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Updated: 7 hours 16 min ago

Spotlight on Ilyushin Il-2

Fri, 09/18/2020 - 10:38
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra Mushroom Model Publications

The Ilyushin Il-2, commonly known as the "Sturmovik," was a ground attack aircraft used by the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War (World War 2) in great numbers.  In fact, it was the most produced aircraft of all back then, with almost 37,000 being made during the course of the war.  Simple, sturdy and heavily armored, it played a crucial role on the Eastern Front fighting against the Axis, destroying innumerable vehicles and tanks and greatly blunting the force of Hitler's attacks on the homeland.

This new volume by MMP Books in their "Spotlight On" series is a wonderful reference for modelers.  It begins with a quick overview of the camouflage specifications for aircraft of the Soviet Union, and then follows with page after page of profiles.  In fact, the book is almost entirely dedicated to color profiles and plan views.

This slim 42-page hardbound journal features 34 different aircraft in a bewildering range of schemes for both the early single and the later dual-seat versions, including one with a torpedo!  All are beautifully rendered and displayed in vivid color.  If there isn't something here you can use on your next build, you're a tougher audience than I am.

Plainly speaking, this is very much a modeler's reference, with enough ideas and information to make your next project something special.  I certainly intend to use this reference when I finally gird my loins enough to tackle the Trumpeter 1/32nd kit.  The only question, of course, is with so many choices, which to choose?

I can gleefully recommend this volume for any modeler interested in WW2 aviation, and I suspect the others in this range would prove to be equally useful.  My thanks to MMP Books for releasing this useful text and to IPMS/USA for a chance to add it to my library.  Excellent!

US WASP (1943 – 1945)

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 23:10
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra ICM

The Women's Airforce Service Pilots organization was a unit during World War 2 in which women became trained pilots in order to test or ferry aircraft to war zones, the whole intent being to free more male pilots for combat roles.  Formed from the Women's Flying Training Detachment and the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, the WASPs merged these two into a single unit in 1942 and carried out their various duties until 1944.  Despite their service, WASPs were accorded no military standing and did not receive any of the benefits accorded male members of the Army Air Corps.  Thirty-eight members of the unit died while transporting military aircraft or cargo, towing targets for live anti-aircraft training, or performing any of a number of other high-risk training missions in the service of their country.  In 1977, thirty-three years afterwards, the survivors were finally granted veteran status.  In 2009 the unit was collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their selfless duty.

ICM has once again come out with a figure set unlike anything else on the market.  In this case, they provide three beautifully sculpted figures of women pilots and support staff in casual poses which can be employed in a variety of dioramas or stand as individual display pieces.  All three figures are very well detailed with distinctive features and character.  

Assembly is relatively straight-forward with a couple of exceptions, one being the pilot with the parachute harness, which took me a bit of fiddling to figure out.  Unfortunately, ICM no longer shows multiple views of their figures in the instructions, instead offering a sort of "low rez" version of the box art.  This means that you're sometimes stuck piecing things together from guesswork.  I THINK I got mine right, but without further visual reinforcement I can't be sure.

The only other place requiring a bit of patience and putty was the office woman's dress, which did not fit well and required some persuasion to come together.  Putty is definitely required in any case.  No other problems with assembly were encountered, however.

When it comes to painting, I discovered online that the range of uniforms used is a lot broader than what is presented on the box art, so I took liberties and used some of the online information to paint them up in more than the fairly drab khaki shown.  I love the differences among the figures, in that you can clearly see that the woman with the parachute is an "older hand" than the other two women.  All three positively exude character and I can hardly wait to find a suitable setting for each of them.  Outstanding!

All in all, I can't think of anything about this set I didn't like with the exception of the somewhat vague instructions.  This is a unique set that I am really charmed with.  I cannot recommend them highly enough.

My thanks to ICM for constantly pushing the modeling frontier, and to IPMS/USA for a chance to add these lovely ladies to my collection.  

Everyone be safe and happy modeling!

American Guided Missiles of World War II

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 21:26
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Osprey Publishing

Steven J. Zaloga was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts to John and Muriel Zaloga on February 1, 1952. Steven earned his undergraduate degree Cum Laude in History at Union College and his Masters' degree in History at Columbia University. He obtained a Certificate in International Affairs from the graduate program of the University of Cracow. He has worked in the aerospace industry for some twenty years as an analyst specializing in missiles, precision guided munitions and unarmed aerial vehicles. Steven has served with a federal think tank, Defense Analyses. He was the writer director for The Discovery Channel's "Firepower" series from 1987 to 1992. He has authored many books on military technology, especially in armored warfare. Steven is a noted scale armor modeler and is a member of AMPS (Armor Modeling and Preservation Society).

Illustrator Jim Laurier, a native of New England, provides the color profiles. Jim has been drawing since he could hold a pencil.  He graduated with honors from Paier School of Art in Hamden, Connecticut, from 1974-78.  Throughout his life, Jim has worked in many mediums creating artwork on a variety of subjects. He has worked on the Osprey Aviation list since 2000, and has been featured in hundreds of aviation books. Jim Laurier prefers working in oils on canvas and has specialized in Vietnam War era aircraft.  He currently lives in New Hampshire. You can find his artwork at http://www.aviationarthangar.com/jimlaurier.html . Check him out!

Osprey's 283rd book in the New Vanguard series is a square back soft cover including 48 gloss paper pages.  The front cover features a color painting of four of the 413 VB-1 Azon dropped in Burma on December 1944, by Jim Laurier (a larger one-page landscape version is included inside on Page 37).  I counted 35 black and white pictures, five color photographs, and five tables. Jim Laurier contributes four battle-scene color illustrations in addition to a two-page keyed color cutaway of the BQ-7 (B-17G). Jim also provides color side and top views of the GB-1 and TDR-1.  Steven J. Zaloga contributes a color illustration of one of two PB4Y-1 Privateers that was converted to the Anvil guided bomb.

Steven J. Zaloga kicks off this tome with a short introduction to the Kettering Bug of World War I.  Budgets were slashed after the war, and of course this "cruise missile" was a casualty.  General 'Hap' Arnold's familiarity with the Kettering Bug, returned with his promotion to Chief of the Air Corps in 1938.  Charles Kettering again became involved and pushed Arnold to be more ambitious with the concept. The desire for a greater load and range led to the concept of using war weary four engine bombers.  Many are more familiar with this program, Operation Aphrodite, since John F. Kennedy's brother was killed when the bomb load prematurely exploded.  Steven J. Zaloga also covers many of the other programs that sought to match the perceived effects of the German missiles.  This included purpose built aircraft like the TDR-1 that actually saw missions in the Pacific theatre. In the end, the guidance technology simply was not mature enough to make the investment from the Air Corps or Navy's perspective.  Guided vertical bombs in the form of the VB-1 Azon had some success in attacking bridges in Burma, but again success was limited.  The contents include:

Author's Note

Introduction

Cruise Missiles

The Aerial Torpedo

Project Castor: Weary Willies [Page 07]

Project Anvil

Table: AAF Aphrodite Missions

Color Cutaway Illustration: BQ-7 Missile Aircraft

Table: Castor BQ-7x Expended in the ETO

Table: Old Codename - New Codename

Navy Assault Drone Programs

Color Illustration: Interstate TDR-1 "Dog" Assault Drone, South Pacific [Page 15]

Jet Bombardment Missiles

Guided Glide Bombs

Grapefruit and Batty: The AAF Guided Guide to Bombs

Color Illustration: GB-1, Operation Grapefruit, Mission 376, Cologne, May 28, 1944

Color Illustration: GB-4, Operation Betty, La Pallice, France, August 17, 1944

Table: Controlled Guide Bombs

Pelican and Bat: The Navy Guided Glide Bombs

Color Illustration: SWOD Mark 9 Bat, VPB-109, Philippines, 1945 [Page 29]

Color Illustration: Taylorcraft LBT-1 Glomb

Guided Vertical Bombs

VB-1 Azon

Color Illustration: VB-1 Azon, Sittang River, Burma, December 1944

VB-3 Razon

Table: AAF Guided Vertical Bombs

Air Defense Missiles

Air-To-Air Missiles [Page 44]

Surface-To-Surface Ballistic Missiles

Analysis

Further Reading

Books and Publications

Index

America's efforts in guided missiles was largely kept secret and has not received the attention that the Axis countries did in WWII. I found quite a few of the programs that never came to fruition to be quite interesting.  The US's attempts to copy the German V-1 cruise missile was troubled by not fully understanding all the technology involved.  In the end, the American version, the JB-1 Loon, never solved its issues before the end of the war.  It was instrumental in the later development of cruise missiles, but that would not support its planned use for the bombardment of Japan prior to landing troops.  Perhaps showing off the huge issues faced in guidance systems, the US even considered utilizing pigeons to guide missiles.  This would be accomplished by having a pigeon pecking at one of three television screens that showed the target.  This would cause the missile to alter course.  Luckily for the pigeons, this plan never became operational.

Steven J. Zaloga provides a very readable text with plenty of photographs that is supplemented illustrations from Jim Laurier. I was able to read the book easily over two evenings. If you own one the previous releases in the New Vanguard series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.

My thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

Avro Lancaster B Mk. I Nose Art kit

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 00:47
Product Image Review Author:  Ben Morton HK Models Co

Somewhat of a trend in the hobby industry of late has been certain manufacturers releasing detailed, stand alone models of ship components.  Fujimi has a 1/200th scale kit of a main gun turret from the Yamato battleship, Meng released two 1/35th scale kits of Russian Naval vessel armaments: a 130mm gun  turret and the Kastean Close-In Weapons System. While Naval armaments are fine, what if your modeling interests are aircraft? Fear not gentle reader, HK Models has come to the rescue.  

HK Models is releasing a complete kit of the nose section from their 1/32nd scale Avro Lancaster. This 'Nose Art' kit features all the bits from the full-size model, leaving you with a detailed, standalone replica of the Lancaster's pilot, bomb aimer/forward gunner, flight engineer, navigator, and radio operator positions. (The other two crew members sat in the mid and aft sections of the fuselage.)

Don't concern yourself with not being able to see all the detail when you're finished.  HK Models has provided the right fuselage side in clear plastic that will allow for a see-through model of this kit.  Additionally, there is a cradle/construction dolly included to appropriately show off your 'Nose Art'.  

Per Wikipedia: "The standard crew for a Lancaster consisted of seven men, stationed in various positions in the fuselage. Starting at the nose, the bomb aimer had two positions to man. His primary location was lying prone on the floor of the nose of the aircraft, with access to the bomb sight controls facing forward, with the Mark XIV bomb sight on his left and bomb release selectors on the right. He also used his view out of the large transparent perspex nose cupola to assist the navigator with map reading. To man the Frazer Nash FN5 nose turret, he stood up placing himself in position behind the triggers of the twin .303 in (7.7 mm) guns.

On the roof of the bomb bay the pilot and flight engineer sat side by side under the expansive canopy, with the pilot sitting on the left on a raised portion of the floor. The flight engineer sat on a collapsible seat (known as a "second dickey seat") to the pilot's right, with the fuel selectors and gauges on a panel behind him and to his right.

Behind the pilot and flight engineer, and behind a curtain fitted to allow him to use light to work, sat the navigator. His position faced to port with a chart table in front of him. An instrument panel showing the airspeed, altitude, and other information required for navigation was mounted on the side of the fuselage above the chart table. The wireless operator's radios were mounted on the left-hand end of the chart table, facing the rear of the aircraft. Behind these and facing forwards the wireless operator sat on a seat at the front of the main spar. On his left was a window, and above him was the astrodome, used for visual signaling and by the navigator for celestial navigation.

Assembly begins with the cockpit. Oh wait! This is a kit of a cockpit so where else would one begin....  There are 171 kit parts in the box which includes a small fret of photo etch (seat belts, air scopes, etc.) and all the clear bits (canopy, windows, and such) plus the afore mentioned fuselage side panel.

Just to shake things up, I began with the last set of steps and built the construction dolly first. This cradle was used to move the completed, forward fuselage about in the factory. This is a fairly simple construction project although the assembly instructions did get some of the part numbers wrong. (The dolly wheels should be part # 9 and the casters should be part # 7).  If you wish to use the dolly to display your 'Nose Art' kit you will need to drill out a few holes in the fuselage sides but that is clearly marked in the assembly instructions.  

HK Models didn't designate a particular color for this cradle and a brief search of the internet didn't reveal much in the way of color photos. I did manage to find an image of some red/ white scaffolding used in the final assemble stage of the Lancaster, so I went with an overall reddish shade. These things were probably banged around a lot in the factory, so a weathered or well used look might be appropriate.  

Now it is on to the actual cockpit and that begins with the pilot seat. But before you dive into building, pay careful attention to the assembly instructions. Make careful note of what needs to be removed and what needs to stay on specific parts. HK Models lists color callouts for the various parts throughout assembly. A handy color guide is included which matches paints from AK Interactive, Tamiya, and Gunze/Mr. Hobby for the specific color.

The pilot seat is comprised of fourteen parts (some of which are very delicate) including photoetched seat belts. Of note is the seat headrest. This armored headrest was hinged and can be modeled folded down behind the seat. The assembly instructions show a large yellow circle painted on the headrest. Allegedly this was gas sensitive paint that would alert crewman to the presence of unhealthy agents.  But I like the other explanation better. The Lancaster only had one pilot and this spot was the optional place to whack the seat to awaken the pilot when they dozed off.

Various components for the bomb aimer, wireless operator, and navigator stations come next as well as some additional detail components for the pilot (rudder pedals, control column, etc.). There are seven parts for the pilot's forward instrument panel but, sadly, no decals for the instruments. Both Eduard (cockpit details, seat belts, canopy masks) and Airscale (instrument panels) have after-market bits to enhance this area.  I went with 'hand painting' the instrument dials with a silver Sharpie and a toothpick to apply assorted colors to the other instruments. All of these subassemblies as well as side walls and additional detail bits get attached to the cockpit floor which is actually the roof of the forward bomb bay. Which gives a whole new meaning to "being on the hot seat"!

There are a number of ejector pin marks on the backside of the instrument panel, bomb bay bulkhead, wireless operator's panel, and a cockpit side panel (one with the flight engineer's instruments molded onto it). That side panel (part # P 1) may be the problematic one as the rear side will be visible through the clear fuselage.  Speaking of that clear fuselage side, HK Models has embossed it with their logo and the part number. If you remove those, get out the polishing compound as that removal might leave a mark.

Another aspect of using the clear fuselage side that may present a challenge are the number of parts (fuze/ instrument panels, etc.) that are added to the inside of the forward fuselage side for the bomb aimer station.  One challenge of note are the attachment points on the clear fuselage side. Those attachment points seemed a bit vague. What isn't so vague is the need to paint most of these parts before you attach them to the clear fuselage. The inside of both fuselage sides have excellent molded detail to which all those previously mentioned extra bits (fuse panels, controls, etc.) get added. HK Models even provides an alternative photoetch bit (mounting bracket) for one of the bomb aimers aiming devices.

Next on the assembly agenda is the twenty-two part forward gun turret. The gun barrels are designed to be added later should you wish to avoid the possibility of knocking them off as you continue your 'Nose Art' model. Master Models has brass, replacement barrels for this kit. This step is the first use of the excellent, clear parts for this kit. Due to the size of this kit you may wish to give some thought to painting the inner canopy framing as you progress through your build. A black Sharpie might ease this task. Be careful removing all the clear parts from the sprues, I didn't and wound up with some laborious polishing to remove the sprue attachment points from some of the clear parts.

The interior assembly gets sandwiched between the two fuselage halves. Remember you have the choice of either a clear side panel or the traditional (non see-through, of course) plastic part.  Pitot tubes, cooling vents, and some other bits are the last things added to the outer fuselage. I added some maps to the navigator's station just for grins. If you look closely you can just make out the Port of Calais.

HK Models provides marking options for four different aircraft: one from the RAF, two RAAF (Australian) and one Canadian bird (the option I choose). As you only apply decals to just one side, this task is pretty quick and simple. The decals settled down beautifully. Having previously drilled out some mounting holes in the fuselage panels, the 'Nose Art' model gets placed in the transport trolley/shop cradle. The only thing left to do is sit back and admire your handy work.

The Avro Lancaster B Mk.I 'Nose Art' Kit from HK Models is a neat, easy to build, space saving model of the business end of that iconic British bomber. For the avid (or rabid) detailer out there, there are ample opportunities to add a plethora of extra bits (wiring, control cables, etc.).  And the fun part about detailing this kit is that it isn't the entire aircraft. Not only does this offering save space, it will be a real time saver as well. Just be sure to give this impressive kit a place of honor in your display space of choice.

My thanks to HK Models and IPMS/USA for the review copy.

Support Your Local Hobby Shop!

MENG- British FV510 Warrior TES(H) AIFV

Wed, 09/16/2020 - 23:55
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Meng Model

MENG has released a new tool kit of this great British AFV, which I have always wanted to have in my collection.  

I jumped at the opportunity to review this kit for two reasons, firstly I love the look of this vehicle and it's a British AFV with no other offerings in this scale on the market.

In the box is;

  • 5 x very light grey Sprues
  • 1 x clear sprue
  • 1 x Upper Hull in light grey
  • 1 x Turret in light grey
  • 1 x Lower hull in light grey
  • 1 x small Decal sheet
  • Track links
  • 1 x Metal Gun Barrel
  • Polycarp's - Big and small
  • 1 x Photo etch sheets (small)
  • 1x Instruction booklet
  • Data sheets

The kit consists of a very well details and molded sprues. A couple of great additions to the kit are the PE masks for the wheels and the Track pads. Also, the PE is all pre-cut and do not need clipping from the sheet which is an awesome idea that I hope other will do as this makes PE so much more workable. They also include a small tool for assembling the tracks.

 

Construction:

Stages 1 and 2 is the construction of the lower hull suspension and torsion bars. Which was easy to complete.

Stages 3 to 5 are attaching details to the upper hull.

Stages 6 to 7 assemble the hull and add the rear door bulkhead.

Stages 8 to 10 assemble the road wheels etc. I did not attach the wheels at this stage as that will be after the main painting.

Stage 11 is the track assembly, again I did not assembly to the Warrior at this point. The track assembly was very easy once I got into the swing of it using the provided tool. You have to be careful lining the pins up as they can be bend very easily and I did ruin a couple the first go.

Stages 12 to 22 adds more details to the hull and all when together well.

Stage 23 and 24 add the rear tool box and AC unit. Here I did add some PE from my spares box to improve the A/C mesh/grills which were the only area on the kit I did feel was not as good as it could be.

Stages 25 to 27 add the main hull bar armor which is very good.

Stages 28 to 37 are the assembly of the Turret. This too was a very easy build.

Stage 38 adds the turret and metal barrel which I did out in some metal burnishing liquid overnight.

Now I did the priming and main painting. Next I attached the road wheels, mud guards and then tracks.

This was awesome build and I enjoyed every minute of it. I would have liked a few more options on the decals and schemes.

 

Summary:

This was a fantastic kit, it goes together like a dream and I highly recommend it.

Thanks go to MENG models for providing this kit to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them.

DRAKEN International A-4L A-4K TA-4K Contract Air Services #1

Wed, 09/16/2020 - 23:44
Product Image Review Author:  David Horn Twobobs Aviation Graphics

Two Bobs Aviation Graphics is one of leaders in aviation decals with an impressive variety in 1/32, 1/48 and 1/72 scale. This latest release has very interesting subject of privately owned company that offers airborne adversary support (dissimilar aircraft) known as "Red Air". With a fleet of over 50 aircraft, eleven airframes are McDonnel Douglas A-4 Skyhawks and the other six aircraft types range from a single Beech Baron to twenty seven MIG-21's. This sheet, from my count, will allow you to make two of ten different aircraft.

 

There are three sheets with one sheet (standard 5x9) and two smaller sheets covering additional details like intake warnings and external pylon warning triangles. Each sheet is printed perfectly without any print register errors and the few items that have color are very accurately printed. There are some very small markings and easy to read. All the markings are included from tail numbers down to the stencils and the few walkways that exist. There are two (front and back) full color instructions sheet that clearly show placement of markings for the ten different subjects. As a bonus, there is a large section showing reference photos of the real aircraft. The instructions indicate the correct FS paint colors along with five paint brands, AK/MiG, Hataka, Mr. Color, Mr. Paint and Xtracrylix. In addition to all the data, there are a few comments listing aftermarket masks from DNmodels and resin upgrades from Phase Hangar resin so you have everything you need for a contest show stopper.

 

This is one of the most comprehensive decal sheets I have seen. Very fine work from Two Bobs and that is what I have always seen from them. It is nice to see a company covering the uncommon subjects like Draken International. Hopefully Two Bobs will produce decals for more aircraft in the Draken International fleet in the future. I would like to thank Two Bobs Aviation Graphics for this review sample.

Brengun AGM 45 missiles and launch rails

Wed, 09/16/2020 - 23:38
Product Image Review Author:  Rod Lees Brengun

IPMS/USA appreciates the continued support of Jan at Hauler/Brengun for supporting the IPMS USA reviewer corps with yet one more of his unique and useful products!

 

Today's review is a pair of AGM-45 Missiles and Launch rails from Brengun.

 

What you get:  Two Missiles, launch rail adaptors, decals (YAY), and diorama parts.  The diorama parts are the transport spreader bars in PE for the aft Missile launch lug, and the electrical umbilical's for a pre-loaded missile. Also included are the missile motor nozzle rings. 

 

The missiles are well detailed with appropriate screw holes and scribing.  The missile forward wings are separate, which allows them to be displayed in "off-line" condition, or in a missile transport coffin with the wings off.  (This is not included). 

 

Assembly was uneventful.  The wings require a bit of pour flash to be carefully removed.  Be aware the resin is not brittle and cuts/sands/drills well.  The wings can be assembled as a push-fit, but I recommend a bit of thin superglue to hold them in place. 

The aft fins needed a bit of careful knife work to clean up the pour point, but afterwards were very well rendered.  I drilled out the missile body to facilitate painting and make it easier to install the engine nozzle rings.  No flying away if the glue didn't grab, as the nozzles just sat on the end with the cocktail stick capturing the ring if it popped off.   Once the superglue cured, they were in place.  

 

The mounting rails fit the missile rails nicely and I opted to drill a hole through the launch rail and into the missile with a length of coat hanger wire remaining exposed, in order to facilitate using the pin to hold the assembly to the launch pylon, and making for a more durable fit.

 

Painting was simple; gray primer to fill scratches and check for too much CA, followed by Tamiya white spray cans primer.  This was followed by Krylon's gloss white over all, and allowed to cure. 

 

Decals behaved very well, and did not silver.  I went ahead and micro-soled them, and they were held firmly in place.  A light mist of satin gloss, and done.  These decals seriously made a big difference in the final appearance of the missiles... a trend most manufacturers have been following for a few years now.  It is worth the extra time and struggle to get them in place!

 

I was very pleased to have been the reviewer of this AGM-45 set, as it is a solution for my F-105 "Wild weasel".  The Trumpeter Shrikes have the missile front wings mounted extremely too far to the rear. (As a note, the Hobbyboss 1/48th F-105G is a downsized computer copy of the 1/32nd Trumpeter kit, and this error is prevalent on their Shrikes too...)   1/48th scale is easier to source Shrikes for.   Brengun got the whole assembly correct!

 

End of review notes: No problems, an excellent evening of light detail work, and another couple of hours for decals and finish paint (most of it waiting for paint curing). 

 

Full marks for this item, thanks very much to Jan for providing the set and thanks to IPMS for the opportunity to review them!

 

 

Combat Vehicles of Russia’s Special Forces

Wed, 09/16/2020 - 23:28
Product Image Review Author:  Marc K. Blackburn Osprey Publishing

Osprey is a prolific publishing company based in England that not only covers historical military history topics, but modern ones as well. Published in 2020, this work as a tight focus on vehicles used by the wide variety of elite and specialist troops in the Russian Republic. As with nearly every series of Osprey the book is filled with well reproduced photographs (all color) and illustrations. It divides the book into the various users and, again as a regular feature of these books, a short list of suggested works for those who would like to know more.

The first part of the book is related to Russian Special Forces, the Spetsnaz. The book focuses on a cross section of light vehicles used by these elite soldiers. They book focuses on light military vehicles, primarily their equivalent to HUMVEEs and buggies used by U.S. Special Forces. Given the recent support Russia was giving to the Assad regime in Syria, much of the use of these vehicles is in that context. From Special Forces, the book moves to airborne, concentrating on the venerable BMD and BTR. The BMD, a smaller version of the Russian BMP fighting vehicle has seen a great deal of use and service. Obviously, it has continued to evolve into a vehicle that meets the needs of the airborne which serve as light infantry....akin the American Stryker Brigades.

From the airborne, the book briefly covers the naval infantry and their choices of newer vehicles before moving to more specialized vehicles used in the arctic and urban warfare before moving to domestic security services. It is interesting to note, for example, that there is a domestic manufacturing capacity for snow mobiles. Given the specialty vehicles built for urban warfare, I would have liked to see more about the development and use of the Terminator, the specialty vehicle built on a T-72 chassis. The remainder of the book covers the plethora of light vehicles used by the various internal security divisions of the Russian Republic.

Given the relative lack of public information on Russian vehicles, this is certainly a welcome addition. I am assuming most of this information came for public sources, so it is nice to a place where you can get this information. It is a nice balance between describing the nomenclature of the vehicles and there use. I imagine that this book is a snapshot in time and will have to be updated in the future. For modelers, there are some vehicles that are highlighted that have been made into kits.  My thanks to IPMS and Osprey Publications for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Tank Attack at Monte Cassino – The Cavendish Road operation 1944

Wed, 09/16/2020 - 20:33
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Pen and Sword Books Ltd

This book covers a little-known major operation within the campaign at Monte Cassino which was a success in its own right.

The operation was to build a road and assault German positions north of Monte Cassino with tanks of the New Zealanders, Indians and Americans forces. The plan was audacious and daring by building a road able to carry the tanks on a narrow mountain track. The operation would help in breaking through the infamous Gustav Line. I have long been interested in the Monte Cassino operation as my Father was involved in this campaign, but I had never read anything on this operation and found the book fascination and illuminating. The work and effort put into this action was enormous. The pictures and maps help the read to outstand the events and actions. The picture of the area as it is now also adds another dimension to the readers knowledge.

 I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in WWII.

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

Scale Plans No. 65 Mikoyan Gurevich Mig-21F

Wed, 09/16/2020 - 13:26
Product Image Review Author:  James Kelley Casemate Publishers

Continuing in their Scale Plans series, MMP Books has released Scale Plans No. 65, covering the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MF. Consisting of 6 pages, which are each a fold-out set of plans (Nerd Centerfolds, according to my wife) in both 1/72 and 1/48 scales. Opening each set of plans, the book now has 12 pages.

Each set of plans consists of:

  • Port & Starboard views
  • Top and Bottom views
  • Head-on views
  • Fuselage cross section templates
  • Underwing pylons
  • Weapons/missiles, including:
    • RS-2US
    • S-24
    • R-3S
    • R-3R
    • R-13
    • R-60
    • UB-16 Rocket Launcher
    • MBD-2 Multiple Bomb Rack
    • FAB-100 on MBD-2 Bomb Rack
    • FAB-250 Bomb
    • FAB-500 Bomb
  • Three different Fuel Tanks

Each graphic is meticulous in detail, and printed on heavy, semi-gloss stock. One of the head-on views depicts the drogue parachute deployed, which I found to be an interesting detail to include. For any modeler considering a scratch-building or super-detailing MiG-21MF project, this book(let) is an invaluable asset. Even if you are not, and you just like looking at plans of aircraft, this volume is for you. If you need the scale plans to be in 1/144 or 1/32 scale, it would be an easy task to size them up or down on a copier.

Highly recommended, and a good value as well.

My thanks to IPMS/USA and Casemate Publishers/MMP Books for the review sample.

Single No. 17 Supermarine Spitfire IIA

Wed, 09/16/2020 - 12:33
Product Image Review Author:  Brian R. Baker MMP Books

This book is part of a series providing detailed information on a particular aircraft intended for scale modelers.  It is not a historical account of the service life of the aircraft and does not provide a variety of color schemes for the type as by used by different units.  It provides detailed six-view line drawings of the specific aircraft in three scales, plus black and white color photos of several complete aircraft (museum display survivors) and detailed photos of specific parts of the aircraft.  Several drawings are included, including an excellent one of the instrument panel, and some drawings from maintenance manuals are includes.

The book is not intended to be a historical coverage of the type, only a detailed reference showing specific parts of the aircraft not included in ordinary references.  Other publications provide numerous color and marking varieties for the type, while this one only covers several aircraft, however, in much greater detail. It is heavy on pictures and drawings, and light on the text.

Recommendation:

This book would be especially useful if you are doing a series of Spitfire Mk. II's in your favorite scale and want to include as much detail as possible. Or also if you are just interested in the airplane. Excellent color drawings are provided for one aircraft, and a few photos are provided of several other Spitfires of the same type. This book is truly intended for serious modelers. Highly recommended.

Single No. 21 Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero

Wed, 09/16/2020 - 10:59
Product Image Review Author:  Brian R. Baker Mushroom Model Publications

This book is part of a series of highly specialized coverages of specific World War II aircraft types and is intended for serious scale modelers who work in 1/72, 1/48, and 1/32 scale.  This book covers the Mitsubishi A6M-5 Zero 52 fighter and serves mainly as a reference for specific details of this particular aircraft type. There is little text other than the captions for photos and drawings, and only covers a few specific aircraft that have survived in museums throughout the world. In this case, the planes in the Imperial War Museum in England, and the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, California are shown.  The Chino airplane may still be flyable, and I recall seeing it flying years ago.  One of the photos of it also shows the museum's P-51D and North American O-47A in the background.

The book has excellent information for the serious modeler, and detail drawings and photos of specific parts of the plane.  An excellent color drawing of the instrument panel is provided, as well as closeup photos of specific parts not normally seen in references of this type. Some of these drawings are from actual Mitsubishi technical manuals.  The drawings are of a specific A6M5 captured on Saipan towards the end of the war, and photos of it also appear in standard Navy and Army recognition manuals published towards the end of the war.

Recommendation:

This highly specialized work would be a worthy addition to any modeler's library and would be extremely useful in constructing models of this aircraft.  For the price, it is an excellent bargain.  Highly recommended.

Gloster Sea Gladiator Mk.II

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 23:47
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra ICM

The siege of Malta - a small island in the Mediterranean Sea - held by the British from 1940 to 1942 against the combined might of the German and Italian air and sea forces is one of the more memorable stories from World War 2.  Directly on the route from Europe to North Africa, it was a thorn in the side of the Axis supply line to their forces duking it out for control of Libya and Algeria.  They decided to reduce the island and its garrison as a threat, and Malta became the most bombed area of land in the entire war.  Only a few fighters were on the island during the early months of the siege, and they were the already-obsolete Sea Gladiators of the Royal Navy.  Totaling six in all, three of them became famous in military lore as "Faith, Hope and Charity", fighting off incessant bombing by the Italian and German air forces and earning themselves a place in history.

ICM now tops off their 1/32nd scale Gloster Gladiator series with the pugnacious Sea Gladiator.  This boxing includes all the parts to make both the standard Mk. I and Mk. II Gladiators, along with a small sprue containing the arrestor hook housing insert for the fuselage, the arrestor hook itself, and a dingy stowage underbelly compartment.  Four sets of markings are provided, although only one of them is for a Malta defender.  As with the other releases, all control surfaces are separate, and it includes the option of exposing the engine for display.

As always, construction begins with the interior, and as before, the fuselage guns are included in their entirety although they lack ammunition channels.  As they are virtually invisible upon completion, this doesn't really pose a problem.  In common with all releases, there is a noticeable pin mark in the middle of the seat back that really needs to be filled in before adding aftermarket seat belts.  The decal sheet provides all instrument faces for the control panel as separate items, and although I normally prefer to hand paint these details, the decals were so good I couldn't pass them up.

Once the interior is complete, the fuselage goes together very quickly - just be sure to use the correct insert for the arrestor hook on the bottom.  The dingy compartment was apparently not always used, but I added mine to my build just to make the model a bit more distinct from the other variants.  I would recommend not installing the gun sight bracket until other work is completed, as it is quite fragile.  The wings and tail fall together nicely and require only a bit of cleanup for installation.  Depending on how you prefer to rig biplanes, you may choose to leave the upper wing off until later in the build.  To simplify painting, I elected to install all the struts on the top wing, and then fit the wing and struts to the rest of the model after basic painting.  Step 46 features the oil cooler intake, and it really should be drilled out for accuracy as it is quite visible on completion.

The engine is a detailed build, but you have to be cautious about what parts to use depending on whether you intend to fully enclose or expose the engine, or just open a panel or two.  The exhausts install either on small stubs meant for an open cowl, or on the cowl parts themselves.  In addition, you only install the piston caps on exposed cylinders, so some careful planning is useful to finish this part of the model off as intended.

Rigging is where some modelers really sweat, and the options for doing this are up to the individual.  Personally, I drilled holes in the wings for all the rigging and used metallic thread and tensioners made from tiny bits of wire jacket.  I'm sure there are more accurate ways to perform this task, but I like the ease and durability that comes from this simple technique.  Like I said, the choice is all yours.

As stated before, there are four marking choices provided with the kit, although they are more or less similar as the British were sticklers for standardization.  The decals, however, are outstanding in every way - well printed, colorful and adhering extremely well to uneven surfaces.  My only beef is that the sheet provides a host of technical marks suitable to this aircraft, but there is literally no information provided on their use or application.  I wish they'd correct this oversight, as I really would have liked to have added them to my model.

All in all, this is an excellent addition to the Gloster Gladiator stable from ICM.  It finally permits me to add one of these gallant Malta defenders to my collection and looks wonderful next to my other Gladiators.  I cannot recommend this kit highly enough for anyone interested in this fascinating story and aircraft.  Well done again, ICM!

As always, my thanks to ICM for making such a wonderful kit, and to IPMS/USA for the chance to complete my line of these tough little biplanes.  Stay safe, everyone, and happy modeling!

Masking Sheets

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 21:10
Product Image Review Author:  Scott Hollingshead AMMO by Mig Jimenez

As I sit writing this review, I cannot help but think that I should just be returning from seeing some of you at the IPMS Nationals in San Marcos.  Well, hopefully there are better days ahead, and I do already have my hotel reservation set for Las Vegas next year.  Like many of you, I have met some great folks over the years and look forward to seeing at least some of those folks again in the future, and meeting even more fellow modelers.

So how much can you really say about masking sheets?  Well, this new set from Mig contains five sheets measuring 280 by 195mm or roughly 7-11/16 by 11-1/16 inches, which seems to be a pretty good value for the price.  The sheets are yellow in color for the masking material with a slightly rough texture.  I measure the masking material as 0.0035 inch or 0.08 mm in thickness with an adhesive similar to that used by Tamiya on their masking tapes as far as "stickiness" is concerned.

I would say that the big plus with these sheets is the size of the material that you have to work with.  I am thinking that one could hold the painting diagram for something like a WWI 1/35 scale tank against a window or other light source, and trace out the camouflage pattern for easier application.  Large, flat surfaces will be the most easy to tame with this material.  Of course there are numerous other uses as you will have the option of cutting the sheets to any width or shape needed.  I have no minuses to mention.

In summary, I would highly recommend these sheets to modelers for their masking needs, especially those working on larger projects that require bigger masks than one can accomplish with a single piece of tape.  I have not had issues with the adhesive lifting paint in my limited use of the product, but would say that if you are not having issues masking your paint with Tamiya tape, this should work equally well for you.

I would like to thank the folks at Ammo by Mig Jimenez for being gracious enough to provide these Masking Sheets to the IPMS-USA for review!  Thanks to Phil Peterson for running the Review Corps along with our Post Master Bill, and the other folks behind the scenes publishing the reviews.  Finally, my sincere appreciation to all who take the time to read this.

David Union D400 Electric Pencil Sander

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 19:47
Product Image Review Author:  Blaine Singleton David Union

John Miller, IPMS member and owner of Model Paint Solutions (modelpaintsol.com) has an electric pencil sander called the David 400 (D400) on his web site. The sander has a wall cord that plugs in the back of the sander, fits nicely in the hand, and is very comfortable to use.

When I first saw the tool, I thought why do I need an electric sander? I have an abundance of sanding tools already. It just so happened that I was working on the Airfix 1/72 scale Tiger Moth and had a very small area to sand under the horizontal stabilizer. With that small an area to be sanded and the delicate nature of the sanding that had to be done, I thought the D400 would have made the job a lot easier and faster.

How many of us are getting to the point where it's tough to hold a piece of folded sand paper (or sanding stick) in one hand while holding the part being sanded in the other. Moreover, if it's a sanding job that is going to take a while, how long does it take for your hands to start cramping, especially after a day of filing and sanding? This little tool goes a long way to solving that problem.

In the Box

 

The D400 comes in a well packed box and contains:

-The D400 Sander

-A wall plug w/cord that attaches to the sander (D400 is not battery operated)

-Three boxes adhesive backed sand paper; 1000, 600 and 400 grits; ten sheets each.

-7 sanding styluses to attach the sand paper in various geometric shapes

-2 sanding files with collets

-A set of stylus templates that aid in cutting pieces of sandpaper that match the contours of the styluses.

 

Using the D400

 

The sander fits comfortably in your hand and is quiet to use.

  • Dimensions and weight
    • D30mmxL187mm/89 grams.
  • AC input 12v?0.5A
  • Speed 1000-6000 linear strokes/min
  • Stroke Length 3mm

The power cord plugs into the back of the D400; out of the way of your hand. Construction has a quality of its own, there is nothing low quality about it. 

Because of its small, ergonomic design, the D400 is comfortable and balanced when used. Instead of the usual rotary sander I have used befor with a drum sander, this sander has a reciprocating motion front to back allowing for easier sanding without burning through your sanding subject.

The sanding stylets have a corresponding template so you can easily cut your sand paper to the desired sanding stylet shape. The sanding paper supplied with the D400 has a sticky peel off backing allowing it to be attached to a stylet.

With some double backed tape, you can also use the sand paper you desire on a stylet.

I really liked using this sander on small parts. It is difficult enough to even hold a small part let alone try to sand it. The D400 makes the sanding process easy and especially sanding the spine fuse joint on aircraft is certainly made a lot easier.

Summary

If you are getting to the point your hands don't work the way they used to when trying to hold some small part or you have an extended sanding session, then the D400 might be something for you to try. If you are a tool guy, then this is the tool to have.

Thank you to John Miller at Model Paint Solutions and IPMS/USA to be able to review this product.

The Paulista War- Volume 1: The Last Civil War in Brazil, 1932

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 19:41
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Helion & Company

Javier Garcia de Gabiola, is from Spain and works as a lawyer. He has published numerous articles and books related to legal issues. Always interested in military history, he also regularly contributes to various Spanish military history magazines, for which he has written more than 50 articles and has published multiple pieces with the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico. This is his first instalment for Helion's @War series.

Helion is a UK based company that produces books on many aspects of Military History from the Late Medieval period through to the present day. Helion was established in 1996, and since then they have published almost 1,200 books, with 100 or more new titles coming out every year, for readers around the world. 

Helion's latest book in the Latin America @ War series is a square back soft cover includes 80 gloss paper pages. The front cover features a color Paulista recruiting poster, along the lines of "Uncle Sam Wants You!" with the Paulista flag rippling in the background.  The color profile by Luca Canossa is one of the 19 Waco 240 fighter-bombers utilized by the Federals (This profile can also be found on page 40 i with a nice description).  The rear cover artwork by Anderson Subtil features the outfit typically worn by a 20th Federal Battalion de Cacadores (Hunter Battalion) soldier (This illustration can also be found on page 40 vii with a nice description).   I counted 102 black and white photographs, there are no color photos. There are also 18 aviation color side profiles by Luca Canossa and three color illustrations of figures Anderson Subtil.  There are eight black and white maps, two full color maps by Tom Cooper, and 17 tables.

Javier Garcia de Gabiola starts up with the political history that led into the Paulista War (aka the Constitutionalist Revolution), the largest war ever fought in Brazil.  The Paulista War of 1932 was the last in a long series of civil wars and military coups in Brazil going back to Brazil's independence from Portugal in 1824.  This first of two Volumes covers the Paraiba Valley that leads to Rio de Janerio.  The second Volume will cover the battles in Mato Grosso do Sul following the Parana and Paraguay rivers. 

Javier Garcia de Gabiola continues with a great description of the troops and weapons available to both sides.  Both the Federal's and the Paulistas' armies used the same arsenals and thus there was a great similarity in weapons.  Heavier weapons, howitzers and tanks, were basically World War I leftovers, although the Paulistas did improvise.  Page 14 depicts an armored tractor that ran on steel wheels instead of tank treads.  This war was a baptism of sorts for aviation in the Americas as it saw the first aerial combat with the downing of an aircraft.  Strategic bombing and night-bombing was also initiated for the first time in the Americas.  Aircraft involved from both sides were not terribly effective though, primary serving as a psychological weapon, causing panic in the ground troops and death to assorted fish in the rivers that sustained the majority of the bombing.

The final fifty pages is devoted to a nearly daily recount of the political and combat activities in the Paraiba Valley theatre of operations.  The Paulistas took the initiative and flew the first aerial mission on 10 July 1932, surprising the Federals who were not quite prepared to intercept these rebel intruders. Two days later the first aerial combat occurred between a Potez and a Waco.  The Waco managed to escape after the Potez suffered a machine gun jam after a few bursts.  The sections include:

 

Abbreviations

  1. From Republic To War

Vargas' Revolution of 1930

Preparations for the Constitutionalist Revolution

  1. The Brazilian Armed Forces

Federal Infantry and Artillery

Table 1: Brazilian Federal Army, Order of Battle, 1932

Cavalry and Independent Units

Number of Troops Involved

The Forca Publica

All Brazil with Bargas

The Paulista Forces

Weapons and Equipment [Page 13, 14]

  1. Brazilian Aviation

The Birth, Death, and Rebirth of the Brazilian Air Service

Combat Squadron: The Potez 25 TOE

Table 2: Brazilian Federal Army Aviation, 1932

Training Squadron and Mail planes: The Wacos

The Military School: NiD.72 Fighters and Amiot Bombers

Army and Navy Moths and Avros

SM.55 and Martin PM 1-B Naval Bombers

Table 3: Brazilian Naval Aviation in 1932

Navy Corsair Fighters and Paulista Falcons [Page 21]

Colours and Markings

  1. The Paulista Uprising

Aeroplanes and Troops for Sao Paulo (9/10 July)

10-16 July, 1932: An Offensive that is not an Offensive

9-10 July 1932: Gois Monteiro Saving the Government in Rio

The Government's Reaction in the Rest of Brazil

What about the Paulistas' Allies?

10-12 July 1932: The Birth of the Federal Mixed Aviation Group

13-14 July: The First Air Combat in America

  1. The Paraiba Valley Front

Deployment in the Valley

Table 4: Ground Forces Deployed in the Paraiba Valley as of 20 July 1932

13-15 July 1932: Areias and Sao Jose Do Barreiro

14-15 July 1932: Federal Aviation in the Valley

15-28 July 1932: Emergency of the Paulista Air Force

Table 5: Combat Aircraft in the Paraiba Valley as of 10 July1932

17-22 July 1932: Air Strikes on Sao Jose Do Barreiro

20-29 July 1932: Offensive on Barreiro

27 July - 3 August: Battle of Salto

3-5 August: Detachment Teofilo Replaces the Dissolved Agnelo

6-8 August 1932: Fall of Bianor and Areias

10 August 1932: Fall of Queluz

10-15 August 1932: The Return of the Paulista Aviation

10-15 August 1932: The Vila Quieimada Lines

Table 6: Paulista Detachments in the Paraiba Valley as of 15 August 1932

15-24 August: Federals Establishing Aerial Dominance

Table 7: Federal Combat Aircraft in the Paraiba Valley, 28-30 August 1932

24 August - 2 September: Breaking the Vila Queimada Line

Covering the North Flank: The Sierra de Mantiquuly 1932: Paulista Resistance in the Tunnel

4-19 August: Resistance in Batedor

Overall Situation in September 1932

Table 9: Detachments in the Paraiba Valley, September 1932

4-16 September 1932: Reinforcements for the Federalists

Table 10: Combat Aircraft in the Paraiba Valley, September 1932

9-12 September: Federal Offensive in Silveiras-Pinheiros

13-16 September: Great Withdrawal to Guaratingueta

17 September: Fall of Lorena

18 September: Showdown in Guara

Table 11: Detachments on the Guaratingueta Front

21-30 September: Federal Aerial Superiority

Table 12: Federal Combat Aircraft on the Paraiba Front, Late September 1932

24-29 September: The Guara Pocket

Color Profiles [Page 40ii]

  1. The Coastal Front

10-15 July 1932: Blockade and Bombardment of Santos

Table 13: Paulista Forces on the Coastal Sector, 17 July 1932

Table 14: Federal Forces Blocking Santos, 10-12 July 1932

15-17 July 1932: The Federal Landing

19-21 July: The First Federal Assault on Cunha [Page 59]

24 July - 12 August: Strategic Bombing and the Littoral Air Forces

Table 15: Forces Involved in the Second Battle of Cunha, 10-26 August 1932

10-26 August: The Paulista Victory at Cunha

Table 16: Aviation in the Coastal Sector, August - September 1932

16-24 September: The First Naval Anti-Aircraft Artillery Downing in the Western Hemisphere

Table 17: Paulista Anti-Ship Task Force, 24 September 1932

16-29 September: The Paulista Collapsa on the Coast

Bibliography

Notes

Acknowledgements

 

I really liked the nearly daily accounting of operations as it really gives you a great understanding of what was happening.  A great example is of the first 'strategic bombing' to occur in the Americas, the target being Cubatao Light power plant near Santos. Two Savoia-Marchetti SM-55 seaplanes, accompanied by a Martin PM, took off from Ilhabela to rendezvous with two Vought Corsairs for escort.  One of the SM-55s developed engine problems and both aircraft turned back.  The Martin PM, unaware of the SM-55 issues, continued on towards the target when they finally realized that there were no aircraft with them.  The Martin PM decided to return to its base, not seeing the two Corsairs 600' above them at the rendezvous.  The next day, all five aircraft tried again, only to encounter cloud cover forcing them to turn back.  All five would make a third attempt where a Savoia-Marchetti SM-55 did drop a single 68kg bomb, but due to limited visibility, it missed the target.

Once the war starts, Javier Garcia de Gabiola puts the reader into the daily operational accounts from both sides in the air and on the ground. You get 17 tables to provide a lot of the statistical data.   I really appreciated the commentary describing the different parties involved.  The contemporary photographs support the text, and they certainly give you a good perspective of the events described.  Based on this Volume 1 of the war, I can't wait for Volume 2 providing the second theatre of battle.  If you own one the previous releases in the Latin America @ War series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.

My thanks to Helion & Company, Casemate Publishing, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

Crete, The Battle for Heraklion, 1941

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 15:38
Product Image Review Author:  Hub Plott Helion & Company

If you are looking to learn about the battle for Crete in WWII, Crete, The Battle for Heraklion, 1941 may not be the book for you to start with. This book deals almost exclusively with the battle for the town and airfield of Heraklion, only one of three landing areas for the German paratroopers on Crete. However, if you are interested in the stories of those on the "sharp end of the stick" in a battle, this book is great as it depends heavily on first person accounts of those who were actually there. While some British, Commonwealth and Germans are included, most of the stories are of the Greeks/Cretans involved, which is good because they are usually overlooked or de-emphasized in most histories which tend to concentrate on the German paratroopers or the British and/or Commonwealth forces involved.

There are hundreds of illustrations of the terrain involved, battlefield maps, and photos of people and artifacts, but it can be difficult to follow the battle due to the way the book is physically laid out. The narrative is constantly interrupted by all those personal stories and anecdotes that, along with their accompanying pictures and maps, sometimes occupy the reader for several pages before he can get back to the story line.

Make no mistake, this is a thoroughly researched and very detailed account of this battle. My only reservation really is in how the story is physically chopped up. However, if you want to know more about the Greek/Cretan troops involved in this sector of the battle for Crete, this is your book. 

 

Rafale Pilots- Seated in A/C

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 00:19
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette PJ Production

Belgium PJ Productions makes wonderful resin aftermarket pieces in all scales to enhance many models. This set is a couple modern European pilots in 1/72nd scale. They are listed for a Rafale but would work in any similar plane also. The set comes with six pieces of finely cast dark gray resin- two pilot bodies and four arms. The pilots are NOT duplicates of one another and are different which is an excellent detail. 

Assembly was straightforward- I removed the parts with a razor saw and scraped a couple fine seam lines off (there were very few) and glued the arms into position with super glue. The super glue filled any minor seams, so no putty was needed. I mounted the pilots on poles for painting and primed with Alclad gray.

Painting was done after looking at the picture on the kit and Internet sources. Most were Khaki and Khaki green with black gloves and boots. The helmets were white with black visors.  Various washes were added, and metallic details as needed. They were flat coated when done and then gloss added to the visor. You can see by the pictures how small these are compared to a penny, yet the detail is superb

They are excellent addition to any kit that needs a pilot. Simple to build, well designed and a breeze to paint. Recommended.

My thanks to PJ Productions and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this excellent set.

Punchers and Tigers, USN A-6E Intruders in the Cold War & Desert Storm

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 00:05
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette AOA Decals

AOA Decals is known for its well-researched and executed decals covering the Vietnam War and newer eras with an emphasis on USMC and USN subjects. Set 72-010 continues their growth in 1/72nd scale with Punchers and Tigers, which covers two low visibility marking periods of two Navy A-6 Intruder squadrons - VA-65 Tigers and VA-75 Sunday Punchers, with coverage spanning from the 1980s into Operation Desert Storm in 1991. 

Inside the package, there is a beautiful 4x7 inch decal sheet with great detail and printed by Microscale. There are full color profiles covering all six markings with details about each plane such as different lighting configurations, color call outs, and details specific to each airframe. There are also detailed top views on a separate sheet and a sheet covering paint notes, ejection seat decals, and stencil notes. All full color which is nice!

The six marking options included are:

  • VA-65 Tigers, AG-500, 160995, USS Eisenhower, 1981/82
  • VA-65 Tigers, AJ-500, 161675, USS Roosevelt, 1991
  • VA-65 Tigers, AJ-503, 155620, USS Roosevelt, 1991
  • VA-65 Tigers, AJ-511, 159314, USS Roosevelt, 1991
  • VA-75 Sunday Punchers, AC-505, USS Kennedy, NAS Oceana 1989/90 
  • VA-75 Sunday Punchers, AC-504, USS Kennedy, NAS Oceana 1991 

Decals also included for fuel tanks, tailhooks, formation lights, and ejection seats.

One of the real highlights of this set to me is the inclusion of AJ-503. This had been painted in brown/sand colored markings on top as a trial while still retaining its gray standard color bottom. It is a unique scheme and really stands out from the normal Navy line jets and gray, gray and more gray. As a bonus, AG-500 has a nice white radome so while this mostly covers line jets, there are some colorful options.

In summary, well researched information and colorful choices along with decals printed by Microscale and full color instructions, this is highly recommended to dress up the Fujimi kit you might already have in your stash.

My thanks to everyone at AOA Decals for their efforts and the opportunity to review this great set of markings

F-104G Cockpit

Mon, 09/14/2020 - 21:17
Product Image Review Author:  Bob LaBouy Italeri

This Kit

This is not a new kit and was previously reviewed by Mark Andrews in February 2020 and followed up with an after-market seat belt set review by Chris Smith.  I strongly recommend you read both of these reviews and I hope I have avoided repeating those reviewers' contents.

After it's initial issue by ESCI, way back in 1983, this kit is clearly showing its age especially in terms of the industry's newer molding technology.  While I rate the fit of most parts is passible and the overall accuracy of the kit as good, you should be prepared for a 1983 ESCI kit effort (reboxed in 2001 and now 2020).  I also have one of the earlier kits and cannot find any differences in the 37 years between these two kits.

The Build

The kit is a reasonably easy build and the colors recommended are largely accurate, though I recommend researching the internet for photos taken in actual aircraft.  I was lucky enough to take a number of shots of these beautiful aircraft at the Militarhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr in Berlin-Gatow airport.  This museum is outstanding and strongly recommended for all aviation enthusiasts.

As you can see from several of the attached images, there are numerous colors not accurately called out in the Italeri instructions, while the general panel details (shapes and sizes) are largely accurate.

There is a lot of flash (you can see the differences in the time and molding techniques which have become common place today) and sanding and filing is required. This was especially problematic around the face shield handles requiring very careful filing.

There numerous reference number/positioning errors, including a color 'N' called out (drawing #12) which isn't even shown on the 'suggested colors' list.

Drawings depicted do not match up with instruction reference drawings themselves.  Examples include reference drawing #8 (lower half) which shows the ejection seat frame higher than handles and this same error is shown in drawing #12.  If you attempt to match the helmet decals, you will quickly find the decals are much too big to approximate what's shown in drawing #13.

I also recommend you review and look over the Italeri website's photographs, which in almost every respect provide different detail colors (seat cushions, parachute container, sun shield, knobs and screen colors).  A look at the box cover photograph and compare to the colors as called out in the kit's instructions will quickly illustrate many of these differences.

Painting

I used almost exclusively the Mission Models acrylic paints which allowed me to match most of the instruction sheet recommended colors very closed.  I have attached several images of F-104G cockpits to provide additional color references.  I used a combination of dry-brushing and picking our knobs and dials with contrasting colors of paint to accentuate their locations and raised heights.

Decals

There is a small sheet of decals which include the numerous dial and screen details, as well as the model base and helmet decals.  As I quickly learned the pilots helmet decals are very large and I could only use a few of them and had to change their locations and orientation when compared with the instruction sheet (detail drawing #13) and a F-104 pilot's helmet in my collection.

While not really a decal, there is also a sheet of straps and harnesses for the ejection seat.  I found these to be very difficult to use and not very realistic looking when fitted to the model.  I cut them with a small scissors and still found them to be one of the most challenging products I've ever tried to manipulate;  I also used a single edge razor blade and small stainless-steel guide, which provided a much cleaner edge.  However, I would urge you to look to look to some alternative after-market products (i.e; Eduard or HGW).  The kit's 'fabric seat belts' certainly do not reflect the state-of-the-art real fabric materials currently available.

Final Assembly

The kit is easy to assemble and when painted provides a nice display model although its overall accuracy is suspect.  With additional details (as shown in several of the attached photos) I believe a more accurate model could emerge from this kit.

Overall Evaluation

I recommend this kit, with the aforementioned caveats.  I only know of one other kit in this scale (the Italeri F-16 Cockpit which also does not appear to be readily available except at sky high collector's prices).

My thanks to Italeri, MRC Academy and IPMS-USA for the opportunity to review this kit.