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Bucker Bu 131D Axis Users ICM 1:32 (3201) The new Bu 131D from ICM last year was a welcome kit and we reviewed it here. The decals in the original boxing were only for Luftwaffe operated machines though. ICM have now rectified this with a decal sheet for other WWII Axis operators. The sheet which looks to be printed in house seems colour dense with no registration problems. Options on the new sheet are; Flight School of The Hungarian Air Forces, Summer 1941 100/2 Fast Bomber Sqn, Hungarian Air Force, Summer 1944 Croatian Air Force, Zagreb 1943 Italian Air Force, Tirana (Albania), Autumn 1944 Conclusion This is a great addition from ICM to an already great kit. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
Ju-88A-4 WWII Axis Bomber 1:48 ICM (48237) The Ju-88 was designed as a schnellbomber in the mid 30s, and at the time it was faster than current fighter designs, so it was projected that it could infiltrate, bomb and ex-filtrate without being intercepted. That was the theory anyway. By the time WWII began in the west, fighters had caught up with the previously untouchable speed of the 88, and it needed escorting to protect it from its Merlin equipped opponents. It turned out to be a jack of all trades however, and was as competent as a night fighter, dive bomber or doing reconnaissance as it was bombing Britain. They even popped a big gun on the nose and sent it against tanks and bombers, with variable success. The A series sported a pair of Jumo 211 engines in cylindrical cowlings producing over 1,000hp each, and was improved gradually up until the A-17, with the A-11 being the official designation for the factory produced tropicalised version. It was fitted with filters to protect the engine from dust and dirt, as well as a rescue kit for ditching and forced landings. The A-4 was an Improved variant over initial versions. It would feature a longer wingspan, (due to redesigned wingtips), better defensive armament, a reinforced undercarriage; and provision for external bomb racks (4). Powerplant for the A-4 was Jumo 211 J-1 or J-2 engines (1410 hp) driving wooden bladed propellers. The Kit This is a new variation on the original tooling released a couple of years by ICM, with new parts added to make it version specific. There are new engine nacelles and props; new fin and rudder; changes to the cockpit mounted machine-guns, and different glazing options are chosen from the same clear sprue. The box is the usual top-opening with an inner lid style, and inside you will find eight sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, decal sheet and a glossy covered instruction booklet with spot colour inside, and the decal options in full colour on the back cover. If you have been lucky enough to see the A-5, you'll know that detail is right up there in terms of quality and crispness, with ICM really improving over the last few years, which has to be great news for modellers, as they aren't frightened of tackling what to us may seem niche subject matters. With the sprue-related excitement out of the way, work on the fuselage begins with the addition of sidewall details in the capacious cockpit area. Rear bulkhead, side consoles and seats are all added to the cockpit sides for a change, with an insert in the fuselage for the circular antenna and tail wheel added into the starboard side. The instrument panel is supplied with decals, and fits into the fuselage during joining. The missing floor is added to the lower fuselage panel that includes the lower parts of the inner wings and gives the structure some strength. It also receives the rudder pedals, control column, and the two remaining crew seats before being joined to the fuselage. The tail plane has articulated flying surfaces, and the wings are supplied as top and bottom, with the flaps and ailerons separate from the box, and neat curved fairings so they look good when fitted at an angle. The flaps include the rear section of the soon-to-be-fitted nacelles, which are added as separate parts to avoid sink-marks, and these and the ailerons run full-span, terminating just as the wingtip begins. At this time the landing gear is made up on a pair of upstands that are added to the underwing in preparation for the installation of the nacelle cowlings. The engines have to be built up first though, consisting of a high part count with plenty of detail, and a rear firewall that securely fits inside the cowling. Even though this is an in-line engine with a V-shaped piston layout, the addition of the annular radiators gives it the look of a radial, with their representation added to the front of the cowling, obscuring much of the engine detail. The side panels can be left off to show all that detail. The cooling flaps around the cowling are separate, and the exhausts have separate stacks, which aren't hollow but are large enough to make boring them out with a drill a possibility. The completed nacelle fit to the underwing over the top of the main gear installation, securing in place with four pegs, two on each side of each nacelle. The props are made from spinner, backplate and a single piece containing all three blades, sliding onto a pin projecting from the engine front, which will require some glue if you want to keep them on. At this point the instructions recommend adding the canopy glazing, which consists of a choice of two faceted nose cones, and the main greenhouse for the cockpit aperture. The rear portion is made from two additional parts due to its double "blown" shape to accommodate the two rearward gun positions, so that the gunner's head isn't pressed against the canopy. The guns are fitted through the windscreen and the two circular ports on the rear, although no ammo feed is supplied. Under the wings the dive spoilers are added with four bomb crutches on aerodynamic mounts, with bombs supplied that have two of their fins moulded separately, along with the stabilising struts that fit into notches in the fins. While the airframe is flipped over, the two-part wheels and twin main gear bay doors are added, both having good detail and the former a radial tread. Addition of the canopy mounted antenna completes the build, but this is likely to be done long after main painting for safety's sake! Markings The kit includes four marking options for Axis Air Arms supplied by Germany. Stencils are the first page of the painting section details the application of these. From the box you can build one of the following: Junkers Ju.88A-4 Grupul 5 Bombardment Romania 1944 Junkers Ju.88A-4 3/1 Bombazo szazaf, Hungarian Air Force, Russia 1943 Junkers Ju.88A-4 1/PLeLv 44, Onttola, Finland Summer 1944 Junkers Ju.88A-4 3/PLeLv 44, Onttola, Finland Summer 1944 The colours are picked out using letters that correspond to a table on the front page, which gives the names and paint codes in Revell and Tamiya ranges, so should be easy to convert to your paint system of choice. The decals are printed in-house and have good register, colour density and sharpness, with additional instrument dials included on a clear carrier film to help with cockpit painting. All of the stencils are legible, and overall they inspire confidence, with a thin carrier film cut close to the printing, with a few exceptions where lettering has film that could have been dispensed with to reduce the menace of silvering. Conclusion ICM's range of Ju.88s and Do.17s are a good example of how far they have come in recent years, adding value to their brand, and improving their reputation with each release. The kit is well-detailed and comprehensive in what it includes, and with a nice pair of decal options it says "build me". Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
FW 189A-1 Axis Air Forces 1:72 ICM The Fw189 was created by legendary Focke Wulf designer Kurt Tank prior to WWII. Its intended role was as a short range observation and reconnaissance aircraft, with the requirement for excellent all-round visibility giving rise to the distinctive shape and extensive cockpit glazing. It won the contract by beating off competition from Arado and Blohm & Voss (the latter with their asymmetrical Bv. 141). It entered service in 1940, and production continued until 1944. The aircraft was popular with crews due to its manoeuvrability; it could often out turn fighters to escape destruction. It was tough as well, and there are stories of 189s returning from missions with parts of the tail and boom blown away. The Kit The Fw 189 is the latest all-new tooling from Kiev-based outfit ICM. Inside the very sturdy top-opening box are two largish sprues of light grey plastic and one clear sprue which together hold a total of 170 parts. The airframe is covered in crisp, recessed panel lines which look very good indeed, and the mouldings are crisp and clean. The instructions are an A4 stapled booklet which has been printed in colour and the decal sheet is clear and well printed. The overall impression is of a well-executed kit which looks as though it should be enjoyable to build. Construction begins with the central wing section and cockpit. The lower part of the central wing is moulded as a single span, complete with recesses for the main landing gear bays. Onto this part, the flaps, cockpit floor and fuselage sidewalls can all be added. The cockpit itself is nicely detailed, which is just as well as a lot of it will be on show under that greenhouse canopy. Interior detail includes the crew seats, rudder pedals, control column (moulded in two parts), radio gear and a large number of spare magazines for the defensive machine guns. The instrument panel fits to the top of the frontal canopy glazing, which is itself made up of four parts. It's inevitable with a model like this, but great care will need to be taken when assembling both this and the remaining eight parts of the canopy so as not to get messy glue smears over the clear plastic. Your patience will be tested to the limit when it comes to masking the expansive canopy, but there is good news in the form of a set of pre-cut masks on the way from Eduard. Look out for our review soon. Once cockpit/fuselage has been assembled, the upper panels for the inner wing can be fitted. The remaining steps in the construction process are essentially a sequence of sub-assemblies, starting with the landing gear bays. These areas behind the engine nacelles but ahead of the tail booms are separate parts, which makes for more complex construction but better detail. The tail booms themselves are split vertically and benefit from separately moulded rudders, while the tailplane has a separately moulded elevator and a neat tail wheel assembly. The engine nacelles are another sub-assembly, and are made up of two main parts, split vertically, with a separate radiator face, exhaust, frontal cowling, propeller and hub. As with the rest of the flying surfaces, the outer wings feature separate control surfaces. The landing gear is next, and is just as nicely detailed as the rest of the model. Each of the main gear legs is comprised four parts, while the wheels are split vertically and have separate mud guards. Step 63 in the instructions brings the fuselage/centre wing section together with the engine nacelles, tail booms and outer wings, leaving you with a more-or-less complete Fw189. All that remains to do then is add the finishing touches, such as the landing gear doors, the odd antenna mast or pitot tube and the four bombs and bomb shackles that fit under the outer wings. Decals This boxing deals with aircraft operated by The Hungarian Air Force. Three options are provided on the decal sheet: • Fw 189A-1 4/1 Reconnaissance Sqn, Ukraine Summer 1943 Hungarian Air Force • Fw 189A-1 4/1 Reconnaissance Sqn, Poland Summer 1944 Hungarian Air Force. • Fw 189A-1 344th Jato, Summer 1944, Bulgarian Air Force. All three aircraft are finished in RLM 70/71 over RLM 65. The decals look excellent and include a smattering of stencils. The Red/White/Green tails will need to be pained by the modeller for the Hungarian examples. Conclusion There haven't been all that many kits of the distinctive FW189 over the years, but ICM's new effort looks to be the best of them by quite some way. The mouldings are high quality, there is plenty of detail and surface structures are fine and crisp. Overall this is a well executed and carefully designed kit which is rich in detail. The only real drawback is the complexity of the clear parts, but there is no way around this if the desired outcome is an accurate and well detailed model. It is good to see this boxing with other markings apart from the Luftwaffe. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
New from Northstar Models for September is a Resin & Photo Etch Aerial Torpedo F5W. This was one of the main aerial torpedoes used by German and Italian aircraft during WWII. In their own way these were very influential weapons. German torpedo and bomber attacks caused the main losses to Allied convoys. The Italian Air Force in fact sank more shipping than the Italian Navy. The Torpedoes come in 1:48 and 1:72 scales, they feature resin bodies with brass Photo-Etch (PE) parts for the fins. They come with, or without the aerodynamic tail used by some aircraft to slow down entry to the water. These will do a great job of finishing off your model with the appropriate armament. For more details please visit Northstar Models If you decide to buy some of these then please be sure to tell them you saw them at Britmodeller.