IPMS LogoInternational Plastic Modelers' Society / USA

IPMS LogoInternational Plastic Modelers' Society / USA



Subscribe to IPMS/USA Reviews feed
Updated: 6 hours 47 min ago

Twin Store Carrier with BD3-USK

9 hours 47 min ago
Product Image Review Author:  Paul R. Brown Advanced Modeling

This set is designed to be used on Su-34s and Su-35s and should fit either Trumpeter Hasegawa's kits. The set consists of 18 resin parts which allows you to assemble a pair of the twin store carriers and provides the parts for either configuring the rails for either bombs or rocket launchers.

The parts are cast in grey resin which is of medium hardness which is easily cut with a razor saw or a sharp Xacto blade and sands easily. After washing the parts to remove any casting residue, I used a fine razor saw to separate the parts from the casting blocks. The instructions clearly show where to cut the parts off of the casting block and the resin spacers that between the side rail mounts and the center part of the upper pylons. I then used a 400-grit sanding stick to clean up the edges.

As the configuration of the sway braces and the ejector feet on the carrier rails depends on whether you are going to mount bombs or rocket launchers, you need to decide what you are going to mount on the rails next as it is much easier to install the sway braces and ejector feet on the rails before they are attached to the mounting pylon. As I anticipate using this set on an Su-34, I opted for the bomb carrying configuration. Pay close attention to the orientation of the sway braces in the instructions as I managed to install one of them backwards and did not notice it until the superglue had set. There are instructions on painting as it will depend on the paint scheme of the aircraft you are mounting them on. In addition, the set does not include any decals, so you will need to source them from your kit or an aftermarket set

This set is a nice set and I really like the resin used by Advanced Modeling as it made it easy to separate the parts from the casting blocks and cleaning up the parts once separated. Now I have to break out my Su-34 kit and get going on it so I can mount these and bomb them up.

Highly recommended. Thank you to Amigo Models/Advanced Modeling for the review sample and to IMPS-USA for the opportunity to try it out.

Gear for WNW RE.8

10 hours 2 min ago
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery Scale Aircraft Conversions

Scale Aircraft Conversions (SAC) offers an extensive range of replacement landing gear parts for a wide variety of kits. I have some experience using SAC items to replace kit parts and I've found that the SAC items add strength to the model without sacrificing any of the detail found on the original parts.

As mentioned in other reviews, I tend to be a rather heavy-handed modeler and I have a long history of "critical parts" failure with WWI models which is self-made and not a reflection on the quality of the original kit. I've snapped wing struts in half, broken off tail skids, and caused catastrophic damage to undercarriage support structures. Knowing that I've "got a problem".

I now take it for granted that when I select a WWI aircraft model as my next project one of my first actions is to visit the SAC website and  search for any SAC products that can replace kit parts such as wing struts and landing gear components. I have found that SAC gear replacement parts are a positive addition to my modeling effort.

SAC offers a set of white metal replacement parts for the WNW RE.8 which includes a tail skid, axle for landing gear, and axle brackets. There is no flash to remove and these parts are ready for painting and fitting to the fuselage of the RE.8. The parts are made of white metal. No detail found on the original kit parts is missing. The size and shape are identical, the locating pins or locating holes are the same, it is, for all intents and purposes a perfect match. This is important when working with kits of exceptional quality such as the Wingnut Wings kit for which this set is intended.

When shipped to buyers, the gear set(s) are contained in a sturdy cardboard box with Styrofoam shipping eggs so there will be no damage to the product package and no damage to the parts.

The significant difference between the original parts and the SAC parts, however, is "strength". The metal parts will bend but unless some catastrophic accident occurs, they will not break.

This product ranked a "highly recommended" comment due to the detail found on the product parts, the strength of the parts, and the reasonable price for the product.

Thanks to Scale Aircraft Conversions for making this gear set, #32142, available to IPMS/USA for this review.

L-265M10 Electronic Warfare Pod for Su-35

10 hours 7 min ago
Product Image Review Author:  Paul R. Brown Advanced Modeling

This set is designed to be used on any 1/72 scale Su-35 and as the pods are wingtip mounted, they should fit either Trumpeter or Hasegawa kit. The set consists of 6 grey resin parts for two pods and 2 each of the red and green position lights that mount out the outboard sides of the pods. This will allow you to outfit one model.

The parts are cast in a light grey resin which is of medium hardness, so it is easily cut with a razor saw or a sharp Xacto blade and sands easily. After washing the parts to remove any casting residue, I used a fine razor saw to separate the parts from the casting blocks. Each pod is cast in two parts consisting of the main body of the pod and a separate tail cap. The instructions clearly show where to cut the parts off of the casting block and if you are careful, the two sections of each pod should match up pretty well. I did not do so well on my cuts, so I ended up using Mr. Surfacer to fill the gaps.

The left and right pods are different but if you pay attention to the instructions, it much easier to distinguish between them. Once the pods have been assembled and any bad cuts cleaned up, you will need to carefully remove the small scoop that goes on the inboard side of the left pod and the small intake that goes at the front of the pylon mount on the right pod. Both of these parts are pretty tiny, so I immediately attached them to some blue painters' tape in order to keep track of them. They were then attached to the respective pods. I painted both pods Light Ghost Grey to check for seams and as a primer. As I do not yet know what scheme I will be painting my Su-35, I have left off the position lights for now.

I really like this set and look forward to installing it on a Su-35. The cast detail is very well done and shows up well after painting. The colored resin used for the positions lights is spot on in color and wonderfully clear.

Highly recommended. Thank you to Amigo Models/Advanced Modeling for the review sample and to IMPS-USA for the opportunity to try it out.

Gear Replacement Set for Fe.2b

10 hours 15 min ago
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery Scale Aircraft Conversions

Scale Aircraft Conversions offers a very large number of gear replacement sets for a wide variety of aircraft kits. This gear set is designed to replace the gear, and other parts, on the Wingnut Wings Fe.2b Late. Parts included in the SAC gear set are the axle, axle brackets, tail skid, and two control cable bars.

The SAC parts are packaged in a sturdy clear container with cardboard backing. Each part is made of white metal and matches its WNW counterpart with great precision and attention to detail. Wingnut Wings is known for its superior quality and attention to detail so what would be the reason to seek replacement parts? The answer is simple. The SAC parts, made of white metal, provide a strength and stability that will add to the durability of the model while maintaining the high level of detail of the WNW product. The parts in this review sample are free of flash or mold separation lines and, while they might bend, they will not break.

Assembly, using the SAC parts, follows the same steps and procedures addressed in the WNW kit instructions. Being white metal, it is realistic to consider priming the SAC parts prior to attachment to the WNW model.

This gear set is highly recommended for its strength and durability, reasonable price, and adherence to the detail and precision that one finds on the WNW kit. Thanks to SAC for making this sample available for review by IPMS.

Wehrmacht in the Mud

Sun, 04/05/2020 - 00:06
Product Image Review Author:  Patrick Brown Mushroom Model Publications Bottom Line Up Front

The latest in MMP's "Camera On" series is dedicated to a broad selection of German vehicles and equipment battling mud. This book is useful, not just for diorama ideas, but for terrific reference photos on how mud actually looks; something that is rarely depicted accurately in dioramas and scenic bases.

  • Forward
  • Introduction
  • Tanks and Self-Propelled Guns
  • Halftracks
  • Lorries
  • Staff Cars
  • Motorcycles

In the forward the author makes it clear he is not trying to add to the body of knowledge about German military vehicles. The book is dedicated to depicting the vehicles in the conditions in which they found themselves, primarily in the rainy season on the Eastern Front.

The almost 150 black and white photos are well captioned to give the researcher a good idea of the context of the photos. No documentary credit is given for any of the photos but in the opening remarks the author implies that all are from his personal collection.

The book contains some very nice photos that are to the best of my knowledge, previously unpublished (i.e. you can't find them on the internet!) and contain dozens of super ideas for composing dioramas. But the thing I like best about the book is not the picture of the tanks and trucks. The photos of the mud and terrain are worth the price of the book itself. This alone makes the book an invaluable reference of that eternal enemy of soldiers and military vehicles.


If you are a diorama builder, I highly recommend you add this book to your reference library.

Many thanks to Casemate for the review copy.

American Privateers in the Revolutionary War

Sat, 04/04/2020 - 23:26
Product Image Review Author:  Patrick Brown Osprey Publishing Bottom Line Up Front

This is a short, easy to read introduction to ships and history of the private warships which played a major part in the American War for Independence. It is profusely illustrated with period artwork and accurate modern-day artwork of actual ships. The artwork by Paul Wright is the standout feature of this book.


Angus Konstam is the author of over 100 history books, most of which have been published by Osprey. A former naval officer and museum professional, he worked as the Curator in both the Royal Armouries, Tower of London, and the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West, Florida. He now works as a full-time author and historian, and lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.


Paul Wright has painted ships of all types, from sail to steam. He specializes in warships. His work has appeared in the works of Patrick O'Brien, Dudley Pope, and C.S. Forrester. He is a member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. He lives in Surrey, England.

  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Design and Development
  • The Business of Privateering
  • Life on Board
  • Privateers in Action
  • Further Reading
  • Index

This book is a fairly basic level introduction to privateers in general and their role in the naval portion of the American Revolutionary War. It covers general information on 18th century naval custom and tradition and how privateers were funded, fielded, and disposed. Konstam covers notable individual privateer captains, owners, and battles.

The text lacks footnotes which is a shame. It detracts from the scholarship of the work. It left me wondering continually from where Konstam was getting his information. The book also lacks ANY documentary credit for any of the artwork and illustrations. This is standard scholarship and authors, as well as publishers should be conscientious about this. This hits close to home as several photographs of mine were published without my permission or documentary credit.


This book is a nice introduction to an oft-neglected slice of 18th century naval history. Unfortunately, it is marred by poor documentation of sources. The twelve paintings by Paul Wright alone are worth the cost of the book.

Many thanks to Bloomsbury for the review copy.

German Military Vehicles in the Spanish Civil War: A Comprehensive Study of the Deployment of German Military Vehicles on the Eve of WW2

Sat, 04/04/2020 - 00:38
Product Image Review Author:  Patrick Brown Frontline Books Bottom Line Up Front

This is the most comprehensive collection of German vehicles in the Spanish Civil War. None of the photos, to the best of my knowledge, have ever been published before. The pages contain photos of tracked AFVs, armored cars, soft-skins and towed ordinance as well as detailed order of battle information.

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 Rebellion in Spain and German Support
  • Chapter 2 Panzergruppe Drohne
  • Chapter 3 German Tanks in Spain
  • Chapter 4 Special Training by Panzergruppe Drohne
  • Chapter 5 Wheeled Vehicles of Panzergruppe Drohne
  • Chapter 6 The Airforce Contingent

This book fills a void in AFV on the body of knowledge on WW2 era vehicles. Many scholarly references make note of how Germany made a proving ground out of Spain during its bloody civil war, but there are precious few comprehensive visual references of this intervention.

This book is a treasure throve of pictures of the vehicles Germany fielded in the Spanish Civil War. The 500+ photographs come from a private collection, so these are not recycled photographs you will see in a Google search or time after time on video documentaries. The book contains minimal text, but it does provide background information on the negotiations with the Germans, the number of vehicles and men fielded, and where they were deployed.

There are eight pages of color photos of insignia, unit markings and artist's renderings of armored vehicles. The rest of the photos are all black and white. There are even several terrific interior reference photos of the Panzer I that you will NOT find on the internet.

I wish the book provided an index and bibliography. The photos are from a private collection, but the authors have quite a bit of text that begs notes and reference citations. The scholarship of the book suffers from this. I also wish there were color profile plates showing more markings and camouflage patterns.


This book is a terrific addition to any modeler or researcher interested in Spanish Civil War vehicles or pre-WW2 German armor.

Many thanks to Casemate for the review copy.

Legends of Warfare M24 Chaffee Vol 1

Fri, 04/03/2020 - 01:26
Product Image Review Author:  Blaine Singleton Schiffer Publishing

The Author

David Doyle's earliest published works appeared in periodicals aimed at the hobby of historic military vehicle restoration. By 1999 this included regular features in leading hobby publications, appearing regularly in US, English and Polish magazines. Since 2003, over 100 of his books have been published. Broadening his horizons from his initial efforts concerning vehicles, he soon added aircraft and warships to his research objectives. 


The book is divided into two chapters all covering the beginning of construction to the final day.

  • Chapter 1      Production
  • Chapter 2      Field Use

In the Book

The book is hardbound with 2 chapters and 112 pages. It didn't take long for me to read all the book in one night, I was intrigued by a lot of facts about the Tank being presented and the information on the Tank and the photographs were a joy to look at and read. There are both Black and White and color photographs in the book. Some of the subjects covered in the book include:

  • M-24 Chaffee gets name from Maj Gen Adna R Chaffee the first commander of the Armored Force.
  • The Tank used two Cadillac engines for power and had a torsion bar suspension, both very reliable and made maintenance on the chassis of the tank easy.
  • The driver's compartment was very sparse for ease of maintenance.
  • Floatation devices were added to some models so the tank could be used like a boat for shore landings.
  • The first tanks were sent to Army field units during the Battle of the Bulge.
  • The M-24 saw front line use in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, eventually being replaced by the Walker Bulldog.


The subject was very well covered with history of the Tank's construction, missions, and different upgrades throughout its service. If you have an interest in this tank or if you are preparing to build a model of the M-24 Chaffee, I recommend this book as a reference. 

I want to thank David Doyle and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to read and review the book.

Flight Through the Ages: A 50th Anniversary Tribute to the Guild of Aviation Artists

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 00:38
Product Image Review Author:  Bill Kluge Casemate Publishers

The Guild of Aviation Artists, which traces its origins back through several former artists organizations - the Kronfeld Aviation Art Society, the Industrial Painters Group, and the Society of Aviation Artists emerged in 1971 as the repository for the majority of Britain's aviation artistic talent, and in July of that year held its inaugural exhibition of 95 paintings entitled "Flight Through the Ages". The Guild has presented an exhibition every year since then, at times encompassing over 400 paintings from its members, now numbering over 350.

The Flight Through the Ages anniversary collection showcases some 200 works of art, culled from the thousands of paintings selected to hang in the 50 years of the Guilds exhibitions, representing a variety of styles and mediums. The chapters are arranged chronologically, beginning with early aviation, balloons and airships, progressing through the First World War, aviation's Golden Age of the 1920s and 30s, World War II, the jet age, Cold War, and the new millennium. Subsequent chapters highlight commercial and civil aviation, airshows, museums, helicopters, and gliders. The last chapters showcase some of the guild member's portrait work and finally, artist Chris French illustrates a step-by-step lesson in creating an aviation painting. Nearly all the images are in color and thankfully, each is accorded a full 8 1/2 by 11 page. None are split by the book's gutter. 

While just about every aviation artist tries to represent their aircraft subject as accurately as their skill allows, that hardly means that this is a collection of photo-realistic renderings. Far from it. The artists depict the thrill, speed and drama of aviation realistically, graphically and impressionistically. They use oils, watercolors, gouache, acrylic, pencils, pastels, ink, and crayon, alone and in combination. Although most aircraft subjects are shown in their natural element, many are depicted surrounded by crews, maintainers, passengers, onlookers and even animals native to the environment they happen to be in. As one might expect of a British art organization, there are plenty of depictions of Spitfires, Hurricanes ,Lancasters and Lightnings. But there are also good number of Fortresses, Dakotas, 747s and F-35s. However, some of the most striking paintings are of non-military subjects - the Golden Age and commercial aircraft. Truly breathtaking (oh, if Chris French's gorgeous back cover de Havilland Comet had only been given its own page on the inside!).

So what, you may ask, is the value of this book to the modeler? Inspiration, pure and simple. Much as the best model box top illustrations drew us in to modeling and put ideas in our heads of dogfights and screaming jets back in the day, this book provides a luscious ready reference of many of aviation's most beautiful creations, each in a moment in time that draws us into its story. These paintings by artists like Frank Wooton, Michael Turner, and Wilfred Hardy are inspirational in the same way as John Steele's, Jack Leynnwood's, and Roy Cross's box top art was decades ago. It puts you there and awakens the interest. And they're all in one handy place. 

This is a beautiful volume, and I greatly appreciate Casemate Publishers providing the review copy, and IPMS allowing me to write about it.

Phantom Airframe Data (Stencil Type)

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 00:04
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Novosad AOA Decals

This decal sheet provides the extensive F-4 Phantom airframe data (including panel numbers/labels) for either an F-4B or F-4J. The airframe data provided is the painted (open stencil) type of markings commonly seen in the mid/late 1960's into the early 1970's on reworked USN/USMC F-4B and F-4J Phantoms (illustration shows the F-4J but the F-4B specific markings are provided).

Note that this is not the original new factory printed (full letter) type of airframe data - check subject for which type of airframe data was applied for a specific F-4.

Decal Sheet Contents

Two sheets of decals are included in the large zip-lock bag.  The national insignia is provided on the smaller (nominal 4" by 4") sheet and the stencils and other markings are on the larger ( nominal 9 1/2" by 8") sheet.  Each stencil is printed individually with minimal carrier film.

Also included are three, double-sided, full color drawings to help placing all the stencil decals.  Each stencil decal is numbered while the location drawings have the decal number noted. Decals include placards for the landing gear, speed brakes, speed brake wells, auxiliary air doors, wing external fuel tanks, and main and nose gear doors. Markings for all pylons, bomb adapter racks (inboard and outboard pylon types), and LAU-7 rail markings are also included.  Several notes address marking differences between the B and J versions. These decals will take several sessions to place.

I really like the look of stencils on my aircraft models, even though the application can be a very time-consuming process I feel the effort is well worth it, and in the end it is time well spent. I built one Academy F-4 Phantom a few years ago and the kit included some stencils.  The AOA sheet has many more. Whenever I bring a model to our local club meetings that has stencils I often receive positive comments on the model's appearance.


Although the product literature shows this set to be for the Academy Phantom, I plan to use it on a Hasegawa F-4J that I acquired as a gift from a good friend a few years back. The Hasegawa decals do include some stencils, but not the scope provided by the AOA sheet. The Hasegawa kit decals also have a much more glossy appearance than the AOA set. 

You will need to enjoy adding decals, many decals, to your models to appreciate this set. Because of the effort involved it may not be to the liking of some, but for those of us who are willing to invest the time and effort in adding realism to the model, this is the decal set for you.  Several nights of effort will be required to place all the decals and marking. 

This is a high quality set of decals, and will be money well spent. If purchased on-line shipping in the States is included in the cost of the decals.

Very highly recommended.

I wish to thank AOA Decals and IPMS USA for the opportunity to review this set of decals.

P-51 D-5 Mustang Profipack Edition

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 14:49
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Reeves Eduard

Eduard has for a long time been releasing excellent aircraft kits in many forms- but the Profipack editions are easily my favorite ones as they usually include extras including color PE frets, masks, and sometimes bit of their Brassin products as well. This newer edition of their Mustang line contains no Brassin, but the included masks and color PE add immeasurable amounts of excellent detail to the kit build as we will soon see.

What's Inside the Box

The kit contents come in a nice sturdy box and includes the following well-packed bits:

  • 1 round clear sprue with three different teardrop canopies
  • 5 grey sprues with one containing loads of extra wing tanks, rockets, and bombs to ass to your spares box
  • 1 PE fret with color and clear metal parts
  • Masking set
  • Decal sheet featuring stencils and markings for six ETO schemes



As usual, construction begins with the cockpit "office". The pilot seat, floor, and radio set take up step A and we continue to the sidewall assemblies. Most of the included PE is added in these first few steps between panels, seat belts, and placards. The color bits get added to panels and look great. I didn't add every single switch from the PE as some of them are a bit fiddly and my fingers are "fumblesome". After adding the rear tailwheel compartment to the fuselage sides, the two sides get put together. No real fit issues here and it all looks great with no real seams to deal with.

Step E is a very instricate assembly of the main wheel gear wells. It is a multi-piece assembly that looks great but is cumbersome to build. Fifteen parts later and it gets attached to the lower wing. I took care and seated everything as well as I could. However, as I tried to add the two upper wing halves to the lower wing assembly I could not get things to settle in. Only with some clamping and praying could I get things to look right, but I have no idea what went wrong. The flap attachments were a bit challenging as well as they didn't sit flush easily. After adding the guns and ailerons, it was time to bring the wings and fuselage together. Tail assembly followed with no real issues.

Back to the office with the instrument panel assembly. Plastic parts are in the kit for those who want to go that route, but I was happy to use the PE color panels. The gauges even have a raised drop of clear to simulate gauge faces. After adding the rudder pedals and the hood panel, everything drops down into place. After this is all those great fiddly bits- tailwheel assembly, radiator vents and covers, exhausts, and landing gear. Gear parts look great but in all cases, the attachment points are either very shallow or difficult to locate. I found myself guesstimating where to place the tailwheel strut as it didn't seem to fit any specific place and look right.

From here, we apply masks to the clear parts and get ready for painting. I waited to attach the gear and doors and hatches until after painting so as not to knock them off. Same with the propeller, exhausts, and drop tanks- which were dutifully applied after painting and with that, construction came to an end.

Painting and Weathering

The six included schemes include:

  • A.- 44-13318 flown by Lt. Colonel Thomas L. Hayes- this is the OD over gray scheme for "Frenesi" with D-Day stripes
  • B.- 44-13606 flown by Capt. Claude J. Crenshaw- "Louisiana Heatwave"- an NMF scheme with green nose and D-Day stripes
  • C.- 44-13859 flown by Lt. Walter Mullins--an unnamed NMF plane with nude noseart--a unique scheme of NMF with OD wing tops and patches on the fuselage
  • D.- 44-13321 flown by Capt. John M. Simmons Jr.- a Checkertail Clan scheme called "Devastating Dottie"
  • E.- 44-13321 flown bt Maj. George Preddy Jr- well known blue nosed scheme "Cripes A'Mighty 3rd" with D-Day stripes
  • F.- 44-13321 flown by Maj. George Preddy Jr. - same plane with altered paint scheme--only bottom side D-Day stripes and sharkmouth wing tanks


I chose scheme C because I wasn't feeling the D-Day stripes and while I love a Checkertail Clan scheme, the nude nose art just won out. That and the neat OD over NMF was different enough for me to try. I used AK Interactive Xtreme Metals line for the NMF--alternating between polished aluminum and white aluminum. For the top side OD, I used Vallejo Model Air. There are extensive charts showing the different color panels for the metal finishes, as well as another showing stencil placement (and there are a lot of stencils!).

The decals look amazing but are very delicate and thin. More often than not, as I went to place them, they curled up on me. I had to place them back in the water to unfurl and then retry with success most often. Just take your time!


I thoroughly enjoyed building this kit. Not an overabundance of PE, but enough to set the build apart with excellent detail. The masks did quite well with no bleed through at all. The decals look great but needed lots of care and attention to avoid issues. The only part of the build I had trouble with was step E with the gear well assembly and their placement as the wing tops were attached to the lower wing. I haven't seen others with this issue so I am assuming that is mostly my error, but novice builders should take care to avoid the issues I had. Other than that and the tricky gear strut placement, I am pleased with the results and heartily recommend trying one of Eduard's Mustang kits out if you haven't as they are of great quality.

My thanks goes out to Eduard and IPMS-USA for the review sample.

Hyundai Santa Fe

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 14:45
Product Image Review Author:  Jim Stepanek Academy Models

This is a review of the 1/24th Academy Hyundai Santa Fe.

Engine: No engine.  It's curbside kit and a 2018 model year.

Interior: Interior is wonderfully engraved and everything fits perfectly.  There were no painting instructions so interior was left black from the kit.

Body:  Body was crisp and clean with no flash.  I used HOK white and coated with 2 part urethane clear.

Chassis:  The suspension parts are very few - about 5 parts total.  The exhaust is molded in the chassis  leaving only a chrome muffler and exhaust tip to attach..  All the parts fit with no issues.

Instructions: The instructions are several pages long and printed on glossy paper. 

Decals: Decals were crisp and I was able to apply them very easily.

I had severe issues with final assembly.  The rear had a small clip to fit into a slot on the chassis while the front had pins/sockets on the front.  Using the factory attachment points caused the body to sit 1/8" above the chassis.  I removed the attachment points but that gave very little area to glue the chassis to the body and I got glue where it shouldn't be and it shows.

Thank you to Academy and MRC for allowing me to review this kit.

Flex-I-File "Flex-Set" 550

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 13:42
Product Image Review Author:  Jim Stepanek Flex-I-File

This is a review of the Flex-i-File Flex Set #550

Oh man.  No engine, no interior, no wheels.  And you wouldn't expect those items in a sanding kit. I ran into the Flex-i-File family at the IPMS Nationals in Orlando a few years ago and was impressed with their products.  So I bought a few items and have used them extensively over the years.

I've included pics of the package and the package contents.  Notice that the sanding sticks and sticks are color matched to a particular grit. Makes life easier.

I've other sanding sticks that fall apart after being used wet. These sticks don't separate and can also be easily trimmed to another shape if needed. 

Need to sand the inside portion of a grille opening?  Just hook one side of the supplied frame to a sanding strip, put the strip through the grille cavity, and connect the strip to the other end of the frame.  Sand away.

The Flex-i-File Flex Set #550 is a fantastic addition to your hobby area tools.

Thank you to IPMS for allowing me to review this kit.

“Pave Hawk” HH-60G, Part 2 Exterior

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 13:35
Product Image Review Author:  Bill O'Malley Kitty Hawk

"Pave Hawk" HH-60G

This the second part of the review of Kitty Hawk's 1/35 "Pave Hawk" HH-60G. This review covers the engines, exterior, and armament of the Pave Hawk kit. Background on the Pave Hawk, description of the kit, contents, and interior assembly of the kit is reviewed separately:

Kitty Hawk "Pave Hawk" HH-60G, Part 1 Interior


The HH-60G Pave Hawk's core mission is recovery of personnel under hostile conditions, including combat search and rescue. Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk 26227 of the 305th Rescue Squadron based at Davis-Monthan AFB participated in "Operation Red Wings II, On 2 July 2005, near Salar Ban in Northeastern Afghanistan. This aircraft picked up "Lone Survivor" Marcus Luttrell."   Wikipedia/Jetphotos.

I used references provided by Werner's Wings and online sources to build the Kitty Hawk model to reflect the "Lone Survivor" 26227.


After building the interior of the Pave Hawk, assembly of the engines begins in step 14. The engines have nice detail but somewhat simplified without a lot of wiring or piping. One of the engine halves, part F64, he has a tab opening but no part. The actual engines have a black box at this location, but no part is provided with the kit. Also, part F57 has a square peg that looks like an additional part should be attached. Pipe parts F66 are very delicate and I managed to break both of them during assembly, so I replaced them with solder. The last step in step 14 is installation of part F58. It would be much easier to install this part after steps 15 and 16 are completed. There are many online images of the engines to help with additional detailing and painting options.

Upper Fuselage Cowling "Dog House"

The Upper Cowling is assembled in steps 17 through 19 and presented difficulties with part fit and sequence. Like with the main cabin interior, Kitty Hawk uses an upside-down sequence to assemble the doghouse to the underside of the cowling and then mounts everything to the fuselage. This is counter-intuitive and confuses assembly as some views are from the bottom and others from the top. I plan to also build the Blackhawk version and will build the Doghouse from the bottom up on top of the fuselage to see if that works.

The bulkheads for the engine compartments are attached to the underside of the doghouse in step 17. Part C66 is missed labeled but obviously should be C56.The rear engine mounts, C12 and C13, need to be perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the chopper so the intake cowlings will fit properly later on.

Step 18 presented some real difficulties in assembly. The exhausts fit together OK, but the part labelled C8 should be C11, and the part labeled as C11 should be C8. There are ejection pins on these parts that should be filled as they will be visible after assembly. The pipes D43 & D44 installed on the engines are actually wrapped with insulation so it should have a rough texture. I used some Mr. Surfacer to add a little texture.

Parts E1 and E5 make up the transmission between the engines and rotor hub. I found it impossible to install these parts without cutting off the shaft connecting to the engine and installing it separately. The rotor hub is not labeled but obviously part C44. This part gets assembled hanging in space with no accurate location. The doghouse, transmission, and rotor hub should be dry fit to the top of the fuselage when these parts are glued to get them in the accurate location. This is another step that would be simplified if the doghouse would be built right side up on top of the fuselage.

Intakes and Transmission Covers

Step 18 also installs the front air intakes and cover for the transmission. This subassembly has a difficult fit to the doghouse and requires patching of the joints. The transmission covers on the Pave Hawk are spaced out so there is a gap to the fuselage. The exhaust ports for the fuselage, parts D48 and D52 are attached and should be dry fit to the top of the fuselage to get the correct location and minimize joints. Kitty Hawk does put these seams on panel lines which is helpful.

Step 19 installs the engine covers, antennas, and lights on the top of the doghouse, and shrouds over the engine exhaust. Assembling the engine covers left some large gaps with the adjoining panels.

Once the upper cowling doghouse is assembled, it is not installed on the fuselage until the very end of the assembly instructions. I thought it would be better to install it now in case some modifications need to be done for a good fit. It would also make painting of the fuselage easier to do it with the upper cowling installed. I decided to skip to step 23, assembling the fuselage halves, and then installing the doghouse now rather than later.

Fuselage Assembly

The fuselage halves are assembled over the interior shell in step 23. Make sure to drill out the holes noted in step 22 before assembling the fuselage halves.  The fuselage has nice detail, but the rivets are recessed rather than projecting. The rivets do project on the window frames on the door panels, and panel lines are recessed. The shell of the interior on my assembly was too wide for the fuselage halves is to fit tightly together. After considerable trimming and sanding of the interior ribs I was able to get the fuselage halves together. I found it necessary to install shims/spacers on the bottom of the fuselage halves to get the parts to align. The resulting seam in the fuselage is very tight and only required minimum filling and patching. Most of the seam could be repaired just by applying liquid cement and scraping the joints smooth. Several parts are trapped between the fuselage halves in this step, including the pin for the tail rotor and the tail landing gear. An option that is also provided for the FLIR if installed on the nose of the aircraft.

At this point I installed the upper cowling doghouse to the top of the fuselage. The fit was very good and only required some clamping for a nice tight joint to the fuselage. After installing the doghouse I returned to step 19 and painted and installed the exhaust shields.

Step 20 assembles and installs the main rotor assembly. The parts for this assembly seem to have more flash that required cleanup. The parts fit nicely and build into an impressive assembly with nice detail. Kitty Hawk includes fittings for some of the piping, but the piping is not provided with the kit. The blades are also attached to the rotor assembly in this step. The instructions don't show an option for mounting the blades in a folded configuration for transport, however it should be possible to turn the blades and only use one of the two anchor points so the blades are folded.

tep 25 installs lights and other equipment to the underside of the aircraft, along with the rear stabilizer.

The nose of the aircraft is assembled in step 26 and installed in step 32. My nose did not fit very tightly and required extensive trimming of the instrument tray at the front of the aircraft. When installing this be back in step 13 it would be wise to check the fit of the nose before gluing.

Windows are installed in the cabin and cockpit doors in step 27 through 30. The fit of the clear plastic parts is very good, but the sprue connections are in the notch of the frame so careful cleanup is required.

Step 31 assembles the tail rotor, which fits together nicely. Kitty Hawk suggests some additional wiring with molded-on connectors.

Rear chaff dispensers are assembled and installed in step 32. Check to your references to determine if the dispensers are required. This step installs the front windshield to the cab and the aircraft's nose. The gunner windows are also installed in this step and can be installed closed or in an overlapping open condition.

The cockpit doors are installed in step 33 and fit very nicely. The fit is tight enough that glue wasn't necessary so the doors can be removed later to install pilot figures. The large sliding cabin door is also installed in this step and can be posed either open or closed.

The main landing gear is installed and assembled in steps 34 and 35 without any problems. The wheels have nice side wall lettering detail but are not sagged for the weight of the aircraft. I sanded a flat spot on the bottom to help the wheels settle down. I also assembled the metal landing gear set from Scale Aircraft Conversions for this aircraft.

The refueling boom is assembled in step 35 and there are options for the boom in extended and retracted positions. The top cover of the refueling boom is miss-labeled D41 and should be D39. A light GP23 is called out however only one is provided and was used previously. I substituted part GP22.

Step 36 and 38 shows optional parts G48 and G24 but only G24 is provided with the Pave Hawk version. The ammo box for the gunner's position is installed in these steps. The front chaff dispensers are also assembled and installed in this step.


Step 37 assembles the GAU machine gun for the gunner positions. The last two steps of the instructions also show installation of these guns in the main cabin. The guns have good detail but the assembly is a little unclear for the brackets F19 and F20. Also, the shell ejection chute is called out to be PE10 but is actually PE3. I attempted to fold and bend the PE to shape but was not successful. The PE just doesn't bend without kinking. It would've been better to use a vinyl piece or even a molded plastic piece for the ejection chute.

The machine guns in the gunner's positions are installed in step 39. The feed chute for the ammo is also called out to be a photoetch which has the same problems of kinking when trying to fold the shape.

The Pave Hawk 6227 version I am building has Miniguns at both gunner positions, so I used a Live Resin set. The Kitty Hawk kit includes Miniguns on sprue F, but assembly is not shown in the instructions. Assembly instructions for the Miniguns are included with the Kitty Hawk Blackhawk version of the kit. The Kitty Hawk Miniguns have very nice detail, but need a vinyl or plastic ammo chute rather than the kit supplied photoetch.

Steps 40 and 41 show assembly of the upper engine and electronics hull doghouse but I had installed these previously to facilitate painting.

The last two pages of the instructions show assembly and installation of a GAU-21 machine guns on both sides of the main cabin. The illustration on page 32 shows the installation of Miniguns at the forward gutter positions but these are not detailed in the instructions.


Kitty Hawk provides decals for two versions of the paperwork:

*           HH-60G "Pave Hawk" 6465 of the 41st Rescue Squadron 'Jolly Green', an overall gray dark gull gray scheme.

*           HH-60G "Pave Hawk" 3689 of the 55th Rescue Squadron 'Night Hawks', a three-color green and gray camouflage scheme.

The decals are thick and required several coats of setting solution for the larger decals. I also used decals from Werner Wing's excellent set for the Pave Hawk that provided decals not included with the Kitty Hawk kit. I created some custom decals for the tail unit designation and the Arizona emblem.

I painted the Pave Hawk with Mission Model's acrylic paints. Dark Gull Grey was used for the basic color as I thought Gunship Grey was too dark compared to reference photos for 26227. Hairspray wear was added in several areas over Dark Aluminum. A dark wash was used to bring out surface detail and make the rivets stand out.


Kitty hawk has produced an excellent kit of the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter. The kit provides very nice detail, accurately represents the aircraft, and offers options to build several variations of the Pave Hawk. Familiarity with the aircraft or good reference photos or very helpful when building this kit.

This kit is not an easy build and is better suited for more experienced builders. The instructions contain many errors and reworking some of the parts is required for a good fit. The recessed rivets on the hall or disappointing but otherwise the kit is very accurate. Substituting plastic or vinyl parts for the gun feed and ejection chutes would have been better.


In summary, Kitty Hawk's kit was an enjoyable, although difficult, build that results in an accurate representation of the Pave Hawk.


Thanks to Kitty Hawk for producing this excellent kit and providing the review sample to IPMS.

USS Hornet (CV-8) - Legends of Warfare

Tue, 03/31/2020 - 00:53
Product Image Review Author:  Blaine Singleton David Doyle Books The Author

David Doyle's earliest published works appeared in periodicals aimed at the hobby of historic military vehicle restoration. By 1999 this included regular features in leading hobby publications, appearing regularly in US, English and Polish magazines. Since 2003, over 100 of his books have been published. Broadening his horizons from his initial efforts concerning vehicles, he soon added aircraft and warships to his research objectives.


The book is divided into four chapters all covering the beginning construction to the final day of the Hornet. I've included a brief description of what is contained in each chapter.

  • Chapter 1 - Construction
    • Originally there were to be Yorktown class ships the Enterprise and the Yorktown. With the War building around the world, Congress decided to build a third ship the Hornet. The Ships keel was laid down on September 25, 1939 and finished on October 20, 1941.
  • Chapter 2 - Into Service
    • In December 1941, Hornet was wrapping up sea trials and went back to port for repairs. In February 1942 Hornet saw two B-25's hoisted aboard and begin take-off testing for what world be her next assignment.
  • Chapter 3 - "Shangri-La" The Doolittle Raid
    • When Franklin Roosevelt was asked by a news reporter of the origin of the bombers that had just struck Japan he replied, they came from a secret base at Shangri-La.
  • Chapter 4 - A Fighter to the End
    • Hornet was sent to the Battle of the Coral Sea but arrived too late to participate. Her next assignment would be to Midway.
    • In September 1942, Hornet was sent to Guadalcanal for the ensuing battle of Santa Cruz where she was eventually sunk by Japanese Forces.
In the Book

The book is hardbound with 4 chapters and 112 pages. It didn't take long for me to read all the book in one night. All the information on the ship and the photographs that the book contained were a joy to look at and read. All the photos were black and white and had a lot of clarity.

Some of the items described in the book were the ship's initial World War tour assignments, and a description of preparation to bomb Japan and executing the mission. One of many incidents described in the book was the emergency landing of a F4F wildcat from the Yorktown on the Hornet. When the Wildcat landed the machine gun safety system had been damaged, so when the Wildcat landed the guns started firing killing five crew members and wounding twenty.

The book is full of great photographs and descriptions of activities during the life of the ship, ending with a detailed explanation of the ship's final days at the Battle of Santa Cruz.


I had a limited knowledge of the USS Hornet previously and thus the reason to request a review of this book. The subject was very well covered with history of the ship construction, missions, and of the different upgrades throughout its service.

If you are preparing to build a model of the USS Hornet, or if you just have an interest in the Hornet, I recommend this book as a reference.

I want to thank David Doyle and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to read and review the book.

American Armor in the Pacific

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 23:08
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery Casemate Publishers Overview as Found on the Website

This latest in the Casemate Illustrated series explores American armor during the Pacific Campaign of WWII, from 1942-45. During this period there were over twenty major tank battles and operations where tanks provided heavy support to infantry units. These operations include the battle of Tarawa and the Bougainville Campaign. Relying heavily on first-person accounts, the strategies and tactics of the opposing forces are discussed.

This book also looks at the Pacific theater, and how American armor was employed with great success in that theater of war. Detailed information on American and Japanese armored forces, including development, equipment, capabilities, organization, and order of battle, is given.

About the Author

Mike Guardia is an internationally recognized author and military historian. A veteran of the United States Army, he served six years on active duty (2008-2014) as an Armor Officer. He is the author of the widely acclaimed Hal Moore: A Soldier Once...and Always, the first-ever biography chronicling the life of LTG Harold G. Moore, whose battlefield leadership was popularized by the film "We Were Soldiers," starring Mel Gibson. Guardia has twice been nominated for the Army Historical Foundation's Distinguished Book Award and is an active member in the Military Writers Society of America.

Table of Contents
  • Timeline of Events - The timeline on pages 6 and 7 includes the major points in the development and use of armor in the Pacific Theater from Feb 1941 to Sept 2, 1945.
  • Introduction - The introduction lays out the political and military situation in the Pacific area. A point brought forward in this part of the book is that the tactics involving the use of armor in the Pacific was, by the nature of the geography of the battle zones would be different than in North Africa or Europe.
  • Opposing Forces - The author lists and describes the Japanese armor in use such as the Type 94 Tankette, Type 97 T-Ke Tankette, Type 89 Chi-Ro Medium Tank, Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tank, Type 97 Chi-He Medium Tank, and Type 98 Ke-Ni Light Tank. On the American side the author includes the M2 Light Tank, M3/M5 Stuart Light Tank, M4 Sherman, LVT Alligator, and the M3 Half-track Gun Motor Carriage
  • Defeat in the Philippines
  • The Southwest Pacific Campaign
  • Central Pacific Campaign
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mariana Islands
  • Peleliu
  • Western Pacific Campaign
  • Afterword - The author states that the tactics used by American Armor in the Pacific were successful, listing the Sherman as the most successful American AFV followed by the Stuart. The author describes the Japanese armor as "under-armored, under-powered, and mechanically troublesome."
  • Further Reading - The author provides a list of 13 publications for further reading on this subject.
  • Index

The images contained in the book are stunning in quality and add a high level of "connection" between the reader and the text. In fact, this book had a high impact on me as I studied the text and inspected the photographs. As a youngster I lived on Guam (1954-1956) and I have memories of a Japanese tank on the side of one of the roads near where my family lived. I remember crawling into the open hatch and finding the interior to be witness to the violence of battle. Of course, I didn't know what all of the levers and other devices (or what was left of them) were for, but at the bottom of the tank, amid piles of metal debris, was a boot with a bit of bone fragment within. Guardia's book refreshed that memory daily, as I read through the book in a few sittings. I find books that have the level of emotional impact upon the reader, such as this book possesses, are of significant value.


This book is highly recommended for its extensive coverage of the use of armor by the opposing forces in the Pacific, the descriptions of battles in which the armor played a significant role, the excellent maps which provide a clear "aerial view" of the islands and locations of fighting, and the excellent photographs which support the text. Thanks to Casemate for making this book available to IPMS for review.

More Air National Guard Mustang Decals

Mon, 03/30/2020 - 21:40
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery Iliad Design

Iliad Design has a newly released set of decals for 1/48th scale P-51D Mustangs in various National Guard markings. Upon receiving the decal set for review I contacted Iliad Design and asked if there was a specific P-51D kit for which the decals were designed to be used. I was informed that the decals could be used on any P-51D on the market. I bought an Airfix P-51D to use as the test bed for this review. This is not a review of the Airfix kit, but I should mention that it has a great deal of detail. I mention this detail because the decals would be put to the test to see how well they "fit" over, and into, this detail. I will mention that I enjoyed the Airfix project immensely and found it to be a model that I could recommend to anyone who is looking for a good Mustang.

The Iliad decal sheet includes tail codes, fuselage markings for National Guard units from four States, nose art (when called for), and the usual Star and Bar national insignia. This decal sheet does not provide stenciling. Stencil decals and a few other markings will be added to the Mustang later, but all the decals seen in the accompanying images are Iliad decals.

Included on this sheet are markings for Mustangs in National Guard units for Oklahoma, Minnesota, Texas, and Wisconsin. I chose to finish my Mustang using the Texas markings. The instruction sheet which accompanies the decal sheet has some helpful artwork which makes placement on the airframe simple. Four illustrations, showing the port side of the aircraft are very helpful when applying the decals. The illustrations show panel lines and those lines happen to match up very well with the detail engraved into the Airfix kit. On the reverse side of the instruction sheet are four illustrations which show the upper surface of the aircraft. Again, the panel lines shown on the illustrations match those on the Airfix kit.

The model was painted using Alclad paint, some enamel paint, and some acrylic paint. The aircraft was airbrushed with a coat of Future. To apply the decals, they were placed in distilled water, which was room temperature, that being about 80 degrees. I found that the decals were ready to apply after 30 seconds to 1 minute in the water. No setting solution was used, and none was required. A Q-Tip was used to help the decals snuggle into the engraving. I was pleased that the decals did not wrinkle or rip when being handled. The decals are thick enough to be handled but thin enough to fit nicely on the curved surfaces of the wings and the fuselage.

When spending hard-earned money on a kit, then buying after-market decals, building the kit, and painting the model, one expects the decals to be the final step that makes the project an enjoyable experience. These decals exceeded my expectations. One expects the decals to have distinct color separation, when appropriate, and these decals have sharp lines of separation between the colors. The dimensions of the various areas of the white, blue, and red on the Star and Bar markings are uniform and consistent. There isn't a problem with colors "bleeding" or off-center printing. The instruction sheet, showing the placement of the markings, is easy to read and interpret.

This decal sheet is highly recommended. The decals are of high quality and well worth the modest price. Thanks to Iliad Design for providing this product to IPMS for review.

Top Drawing 85 Jagdpanzer IV L/48 and L/70

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 16:42
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Kagero Publishing

The book provides great detail drawings of the Jagdpanzer IV which was German WWII tank destroyer based on the Pz.Kpfw. IV as a replacement for the successful StuG III. It was produced in two versions the L/48 with a 7.5cm PaK 39 gun produced from Jan to Nov 1944 at the Vomag plant. The second was the L/70 produced in two factories Vomag and Alkett plants. It used the Pak 42 gun and produced from Nov 1944 to April 1945.

 I found the drawings in this book to be fascinating and very detailed.

Along with the many outline drawings (in 1/35, 1/48 & 1/72 scales) there is also very nice profile drawings.

The final few pages have so great details of components of the tank.

I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in the armour and a must for modellers.

Thanks go to Casemate Publishing for providing this book to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them

Top Drawing 85 Jagdpanzer IV L/48 and L/70

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 16:42
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Kagero Publishing

The book provides great detail drawings of the Jagdpanzer IV which was German WWII tank destroyer based on the Pz.Kpfw. IV as a replacement for the successful StuG III. It was produced in two versions the L/48 with a 7.5cm PaK 39 gun produced from Jan to Nov 1944 at the Vomag plant. The second was the L/70 produced in two factories Vomag and Alkett plants. It used the Pak 42 gun and produced from Nov 1944 to April 1945.

 I found the drawings in this book to be fascinating and very detailed.

Along with the many outline drawings (in 1/35, 1/48 & 1/72 scales) there is also very nice profile drawings.

The final few pages have so great details of components of the tank.

I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in the armour and a must for modellers.

Thanks go to Casemate Publishing for providing this book to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them

AN/ALQ-71(V)-2 ECM pod

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 16:35
Product Image Review Author:  David Horn Eduard

The AN/ALQ-71 "COMPASS ROBIN" is an electronic countermeasure pod that was developed from QRC-160-1 in the mid 1960's. Carried by a variety of military aircraft during the Vietnam, it was commonly seen on the RF-101C, F-105F, A-7, F-4 and the B-52. The ECM pod function is to blind the enemy radars guiding surface-to-air missiles, early warning radars, and ground-control intercept radars. The AN/ALQ-71 was phased out of service in the early 1970's and replaced by the AN/ALQ-119.

Eduard is known for a wide variety of high quality resin, photo etch and full kits. The AN/ALQ-71(V)-2 is part of their "Brassin" line which is a multi-media product that includes resin, photo etch and appropriate decals. This product is cast in gray resin and bubble free with a small pour block that you can clearly define where the part is and what resin needs to be cut away. The resin gives you five different antennas, two forward sections and three aft sections for a wide variety of pod version. There a single photo etch fret that has two styles of generator fan blades. The decals are very nice with fine details easily seen.

First step is to know which pod needs to be built. I did not realize that there were so many configurations to choose from. As I always say, check your references and note that you may find a configuration that is not shown on the decal sheet. Assembly is very simple and instructions are clear on different configurations. The forward portion is "keyed" so it can only be installed one way which helps from installing it upside down. Once assembled (less photo etch fan blades), the pod was painted white overall, radome tan (instructions just state "radome") on a few antennas. A couple areas around the mounting lugs are painted the black as specified in the directions. For final color touches, I added panel line wash to help enhance the fine engraved features..

To finish the build, I added the decals then the fan blades for the air driven generator. The fan blades are very delicate and could easily break off so that is why that should be your last step in the build. With one coat of clear varnish, the pod is complete and ready to add to a model.

I would like to thank Eduard for this review sample.