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  1. I-16 Type 10 with Chinese Pilots (32008) 1:32 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd The I-16 was a ground-breaking design that first flew in 1934, as it was both a monoplane, and benefited from having retractable landing gear. It was designed by the Polikarpov Design Bureau, and was also intended to have a totally enclosed cockpit, but Soviet pilots disliked being ensconced within their aircraft, perhaps harking back to the days of open-topped biplanes, and all this was despite the freezing temperatures that they had to endure, even at zero feet. It was a small aircraft that led to some diminutive nicknames such as Burro or Rata, depending on where it was in service. Early variants saw action in the Spanish Civil War as well as in Chinese hands against the Japanese invaders, and by the time WWII came around they were one of the major fighters in service with the Soviet Air Force in terms of numbers. Action against the Bf.109s of the Legion Condor during the Spanish conflict left the designers with the distinct impression that it was outclassed by larger, more modern designs, but production did not cease immediately thanks to the remaining development potential of the basic airframe. By the time the Type 10 came into production, it was fitted with four 12.7mm machine guns, two synchronised in the cowling, two more in the wings. It was also powered by a Wright Cyclone R-1820 engine, and had a sliding canopy, which many pilots still discarded by preference to improve their situational awareness or whatever their excuses were. Subsequent variants improved the armament further, installing 20mm cannons with the same designation (why??) for extra destructive power, and increasing the power and supplier of the engine, although the improvements there were incremental rather than revolutionary. By the middle of WWII the type was obsolete, and was retired in favour of more advanced and powerful designs. The Kit This is a reboxing of their recent kit that is based on the initial tooling that dates to 2017, but with the addition of a set of Chinese aircrew figures to sweeten the deal. It arrives in a medium-sized top-opening box that has a captive flap on the bottom tray, and inside are five sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, decal sheet, and instruction booklet. Detail is excellent, and you may notice immediately that there are a few extra large parts on the sprues that you will end up leaving there, as it’s cheaper and more efficient to do so, rather than retool existing sprues. The addition of the figures gives some potential for a diorama or vignette, or you could just stand them next to your finished model on a bare shelf. Unusually, construction begins with the wings, that are full-span underneath and has the gear bays moulded into the centre. It is closed over immediately with the upper surfaces, and a pair of formation lights are inserted into the tips, then the ailerons are made from two halves each and are fitted in place, deflected if you wish, inserting a perforated cowling into the gap in front of the gear bays at the same time. The cockpit is created in stages, starting with the rear bulkhead and seat, which is then suspended in the port fuselage half, which has ribbing moulded into the interior. A front frame and equipment are also added to the sidewall, and the floor is slipped through the two bulkheads from the front, locking in place on a couple of cut-outs in the correct locations. A couple of bottles are installed around the rear of the cockpit, some pilot controls that include rudder pedals and control column are fitted in the main area, followed by the clear instrument panel with decal and the pilot’s seat pan, plus a few more detail parts, with yet more on the starboard sidewall. At the same time, a firewall bulkhead has a saddle-tank applied to the front surface, and two gun troughs extending from the rear toward the pilot, ready for additional parts once the fuselage is closed up. In preparation for that, the rudder and elevator halves are joined, and the upper cowling over the gun troughs has a pair of clear lights inserted from within. Predictably, the rudder is trapped between the fuselage halves on closure, allowing it to pivot if you are careful with the glue. The deck in front of the cockpit is then inserted, and the cockpit door is also glued into place, after which dealing with the seams would be a good plan before you join the wings from beneath. The elevator flying surfaces form a single assembly when complete, and are trapped between the halves of the elevator fins, which attach to the rear of the fuselage on triangular tabs, closing them in with a short fairing later in the build. Your Rata is bereft of an engine at this stage, so a circular mount with zig-zag supports is built, followed by the rear of the motor with intake piping that slides into the centre along with an ancillaries box. The nine-cylinder radial engine is supplied as a front and rear half, with push-rods moulded into a separate shallow bell-housing. The back of the motor is peppered with nine exhaust tubes, each one a separate part, and individually shaped to exit the cowling at the rear through the various holes. A little test-fitting would be sensible before resorting to glue to ensure they all exit where they’re supposed to, after which you can join the mounts to the back of the engine and insert the whole assembly into the front of the fuselage, taking care not to knock off any exhausts as you do. The cowling is next, starting with the front, with the three-part intake with adjustable cooling made up first, leaving the centre section mobile in case the temperature drops on your workbench. The prop shaft is slipped through a hole in the centre, through a perforated spinner plate and two-blade prop, which is covered over by a stubby spinner cap. The prop is then glued to the lower cowling and a pair of guns are slotted into the gun troughs, then the remaining three parts of the cowling can be glued into position or left off at your whim. The windscreen is then glued into position over a clear gunsight, then it’s time to make the wheels. Each gear leg is made from a triangular combination strut that has a three-part captive door applied to the outside, plus a retraction strut that has its own door fixed to it near the top. Take care during this process, as some small areas should be removed with a sharp blade or file to make the main doors and struts accurate to the type. The wheels are two parts each and slide onto the axles perpendicular to the ground. The tail cone has a small light at the tip, and a skid keeps the back end from dragging on the ground. The final few parts include the wing-mounted guns, a pitot tube, and a strange ‘dongle’ hanging from the starboard cowling. WWII China Guomindang Air Force Pilots (32115) We’ve reviewed this three-figure set before, and it’s nice to see it again. The single sprue contains parts for three figures, one crew chief or officer, and two pilots, who are dressed in flight overalls, flying helmets and their parachute packs slung low to the rear. Each figure is highly detailed, and broken down with separate torso, legs, arms and heads, plus parachute packs for the pilots, and a satchel for the uniformed gentleman. He also has separate coat tails for realism, and a two-part cap with separate peak. Markings There are four decal options included on the sheet, each one having half a page of colour profiles devoted to the detail, with just a single wing depicting the underside to show the location of the national markings. From the box you can build one of the following: China Guomindang AF, 1939 23rd Chantay of China Guomindang AF, 1939 24th Chantay of China Guomindang AF, September 1940 24th Chantay of China Guomindang AF, Chengdu, June 1941 Decals are by ICM’s usual partners, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion The I-16 is a small aircraft, even at this scale, and adding the three figures to the package gives it some human scale. Good detail and ICM’s usual fit and finish round out the package. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Fresh from battle with the Revell B-17f "Memphis Belle" I'm getting ready to build Revell's 1/48 JU 88 A4 Some time ago I bought Eagle Editions' decal sheet which includes F1+BR winter camouflaged marking set One lesson I learned from the B-17 is an hour spent on the exterior is worth at least five on the interior, so I intend to work through the interior in a quality, but quick way, no scratch building and no AM Then focus on the exterior Obviously the winter camo is going to be interesting I note the instructions say to paint RLM70/71 splinter pattern first, then go over roughly in white, then add decals The picture they reference seems to support this: In this build @Kilroy1988 initially applies the white distemper over the green camo, then applies the decals, albeit he overspays some white over the decals afterward @Spitfire31 comments that the white would have been applied around the markings, leaving exposed green camo around the markings The Eagle Cals decal set has a drawing of how they see the plane, and the markings look clean, and there are no obvious gaps around them where the guys were avoiding overpainting them. There are gaps around the cockpit windows, they were obviously told to give the glass a wide berth So, what's it to be? Oh hang on, since writing that I've seen this: https://akinteractive.forumotion.com/t1694-winter-white-wash-ju-88 Wow, what a stunner! So looking carefully at Jamie's model we can see he believes they did paint round the lettering, but very carefully I think I'm going to: paint the green camo 2 x Klear Apply the decals 2 x Klear Mask the lettering crosses Spray very thin layer of thinned white, but try to avoid the markings Attack it from the front to back with a toothbrush or 240 grit sandpaper or both 1 x Klear Weathering, exhaust etc Last Klear Any thoughts?
  3. Ki-21-Ia Sally (72205) 1:72 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd The Sally, as she was known by the Allies during WWII was a heavy bomber designed by Mitsubishi as a replacement for the Ki-20, in competition with Nakajima, who although they lost out on the design of the aircraft, were given the contract for the power plants, as their HA-5 engines were found to be superior to Mitsubishi’s offering originally installed. A small number of airframes were also built by Nakajima too, with a total of just over 2,000 built between them. It first flew in 1936 and was intended for long-range bombing missions against Soviet and Chinese opponents, first entering service in 1938 in operations against China. Initial experience showed that the design was lacking in some respects, extending to the crucial oxygen system that was found to be unreliable. The Ib was intended to address most of the issues, including the lack of armament and changes to the flying surfaces. It also had a remote tail gun installation, and could mount an additional fuel tank for extreme range missions. The type was pretty much obsolete by 1940, and mounting losses prompted the type’s withdrawal from front line service, and sale of some of the airframes to friendly nations. Uses were still found for the type with the Japanese forces however, and the remaining aircraft were used until the end of the war as cargo transports, trainers, troop transports and communications hacks. The later variants had improved engine performance with Mitsubishi units, some with alterations to the greenhouse behind the cockpit, which was changed to a turret on some, and removed entirely on transport variants. The Kit This is a reboxing with an additional sprue of a brand-new tool from ICM, who continue to produce new kits despite the difficult circumstances in their home country. The kit arrives in a shallow top-opening box that has a captive top flap on the bottom tray. Inside are six sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue in a separate bag, decal sheet and the instruction booklet, which is printed in colour with colour profiles on the back pages. Detail is well up to modern standards, and extends to ribbing on the interior of the fuselage, full representation of the engines and a nice cockpit, plus a set of crystal clear glazing parts. Construction begins with the fuselage halves, which have the armed Ib tail added to the rear, a lozenge-shaped detail insert to make the wing root recess flush, and the side windows, plus an equipment insert in the cockpit area, and a line of trunking that extends from the trailing edge of the wing to the tail. The cockpit floor is a long part, with a recessed front end for the flight crew, detailed by adding the rudder pedals for the pilot, and the two seats, which both have separate seat cushions. The twin ‘bow tie’ control columns are inserted into the floor in front of the seats, and near the rear of the floor are two large tanks that attach on pins. The assembly is inserted into the starboard side of the fuselage, and has a bulkhead fixed just in front of the crew steps under the mid-fuselage greenhouse. The front bulkhead has a small circular seat glued to the side of the fuselage and additional details with instrument decals, a choice of two clear chin inserts with an instrument panel, gun mount and a rack of bottles added to it during installation, with a choice of two types of machine gun for the belly window that has two spare mags nearby. The port fuselage is prepared with new (older) tail fin, wing insert and windows, plus ammo cans and forward fuselage details, more racks of oxygen bottles and a side-mounted machine gun. The fuselage can be closed around the cockpit after adding the main instrument panel, which has a centre throttle quadrant and dial decals added beforehand. The mid-upper gunner’s suspended seat is also inserted into holes, but can probably be inserted after gluing the fuselage halves together by flexing the support struts. His twin machine guns are added to a mount on a bracket, with a pair of magazines on top, after which it is fitted into the insert that is then glued into the opening in the fuselage behind the main canopy. The main canopy and greenhouse gunner’s canopy are fixed on top of the fuselage along with the nose glazing, which has a choice of two types of machine gun inserted from the inside. Completion of the earlier tail begins by adding the elevator fins from the new sprue, which have separate flying surfaces and rudder panel, then the wings are prepared by inserting a two-part bay in each one before joining the upper and lower halves together, adding the ailerons and landing lights in the leading edges. They are then glued onto the wing root fairings on the fuselage, which have a lip to improve fit and joint strength. The wheels are installed under the wings before the engines and lower cowling are made up, starting with the tail-wheel in its yoke, and then adding the two-part wheels to the H-frame main gear, which has a support frame fitted to the front, and a long yoke with mudguard that links the strut lower to the back of the bay. Four small parts are fixed to the wing inside the bays, and the lower cowlings are made up out of two halves plus a round bulkhead, and a pair of intakes top and bottom, then sliding the lower nacelle over the completed wheels and mating the edges with the recessed lip of the lower wing. The engines are built-up on bulkheads with the cooling flaps moulded-in, a separate exhaust stack underneath, and a depiction of both cylinder banks, plus the front bell-housing with push-rods, hiding the prop axle inside without glue so that the props can spin later. The finished engines are covered by two cowling halves and a separate lip, gluing them to the front of the nacelles and finishing them off by adding the three-bladed prop and separate spinner. The model is completed by installing an antenna post and D/F loop over the canopy, and a curious-looking cranked pitot probe in the leading edge of the port wing. Markings There are four options on the decal sheet, all in light green-grey, differentiated by their unit markings. From the box you can build one of the following: Ki-21-Ia Sally, 60th Sentai, China, Early 1939 Ki-21-Ia Sally, 58th Sentai, China, probably 1940 Ki-21-Ia Sally, 14th Sentai, China, late 1941 Ki-21-Ia Sally, 105 Hyoiku Hiko Sentai, China, presumably 1942 Decals are by ICM’s usual partner, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. As is common now with ICM kits, there is a page of the instruction booklet devoted to the masking of the canopy, using the printed shapes on the right of the page and the diagrams on the left to create your own masks if you wish. It goes up to 130 thanks to the extensive greenhouse glazing. Conclusion A nicely detailed revised new tooling of this short-lived (in front line service at least) heavy bomber, which should put older toolings from other manufacturers out to pasture. Now, can we have one in 1:48 please, nice kind ICM? Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  4. s.E.Pkw Kfz.70 with Zwillingssockel 36 (35503) 1:35 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd The Horch 108 was developed and then built by Horch as well as Ford Germany as a heavy off-road transport for troops, light transport, searchlight and anti-aircraft installations. The passenger variant was known as the Kfz.70, but with the addition of the anti-aircraft mount in the passenger compartment, it was sometimes known as the Kfz.81. They were widely used by the Wehrmacht in various roles throughout their spheres of operation, and this model was employed as a mobile light anti-aircraft unit, having MG34 machine-guns on a twin mount that was capable of rotating 360° and was effective out to 2,000 metres in a similar manner to the ground-based MG34s, with a high rate of fire that often led to them being employed as fire support when they were handily placed. Eventually the type was withdrawn in favour of the more flexible kubelwagen. The Kit This is a relatively new tooling from ICM, dating from 2015, but adding a twin machine-gun mount in the rear to improve the overall value and give it a more aggressive countenance. The additional instructions for the machine-gun mount are given on the last two page of the booklet, once the vehicle itself is completed. The kit arrives in a top-opening box with a captive inner flap on the bottom tray, and inside are seven sprues in grey styrene, plus a clear sprue, a sprue of flexible black rubberised tyres, a small decal sheet and the afore-mentioned instruction booklet. The model is built up on its ladder chassis, including the engine, transmission, suspension with nicely moulded springs, plus body supports, brake hoses and exhaust system. Overall it's a very nicely detailed underside, with the engine being the focal-point. The hubs are split between inner and outer halves, which facilitates easy painting of the wheels and tyres separately, and installation of the tyres on the hubs without struggle. The coachwork is assembled on the floor plate, which has the rear wheel arches moulded in and stops at the firewall, with spaces for the driver's pedals in the left footwell. The body sides are added, with moulded-in framework, and the dashboard is fitted between them to stabilise the assembly. The dash has a decal for the instruments, a handgrip for the co-driver, heater ducting and a lever beneath the steering column, which is added later. The front inner arches are glued to the underside of the body, and a rear load cover with moulded-in seat back is applied over the rear arches, after which the two rear doors and their handles are installed. A delicate (in this scale) framework is fitted between the rear seats and the driver's area, with the fifth wheel behind the driver, and a set of bench seats in the back of the rear compartment, which also have delicate framework under their cushions. The front seats are individual, but of similar construction, and have space for the supplied KAR98 rifles between them, with two more pairs fitted in the rear compartment. The windscreen is of the flip-down type, and has two separate panes added to the frame, with no windows supplied for the sides, as it is modelled with the hood down. The doors can be fitted opened or closed, with their own separate handles inside and out. Once the chassis and body are mated, more of the underpinnings are added, and the radiator with cooling fan are attached along with the louvred bonnet and front bumper irons. At the rear the hood is constructed from four parts, sitting on top of the load cover in a folded state, as there isn't an option for a raised hood on this variant. Wing mirrors, pioneer tools, front headlights with clear lenses, and number plates are dotted around to finish off the main build. To make up the gun installation, the ammo cans are made up first, joined to the twin frame, which then has the gun mounts fitted on top. The guns are still fitted with their bipods, which along with the breech cover are moulded separately to the rest of the guns. If you’re a detailer, you may want to drill out the muzzles very carefully with a tiny bit in a pin vice. With the guns on their frame, the outer frame is fitted around it in two halves, slotting into the pivot points moulded into the frame, and supported by a cross-brace lower in the frame. Another bracing strut fits across the front and has a canvas brass catcher curtain suspended beneath it that is attached to the tube by a series of rings moulded into the part. The conical base is built from two parts and inserts into a socket in the underside of the outer frame, then it’s a case of making up the seat that fits at the very rear of the outer frame, and choosing the correct sighting part for your chosen pose, pivoting the guns to an appropriate elevation during the process. A pair of greyscale scrap diagrams shows the two finished poses. Markings There are three markings options on the decal sheet in various camo schemes, ranging from panzer grey, dunkelgelb and a camouflaged version striped with both the colours of the other options. From the box you can build one of the following: Russia, Autumn 1942 Sapper platoon of Heavy Panzer Battalion 501, Schw.Abt.501, Tunisia, 1943 Russia, Summer 1943 Decals are by ICM’s usual partners, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion A well-detailed model of a common vehicle in Wehrmacht service, with added fun-factor thanks to the twin MG34s in the rear that take up the room previously allocated to an extra bench seat. Imagine the noise! Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  5. At the Moscow "Мир детства 2021" expo, ICM has announced a 1/35th Sikorsky CH-54 Tarhe kit for 2022. Source: AlexGRD V.P.
  6. Pilots of the Soviet Air Force 1943-1945 (32117) 1:32 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd Adding figures to a model gives it scale and realism that is hard to otherwise achieve, and often this is done with resin figures that are both expensive and for those not too keen on resin, this can be off-putting. Styrene figures however are simple to deal with, and with advances in sculpting and moulding techniques they are becoming more detailed and realistic as time passes (unless I paint them!). This new set from ICM, who have an excellent reputation for injection moulded figures, depicts a group of WWII Soviet pilots stood relaxing. It arrives in a top-opening box, with the usual inner flap on the lower tray, and a single sprue of medium grey styrene inside, together with a sheet of instructions on glossy paper. The figures are moulded very crisply, and at 1:32 they are large enough to show off subtle details such as pockets, buttons, boot details, insignia, and other badges. Couple this with the sensible breakdown of parts, and you will have a highly detailed set of figures once you have assembled them. The moulding seams are minimal, with slender sprue gates that also won't need much clean up, and the parts join at convenient breaks such as waists, trouser seams etc. The obvious pilot figure is still wearing his flight helmet, but is otherwise dressed similarly to your average Soviet soldier of the period in a smock jacket, riding pants and calf-length boots. He’s accepting a healthy, nutritious cigarette from another officer that is dressed almost identically apart from his peaked cap and a few more bottle-caps on his chest, and both are wearing a leather belt that carries a holstered pistol with an extra magazine in an external pouch. The third figure is wearing overalls and a forage cap worn at a jaunty angle over one eyebrow. He too is wearing a leather belt around his ample waist, and he has his right hand in his pocket, the other pointing at something. The instructions show the part numbers and paint codes on the same diagram, which relates to a table on the rear in ICM, Revell, and Tamiya codes with the colour names in English and Cyrillic text. Conclusion Excellent sculpting, sensible part breakdown to maximise detail, and three figures in the one box make for a good value package that will be of great use to large scale WWII Soviet Air Force modellers. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Well, off we go. I've had a soft spot for the Sea Gladiator since my Dad told me the story of Faith, Hope and Charity, and the part taken by the aircraft in the defence of Malta. Some decades ago, I spent a memorable 10 days in Malta which included a visit to N5520 Faith resting in the bowels of Fort St Elmo. I'm afraid I must confess that I gave her a tender kiss on the cowling and shed a tear. Fortunately, there were no witnesses. The kit comes with decals for N5519, another of the Malta Sea Gladiators, but it didn't survive the war, being destroyed in an air raid on 4 February 1941. This was Hope, coincidentally the name of my favourite Aunt. Either N5519 or N5520 would be most satisfying to model due to these connections. I'd like to finish the aircraft in prewar silver dope. AIMS Models offers a decal set which includes markings for N5519 in this style, serving aboard the ill fated HMS Glorious as war clouds gathered in June 1939. I wonder if N5520 was similarly aboard HMS Glorious or another carrier? According to an article published on The Scarf & Goggles Social Club website (credible source?); " ... in March 1940 ... 18 Gloster Sea Gladiators, believed to have consecutive serial numbers N5518 – N5535, were unloaded on the Island (Malta) in packing cases, bound for the carrier HMS Glorious." As HMS Glorious was sunk on 8 June, these aircraft were assigned to other stations; HMS Eagle, Egypt and Malta. The crated airframes raise a question or two. According to Wikipedia; "Of the 98 aircraft built as, or converted to, Sea Gladiators, 54 were still in service by the outbreak of the Second World War." So none of the airframes in crates were fresh from the manufacturer. But were they sourced from storage? Were they repaired or refurbished airframes? Had some/all already served aboard aircraft carriers? And is it Sea Gladiator Mk.II or simply Sea Gladiator? All help, advice and constructive crits most welcome. May all our builds be 'on the top line'.
  8. Good evening, everyone. I would like to contribute another 1/48 ICM origin Ju 88A-4, this time in the Sicily colours (with the multiple ship kill marks on the fin).. Looking forward to this - I have a couple of variants of this kit in the stash, in my little contribution to supporting Ukraine in this difficult time. I also have purchased several other ICM/Modelsvit kits this year, for a similar reason. Icarus
  9. My first planned entry is ICMs 1/35 Model T RNAS Armoured Car. This will be the third version ICMs Model T I have built. They are great little kits. Previous build were; Model T 1917 Ambulance Model T 1917 LCP
  10. ICM is to release in 2022 new tool 1/72nd Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally kits. - ref. 72203 - Mitsubishi Ki-21-Ib "Sally" - release expected in Q4 2022 https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM72203 - ref. 72204 - Mitsubishi Ki-21-Ic "Sally" - release expected in Q4 2022 https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM72204 - ref. 72205 - Mitsubishi Ki-21-Ia "Sally" - release Q1 2023 https://icm.com.ua/aviation/ki-21-ia-sally-japanese-heavy-bomber/ - ref. 72206 - Mitsubishi Ki-21-Ia "Sally" - release Q2 2023 https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM72206 V.P.
  11. OV-10A Bronco US Navy (48304) 1:48 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd 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. The US Navy used it in this capacity in Vietnam, although attrition was quite severe, and later in its service several airframes were used as testbeds for special operations, eventually being transferred to the Marines. 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. The Kit A reboxing of a 100% new model from ICM with new decals, which arrives in one of their standard top opening boxes with the captive inner lid, and has 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. Unpacking 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 several 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 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 several 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 four options in the rear of the instructions in various schemes, including blue and camouflage green. From the box you can build one of the following: #155470/RA-8, VS-41 Shamrocks, NAS North Island, 1969 #155470/RA-8, VS-41 Shamrocks, NAS North Island, 1971 #155473/RA-09, /VS-41 Shamrocks, NAS North Island, 1971 #1554880, Naval Air Service test Centre, NAS Pax River, early 1980s 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. Conclusion The Bronco is an appealing aircraft, and this new boxing with Navy schemes is an excellent looking model that is crammed full of detail, and opens up a new market for the Navy loving modeller. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  12. US Helicopter Pilots – Vietnam War Acrylic Paint Set (3023) ICM via Hannants Ltd ICM have long been a plastic model company that is well-known to most of us, but until recently they haven’t had their own paint range, which has now changed. There are 77 acrylic colours in the initial collection, plus three varnishes in matt, satin and gloss, all in the same 12ml plastic bottles. A conversion chart is available that will give you equivalents in AK, Tamiya, Humbrol, Gunze, Testors, RLM, RAL, FS, Revell, AK Real Color, and even Citadel paints, although there aren’t many direct cross-overs in that last one. The paint is undiluted, so will need thinning by between 40-60% with water or acrylic thinner for use with an airbrush, and they naturally have a semi-gloss finish that can be adjusted later by the use of varnishes, and are waterproof when dry like most acrylics. During my testing I used Ultimate Thinners, my go-to thinners for any acrylic paint, which helps keep the number of large bottles in my spray booth to a minimum. The paint comes out of the bottle quite thick and viscous, so it’s possible you’ll have to dilute for serious brush painting use although I used it neat during testing, so a small bottle will go a long way in either case. It sprays well when diluted, and like a lot of acrylics a light coat is best initially, then followed quickly after by heavier coats until you have the coverage you require. It dries quite quickly, and is touch-dry in 5-10 minutes in those long-gone summery 20-23oc temperatures, unless you’re in the antipodes as I write this. I have used them to create a number of spray-out cards and spoons for other sets in the range, and they both spray and brush very well, with little issue other than my inexpert application by brush. We recently reviewed a 1:48 figure set from ICM by the same name, which depicted pilots and crew suitable for posing around helicopters of the Vietnam era, which you can read here. This set is intended to complement these figures, and it includes the following colours, but it would be useful to add white if you don’t already have it for lightening the colours to create many other shades: 1060 Middle Stone 1062 British Khaki 1002 Black 1072 US Dark Green 1073 4BO 2001 Varnish Matt On the rear of the box are drawings of the figures that are identical to the set mentioned above, with colour call-outs the appropriate codes, outlined with a box of the same colour. Whilst it was intended for this particular ICM figure set, I doubt they’d complain if you used them in conjunction with other manufacturers’ kits or for other uses. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  13. US Helicopter Pilots – Vietnam War (48089) 1:48 ICM via Hannants With new 1:48 helicopter kits on the increase, this new set from ICM is timed rather well, which is more than likely no coincidence. It arrives in ICM’s usual top-opening box with captive inner lid, although it’s a smaller one than usual. Inside is a single sprue and a glossy instruction sheet with spot colour profiles of the five figures that can be found on the sprue in parts. There are two figures that are clearly flight crew, dressed for flight and complete with combat vests and one with a flight helmet, while the third crewman is wearing olive drabs and a cavalry hat, one hand on hip, the other pointing, likely telling everyone how much he loves the smell of napalm in the morning, or something similar. The other two figures are dressed in BDU trousers and tshirts, one kneeling, while the other is leaning against something with the other hand on his hip, probably rolling his eyes at the Robert Duvall-type character’s over-dramatic nonsense. There are a few accessories around the edges of the sprue, including a cap, pistol in holster, and pouches. Sculpting is excellent, with an abundance of crisp detail throughout, even down to the seams on the clothes and the toggles on the cavalry hat. The poses, breakdown of parts and fabric drape is also beyond reproach as usual, and they should build up into an excellent set of figures to dot around the US chopper or choppers of your choice. Conclusion Adding some figures to a model, diorama or vignette gives scale as well as a human dimension, and this set will provide just that with the addition of some skilful painting and shading, which is key. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Soviet Military Airfield 1980s (DS7203) 1:72 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Cold War might of the 1980s was exemplified by the Mig-29, of which there were many examples of this new technology on airbases across their territory, serviced by crews and vehicles so that they were ready to fend off the supposed attacks from the NATO ‘horde’, who were just as terrified of the Soviet horde and nuclear Armageddon, coincidentally. The Mikoyan MiG-29, NATO reporting name 'Fulcrum', is an air superiority fighter designed and built in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. As with many other frontline aircraft of that period such as the Su-27, F-16, F-15 and Panavia Tornado, it was produced in significant numbers and is still in fairly widespread service with air arms around the world today. The MiG-29 was developed as a lighter, cheaper aircraft when compared to the visually similar Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker. As with the Su-27, the engines are spaced widely apart, with the area between the engines being used to generate lift and improve manoeuvrability. The MiG-29 is powered by two Klimov RD-33 Turbofans, each of which can generate over 18,000lb of thrust in reheat. The aircraft is designed to make use of rough airstrips, with engine air intakes that can be closed completely when on the ground, allowing air to be drawn through louvers on the upper surfaces of the blended wing roots. Armament includes a combination of Vympel R-27 medium-range air-to-air missiles and R-73 or R-60 short-range air-to-air missiles, as well as a GSh-30-1 30mm cannon. The MiG-29S, also known as the Fulcrum C, features a number of improvements over the Fulcrum A, including the addition of the L-203BE Gardenyia-1 Electronic Countermeasures System in a prominent dorsal hump, improved avionics and control systems. The Kit This set includes four kits, one of the Mig-29 9-13, a ZiL-131 Command Vehicle, and another Zil-based vehicle the APA-50M, an airfield mobile electrical unit, plus a bag of PAG-14 pre-cast concrete plates that are used to quickly create a flat, textured surface on an airfield that can accommodate fast jets as well as heavy transport types. The set arrives in a medium top-opening box, with a captive lid on the lower tray, and inside each kit is individually bagged, with a printed orange label showing the original product code. Detail is good, and the quantity of modelling fun packed into the box is great value. The instructions have been gathered within a card folder, each with the decals hidden within, protected by a sheet of absorbent paper. The decals are by ICM’s usual partner, and have good register, sharpness and colour density. Mig-29 9-13 Fulcrum (72141) This is a reboxing of ICM’s 2008 tooling of this classic Cold War Soviet-era jet, but with new decals appropriate for the subject matter. The kit arrives in a stylishly appointed top-opening box with captive inner lid, and inside are three sprues of medium grey styrene, a small clear sprue, two sheets of decals and the instruction booklet, which shares the same design as the box lid, and has spot-colour throughout, including full colour profiles on the back page. Detail is on par for the era of its original release, with engraved panel lines, raised and recessed detail where appropriate, cockpit and gear bay detail, and a complement of weapons and fuel tanks, the latter remain unused. Construction begins with the cockpit, which has an ejector pin mark in the middle of the floor that will be covered by the ejection seat, but should be cut flush to ensure everything fits properly. A control column and instrument panel with raised and recessed detail moulded-in completes the cockpit, although the Zvezda K-36 seat could do with a little additional work, including adding the tubular housings for the ejection stabilisation beams that sit at each side of the headbox. The cockpit inserts into the upper fuselage from below, after which it can be closed up ready for the other components. There aren’t many stages to the instruction booklet, and we see the wings, elevators and stabilisers added at the same time as the two-part canopy. Two inset diagrams show the twin engine nacelles being made up with integral FOD guards before they too are joined to the underside of the fuselage, with the exhausts also made up from inner and outer parts in more inset diagrams. The included weapons also have inset diagrams, and you can make up two each of R-27 Alamo, R-60 Aphid and R-72 Archer air-to-air missiles, but bear in mind that the weapons sprue has a little flash, so some clean-up might be needed. Each missile has its own pylon, and the larger R-27s have separate fins perpendicular to the seamline. They are all shown inserted into the holes in the wing undersides at the same times as the main and nose gear, which have separate wheels and retraction jacks, plus gear bay doors and a clear landing light in each main gear well. The nose gear bay has three doors, and at the tip of the nose a pitot probe will poke out your eye if you look too closely. Markings There are two decal options included on the sheet, but with greyscale profiles, it’s difficult to imagine the look of the options without referring to the colour charts. From the sheet you can build one of the following: MiG-29 “9-13” type, 733 IAP (Fighter Regiment) of Russian Air Force, Damgarten (Germany), 1994 MiG-29 “9-13” type, 40th Fighter Wing of Ukrainian Air Defence, 2000 APA-50M (ZiL-131) Airfield Mobile Electric Unit (72815) This range of kits was originally started by little-known company Omega-K as a truck with canvas tilt in the 90s, before the tooling was taken over at the turn of the millennium by ICM, since when it has been re-released many times and with various alterations to the basic kit and its chassis. This boxing arrives in a relatively small top-opening box that has a captive lid to the lower tray, and inside are five sprues and two loose cab parts in grey styrene, a clear sprue, a small decal sheet and the instruction manual, with colour profiles on the rear pages showing the decal options. Even though its base kit is of a certain age, the detail is excellent throughout, and small amounts of flash are easily removed to expose that detail. Construction begins with the one-piece ladder chassis, which first has two supports removed from each side that are marked in red for your ease. The underside of the engine, transfer box, drive-shafts and various tanks are installed around the ladder, then the twin axles at the rear and single front axle are both inserted below the rails on leaf-spring suspension with the axles interlinked by numerous drive-shaft elements, and a steering link for the front. Underneath, the twin exhaust pipes merge into a muffler then make their way out to the rear as a single pipe, near to a large towing hitch. The six road wheels are all moulded in two halves with chevron tread, and have a separate hub cap for extra detail, with just the seam to clean up in the middle, conveniently located at the centre of the tread pattern. If you want to add some weighting to them, a quick swipe with a coarse sanding stick should do the trick, after which you can glue the wheels with the flat-spot at the bottom. The cab is a really nice crisp moulding that has a little flash here and there, but it’s well worth the effort to remove it, after which the cab floor with various controls and the wheels are inserted from below, then the crystal-clear windows, windscreen and headlamps are inserted to the front, with cages finely moulded, although suffering a little flash that will take care to remove, but again it’s worth the effort. Door mirrors, a small spotlight and a fire extinguisher on the rear corner finish off the detailing of the cab, after which the load box is begun. The floor panel is bracketed by a front and end bulkhead before the sides are added, then two narrow sections of roof, and an upstand with separate roof and curved sides are attached to the centre section, giving the roof a stepped surface. A pair of rails are glued to the edges of the lower roof section, quickly finishing it off, then the three subassemblies can be mated by fixing the cab and body to the chassis, whilst adding the chunky front bumper iron, a section of treadplate between the outer sections behind the bumper, and adding a couple of towing/tie-down hooks to either side of the radiator. Markings There are three decal options on the sheet, with two green examples, and one in bright yellow for a little variation. From the box you can build one of the following: 738th Fighter Aviation Regiment, Zaporozhye, 1982 Unknown Military Unit, Soviet Armed Forces, 1980s Civil Aviation of the USSR, 1980s ZiL-131 Command Vehicle (72812) This is another Omega-K based kit that started life as a ZiL-131 truck with canvas tilt in the 90s, taken over at the turn of the millennium by ICM and developed from there. It is a variant of the truck reviewed above, so most of the sprues are the same in both bags, adding new parts in grey styrene for the box body, and a small additional clear sprue for the windows. Construction begins with the one-piece ladder chassis and cab, which are built in the exact same manner as above, so we’ll skip over those. The command cab is a slide-moulded part with five sides, just needing the floor adding, then detailing with vents in the roof, hand-rails at the edges, a spare tyres, ladder and other small parts, then it can be mounted on the chassis, finishing it off with mud guards, number plate holders, fuel tank and front bumper iron. Markings There are two decal options on this sheet, generic vehicles with and without camouflage. From the sheet you can build one of the following: Standard painting scheme of ZiL-131 vehicles Camouflage painting scheme of ZiL-131 vehicles PAG-14 Airfield Plates (72214) There are thirty-two of these plates in the bag, each one measuring 82mm x 28mm, and no instructions are needed, as they simply lay in serried rows next to each other. The diamond pattern engraved into the surface stops short of the edge all around, and there are small cut-outs equally spaced around the corners where the real thing has a hole with a bare rod spanning the gap that permits lifting cranes access to put them into position next to each other without having to move around them later. The purist may want to cut away the holes and add some rod, but most of us would just pop a little grass into the area, as they filled up with greenery quickly in the summer, or ice in the winter. They should be painted a grubby concrete colour, with plenty of scope for adding dirt or ice in the engraved diamond pattern, and you can create an area of approximately 14cm x 17cm with just ten of them, so 32 should supply enough to situate all the other components of the set with ease. Conclusion A great value set that brings together four linked elements to create the ingredients for a diorama, with little else needed other than your usual modelling tools and a piece of base-board to mount the PAG-14 on. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Try Me Acrylic Paint Set (3020) ICM via Hannants ICM have recently released their own brand of acrylic paints on the market, and are creating some kit specific sets to go with their major releases, but this one is a sample set that includes some generic colours that would be useful to someone to try the brand out before committing. The set arrives in a cardboard box with six screw-capped bottles inside, each containing 12ml of paint. The bottles are clear Polypropylene, and are capped with cylindrical tops with knurled sides, and a one-time security seal that you break on first opening. A label on the side gives you basic information about the colour and code, a little information regarding application in English and Ukrainian and a bar-code. This set provides a variety of colours to assist you in deciding whether the brand is for you, and you will find the following colours in the box: 1001 White 1002 Black 1027 Gun Metal 1073 4BO Green 1011 Clear Red 2004 Grey Primer The paint is thick in the bottle, with plenty of headroom between the surface of the paint and the lip of the neck. I dropped a glass stirring ball into each bottle, and they took a few seconds to disappear beneath the surface, indicating their viscosity. If you look closely at some of the colours in the range (not necessarily this set), you'll notice that the colour of the paint seems lighter in places. That's not a reflection on the actual colour inside the pot though, so don't be put off, as it’s just some pigments seem to be drawn to the container wall. Lifting the lid shows the true colour, which is a much better representation of the colours, and that’s the shade that can be seen in the darker areas. What causes the lighter pigments to adhere to the bottle sides is a mystery, but it's cosmetic only so not something to worry about. During testing, I used Ultimate Acrylic Thinners to dilute the paint to spray through my Gunze PS770 airbrush, which has a 0.18 needle chucked in. The paint dilutes well once it has been mixed thoroughly, and sprays well through my airbrush, which has a smaller than usual needle that is a good test of the finesse of the pigment grind of any brand, as some brands don’t spray very well though anything less than a 0.3mm needle if they’re coarsely (cheaper) ground. There were no problems with blockages at all, and the coverage was excellent after my usual ad hoc dilution method, which was probably nowhere near the 40-60% thinners or water that’s suggested on the pack. Apart from the varnish, the other paints all dry to a matt finish. In past tests, the paint worked very well diluted with water, sprayed over the spoons that were also partially taped up to perform two functions at once. The satin patina that resulted is exactly what was expected, and the tape lifted no paint at all, despite my best efforts to do so. Bear in mind that the spoons were prepped by a buff with a very fine sanding sponge to give them the best chance of adhesion. Using a brush, the colours cover well two coats with minimal brush marks visible. Conclusion The paints are an excellent new(ish) brand, and whilst there is a little less paint in the bottles than some brands, they’re about average on balance. That is more than offset by the very reasonable price they’re asking for the set, even at RRP. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  16. This forerunner of the modern car will be my second choice for the GB and hopefully Mrs Benz and her sons will make an appearance too, though I must warn you that my figure painting skills are not that good but we will how they turn out. Here are the box and content shots. by John L, on Flickr by John L, on Flickr by John L, on Flickr by John L, on Flickr
  17. Hello everyone I'll be using the Revell rebox of the ICM tooling. Converting the A4 to the C6. It would be easier to have there own boxing of the C6 but I had this in the stash so waste not want not. So there will be some scratch building to do. I also have the aims radar and nose cone to use.
  18. WWII German Mortar s.Gr.W34 with or without crew (35715 & 35716) 1:35 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd The Granatwerfer 34 was an 8cm mortar in service with the German armed forces during WWII, continuing through the entire conflict thanks in part to its accuracy and rate of fire, plus the ability to add additional powder charges to the munitions to increase the range over standard. Over 70,000 units were made, and over 70m rounds were manufactured in either blast, fragmentation or smoke variety, with some training rounds for practicality. They were typically crewed by three to four soldiers, although fewer men could operate it if there were sufficient rounds already nearby and the need arose. The Kit This new kit from ICM has been produced in two boxings, one with a crew of four soldiers, the other as a stand-alone item that can be used as diorama fodder or as stowage on a vehicle. Each kit is delivered in an appropriately sized top-opening box with the usual captive flap on the lower tray, and the sprues are enclosed in a resealable clear foil bag, hiding the instruction booklet underneath. German Mortar s.Gr.W34 (35716) Consisting of one sprue and a small instruction booklet, the mortar barrel is assembled from two halves, then has the two-part adjustment mechanism clamped around it from both sides that receives the top of the support frame and another adjustment lever. The bottom end of the barrel is inserted into the base plate, which has the self-entrenching fins moulded into the underside, a nice detail that will need trimming back or removing if you are fixing it to a flat base. There are three ammo boxes included on the sprue that have one end moulded separately, and can either be depicted closed by gluing the lid over them, or with three rounds in place and the lid glued open. The instructions show the rounds painted orange or green, and a quick rummage round Google shows up pictures of both colours, although the paint has darkened over time. German Mortar s.Gr.W34 with crew (35715) The box for this set is slightly larger because it contains three sprues, including the same sprue as the kit above. The largest sprue includes parts for four crew figures, three of whom are kneeling in various poses, the other is running with an ammo box under each arm. Each member of the crew is dressed in standard Wehrmacht uniform for the period with stahlhelm and either a Kar98 rifle or MP40 machine pistol slung over their shoulders. The third sprue contains a variety of accessories that are appropriate for WWII German troops, including helmets, pouches, holsters, binoculars, mess kits, water bottles, gas mask canisters, and even a spare MG34 with ammo cans if you should need it. The figures are well-sculpted and moulded with separate torsos, heads with flat tops, arms and legs, with some of the hands separated for detail’s sake. One figure also has one of his coat tails separate, and each figure has their own over-shoulder bag that has matching straps moulded into the torso of the figure. The ammo boxes and rounds for the mortar are included on the mortar sprue, and the one not under being carried can be assembled opened or closed as described above. Conclusion Get whichever set you prefer and enjoy the detail. Excellent sculpting on the figures, and fine detail on the mortar with sufficient accessories to satisfy most needs. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Unimog S404 ‘Koffer’ (35136) 1:35 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd Unimog was the brand-name used by Mercedes for their truck, tractor and commercial vehicle range that began post WWII as an agricultural brand, initially built by another company for them whilst using their engines. The range broadened in the late 40s and early 50s to include trucks, of which the 404 series was one, entering production in 1955. It is a small (1.5 tonne) 4x4 truck that was driven by a 2.2 litre M180 straight-6 Mercedes engine and has impressive off-road performance due to a change that had been required by a customer, the French Army, who wanted the spare tyre to be stored clear of the load compartment. The designers altered the shape of the rear chassis rails to allow the wheel to sit under the floor, the downward sweep giving the chassis extra flexibility that smoothed the ride on rough surfaces, assisted by coil springs, rather than traditional leaf springs. The four-wheel drive system could be disengaged on smoother ground, leaving just the rear wheels engaged, thereby saving fuel and wear on the front drive-shafts, and generally improving performance all round. The 404 series was the most numerous of the Unimog line, and was available as a short or long-wheelbase chassis, with the shorter option phased out at the beginning of the 70s, while the longer wheelbase continued on for another decade before it too was retired. The nascent West German Bundeswehr were a major customer, buying substantial quantities of the 404S as a workhorse for their forces, taking on many roles in their service. A total of over 62,000 of the 404S were made over its lengthy production run, with many of them still on and off the roads to this day due to their rugged engineering. The name Koffer was short for Kofferaufbau, which roughly translated via Google stands for case body, which often had a turbo-heater fixed to it as well as a variety of windows and ventilation outlets that varied with time and use. The Kit This is a rebox with additional sprues of a new tooling from Ukrainian company ICM of this Bundeswehr pillar of their transport arm. It arrives in a top-opening box with a captive lid on the lower tray, and inside are seven sprues of grey styrene, two clear sprues, five flexible black tyres, a decal sheet and a glossy printed instruction booklet with colour profiles on the rear pages. Detail is excellent throughout, and includes a full chassis and engine, plus the bodywork and new load area, all crisply moulded as we’ve come to expect from ICM. The grille of the vehicle is especially well-done, as are the coil springs on each corner, and the wheels are very neat with multi-part hubs. Construction begins with the ladder chassis, which is joined together with a series of cylindrical cross-members, plus front and rear beams, the latter braced by diagonal stiffeners to strengthen the area around the towing eye at the rear. The suspension is next, adding an insert to the opposite side of each spring to avoid sink-marks, but care must be taken to align them neatly to minimise clean-up afterwards. Triangular supports for the fuel tanks are added on each side, then attention turns to the six-cylinder Mercedes motor. Beginning with the two-part cylinder block and gearbox, the basic structure is augmented by ancillaries, fan, pulleys and drive-shaft for the front wheels, after which the engine is mated to the chassis and has the long exhaust system installed, adding a muffler insert around the half-way point, and siting another drive-shaft adjacent. Two stamped fuel tanks are each made from two parts, with the forward one having a filler tube and cap glued to the side, sitting on the out-riggers that were fitted to the chassis earlier. The front axle is made up from five parts to capture the complex shape of the assembly, to be installed between the suspension mounts and mated to the forward drive-shaft, plus the stub axles for the front wheels. A stowage box is made for the opposite side of the chassis from the fuel tanks, then the rear axle is built with similar detail and part count, fitting between the suspension and having larger circular stub-axles that have the drum brakes moulded-in. The front wheels have separate drum brakes, and both front and rear axles are braced with damping struts, while the front axle has a steering arm linking the two wheels together, with more parts connecting that to the steering column. With the chassis inverted, the front bumper and its sump guard are fixed to the front, and a curved plaque on the rear cross-member, plus another pair of diagonal bracing struts for the rear axles. Each wheel is made up from a two-part hub that goes together much like a real steel hub, but without the heat of welding, around the flexible black tyres. The front and rear hubs are of different design, so take care inserting them in the correct location. Lastly, the chassis is completed by adding the radiator and its frame at the front of the vehicle. The cab is the first section of the bodywork to be made, starting with the floor, adding foot pedals, shaped metalwork around the gearbox cut-out, sidewalls and the internal wheel wells below the floor level. Several additional parts are glued beneath the floor for later mounting, then the lower cab is built up on the floor, including the front with recessed headlight reflectors; bonnet surround, dashboard with decal, plus various trim panels. The floor is then lowered onto the chassis with four arrows showing where it should meet with the floor, taking care with the radiator. Once in place, the bonnet and more interior trim is installed along with a bunch of stalks between the seat positions. The seats are made from the basic frame to which the two cushions are fixed, much like the real thing, then they’re mounted inside the cab, followed closely by the two crew doors, which have handles on both sides, and pockets on the interior, and can be posed open or closed. More grab-handles, controls and other small parts are fixed around the dash, and the windscreen with two glazing panels are put in place, with a highly detailed steering wheel that has the individual finger ‘bumps’ on the underside, and for your ease, it’s probably better to put the wheel in before the windscreen is fixed in place. The cab is finished off by adding the cabrio top, which starts with an L-shaped top and rear, to which a small rectangular window and two side sections are added, dropped over the cab when the glue is dry and the seams have been dealt with along with the side windows that consist of the frame with two glazing panels in each one. Later on, the recessed headlight reflectors should be painted with the brightest metallic you can find before they are covered by the clear lenses and their protective cages, joined slightly outboard by combined side-light/indicator lenses, a choice of two styles of door mirrors, and a pair of windscreen wipers to keep the screen clear. The load bed begins with a flat rectangular floor, several supports and two lateral beams that takes the weight of the bed once complete. The sides of the load area are covered with raised and recessed detail, and comprise four parts, one for each side, with windows and optional grilles added from the inside. The roof has two options, one has moulded-in hatches, which are covered by a tubular framework, the other is much simplified. A set of poles are glued to the side in a rack, handles are added to the recessed areas of the doors, with a frame fixed to the front of the load box to carry the turbo-heater that is built next as a clasped case and a tubular assembly. Underneath is a rack for a nicely detailed jerry can, several stowage boxes and optional racks or steps, and the spare wheel on a dropped C-shaped mount, built in the same manner as the road wheels. A choice of two number plate holders is hung under the rear, also holding the rear lights for that side, with another less substantial part on the opposite side. Markings You might guess that most of the decal options are green, but there is one in NATO camouflage that is so typical of how I remember the Unimog in West German service. From the box you can build one of these three: Bundeswehr Artillery Unit, 1970s Bundeswehr Aviation Unit, 1970s Bundeswehr Armoured Unit, 1980s <ul style="list-style-type:upper-alpha"> The decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners, and consist of dials, number plates, stencils and a few other small decals, with good register, sharpness and solid colours. If you don't think you have the correct paint shades in stock for this kit, there is a new Acrylic Paint Set from ICM specifically designed for this model, our review of which you can see here. Conclusion The Unimogs were ubiquitous in Cold War West German army service, so there ought to be a good market for a modern tooling of the type, with many more variants still to come in due course. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  20. Bristol Beaufort Mk.IA w/Tropical Filters (48311) 1:48 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd The Beaufort was originally designed as a torpedo bomber by Bristol, using the experience they had gained in developing the then-excellent Blenheim. They were ready in time for the outbreak of WWII, and as well as their prescribed role, they were also used as light bombers, undertaking many ‘Rhubarb’ missions over enemy territory in the so-called ‘phony war’, embarking on daylight missions that saw heavy casualties, although the accidental loss tally outstripped combat losses, surprisingly. Roughly 1,200 were built in the UK, with the total being elevated to almost 2,000 by additional Australian-built airframes that were known as DAP Beauforts. They were rapidly overhauled by the German fighters and were withdrawn from frontline service as early as 1942, by which time they had also been tasked with Aerial mine-laying. From then on, they were assigned to serve away from the front, and saw extensive use as a trainer, which might go at least some of the way to explain the high attrition rate due to accidents. The Mk.IA had an improved turret fitted at the rear of the crew compartment spine, that was notable because it was more square in profile, and torpedo bombers were fitted with early ASV radars , the antennae for which were mounted on the leading edges of the wings. A further development of the Beaufort was the Beaufighter, which used important components of the Beaufort that included the wings and engines, with a new cut-down fuselage that was comparatively low and streamlined, with a powerful cannon armament under the nose that was useful in its assigned duties as long-distance heavy fighter, and later nightfighter, where it excelled. Some obsolete Beauforts were even converted to Beaufighters to make further use of the shared parts, which gave many of the original airframes a more honourable end than they would otherwise have seen. In an attempt to improve on the original Mk.I that took up the majority of production, the designers created additional variants that used other engines, had faired over turrets when they were to be used as trainers, and even a project that saw the fitment of a pair of Merlin XX engine that didn’t achieve the desired effect, so was cancelled, in much the same manner as the Merlin powered Beaufighter that managed to be “underpowered” despite the pedigree of the engines that propelled it. The Kit A lot of modellers that build in 1:48 have been waiting with baited breath for this new tooling from ICM, and now it is with us, despite the horrible circumstances that besets the Ukrainian people at the time of writing. This initial boxing rightly covers the Mk.I torpedo bomber, and there is another boxing on the way with a tropicalised engine fit that should arrive pretty soon. This new issue arrives in a reasonable-sized top-opening box with their usual captive lid on the lower tray. Inside are eight sprues in mid-grey styrene, a large clear sprue, decal sheet and glossy instruction booklet that has colour profiles on the rear pages. Opening the resealable bags reveals the detail that has been lavished on this kit that includes lots of internal ribbing, a set of ribbed flap bays and flaps, a representation of both banks of the Bristol Taurus engines, detailed gear bays and bay doors, and a torpedo to complete the package. Construction begins with a narrow torpedo bay under the fuselage that is glued to a section of the aft floor, then detailed with ribs, flipped over and joined to a bulkhead that has a doorway cut in it, then has a chute made up on one side before it is attached to the rest of the interior floor, which is initially free of detail, apart from underneath, where it has bomb shackles moulded-in, and a semi-cylindrical bay toward the front of the fuselage, which will allow the torpedo to nestle into the fuselage part way. The starboard fuselage half has an insert fitted into the wing-root depression to match the crisp moulded ribbing that is all over the interior as far back as the trailing edge of the wings, and extends into the tail-wheel bay. The side windows are inserted from inside, swapping the rear one out for an opaque cover if appropriate, then the floor is mated on several slots into the fuselage sides ready for the twin spars and a good quantity of detail. The forward spar is detailed with four parts to depict the radio gear with a plotting table below it, and on the other side a section of fairing is fixed, then the assembly is glued into its slot, joining the bottom of the spar with the fuselage blank. The cockpit is a two-tier assembly that is started by joining the two halves of the side console together, adding a raised floor panel, the instrument panel with five dial decals and rudder pedals, a short half-bulkhead and the swivelling front seat. Another simple seat is made up and glued to the rear spar along with another step-like fairing, and it too is slipped into the rear slot in the fuselage and glued in place. The pilot’s seat is made up from two parts and has a bow-tie control column placed in front of it, while to the rear, an Elsan toilet is dropped onto a raised plinth in the rear fuselage floor. The tail wheel bay is made up from ceiling with two small bulkhead ends, and it is glued into the very rear, which already has ribbing moulded into the sides. The tail-wheel and strut is a single part than inserts in the bay ceiling on a peg, so can be left off until after main painting. The port fuselage half is prepared in a similar manner to the starboard, save for the optional rear window, and a 0.9mm hole that is drilled in the ceiling. Just before closing up the fuselage, another detail part is fixed to the bulkhead behind the pilot’s seat, with more glued into the nose, which might be better added before you paint the cockpit. The main canopy is glued over the cockpit aperture, and the nose is glazed by four additional clear parts, and a choice of port-side aft door with a circular porthole or gun port fitted over the hole in the fuselage, which can have a Lewis machine-gun with dinner plate magazine on a spar across the opening. If you are installing the gun, the clamshell door part should be left off. The Beaufort had mid-mounted wings, so each one is separate, and made from two halves. The port wing has a small landing light bay inserted before it is closed, and a small dome is removed from the leading edge, then the clear glazing is inserted once the glue has set up. A clear wingtip is fitted, and a one-piece aileron is added and able to be offset if you feel the urge. You also must make a choice whether to fit the wing surface over the inner flaps with a trio of strakes in a nacelle extension, or a straight section with curved root fairing. The same process is carried out minus the landing light bay on the starboard wing, then both wings are slotted over the two spars that have corresponding guides moulded into the inside of the wings to ensure good location. The elevator fins are each two parts and are mounted in the usual slot/tab method, to be joined by one-piece elevators and rudder, which the latter having a pair of horns near the hinge. Two flap sections are added to each wing’s underside, then the two nacelles are made up from halves along with a bulkhead near the front, and another that is glued into the wing before the nacelles are put in place. The roof of the bay is free of any detail, and is the location that the twin strut gear legs and their actuators are fixed once they are built up. The main wheels are each two halves, and they flex-fit into the lower section of the main leg, which has a curved tubular framework added to the top section, probably to assist with the smooth opening and closing of the door bays. The lower section of the main gear forms a twin triangular framework that is linked by several cross-members before the lower section is glued into the sockets in the upper section, and has another pair of actuators added at the rear to brace the top section. Both assemblies are inserted into the bays on each level of the ceiling, then the twin bay doors with their ribbed inners are added to the sides of the bays on hinge tabs. At the same time, the bomb bay has a small insert attached to the front bulkhead to add detail to the area. Each Taurus radial engine is formed from two well-detailed banks of cylinders with a circular collector ring attached to the centre by three stators, plus a complex system of tubes installed around the circumference in between the cylinders, and another at the rear of the engine that has a square peg at the back for fixing them to the wing through the cooling flaps at the rear of the cowlings. Two holes on the top of the nacelle receive a different two-part intake, then the cowling is wrapped around the engine, comprising two halves and a pair of curved exhausts for each engine. She’s looking very much like a Beaufort now, but needs some defensive armament in addition to the optional Lewis gun in the side. The new mid-upper turret is mounted in the back of the cockpit “hump”, and is built upon a separate section of the fuselage with a circular base that receives the guns’ mount and gunner’s bicycle-style seat below the lip, gluing the majority of the turret into position along with a fairing lip around the end, then deciding whether to mount the clear glazing in the top of the nose, or the alternative that mounts another two Lewis guns in the nose. The bomb/torpedo bay forms a cruciform shape when viewed from below, as it was lengthened to accept the torpedo, and has the mount fitted into the wider centre section, and if not carrying a torpedo, two inserts close off the bomb bay from its two narrower sections. The bay doors are in three sections, the narrower front and rear sections having one door per side, while the wider bomb bay section has two doors each side that fold together, minimising the aerodynamic drag, as well as fitting in the space below the aircraft when on the ground. If you plan on posing all the bay doors closed, there are three additional conjoined parts to ease your path, which is always nice to see. The torpedo has been seen in a separate box before, and its build is covered on the last page of instruction steps, making it up from two halves, adding a three-part H-tail with twin spinners, and another spinner-plus-spacer at the business end. There are also five steps to create a trolley for moving your Torp about and loading it onto the Beaufort on rising scissor-links if you want to add a bit of diorama appeal to your model. The torpedo is mounted with all bay doors open, and glues onto a long curved rectangular frame in the centre of the bomb bay. While the model is inverted, the underslung nose turret can be built from three parts for the gun and two-part dome, or a blanking plate is fitted over the aperture. A pitot is also mounted under the nose, a towel-rail antenna under the fuselage, and three small outlets are mounted on the wings and just behind the bomb bay. Back on its wheels, the cockpit hump is detailed with two more antennae, and another either flush with the roof in a typical D/F loop fairing. The radar antennae are reminiscent of TV aerials, formed from a main antenna with several dipoles perpendicular, one under each wing, mounted on two brackets that fit into holes drilled in the wings earlier, and another offset under the nose on a single post. These are most definitely best left of until the very end so that they survive without damage. Markings ICM have begun to include templates for masking material with each of their new kits, which can be found just in front of the colour profiles for you to place tape over, cut around and apply to your model, thanks to drawings above that indicate what goes where. There are four decal options included on the sheet in a variety of schemes. From the box you can build one of the following: DD959 Q, No.217 Sqn., Malta, 1942 L9965 T, Mediterranean Sea region, 1942 DX157, presumably Indian Ocean region, Spring 1944 EK979, RAF Training Unit, Bilbais, Egypt, 1944 The decals are printed by ICM’s usual partners, and include dials for the instrument panels, with good register, sharpness, and solid colours. As is common now with ICM kits, there is a page of the instruction booklet devoted to the masking of the canopy, using the printed shapes on the bottom of the page and the diagrams above to allow you to create your own masks if you wish. It goes up to 64 thanks to the copious glazing of the Beaufort. Conclusion I was looking forward to the initial release, and I’m wasn’t disappointed, and this rebox with new parts is just as good with another theatre of operation opening up in terms of subjects. It’s another Beaufort in my preferred scale, there’s plenty of detail, and a good choice of decal options. Very highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  21. KFK Kriegsfischkutter (S.018) 1:350 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd During WWII the German Kriegsmarine realised the potential of a low-technology small patrol boat to aid in their operations, and made an order for just over 1,000 examples, fitted out with equipment and armament to suit the task to which they were suited. The hull was of wooden construction that was cheap to make using existing facilities that used up little in the way of strategic materials other than for the frames, with propulsion provided by a diesel engine. It was intended that after the war, they could be converted back to civilian use as a trawler, but the majority used after the war were from post-war production and had never seen action. Production began in 1942, and was undertaken within Germany, but also at other occupied locations, including the Ukraine, for operation on the Black Sea. Many of the type were used as small guard boats or for security patrols, fitted with two circular gun platforms, one on the fore deck, the other set high behind the wheelhouse, offering a better view of larger vessels for the gunner. The war ended before the full contract was completed, with over 600 built in total, some as patrol boats, training vessels, mine sweeping, and for basic anti-submarine warfare. Measuring only 24m long with a displacement of 110 tonnes, the 220hp diesel motor could only propel it to around 9 knots, so it was hardly a fast patrol boat, barely able to keep up with a standard trawler, but it still saw service in every sea where the Nazis fought during WWII. The Kit This is a brand-new tool from ICM, and it’s plain to see where the motivation for it came from, as some vessels were built in ICM’s home country of Ukraine. The kit arrives in a small top-opening box with captive top flap on the lower tray, and inside is a single sprue of grey styrene and the instruction booklet in colour, with painting profiles on the rear pages. Detail is good for the diminutive size of the model in this scale, and as well as having the option of full-hull or waterline models, you also get a simple stand to pose your completed model on if you opt for full-hull. Construction is straight forward and begins with creating the keel up to water level from two halves, then the rest of the hull is made from two more halves plus a deck panel that has planking and some of the deck furniture moulded into the top. Gluing the keel to the upper hull is optional, and a flat blanking plate is also supplied for the waterline modeller to give it some structural rigidity. The wheel house has the stepped rear made up from three parts, plus the vertical front, which also includes the railings for the small (barely) flying bridges to the sides of the enclosed bridge. The two deck gun emplacement bases are situated on the fore deck and behind the wheel house, adding the screw in front of the moulded-in rudder if you have glued the lower hull to your model, and a life ring that straps to the railings on the bridge. The wheel house has a heavy weather-resistant roof added, and a life raft is attached to the front on two pegs, while the single mast is made up out of three parts and inserted into its socket at the rear of the aft gun emplacement. The emplacements each have two-part circular railings that extend to most of the perimeter, which are butt-joints, so make sure you give them adequate time for the glue to cure before carefully putting them into position. The guns are moulded into their conical bases in the idle position, pointing at the sky, and they fit into the centre recess on each emplacement, with the model finished off by adding the anchor in the bow, and another life ring to the other flying bridge. If you wanted to go the extra mile and some more detail to your model, there are vertical posts moulded into the hull sides for the handrails, and you could easily (easy for me to say!) add the horizontals to give it some more realism. The display base is a single part with the shape of the keel moulded into its top, and a concave conical profile that would only take a gloss coat of brass to do a creditable impression of a more expensive metallic base. Markings There are no decals in the box as they aren’t required, but there are two suggested schemes in the back of the instruction booklet, as follows: Multi-purpose boat KFK Kriegsfischkutter, 1944 Multi-purpose boat KFK Kriegsfischkutter with camouflage paint applied, 1944 Paint colours are called out with letters in red boxes that correspond to a table on the front of the booklet that gives you Ukrainian and English names, plus ICM, Revell and Tamiya paint codes that should permit most modellers to choose colours from their preferred range. Conclusion It’s a tiny little model measuring barely 7cm or 3” from stem to stern, but there’s quite a bit of detail included, and it’s another unusual subject that some folks (self-included) might not have heard of. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  22. Here is my latest diorama, showing a JU-87B at Caen in France during August 1940. The aircraft is from Italeri, Kubelwagen and 2 figures from Tamiya and the rest of the figures are from ICM. Hope you like it, and all comments welcome
  23. Junkers Ju-88A-8 Paravane (48230) 1:48 ICM via H G Hannants Ltd 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 exfiltrate 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 in 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. During the Battle of Britain the British defenders flew balloons, or Aerostats above their main centres of population, tied to the ground via strong steel hawsers, with the intention of snagging unwitting enemy aircraft and bringing them crashing to the ground. To combat this, some German aircraft were fitted with wire cutting blades in arrow-headed arrangements around the front of the aircraft to cut or deflect the cables and save the aircraft from becoming another casualty of the wily Brits. The Ju-88A-8 was outfitted with such a contraption, referred to as a Paravane, and to counter the extra weight the crew was reduced to three, and the engines were upgraded to Jumo 211F-1 that produced more power at higher revs to counter both the weight and drag. It wasn’t wholly successful, as the performance was worse despite the attempts to ameliorate this. They were of course only of use at lower altitudes to which aerostats could be raised. The Kit This is a new variation on the original tooling of an A-5 and subsequent A-11 that were release by ICM, with new paravane parts on a single additional sprue added to make it specific to this boxing. The box is the usual top-opening with an inner lid on the lower tray, and inside you will find nine sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, a decal sheet and a glossy covered instruction booklet with spot colour inside, and the decal options in full colour on the rear pages. If you have been lucky enough to see the other kits, you'll know that detail is right up there in terms of quality and crispness, with ICM improving leaps and bound over the last several years despite impediments, which is great news for us modellers, as they aren't frightened of tackling what to us may seem niche subject matters. Construction begins with the addition of sidewall details in the capacious cockpit area of the fuselage. 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 extra 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 halves, with the flaps and ailerons separate from the box, having 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. This variant was fitted with the under-fuselage gondola, and each side has separate glazing panels inserted from inside, and a seam running vertically through its length. It is added to the hole in the underside of the fuselage, with the front and rear glazing plus zwilling mounted machine guns later in the build. 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 must be built up first though, with a high part count and plenty of detail, mounting on 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 however, and I'm sure someone will be along with some in-scale opened panels in due course. 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 nacelles 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 part 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 rear-facing 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 four bomb crutches on aerodynamic mounts are built up with anti-sway braces and installed, 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, tail-wheel bay doors and twin main gear bay doors are added, both having good detail and the former a radial tread. Exhaust covers are fixed over the individual exits, and a small number of actuators are glued to recesses in the ailerons. Addition of the canopy mounted antenna completes the standard build, but the paravane parts are yet to be added. There are four wing-mounted supports for the cutting blade, each one an A-frame that attaches above and below the wing. They are joined by two more angled A-frames that project from the sides of the nose, all six supporting the two blade symmetrical sections that meet up in the centre and at the wingtips. This and the other delicate parts are best left off until main painting is complete, but that’s your decision, not mine. Markings The kit includes three markings options, and although there are no Swastikas on the sheet, they are supplied in halves for those that want them. From the box you can build one of the following: Junkers Ju 88 A-8 Paravane, 5./KG 30, 1941 Junkers Ju 88 A-8 Paravane, KG 30,1941 Junkers Ju 88 A-8 Paravane, KG 51, 1941 The colours are picked out using letters that correspond to a table on the front page, which gives the names and paint codes in ICM, Revell and Tamiya ranges, so should be easy to convert to your paint system of choice. The decals are printed in good register, colour density and sharpness, with additional instrument dials included on a clear carrier film to help with cockpit painting. All the stencils are legible, with a thin carrier film cut close to the printing. As is common now with ICM kits, there is a page of the instruction booklet devoted to the masking of the canopy, using the printed shapes on the right of the page and the diagrams on the left to create your own masks if you wish. It goes up to 64 thanks to the faceted greenhouse glazing. Conclusion ICM's range of Ju.88s, He.111s 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 the Paravane gear is a little bit out of the ordinary, which is always fun. Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  24. In Q4 2023 ICM is to release a 1/48th Martin B-26B Marauder kit - ref. 48320 Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM48320 V.P.
  25. As logical follow up to the Gotha Go-242 gliders (link), ICM is to release in Q3 2023 a 1/48th Gotha Go-244B-2 kit - ref. 48224 Source: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/ICM48224 V.P.
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