and the cockpit are next, creating the pilot's seat, instrument panel (with instrument decals), centre console with throttle quadrant before adding those and the twin control columns to the floor. The aft compartment is built up around the front wing spar with a set of radio gear hanging from a pair of risers and a pair of wing spars, so you'll have to do some detail painting as you go. After this the starboard fuselage side is prepped, with the right side of the cockpit and bomb bay with its detailed ribbing. With that and a quantity of detail painting you can then slide the starboard fuselage over the two spars, and it would be a good idea when fitting those spar parts to let the glue set up with the starboard fuselage taped in place to ensure they make the correct angle when they're set in place permanently. The instructions then have you building up the tail feathers, with the elevators having separate single-part flying surfaces, plus a two-piece rudder to attach to the moulded-in tail fin. The gun-nose comprising the fixed lower and rear section of the nose are built up out of three parts, making space for the 40g of nose weight you are encouraged to fit before you add the single cowling panel that covers the gun bay, with a pair of four-barrel gun-inserts added through the holes to depict the .50cals. You'll need to drill out the muzzles or take the lazy way out and get a set of Master barrels. The nose section is a straight-forward butt joint to the fuselage, with a small half-moon cut-out that should help align it. The new wings are next with a small radiator intake prism moulded-in to which you add a radiator panel, and the lower parts have holes and long depressions ready for the four pylons per wing. You'll notice that there are fairings and a hump in the upper wing where the engine nacelles will be, and these are separate assemblies to be built up later. First, the separate two-section flaps, and the ailerons are prepared and added to the trailing edge of the wings, the latter being of one piece each and slotting into the wing via two tabs. The tip tanks are made of two halves and are glued in place, and underwing landing lights are added from clear parts. At this stage the instructions have you sliding the wings onto the spars and gluing them in place. Whether you'd rather wait until you've added the engine nacelles though is entirely up to you. It’s your model! There are of course two engine nacelles and these build up pretty much identically apart from their outer skins, which are handed to fit their respective fairings as you'd expect. They are split vertically, and each half has internal structure moulded-in, with bulkheads added fore and aft of the gear bays, coupled with bay lip inserts that bulk out the edges and also hold captive their bay door. This may require some clever masking and a little care during handling, but it shouldn't hold you up too much, as the hinge-points are relatively robust. The two halves are joined together, the prominent intake on the top of the nacelle is made up from two parts, then is added to the nacelle front which is in turn glued to the rest of the nacelle, with the completed assemblies attached to the wings from the underside, as yet without their engine cowlings, engines or props. The engines are added later in the build, and the Twin Wasps are depicted in their entirety with both banks of pistons, push-rods, ancillaries and reduction housing at the front, plus the collector ring and exhausts at the rear, the latter made up from eight parts each. Again, the engines are identical and interchangeable with each other, and they fit to the nacelles with a teardrop-shaped tab, after which the engine cowling is slotted over them. The cooling flaps are last to be added in four sets around the rear of the cowling. The top of the fuselage is still open at this point, as it has an insert with the faired over section where the top turret used to be, with another for the former dorsal turret fitted later on. Each of the three tyres are made from two halves with separate hubs applied from either side, then hung on their respective legs, which have retraction jacks and scissor links added along the way. Happily, these can be fitted late in the build, so the open bays can be masked quicker than if they were present. Speaking of bays, you can depict the bomb bay open or closed by using either a one-piece door for closed, or two separate doors with internal detail for open. This is nice to see, as it's always a little tricky to join two doors and get them aligned with the fuselage so there are minimal join-lines. The main airframe is ostensibly complete save for some antennae and the new broad-blade props, and if you've been sparing with the glue when assembling the engines, the latter should still spin once complete. The four pylons per wing are each made from two parts, and should have some 0.8mm holes drilled in their lower surface for later use, then you need to make a choice what to put on the pylons, with the help of a load-out diagram provided, or from your own references. US Aviation Armament (48406) As well as the internal bomb load, there are four sprues containing various munitions, as follows: 2 x LAU-10A Pods of 5" Rockets 2 x LAU-69 Pods of 2.75" Rockets 2 x LAU-68 Pods of 2.75" Rockets 2 x BLU-23 500LB Fire bombs (Can be made with or without the fins) 2 x BLU-27 750LB Fire Bombs (Can be made with or without the fins) 2 x Mk.77 750LB Incendiary Bombs 2 x SUU-14 Dispensers 2 x Mk.81 Snakeye Bombs* 2 x MK.81 Low Drag Bombs* 2 x Mk.82 Snakeye Bombs* 2 x Mk.82 Low Drag Bombs* *All of the above bombs can be fitted with Fuse extenders In addition, there are 2 MERs with Sway braces, with what look to be 12 Flares to load on the MERs. All of the parts are well moulded and there are enough parts to give some additional detail to the weapons. US Pilots & Ground Crew Personnel - Vietnam (48087) This new set is designed for this kit, but could equally be used elsewhere. There are two pilots getting ready for flight, one of whom is carrying a helmet. An officer figure (possibly maintenance) is standing around with a clipboard in hand, with two ground crew reaching above their heads to fiddle with things such as the external weapons. The uniforms are Vietnam era and the sculpting is up to ICM's high standards. Markings In this diorama-style boxing there are four similar options included on the decal sheet, all of which are in Vietnam light and dark green, brown and black camouflage. From the box you can build one of the following: 64-17651, 56th Special Operations Wing, 609th Special Operations Sqn Nakhon Phanom 1969, "Mighty Mouse" name and artwork 64.17649, Davis-Monthan AFB, 1970 "Sweet Therese" name 64-17645, 56th Special Operations Wing, 609th Special Operations Sqn Nakhon Phanom 1969 64-17679, 1st Special Operations Wing, USAF Late 1960s "Special Kay" name. This aircraft has been restored and is the only B-26K flying The decals are printed anonymously, although they look like DecoGraph's output to my eye. They have good registration, colour density and sharpness, and include a number of stencils that are legible with the right optics. The decals for the armaments are of the same quality and sharpness. Conclusion This model is excellent for anyone wanting to create a diorama or at least add a few weapons and figures to their model. Detail is excellent and the addition of the figures and weapons is great news. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  24. This was a pretty easy build, with the overall level of detail and fit being quite good on this kit. I just added an instrument panel and PE seatbelts in the cockpit, connected a few cables to the winch and added some other small exterior details. I cut out one of the cockpit windows as well and mounted it in the opened position. The camo colour was built up with different tones of green, tan and grey (Gunze/Tamiya) and weathered with oils, a light drybrushing and some pigment dusting. Decals are from the kit: nicely printed but terribly brittle, causing them to break up easily. They settled well on flat surfaces, but getting the large ones to conform to the curved nose and tailboom required quite a bit of work (and touch-ups with paint afterwards). The very nice Heller Jeep received some parts of a Brengun PE set and I also added a scratch-built antenna/radio unit. Figures are from CMK/Hasegawa, with some ValueGear items and Eduard’s PSP base completing the little scene. Hope you enjoy the pictures: thanks for looking! Comments always welcome, Patrick P.S. For those interested in the subject, I came across this YouTube video with interesting footage of VNAF UH-34D's operating from a.o. Da Nang AB: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D228_1s5zaU Credits background picture: designed by Freepik, photo by jannoon028: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/tourism-flight-stratosphere-scenic-cloud_1048502.htm#page=1&query=stratosphere tourism&position=44&from_view=search
  25. AH-1G Cobra with Vietnam War US Helicopter Pilots ICM 1:32 (32062) Most modellers will instantly recognise the Bell AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter. The AH-1 was the first production Gunship or Attack Helicopter to see service. During the Vietnam war the US Army began to see the need for armed helicopter to escort its unarmed UH-1 Hueys into combat. In parallel to this Bell Helicopters had been investigating helicopter gunships as early as the late 1950s. In 1962 Bell displayed a mock up concept to the US Army. This Helicopter featured a 20mm gun pod, and a ball turret mounted grenade launcher. It was felt by the Army to be lightweight, under powered and not suitable. Following this the US Army launched and Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) competition. This competition gave rise to the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne heavy attack helicopter. However this proved to be to advanced for its time and was eventually cancelled in 1972 after 10 years of development (some things don't change!). Despite the AAFSS programme Bell stuck with its idea of a smaller, lighter gunship and invested its own money developing the AH-1. They used all of the proven components they could from the UH-1 platform, adding these to a newly designed fuselage. When The US Army therefore asked for pans for an interim gunship for Vietnam Bell was in a fortunate position to be able to offer the AH-1, or the Bell 209 as it was then called. Given the work Bell had already done the programme was completed in a relatively speed eight months and won the evaluation against the competition. In 1966 the US Army signed an initial contract for 110 aircraft. Some slight modifications were made to the production airframes. The heavy armoured glass canopy was replaced by Plexiglas with an improvement in performance. Wider rotor blades were fitted and the original retracting skids were replaced by simple fixed units. The G model was the initial 1966 production model gunship for the US Army, with one 1,400shp (1,000 kW) Avco Lycoming T53-13 turboshaft. Bell built over 1100 AH-1Gs between 1967 and 1973, and the Cobras would go on to fly over a million operational hours in Vietnam, approximately 300 were lost to combat and accidents during the war. The U.S. Marine Corps would use AH-1G Cobra in Vietnam for a short period before acquiring twin-engined AH-1J Cobras. The AH-1 went on to serve the US Army until it was replaced by the AH-64 Apache. The last one leaving active service in 1999. The AH-1G could be fitted with the The M-35 Gun System, this was a single M195 20mm cannon (a short-barrelled version of the six-barrel M61A1 Vulcan) on the port inboard pylon of the AH-1G. 950 rounds of ammunition were stored in boxes faired to the side of the aircraft. The system was primarily pilot controlled, but featured dual controls to be either pilot or gunner controlled. For this purpose the pilot was provided with a M73 sight. The Kit This is a brand new kit from ICM, and their first helicopter kit. The quality of the moulding is first rate from ICM with fine engraved panel lines and nice rivet detail on the tail boom and tail. While this boxing is the the early G you can see from the sprues that other versions will be along as there is the opposite handed tail, different landing skids, an upturned exhaust, different winglets and TOW missiles on the weapons sprures. The kit arrives on 5 main sprues of grey plastic and a clear sprue. As well as the main helicopter and armaments, the kit also comes with the ground handling attachments for the skids, something often missing from kits. While there is good detail on the kit and the option to open up the engine and gearbox area, this area is not massively detailed and will open itself up for the super detailer if they want. This boxing comes with an additional sprue for the M-35 Gun System. Work starts conventionally in the cockpit. The two five part armoured seats are built up and added into the main cockpit tub. Tail controls are added to the floor ,and for the pilots station a cyclic and collective columns go it. For the front seater the weapons control column is made up ad fitted in. Side controllers are also fitted for the gunner. Instrument panels and coamings go in for both stations with instruments being provided as decals. Now the cockpit is complete the visible parts of the engine/gear box and its compartment are built up. This is followed up by parts for the rotor controls. The tails are added onto the fuselage. Here there is quite a large part which overlaps to compete a good solid join. The tail rotor needs attaching to fuselage half before closing up if you want it to move. The engine / gear box parts are fitted into the right fuselage followed by the cockpit and cockpit rear bulkhead parts. The fuselage can now be closed up with additional cockpit armour panels being fitted at each side. At the rear of the engine housing the exhaust part goes in. At the front of the helo the nose goes on, being careful to choose the right parts for the decal option being modelled. The side applique armour panels can be fitted to the model if needed as these parts are marked as optional. Turning things over the large central fuselage insert goes on with additional parts at the nose. The chin turret is now fitted with either one or two miniguns depending on your decal option. A light goes behind the turret. The final exhaust ring goes on the back (if modelling option 3 then the anti IR upturned exhaust is fitted) and the tip of the tail is added. Next up we concentrate on the stub wings. The two wings are built up and the weapons pylons are fitted. These are fitted to the fuselage along with the rear stabilisers towards the tail. The landing skids can then be fitted. Next up the large clear canopy parts go on. A sight is fitted to the front of the central glazing section. The front and rear large side canopy parts are fitted, these can be open or closed as need by the modeller. The access panels can be fitted to each side of the open engine/gear box area; again these can be open or closed as required. We now move to the main rotor. Each of the two blades are split upper/lower, and they are joined together. The central rotor head is made from tow parts, these are upper and lower, these sandwich in the rotor blades. Once these are on the control arms to the swashplate are then added along with the central mounting shaft. The rotor this then mounted. To finish off armaments can be added to the pylons as needed. The kit provides Two M157 7 shot rocket pods, two M158 7 shot rocket pods, two M200 19 shot rocket pods; and two M18 minigun pods. If the modeller want to use them then two pairs of ground handling wheels can be made up and attached to the back of the skids, Towing bars then can be attached to the front of the skids. If fitting the M-35 Gun System then one of the pylons is left of the left stub wing as the gun fits directly to the inboard station here. The two large ammunition panniers fit to each side of the fuselage. A cross feed links the two sides at the front, and at the rear the feed to gun itself goes on. Decals The decal sheet is in house from ICM, the decals look thin, in register and have minimal carrier film. 3 Options are included; 68-17074 "The Gladiator", C Troop, 16th Cav, Can Tho, January 1972. 68-115031 "Pandora's Box", 238th AWC, Vietnam 1971. 68-15012" #1 Du Me Mi", F Troop, 4th Cav, Phu Bai, 1972. The first 2 carrying the M-35 Gun System. Now normally with ICM the decal and painting guides are quite clear, for some reason they are not for this kits, they are very dark and indistinct, a little bit of a let down. The Figures This is the set ICM previously released on its own, now bundled with the Cobra, which we all suspected they would do. There are two standing pilots and one sitting, though this third figure could also be a crew man. As well as the sprue for the figures there are two smaller sprues with flight helmets. As with all ICM figure sets the sculpting looks upto their usual excellent standards. Conclusion This is another great looking kit from ICM which great tooling and possibilities for future variants on the sprues, the inclusion of the figure is a nice move. Very Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
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