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Updated: 5 hours 43 min ago

Olkhovskiy Torpedo (two seat)

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 08:51
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Omega Models

When this first came up for review, I'll admit I never heard of this plane or company which is intriguing. A little quick research and I found that this was one of the first Russian monoplanes and it had an interesting difference with many planes- no ailerons. The ends of the wing bias because of their tether tension control wiring. That was enough for me. Omega Models located in the Czech Republic makes limited run resin models of lesser known subject. This kit comes in cream colored resin in 23

= pieces with decals, instructions and a length of wire.


My first action was to wash the parts with dish detergent to remove any mold release and let dry. Next, I separated the parts from casting blocks and sanded down the minimal seam lines. All this prep work is critical as finding paint not sticking or a seam line later is much harder to fix.


Construction starts in the cockpit which consists of two seats and two sticks. The stick broke while installing so I scratch built a couple. The seats have a nice approximation of a cane woven back. Once in place, the two opening insert is added. This took a little fussing but installed. This was then only place in the kit I used putty to smooth this part in and it was not a large amount. The tail parts were added making sure they are square. At this time, I added the landing gear struts.


Next, one of the struts is cut into four sections and these are the supports for the wings. The drawing shows the location on the fuselage and each 1-2 mm piece was added.


The wings were built next and since they are perched on struts, I needed them to be stable so I chose some stiff stainless steel wire and drilled into the wings  so the spacing matched the struts and glued the parts to once side first. The instructions call for spacing between wings of 10mm and this was achieved and things glued up solidly. I did not add the wings yet. At this point, the plane was primered and then sprayed a blue green color (in hind sight, I should have gone even more blue). This was set aside to dry.


While drying, I worked on the engine and propeller. The engine would have you add rods on the back and front for lifters and the like. The propeller looked well out of scale but checking references of the real plane, Omega is spot on as the prop on this plane was large.


I added the decals next. There was some silvering on the wing and fuselage decals and the decals were very resistant to settle until I used Solvaset. There is a set of decals for the wheels and try and try, they would not conform to the wheels regardless of treatment so they were removed. I added the wheels and then flat coated everything for final assembly and rigging.


I added the wings onto the supports and they fit well (and surprised me!). To support the rigging, I added the central attachment point and its two braces and painted it wood colored. Once dry and set, I used 0.3mm wire for rigging. I squared the wings up in a jig and started adding wires. Since the sides are mirror images left and right, I added the line in that sequence. When I got frustrated/sloppy/eye-blind, I stopped. Once the top was done, I flipped it over and did the bottom. I touched up the paint and flatted it again and the plane was done.


This is a good kit of a relatively unknown plane. With the rigging, rebuilding parts and size, I would recommend it to modelers who have a few kits under their belt. That and the decals would be my only caveat.


Thanks to Omega Models for the opportunity to not only build this kit but also for furthering my knowledge of this unique plane.




Depth Charge Mk. 54

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 08:42
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Brengun

One of the under recognized armaments for after market has been the depth charge. It is fairly simple to find missiles, bombs and other under wing things all very well done and in most scales but not so much depth charges. Brengun has issued a set (which looks like a rerelease of the Attack Hobby set) of the Mk. 54 Depth Charge in 1/72nd scale.


Looking at the set, you get two gray resin blocks which contain the depth charge body and the nose pin for the front arming propeller. There is also a photoetch fret containing 18 pieces, a set of decals and the instructions for assembly, painting and decaling the set.


Assembly starts with cutting the depth charges free- make sure the front is flat. You will need to drill a hole here for the front arming pole. Don't forget to trim the sprue on each fin. Cut the arming pole free and be careful. They are about 1mm and I managed to lose one. The photoetch comes next. The rear ring is cut free and bent into a circle and glues in place. The rear arming propeller is added. The front arming pole is added and then the propeller and the depth charge is finished except for painting.


The rest of the construction involves the pylons which are each constructed of 6 parts. I suggest having a photoetch bender available as there are bends involved. The top of the pylon is bent and then glued over the bent bottom of the pylon. Attachment feet are added to the top where it meets the plane and lastly, the shackles are added.


The depth charge is listed as either olive drab or light gull gray. The fuses are natural metal. The pylon is the bottom color of the aircraft. I went all gray in my painting followed by adding the decals which went on without any issues, Lastly, I added a wash to bring out the details and then a flat coat and finished.


This is a great little set but due to the bending required and the size of the pieces, I do suggest some experience. Definitely recommended


My thanks to Brengun for the review sample and IPMS/USA for the change to review it

Dog House with Dog

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 08:32
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Brengun

One thing I find very refreshing amongst the modeling community is some of the ideas that come out and this one caught my attention immediately- a dog and his (or her?) doghouse. The set is very simple and comes as five parts. The doghouse is cast as one piece and the roof is separate. The dog, a burn drum and a milk container also come. All are cast perfectly and the only preparation was washing the parts and removing the casting blocks.


In looking at this review, I could have just painted the parts but it just begged for a little base and a diorama. So before paint, I grabbed a little wood plaque and added some groundwork with Durham's Water Putty. I impressed the doghouse and drum into it and grabbed a 1/32nd scale pilot and pushed in some shoe prints and let the material dry. The ground was painted several shades of brown and washed with black and dark brown. I added some pieces of railroad ballast for rocks and glued in some grass. More washes and several rounds of flat coat (along with painting the edges black) and we were ready for giving the dog a home.


The parts were all primed with Alclad gray primer. Each piece was done separately and added to the base. I wanted the doghouse to be old and weathered so faded brown colors with a Flory brown wash were added. Since the dog slept there, I shredded some paper and tape and added some straw to the inside of the doghouse and glues the roof on and set the doghouse into its place.


The burn drum was next and I wanted a rusty old drum with ashy looking burnt wood. The drum was painted with Floquil red oxide and then pars had black added like the paint was barely still there. A wash was added and then various colors of rust weathering powder were added. The inside was painted brown and multiple washes and dry brushes until happy and then flat coated and added to the base.


The milk container was painted white. I liked the contrast between the burnt drum and the clean looking milk carton and so I left it and added it. Lastly was the dog and I tried to replicate the paint job of a brown dog with a white chest and white tipped tail. He was added. I flat coated the entire thing one more time.


To say this was fun is an understatement. This set could be added to any number of diorama ideas. Highly recommended. My thanks to Brengun Hauler for the opportunity to review this kit.

Ammo by Mig Jimenez Shaders

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 13:05
Product Image Review Author:  Tim Wilding AMMO by Mig Jimenez

Ammo has released a new line of 20 paint effects colors in 10 ml bottles.  I am reviewing four of these colors: #0863 Light Green 0864 Light Olive Drab, 0865 Military Green and 0866 Dark Green. These are the four green tones that they offer, along with blues, greys and earth tones. Here is what Ammo's website says about this new product:

    "The AMMO SHADERS are a new type of product designed to create a variety of effects on all types of models in a simple and fast way. The transparent and ultra-fine paint allows all skill level of modelers to apply stunningly realistic effects that seemed impossible before.

    From fading effects to wear and tear, shadows and highlights, altering the colors to different hues, this new range can even be applied to effect base colors like a filter. The SHADERS range give your model a dynamic and interesting finish in just minutes, making these colors perfect for modelers new to the hobby. The all new characteristics allow modelers to create effects that until now could only be achieved using more complex techniques such as glazes, washes, or filters.

    More experienced modelers enjoy the convenience of applying advanced and complex effects with finesse and ease. The new SHADERS are not just another paint, but a new way of applying professional effects quickly and easily.


Create effects with light and volume

Quickly change the tone of any color combination

Easily add dirt effects and emphasize panel lines

New product for quick effects

Doesn't need to be diluted. Nontoxic

Airbrush application with simple water clean up

Correct or clean within several hour working time

Unique formula with super fine pigment"


I used these four green tones on the new Meng Jeep I was also reviewing. I had used Tamiya's Olive Drab, XF-62, as the base coat. I used 0863 Light Green and 0864 Light Olive Drab on the hood and front fenders to lighten the base coat. I then used 0865 Military Green and 0866 Dark Green on the interior and lowers sides to dark them. I had just a little of the light green in my airbrush, so I added Future and put a tinted clear coat on the jeep before decaling. I liked the ease of just shaking the bottle a little and added a couple drops to my airbrush. These is no thinning required. The paint is very translucent and thin already. It cleaned up fine with Windex and a water flush of the airbrush.


I did a test by painting a strip of plastic with Tamiya's Olive Drab and White. I then painted strips of these shaders in rows on both colors. It is hard to see the settle effects on the olive drab, but you an see it on the white. Since these are water based, you can see that it kind of pooled up on the white. I think that it will lay down better over a satin or flat coat. I did find that they brighten up a paint job, but tones back down after clear coating. I will be using these to add more tonal variance on green base coats on future builds.


I would like to thank ammo by Mig Jimenez and IPMS for the change to try these new products out.


Tue, 06/23/2020 - 19:33
Product Image Review Author:  Brian R. Baker ICM


The Polikarpov U-2, later  PO-2,  was designed as a light training biplane, and first appeared in 1928.  It was a two seat, of mainly wooden construction, training aircraft similar in many respects to most late twenties biplanes, and had all of the characteristics required for a military trainer, including rugged construction, a low powered but reliable powerplant, and excellent flying characteristics.  It so impressed Soviet authorities that it was produced in very large numbers, over 30,000 being completed by Russian and foreign factories and maintenance units between 1928 and 1953, and the last ones weren't  built in Poland until 1959.  The PO-2 served mainly as a primary trainer at first, but eventually was pressed into service as a crop duster, military liaison aircraft, med and general supply aircraft, and later as a reconnaissance and light bombing type.  During the war, many were used by units made up of women pilots and ground crews, who were very effective in harassing the Germans by making night attacks and keeping them awake.  They were called the "Night Witches", and certainly played an important part in the conduct of the war.  A number of PO-2's have survived, where they are either displayed in museums or are flown by enthusiasts wishing to preserve the aircraft's history. An internet source lists 36 basic designations for the type, although  some are duplications since during the war, the airplane was redesignated from U-2 to  PO-2 in honor of  the designer,  Nikolai Polikarpov, a practice which recognized the efforts of creative designers in the Soviet Union.  For example, the Soviet I-26 fighter was later redesignated Yak-1 honoring  its designer, Yakovlev, for the same reason.


Aside from the internet, there aren't too many references available on the aircraft, and even on line, there are few photos available.  There was a book published by Kagero entitled Polikarpov Po-2, which included 44 pages, 175 photos, color information, and a set of Polish decals in 1/72 and 1/48 scale.  The book is based on an example on display in the Polish aviation Museum, and is written in Polish and English.  Basically, it gives a lot of information on the museum aircraft, and the excellent color photos illustrate all of the major details of the aircraft.  There are two side profile drawings of the museum aircraft, and several color photos of  a Polish civil flying example, SP-YPB.  If you are looking for detail, this is an excellent resource, but if you are looking for various color schemes and markings carried by the aircraft, you won't find these here.  There are some sites on line with a lot more information, and even the instructions in various kits of the aircraft have more information on different aircraft that this book does.  One good source uis Wings  Palette. Seeing as how there were numerous variants of the aircraft, there must be hundreds of possible color schemes and markings for the aircraft.  Good luck on that one.


The instruction sheet for this model consists of 12  8 1/2 x 11 inch pages of text and drawings.  The text is in Russian and English, and the drawings are mainly pictorial, with little if any text required. The drawings are large, clear, and very useful during the assembly process.  The last two pages provide good 1/72 scale color drawings showing the four aircraft for which decals are provided.  All are armed attack aircraft, and one features skis and snow camouflage.  One good feature is the inclusion of the flying and landing wire and the control cable positions, as this airplane had a lot of each.  They used to say that if you put a bird in between the wires in a biplane, and it got out, there was a cable or wire missing. That would certainly be true with this airplane.

One problem with the instructions is that the drawings are confusing.  The engine is shown as being entirely "gunmetal grey" in the side view color drawings, while the instructions show a mixture of  gunmetal, steel, and gunship grey.  The engine on the color photos of the airplane in the Kagero book shows a silver crankcase with black cylinders and a dark green propeller.  The really confusing part is the undersides of all four of the aircraft for which decals are provided. These are shown in the side views as being black with some sky blue details, while in the underside views in the instructions, the undersides of all of the airplanes are painted a sky blue shade, typical of Russian aircraft of that era.  I am not aware of Soviet night attack aircraft being painted black underneath, but it stands to reason that they probably were.  This is an area that suggests more research.


This kit was originally issued around 2013, and I know this because I built one and wrote the review for this website during that year.  Maybe this amounts to justification for what we reviewers do, because I noted a couple of problems with the 2013 kit, which was numbered #72241, and comparing the two kits, I found that the producers had completely redone the moldings, correcting the major error, which had the prop rotating in the wrong direction.  I noticed this because I've hand propped real airplanes all my life, and this one just jumped out at me.  It is nice to know that kit producers pay attention and want to get it right.

The original issue from 2013  that I built was #72241. I've seen references to a #72242 for the same airplane, and this one is #72243, which says that there have been two reissues. I haven't seen #72242, so I can't comment on it.

The main sprue has 56 parts, the small armament sprue has 31 parts, and the clear sprue has two windshields.  There is almost no flash, and the detailing is extremely well done, with the wing fabric being better than I've seen in a long time, and excellent  cockpit interior sidewall detail just waiting for superdetailing. There are a lot of small detail parts, but if you are careful, they shouldn't escape, and the effect will be tremendous.  This kit is very well done, and was a pleasure to build. And the propeller turns in the proper direction.

One problem I encountered with the basic airframe assembly is that the seats, which consist of 6 parts each,  are quite flimsy, and their attachment points to the cockpit floor,  which is located on the lower wing center section,  are very weak.  However, the whole thing went together OK, and once the seats were installed and the fuselage halves were joined,  there was no problem.


The kit goes together pretty easily.  The fuselage halves match up and required very little filler.  I had to use pretty heavy clamps to get the lower wing section to stay in place, and the vertical and horizontal tail units were very thin, although they lined up perfectly.  The wings and tail unit lined up perfectly, and after painting, the upper wings were attached to the airframe using superglue in the little holes provided for the mounting struts.  The struts themselves,  while very nicely done, required considerable trimming, as they each had several attachment points on the leading edges of the struts.  In fact,  the underwing  skids, about 1/2 inch long, had four attachment points that needed to be trimmed, and one of mine broke off, with part of the unit escaping.  I replaced them with plastic rod bent to the appropriate shape.  Although the landing gear struts went on easily,  the same can't be said for the skis.  I suspect that the wheels would have gone on more easily, but  the skis had very tiny holes on the mountings, which were supposed  to attach to the very small tabs on the landing gear strut.  The problem was to get the ski mounted in the correct position, as my model was to be sitting on the ground, or snow.  I tried regular Tenax cement, but I had to devise a jig to hold the airplane in the right position, and the Tenax was not fast drying enough to hold it in place. I finally tried super glue, and this worked, but it took a long time (overnight) to dry.  Once dry, the gear is very fragile, and must be handled with extreme care. The wire bracing helped.


Unless you intend to paint the entire airplane one color, I would suggest doing all of the major painting before attaching the upper wing.  The airplane is fragile enough that applying and removing masking tape on the airframe would be very critical, and you are just about assured that something will break.  In the case of the snow-camouflaged PO-2 that I built,  the undersides were sky blue, the upper surfaces were white, and the wing and landing gear struts were Russian green.  I realize that most of those snow camouflage schemes probably had green showing through due to weathering and wear and  tear, but I just painted mine white and let it go at that.


Once the airplane is completely assembled, the details can be added.  The instructions state that the small details, such as the  control horns for the elevator cables, located on the fuselage sides even with the cockpits, and the small venture tubes on the fuselage sides should be installed at an early stage of assembly.  I waited until the plane was completely assembled, and added them just before I installed the rigging wires and control cables.  I used my tried and true method of using unstranded electronic wire for these, and it was really not as difficult as it looks. White glue dabs held the wires and cables in place, and wires make it look like a real biplane.  Fortunately, all of the flying and landing  wires on this airplane are single wires, so there are no parallel wires to consider. However,  the rudder and elevator control cables are parallel, but you can get away with single wires if you want to.

The windshields are very tiny, and attach just ahead of the cockpits. They had small tabs on the bottom, but there were no corresponding mounting holes in the fuselage ahead of the cockpits, even though it shows on the instructions. I just trimmed off the little pegs and mounted the windshields without them. There is another clear plastic piece, part # D2, which is a window located on the right wing root, and which was there to allow one of the crew members to use a bomb sight. There is a part,  #A2, which apparently is the bombsight, which mounts on the right side of the fuselage. My clear part didn't fit properly, and flew away when I tried to mount it in the wing, and I never found it  I , however, filled the small hole with clear plastic filler, and it looks OK.  The PO-2 in the Polish museum just has an open space, so there were variations on this detail. 


There are several kits of the Russian U-2/PO-2 biplane in 1/72 scale listed in the Burns Guide, , including  ABC, Ace, A-Model, Frog, KP, Omega,  and Ursus, and the ICM kit has been around for at least 7 years.  I have only built the KP kit, and it is a totally acceptable kit, so don't throw any away if you have them.  The revised ICM kit is probably the best available at the moment, and although it is not intended for inexperienced modelers,  it is certainly buildable, and I would recommend it highly.  This is a very important airplane in the history of aviation, considering that over 30,000 were built, and certainly should be represented in any collection of 1/72 models, covering the thirties, forties, fifties, and even later periods.  I have built 5 so far, three KP kits and 2 ICM kits, covering military versions and even a crop duster variant.  The kit has a lot of potential, and is certainly worth getting several of.

Thanks to ICM for the review sample.

The Lafayette Escadrille

Tue, 06/23/2020 - 01:14
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery Casemate Publishers

Being an aficionado of the history of the aircraft and persons involved in aviation during World War I, this book became a "must have" after reading some of the reviews describing the book. I must say that I was not disappointed in any way, and in fact found this "photo history of the Lafayette Escadrille" one of the most compelling "reads" I've experienced in many a year.

The story of The Lafayette Escadrille is laid out in photos, quotes from letters written by the pilots, and historical records of the time. The author spent a year travelling to universities and museums, as well as the actual geographic locations described in great detail in the documentation uncovered during the research phase for the book. The author captured images of some of the buildings frequented by the men of the Lafayette Escadrille and the comparison of historical images and the modern images taken by Ruffin are remarkable. 

The text reveals that all was not "civilite' and "camaraderie" within this group of aviators, and that resentments toward each other and toward their French "commandant d'escadron" were not only present but obvious to the men involved. The personalities and possible motivations of those who sought to join the "Escadrille" are covered in dramatic and personal detail as are the fates for each of the aviators. The air war was brutal and bloody, as well as a platform for gallantry and honor. The text, often supported by excellent black and white images, help to bring the story of these young men and their machines to life.

The paperback version (the version being reviewed) is 194 pages in length with appendices, a list of archival sources, a bibliography, and an excellent index.

Table of Contents
1 A n All-American Idea Takes Shape
2 The Escadrille Americaine Is Born
3 First Blood
4 Into the Grinder
5 Season of Discontent
6 The Battle Continues
7 The Best and the Bravest
8 Misery in the Somme
9 Mac Goes West
10 The Heartbreak of Ham
11 Chaudun and Beyond
12 Hard Times at Senard
13 From Falcons of France to American Eagles
14 Aftermath
Selected Bibliography
Archival Sources

I can say, without equivocation, that this publication is the most thorough and detailed historical narrative of the Lafayette Escadrille that I have had the opportunity to study and read. This book is highly recommended due to the excellent maps, large number of stunning black and white images, and detailed coverage of the subject. Thanks to Casemate for providing this copy for review by IPMS. 

Selous Scouts - Rhodesian Counter-Insurgency Specialists; Revised Edition

Mon, 06/22/2020 - 00:28
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Helion & Company

Helion 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.  The '[email protected]' series covers African military history since 1945.

Peter Baxter is an author, amateur historian and heritage travel guide. Born in Kenya and educated in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), he has lived and traveled over much of southern and central Africa. Peter lives in Oregon, USA. His interests include British Imperial history in Africa and the East Africa campaign of the First World War in particular. He is the author of Pen and Sword's Gandhi, Smuts and Race in the British Empire.  You can find out more at peterbaxterafrica.com

Helion's latest book in the Africa @ War series is a square back soft cover includes 72 gloss paper pages. This revised edition is an update of Africa @ War Volume 4.  This updated edition includes vehicle and aircraft color profiles.  The cover background features an enlarged black and white photograph of Pete Clemence and Sergeant Dzingai inspecting a possible insurgent track (Page 19).  The lower cover depicts a color side-view by Tom Cooper of a Reims-Cessna FTB.337G 'Lynx' that was the primary air support the Selous Scouts received.  I counted 24 color pictures and 146 black and white photographs. There are also four aviation color side profiles by Tom Cooper and three armor color side profiles by David Bocquelet, along with two black and white maps and three color maps. 

Peter Baxter starts off with a nice introduction to Frederick Courteney Selous, the inspiration for the Selous Scouts.  Frederick was apparently an inspiration for the series of books and movies on Allan Quartermaine of King Solomon's Mines fame.  Then it's off to understanding the history of Rhodesia from 1890 up to the beginnings of the Selous Scouts.  Peter Baxter provides a lot of insight into how the Selous Scouts were created and the selection of Lieutenant-Colonel Ron Reid-Daly to lead the unit.  The Selous Scouts operated as a Special Forces unit of the Rhodesian Army from 1973 until the ending of the Rhodesian Bush War in 1980.  Peter Baxter covers the major operations, both inside Rhodesia, as well as externally, as in Mozambique.  The Selous Scouts were responsible for some 68% of the Chinese-backed guerilla deaths.  Essentially a war between the British colonialism and Mao's communist manifesto, the end result was the destruction of a country considered "The Jewel of Africa".  Zimbabwe has become just another example of the destructive policies of the Marxist Socialism that was delivered by Robert Mugabe.  The sections include:

Glossary & Abbreviations


Prelude: A Brief History of War in Rhodesia


Chapter One: The Formation of the Selous Scouts [Page 12]

Chapter Two: Operations Commence [Page 27]

Chapter Three: External Operations - Terrorizing the Terrorists

     Selous Scout Operations in Manica Province, Mozambique, 1976-79 [Map]

     Color Profiles [Page 32viii]

Chapter Four: Intelligence and the Reconnaissance Troop [Page 44]

Chapter Five: The Selous Scout Spies

Chapter Six: The Mud Begins to Stick

Chapter Seven: Operation Miracle [Page 59]

Chapter Eight: The End


I found many sections of this story very interesting, but one stood out. Ron Reid-Daly set up the Selous Scouts to be bi-racial squads at the outset, as opposed to the rest of the Rhodesian military that was not integrated.  The Rhodesian SAS had no black members of their unit, the Selous Scouts were very dependent on their black members to accomplish their mission.  Ron Reid-Daly was initially not for external raids, but finally an opportunity came up to attack the enemy in Mozambique.  The Selous Scouts were essentially welcomed into the middle of the ZANU/ZANULA camp in August 1976.  Ostensibly a refugee camp, the Selous Scouts found no refugees, but plenty of ammunition, weapons, and "Red Cross" supplies.  Roaring into the middle of the camp in Unimogs, the Selous Scouts stopped in the middle of the terrorist camp and began proclaiming that Rhodesia had suffered a major defeat, propagating slogan after slogan.  Finally as the convoy had collected a huge crowd, the Selous Scouts opened fire. Over a thousand ZANU/ZANULA terrorists were killed.  It ended up being a public relations nightmare as Mozambique argued to the pro-communist UN and the liberal world press that refugees were slaughtered, despite the photographs of the engagement.  The action also cost Ron Reid-Daly the support of the Rhodesian SAS whose leadership was furious that he had succeeded.

Peter Baxter is a very good writer and his impassioned perspective led me to read this tome in one night, although it was a late night.  I have to admit that I really had not heard of the Selous Scouts before and that I was attracted to this book review because of the Reims-Cessna FTB.337G 'Lynx' on the cover.  Although the FTB.337G does not get heavily covered in this book, there is a nice Roden 1/32 Reims-Cessna FTB.337G 'Lynx' available to try your real modeling skills on.   Helion does have another [email protected] volume on the Rhodesian Fire Force (Volume 20) that may better address the 'Lynx', which will be next on my list to acquire.  The contemporary photographs support the text, and they certainly give you a good perspective of the events described.  If you own one the previous releases in the Africa @ 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!

Brengun RA-5C Vigilante Ladder

Sun, 06/21/2020 - 23:35
Product Image Review Author:  Will Kuhrt Brengun

The North American A-5 Vigilante was an American carrier-based supersonic bomber designed and built by North American Aviation for the United States Navy. It set several world records, including long-distance speed and altitude records. Prior to the 1962 unification of Navy and Air Force designations, it was designated the A3J Vigilante. The RA-5C was a reconnaissance variant. 

This ladder accessory is not identified for use on one specific manufacture's kit. It contains one photo etched tree with enough components to construct two ladders. An assembly guide is also provided. 

Assembly was straightforward, and with the use of a PE bending too, the build went quickly. I began by bending the right and left sides to 90-degree angles. Next, I attached the wheels, and finally the two cross bars. After the assembly was completed, I primed it using Mr. Surfacer 1000 and finished painting it Insignia Red. 

This is a very nice accessory. It is easy to complete, and I believe it would look very nice propped against any 1/72 RA-5C aircraft. 

Thank you to Brengun for supporting the IPMS Reviewer Corps and for providing this very nice accessory.  Thank you to IPMS for the opportunity, and to Bill and Phil for all of your work.

Eduard masks for Special Hobby Siebel Si204D

Sun, 06/21/2020 - 15:30
Product Image Review Author:  Keenan Chittester Eduard

When I obtained the 1/48 Special Hobby Si204D for review, I knew I was going to need to see if anybody made pre-cut masks for it. It has a large canopy similar to that used on the Heinkel He111, so I didn't relish the task of masking it, especially if I had to cut my own masks. Luckily, shortly after I received the kit a new list of Eduard items was distributed for review and the Siebel masks were on the list. I immediately requested them.

The masks come in the now familiar packaging, with easy to follow color instructions. The material is the usual kabuki tape and is slightly thinner than Tamiya masking tape. The position of the masks is clearly marked on the instructions and they fit perfectly. Included are masks for the canopy and all of the cabin windows. The set also includes masks for the main and tail wheels. I had already painted the tail wheel, so I didn't use that mask. I had also already painted the tire portion of the main wheels, so I only need to use the mask for the hubs.

The masks have excellent adhesive characteristics, and are easy to remove once all painting and clear coating is done. If you have this kit, I highly recommend that you invest in this set of masks from Eduard. Many thanks to Eduard for the chance to review this product. Highly recommended!

Siebel Si204

Sun, 06/21/2020 - 15:24
Product Image Review Author:  Keenan Chittester Special Hobby

The Siebel Si204D was a Luftwaffe training and liaison aircraft which first flew in May 1941. It possessed excellent flying characteristics and was very reliable, albeit not particularly attractive. I believe this is the first injection molded 1/48 kit of the type. MPM did a vacuform kit many years ago, and I have tried several times to obtain one, but with no luck. When I saw this offering listed amongst the available review kits, I jumped at the chance to review it.

The kit comes in a sturdy, medium sized box with nicely done artwork on the box. Inside are eight sprues of medium gray plastic, one sprue of clear plastic and a resin radome for one of the three decal schemes - two Luftwaffe aircraft and one Swiss. Parts count is just under 200, but about 25 of those are not used. There are no photo etch parts. The parts have nice detail and for the most part the panel lines are recessed and crisp. As I looked closer I could see that parts cleanup was going to be time consuming. Just about every part had a mold seam that needed to be dealt with.

The instructions have large, clear CAD drawings with paint callouts for Gunze colors. The parts that are to be attached are shown with dark shading on the instructions. Because of that dark shading there are a few instances where it was impossible to make out the detail in the drawings, which made it hard to figure out which way around the part went.

Construction begins in the cockpit, as expected. Due to the large glasshouse canopy, careful painting and assembly will be essential. The detail is very nice and decals are provided for the various instrument panels and they fit perfectly and snuggle down well with a little Micro Sol. I added a few levers to the side consoles as depicted in the Schiffer book on the subject.

The rudder pedal assembly is very nicely detailed, but a bit fiddly to put together. There are no positive locating holes or tabs for some of the parts, so careful placement and alignment is needed. The mold seams combined with the small size of the parts made cleanup tedious. Continuing along in the cockpit, the supporting frames for the seats were another fiddly assembly which would have been much easier with a third hand. Once again, the detail was great, but the assembly and parts cleanup was time consuming. In addition to the pilot and co-pilot seats, there are five well done seats for the cabin that also need to be assembled. Just as I started putting together the seats, an email came from the IPMS review team regarding Eduard review items that were available. Lo and behold, there was a set of steel seatbelts and a set of canopy masks that needed to be reviewed. The seatbelts were up to Eduard's usual high standards and really helped dress up the interior.

There are two identical parts H43 that go on either side of the cockpit bulkhead door, but one of them was missing from my kit. It didn't appear that it was broken off the sprue, but that maybe it didn't get molded. Luckily it was a simple looking part, so I made a replacement from scrap plastic.

The next several steps deal with the cabin interior, which has some excellent detail. In addition to the aforementioned five seats, there is a radio operator's station, a couple more bulkheads and a rack which holds a bunch of what I assumed are oxygen bottles. Fit of the parts, once cleaned up, was very good. The cabin floor is then mated to the cockpit assembly. Once they are together, it makes for a very impressive interior.

Before the fuselage can be joined together, there are several windows that must be installed. Since I had the Eduard masks to review also, I attached the masks to the cabin windows before gluing the windows in place with Gator glue. There are also inserts to cover the wing attachment points and a few boxes that need to be attached to the cabin side walls. There are also a couple of long sections which go on the ceiling of the cabin. The position is somewhat vague and I found the strip running down the center to be very difficult to position correctly. Mine ended up being slightly crooked, but after the fuselage is closed up it's not visible.

The fuselage halves went together better than I expected considering all that stuff being on the inside. There were a couple of areas where I had to do some fairly aggressive clamping, but it all turned out good and the seams only required a few smears of putty and some sanding. The upper fuselage has several panels that are added along the spine, so that helps to hide some of the seams there. The instructions would also have you add the two-part canopy at this time, but I decided to leave that until the rest of the airframe was together. I chose to open up the cabin door on the port side of the fuselage. I found a very interesting picture of a group of what appear to be Russian airmen posing along the side of an Si204 with the cabin door open. I hope to do a diorama someday based on that picture.

Next we turn our attention to the wings. The first step here is to glue in the forward wheel well bulkhead. There is a note in red on this step that says, "Dry fit first." Hmmmm. That doesn't sound promising. Well, the note was good advice because it took 15-20 minutes of sanding, test fitting, sanding, etc. Finally I achieved what I felt was a decent fit and glued it into place. The next few parts also require some guesswork and the whole wheel well assembly left me worried that my landing gear were not going to be straight.

The engine nacelles have decent detail on them and in them and went together without much fuss. However, when they were offered up to the wings they didn't match the shape of the mounting point on the wing. Looking at pictures in the Schiffer book, the sides of the nacelle have a bit of a step in them but the top and bottom should be flush. The forward portion of the nacelle was larger along the Y axis. I mulled this over for a day or two then came up with a solution. There is a panel line on the wing portion of the nacelle just forward of the wheel well. I cut along that panel line with a razor saw and then wedged a triangle of sheet styrene in the cut to force the lower portion to widen until it matched more closely with the engine nacelle (see accompanying pictures). I then aligned the engine nacelle and wing portion of the nacelle on the underside, glued them together and then used some Apoxie Sculpt on the top to fair them into each other. I was happy with the results, but lost some of the recessed detail in the process.

Once all that was sorted out, it was just a matter of attaching the wings to the fuselage, then the twin tail is assembled and attached. The instructions give a head-on drawing to help with getting the correct dihedral for the wings and tail. I left off the landing gear until after painting because I have a tendency to knock stuff like that off during painting and decaling.

Now it was time to attach the canopy, which consists of the forward nose glazing and the rear part of the canopy. Here is where I ran into the biggest problem with the kit and I hope my sample was just a one-of-a-kind issue. The rear part of the canopy was misshapen. Not only was it too wide by about 2mm on each side, it did not have the correct curve to it to match the fuselage and the forward part of the canopy. It's almost as though that part was exposed to some heat and got slightly warped. I thought about how to resolve the problem for a couple of days and finally decided to try dipping the part in slightly boiling water and trying to reshape it. I figured if I ruined the part I could buy another kit to see if that was a prevalent problem with the kit. Fortunately I was able to get the width problem solved with the boiling water trick, but never did get the curve to match up perfectly. Someday I hope to have access to another kit to see how the canopy looks. It should also be noted that there is an extra bit of plastic that needs to be removed at the front of the port side of the fuselage so that the forward portion of the canopy will sit flush with the forward part of the fuselage. It's an easy fix, but an obvious flaw in the molding.

After masking the canopy with the Eduard masks, it was time for primer, paint and decals. I chose option A, which is a Luftwaffe machine based in France during the Summer of 1943 in the typical RLM 70/71 splinter scheme over RLM 65. The yellow RLM 04 fuselage band was painted first, then masked to apply the other three colors. The decals are by Cartograph and performed perfectly, as expected. There are no stencils provided other than four yellow fuel triangles for the upper wing. The swastika is provided in two parts.

Once all that was done, it was time to tackle the landing gear. It is well detailed and is made up of multiple parts, all of which need to have the seams cleaned up. Fit was pretty good, although I had to open up a few of the attachment points to get a better fit and allow for a little fine tuning. In the end my earlier fears about alignment were unfounded.

After that it was just a matter of all the fiddly bits being attached. I used a diagram in the Schiffer book for placement of the antenna wires rather than what was shown in the instructions, but I'm guessing there were different configurations depending upon how the aircraft was used.

Finally done! If you are a 1/48 Luftwaffe fan, then this kit is a must-have. It's typical limited-run - lots of cleanup, test-fitting, sanding, filling and modeling experience required. But I think the results are well worth it. I am happy with the results and it's something off the beaten path. I do hope that the canopy issue was just in my kit. I recommend this kit highly to experienced modelers who are interested in the subject. My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the opportunity to review this great kit of an important subject. If you do obtain this kit there are lots of interesting pictures here - https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/threads/nc701-martinet-or-siebel-si204.42294


Gunslinger Series Kit No. 3

Sun, 06/21/2020 - 09:21
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra Master Box Ltd

If you were ever a fan of the Saturday morning cowboy series back in the '50's and '60's, or enjoyed the classic Sam Peckinpaw movies, this figure should be fairly familiar to you. Labeled as "Pedro Melgoza, bounty hunter", the beautiful illustration on the box cover bears an unmistakable resemblance to Tom Selleck. As I've discussed before, Masterbox is unique in the modeling world for illustrating the products BEFORE sculpting them, and I believe this is a good example.

On opening the box, you find both our bounty hunter figure as well as a very nicely done mount with two complete heads for some variety in the choice of poses. Sorry to say, ladies, but the figure within does NOT resemble Tom Selleck, but appears much more a typical Bandito figure to my eye. The figure assembles quickly, with only the setting of the shotgun across the shoulders requiring a little finagling. No putty was required.

As you can see, the figure paints up very nicely indeed, although it was beyond these old eyes to do the lacework as depicted on the cover. The best I could do was a simple approximation, although I know there are others out there that can do real justice to this piece.

The instructions give general directions on the assembly of the horse, but fail to show or mention either the rifle holster, stirrups or bit. My previous experience with Napoleanic cavalry figures helped me here as did a quick peruse of the internet to identify any differences in harnessing. All reins and other necessary straps were made with flattened solder. Again, I had some extra fun with this one, making a "painted" horse which seemed to me to be a more appropriate mount for an outlaw - sort of the "mutt" of horses. Only a little filler was necessary around the neck area and otherwise this, too, was a quick build.

As with any non-military pieces, there's a lot of flexibility in how you finish this set, and it would certainly look good with some of the others in the series. My one general complaint about Masterbox's historic figures is that I wish they were doing them in 1/32nd scale rather than 1/35th, as they are not likely to be posed with military vehicles and would more closely match the classic metal and resin figures available on the market already. Still, you can't beat them for innovative ideas and quality renderings. Have fun with this one, folks - it's a charmer.

My thanks, as always, to Masterbox for their continued wonderful contributions to this great hobby and to IPMS/USA for the chance to remember a part of my own childhood with this set. Happy trails!

P-51D Mustang "The 5th Air Force"

Sat, 06/20/2020 - 09:47
Product Image Review Author:  Keith Gervasi Platz

History: The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang is an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II and was originally developed in remarkable time of 102 days in response to a request from British Purchasing Commission. The first P-51s with Allison engines were not able to show stunned high performance. By replacing Allison Engines with Rolls-Royce Merlin Engines, P-51 became a high-performance aircraft and evolved into long-range bomber escort in European War and was rival for Japan Army in Pacific War. D-version of P-51s were produced in larger numbers than any other Mustang variants. The P-51D featured a bubble canopy for all-around visibility and was armed with six wing-mounted 12.7mm caliber machine guns. Wing racks allowed the carriage of drop tanks to extend range or bombs for ground attack.

What's in the box: Upon opening the box you should find a clear bag with two sprues of grey plastic with a separate bag of the two clear sprues inside, a very nice decal sheet and instruction fold out.

Construction: 6 steps are involved with building this kit starting with the cockpit, fuselage and horizontal stabilizers. I decided to paint some seatbelts in to make it look a little better. Step 2 is the wing assembly and it's the only area I had an issue with. You are required to drill the holes in the lower side for the external tank mounts. No problem there but there are two holes in the wing already. Those are for the M-10 rocket tube used in another boxing of this kit. Since the instructions do not mention or show these, remember to fill them in......I forgot to!

Step 3 is the assembly of the wing tanks, landing gear and propeller................YES you have to build a 1/144 prop! Everything fit pretty good here, but I left the propeller blades off until after painting as it was easier for me.

Steps 4 & 5 are the wing to fuselage assembly and the addition of the landing gear & doors, wing tanks, canopy, exhaust and radiator inlet and outlet flap.

Finishing: I used Alclad Aluminum on one aircraft and Tamiya Bare metal silver on the other and both look OK to me. You are given marking options for 4 aircraft in this kit.

  1. 118th TAC Recon Sqdn, 5th Air Force, Luzon 1945
  2. 3rd FS, 3rd FG, 5th Air Force, Okinawa 1945
  3. 39th FS, 314 FBG, 5th Air Force Luzon 1945
  4. 39th FS, 314 FBG, 5th Air Force Luzon 1945

All are in NMF, so painting is simple. I chose to do C and D and the decals worked like a charm. The only area I needed any decal solution was on the green anti-glare panel on the cowl.

Conclusion: All in all, these were very easy to build AND a lot of fun. These are very nice little kits that go together quite easily, and I recommend them to any modeler though younger modelers may have an issue with the small parts.

I would like to thank Platz for supplying this and the review corps for letting me build them.


Sat, 06/20/2020 - 00:49
Product Image Review Author:  Brian R. Baker Eduard

This is a cast white metal conversion set for the Eduard, or actually any, 1/72 scale Fokker D.VII kit.  The package I received contained four airfoil shaped spreader assemblies for the landing gear, and two sets each of the landing gear struts and tailskids. 

Not having an Eduard kit available, I used an old Revell Fokker D.VII, and the unit fitted nicely.  The spreader bar unit was a little roughly cast, but it was easy to sand it down to where is looked good.  Not having an Eduard kit, I'm not sure why the unit needed replacement, as there isn't really much to the gear,  just the spreader and the two  supporting "V" struts.  The struts fit easily into the notches on the bar, but they need a little cleaning up, as there are two molding lines on each set of struts.

My D.VII is painted in the colors of the Lithuanian Air Service, which had a few of them after the end of World War I.  The hardest part of this model was the insignias, as I didn't have a set of Lithuanian crosses so I had to make them from decal stock.  The D.VII is one of the easier biplanes to build, since it had cantilever wings, and the only wires on the airplane are the cross bracing on the landing gear struts, vertical stabilizer to horizontal stabilizer bracing, and the control wires for the rudder, ailerons, and elevators. In ten minutes, you have the biplane rigged.  Not like doing a DH-4 or a Spad.

If you are dissatisfied with the landing gear that comes with the kit, these are a logical alternative.  If you are satisfied, don't bother.  Recommended.

Tru-Color Paints used for Eduard P-400

Sun, 06/14/2020 - 14:27
Product Image Review Author:  Pablo Bauleo Tru-Color Paint

I have heard of Tru-Color Paints probably 18 month ago by now and since then I had the chance to review a few different colors and coats from them. They have an extensive line of railroad and car paints and they are continuously expanding their military line (aircraft, naval, armor).

This time, thanks to the kind support of Tru Paint to IPMS/USA I was able to use them for the review of an Eduard P-400 Profipack (model kit review elsewhere in this website). As I was doing a review of paints, I decided to go for a P-400 which was assembled from parts of different airplanes and sported a mix of USAAF and RAF colors.

This is not a specific set for the P-400 (Tru-Colors has a few packs of paints). It was more like I was able to "make my own" set of paints. Below is the list of paints I used in this review:

  • Black: TCP-010
  • White: TCP-005
  • RAF Sky gray: TCP-1288
  • RAF Dark Green: TCP-1281
  • RAF Dark Earth: TCP-1282
  • Olive Drab: TCP-1236
  • Neutral Grey: TCP-1241
  • RAF Interior Green: TCP-1290
  • Interior Green: TCP-1250
  • Gloss coat: TCP-018
  • Flat coat: TCP-017
  • Grey Primer: TCP-256
  • Gunmetal: TCP-1336
  • Burnt Iron: TCP-357
  • Aluminum: TCP-013


These paints are solvent-based with an acrylic polymer used as the binding agent. This means that they are smelly (make sure you have proper ventilation and proper protection). The upside of being smelly is that they dry fast.

The binding to the plastic is also pretty good, better than most acrylics I have worked with in the past. In a previous review of these paints I intentionally rough handle a few test parts (bang them against my hobby table, lightly scratched with my nails) and the paint withstood the abuse. I would not recommend doing that on your models on purpose, but if it were to happen by accident, most likely your paint job will be fine.

Another thing you will notice about these paints is that the bottles are larger than the standard hobby bottles; they come in 1 oz and 2 oz.  That means their smallest bottle has about twice (or more) the paint from most hobby paint manufactures. Consider that fact when you think on their price; I was not doing that while looking at the paints in the hobby store at first.

In my spray tests, I've found the paint is ready to be sprayed out of the bottle. After mixing them with a paint mixer they have a consistency similar to partially skim milk.

When you are getting ready to paint, make sure you mix the paint well. You should always do mix the paint well -regardless of the brand. But I would say that these paints truly need that for two reasons: one is color accuracy; the second one is the consistency of the paint. It flows better through the airbrush when properly mix than when just shaken (when only shaken I had a few paint runs in some scrap parts).

The very first coat of paint was actually primer. I clean up the plastic using soap and water and let it dry overnight. I then sprayed the primer in light coats; two were enough to have nice coverage. You can see in the pictures that the primer created a super smooth surface which didn't obscure detail at all.

I gave the primer 24 hrs to fully cure and then I continued the paint with the neutral grey, which to my eyes was a little bit too dark, so I mix it a bit with white. I masked the single wing of neutral grey and I applied olive drab, both on the upper wing and in some randomly selected panels. I then sprayed the RAF Sky, RAF Dark Green and RAF Dark Earth. I waited 24 hrs between coats and I masked with a variety of masking materials each time.

For the masking job I've used: Natural metal foil (selected panels), FrogTape (lower surfaces), 3M Blue Painter (olive drab wing) and Tamiya tape (RAF dark green before Dark Earth). I intentionally tried different tapes to study if there would be any issues with peeling off the paint due to different level of adhesive. There were no issues with any of the different tapes used.

I sprayed the paint at 25 psi (dynamic, not static) and they atomized beautifully. All the colors had good density; a couple of fine coats were all that was needed to get a uniform band of dense color. I should point out that the manufacturer recommended pressure is 28 to 35 psi, but 25 psi did just fine. Although I live in Colorado and altitude might have played a role in getting away with just 25 psi.

Regarding the mix of RAF and USAAF colors, you can see in the pictures the different shades of colors. I don't have paint chips for those specific colors, but they look really good and I know that Tru-Color does a great research job matching the colors of their paints for realistic finishes.

I did use the burnt iron color for the exhausts, but I was not truly sold on the shade. I overpainted with gunmetal and used the burnt iron paint for the propeller spinner. It actually makes for a great weathered red.

Once I was done with all the painting I sprayed a coat of Gloss in preparation for details. The gloss coat behaves amazingly well. No runs, self-leveling and super shinny. After decals were applied I used a Tamiya Panel Line Wash and there was no reaction between the gloss coat and the wash. You can use them with confidence.

A flat coat wrapped up all the work and prepared the surfaces for the application of pastel chalks to simulate distressed paint that you could expect in the southwest Pacific theater of operations.

Another thing to mention about the Tru-Color paints: They are super easy to clean. I just put a bit of acetone in the airbrush cup, let it sit there for about 1 minute and sprayed through the airbrush. I then dissembled the airbrush and I had barely any spot that needed further clean up. And when that was needed, a cotton bud dipped in acetone was all I needed to clean up whatever leftover paint was in the inner works. These paints are probably the easiest ones to clean up out of all the brands I have worked with.

Regarding the paints, the main conclusions I have are:

  • Ready to spray out of the bottle (25 psi was my setting)
  • Great color accuracy and color density
  • They are resistant to normal handling
  • Easy to spray and very easy to clean up afterward
  • Solvent-based, so you need to have proper ventilation/respirator
  • Fast drying

In summary: these paints are excellent. With proper ventilation and a respirator, the strong smell of them is no problem. The advantage of being smelly is that they dry out fast. They have good color density and they atomize fantastically. They do not obscure any surface detail and they are ready to spray out of the bottle. To top them off, the adhesion to plastic is outstanding.

I highly recommended these paints to modelers of any experience level.

I would like to thank Tru-Color Paint and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

Eduard P-400 Look

Sat, 06/13/2020 - 13:48
Product Image Review Author:  Pablo Bauleo Eduard

Eduard Models has expanded its Look line by releasing a set to enhance their own P-400 model.


This set of the Look line includes a pre-painted resin instrument panel and prepainted photoetch seatbelts, plus prepainted photoetch levers and such.


The instrument panel is provided in two resin parts and they are meant to be drop-in replacements for the original parts. They fit perfectly. You only have to remove them from the casting blocks and you are ready to go.


The prepainted PE is part of the STEEL line. I've been fortunate to review items of that line before and I knew I was in for a treat. Despite the STEEL name of if the PE is very easy to bend to final shape. You only have to remove them from the fret, bend them to shape and glue them in place (use CA).


As you can see in the pictures, the parts look amazing. Talk about a simple and fast way to improve the Look of your model!


Highly recommended.


I would like to thank Eduard Models and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

Sd.Kfz.251/6 Aufs.A. with Crew

Sat, 06/13/2020 - 00:52
Product Image Review Author:  Will Kuhrt ICM

Thank you to Bill and to Phil for all the work you do!


ICM Holding, a Ukrainian-based company known for outstanding quality, has produced a very nice new-mold German halftrack. The main armored personnel carrier of the German Wehrmacht, the Sd.Kfz. 251, built by the company Hanomag, was used to transport motorized infantry. The armored personnel carriers were in service with the German army throughout the Second World War and were used in all theaters. This modification, the Sd.Kfz.251/6 Aufs.A., was produced in 1939-1940.

Contained in the box is one sealed bag holding five highly detailed gray styrene sprues and a separately bagged clear sprue. Black vinyl tracks accompany the kit as well as two black vinyl tires. You also get a sprue of four detailed figures. The kit contains 334 parts which were all flash free and showed no injection marks or sink holes. Panel lines are finely recessed. Parts which are not used for this particular model are clearly marked on the sprue diagrams with pink highlights.

The 28-page assembly guide begins with construction of the hull, then the suspension, motor, driver's console, interior details, idler arms & wheels. Assembly is completed with adding the top, weapons, tools, tracks & tires, decals and figures. The last page has full-color pictures of two different vehicles. The paint and decal call-outs are clearly marked. The two versions provided are Sd.Kfz.251/6 Aufs.A. command vehicle of Lieutenant-General H. Guderian, Poland, September 1939 and Sd.Kfz.251/6 Aufs.A. 1941.

Reviewer's Comments:

This kit was quite enjoyable to build. Assembly was largely straightforward and mostly free of problems. I have a few recommendations to help you make the most of this nice kit.

  1. All parts with a few exceptions are painted Tank Gray-Tamiya XF-63.
  2. There is a minor part number error in Step 29.  Part E11 is actually E17 on the sprue.
  3. Instructions indicate to paint the whole interior XF2 (Flat White). After conducting some research and consulting other armor builders, we believe this to be inaccurate. The visible interior of German halftracks was Tank Gray-same as the exterior. The driver console (the non-visible area) was close to a Sandgelb, or at the least more of an ivory white and not pure white.
  4. Step 67 has you remove raised rivets on the left and right sides (see photo). It will be easier for you to remove the raised detail before installing the windows. Additionally, you are to drill holes (two holes at each of the four corners of the upper hull). The instructions tell you to use piece H17--the "Conductor" or WAB?OI in Russian.  This is a poor translation. "Jig" is more accurate. (see photo).  The jig helps you get the holes in correct alignment for drilling. As with removing the raised detail, drilling the holes with assistance of the jig is much easier when the windows have not been installed.
  5. Do not install the drive wheels until you are ready to install the tracks.
  6. If you add a figure of the driver, you must add it prior to fixing the top hull to the bottom half. If you do not, it is impossible to install the driver figure into the seat.

The hull assembly is straightforward and the parts fit accurately. There were no problems. The idler arms and wheels fit snuggly. If you install the drive wheels too early, you will likely find it difficult to install the tracks around the drive wheel gears. There is little space to work with. Therefore, I recommend that you install the idler arms/wheels first. Then when you are ready to install the tracks, install them together with the drive wheels.

The engine is appropriately detailed for this scale. It is covered by the hood and no option is provided for an "open" posing. The top hull fits nicely to the lower hull. I was able to remove the seam with a light sanding. Adding interior details, tools, weapons, and the radio goes quickly and all of these steps are problem free.

There is a visible seam on both the left and right fender. Although the seam is not horrible, its presence is not accurate to the real-life vehicle and should be filled and removed (see photos).  To remove the seams, I first lightly sanded the surface to even them out. Next, I applied a bit of Tamiya white putty. Once dry, I continued sanding with finer and finer grains. Lastly, I primed and painted. The decals went on with no problems.

For the review sample, I built the provided figures. There are four:  a commander, a driver, a radio operator and a radio assistant. The figures build up nicely and all of the parts fit precisely. There is a separately provided figure painting guide (see photo).  Together with assembly and painting, the figures were completed in a total of approximately three hours.

Overall, this kit is a very nice and enjoyable to build.; it is the kind of kit that would make a great weekend project!  With following some of the recommendations, you will have an easy and fun time with this kit!

Thank you to ICM for the honor of reviewing this very nice kit, and thank you to IPMS for the opportunity!

Nieuwpoort 1600-The First Modern Battle

Sat, 06/13/2020 - 00:35
Product Image Review Author:  Will Kuhrt Osprey Publishing

Thank you Bill & Phil for all you do for the Reviewers!

Synopsis per back cover:  The Eighty Years War began as a limited rebellion of Dutchmen seeking religious tolerance from their Spanish overlords, but it quickly escalated into one of the longest wars in European history. Spain's failed invasion of 1599 and the mutinies that followed convinced Dutch leaders that they should go on the offensive, and the following campaign pitted the sons of two famous leaders against each other: Maurice of Nassau and Albert of Hapsburg.  One led an unproved new model army, the other Spain's "unbeatable" tericos; each commanded well over 15,000 men.

The Dutch wanted to land near Nieuwpoort, conquer it and then march on to Dunkirk, the northern home port of the Spanish fleet, but they were cut off by a resurgent and reunited Spanish army. The two forces then met on the beach and in the dunes north of Nieuwpoort. The battle that followed was decisive and has subsequently been identified as the first modern battle. Victory ensured the survival of the fledgling Dutch Republic, while the revolutionary tactics and techniques employed by the Republican army sparked the transformation of European Welfare.

About the Author

Bouko de Groot has a BA in Art History and an MA in Egyptology. He has served in the army and is a published author of a number of academic, popular scientific and business journalistic articles. When not writing about current affairs, he continues to study and write about military history. He is Dutch and currently lives in The Hague. Peter Dennis (Illustrator) was inspired by contemporary magazines such as Look and Learn, leading him to study Illustration at Liverpool Art College. Peter has since contributed to hundreds of books, predominantly on historical subjects, including many Osprey titles. A keen wargamer and modelmaker, he is based in Nottinghamshire, UK.  Provided by Osprey Publishing.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1        Origins of the Campaign
  • Chapter 2        Chronology
  • Chapter 3        Opposing Commanders
  • Chapter 4        Opposing Armies
  • Chapter 5        Opposing Plans
  • Chapter 6        The Campaign
  • Chapter 7        Aftermath
  • Chapter 8        The Battlefields Today
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Before reading this book, I felt I had to educate myself on the city whose Dutch spelling I couldn't pronounce. It is, simply, pronounced New-port.  Nieuwpoort is a coastal town located in northern Belgium in Flanders, one of the three Belgian regions. Today it is known for its beaches and marina, yet it retains its medieval city center.

All I can say is that I learned a tremendous amount from this book. When I started, I had flashbacks to my 8th grade social studies class learning some facts about the Eighty Years War and feeling like I had been sitting my seat for eighty years. All humor aside, I really enjoyed this book, and I feel I am an improved person for reading it.

Like many who don't read so much, I first flipped through to look at the pictures. Well, these aren't pictures. These are much more. I was drawn in by the full-color photographs of armor helmets and breast plates, the medieval guns & canons, and then by the full-color reproductions of Dutch portraits, battle scene painting and maps. With each turn of a page, I was pulled in more and more and wanted to read and learn.

I was struck by de Groot's description of how armies back then functioned in battle. By providing information such as distances between soldiers, how communications were relayed by non-combatant trumpeters, etc., de Groot shows us how orderly and disciplined battle was during this era.

The story of the beach standoff and then the Battle of Nieuwpoort is also very engaging. The author maps out the action in an hour-by-hour sequence, and this really brings the events to life. As I got near the end, I came across verbal commands all dealing with the Pike. Presented in their original Old English, they were a delight to read, and now I go around telling my friends all kind of Pike commands and getting odd looks.

This is a marvelous and expertly crafted book. I highly recommend it, and I believe you will be drawn in and enjoy learning the information contained within these pages as much as I did.  Congratulations to Mr. de Groot for writing and portraying history in such a way as to make the reader want to learn more!

Thank you to Osprey for publishing such a fine book, and thank you to IPMS for the opportunity.


PBJ-1H Wing Mounted Radar

Sat, 06/13/2020 - 00:24
Product Image Review Author:  Will Kuhrt Brengun

The PBJ-1H is U.S. Navy variant of the B-25 which was operated by the U.S. Marine Corps as a ground attacker. This aircraft is a powerful ground strafing machine and due to the weapons package built-in, it can be viewed as a gunship.

This accessory is not identified for use on one specific manufacture's kit. The PBJ-1H in 1/72 scale is or has been produced by Hasegawa, Dragon Models & Matchbox.

Assembly is straightforward as there are only two components. The resin cast is feather-light and has very crisp detail and is flash free. To begin, I washed the cast using a mild solution of water and dish detergent. Next, I sawed the cast in half to gain easier access to each of the two components. After each piece was removed, I gently sanded smoothed the sawed surfaces and then adjoined both pieces using CA.  The completed assembly was primed and painted with Tamiya Sky Gray.  

This is a very nice accessory and I believe it would be an excellent replacement for any provided kit part.

Thank you to Brengun for supporting the IPMS Reviewer Corp and for providing this very nice accessory.  Thank you to IPMS for the opportunity, and to Bill and Phil for all of your work.

P-400 Profipack

Fri, 06/12/2020 - 00:07
Product Image Review Author:  Pablo Bauleo Eduard

Eduard Models has re-released their P-400 (actually P-39/P-400 family if you consider all the parts in the sprues) this time in the Profipack boxing, which includes several finishing options, photo-etch upgrades and pre-cut masks.

I've believe this model dates to the year 2000. Despite being 20-yr old at time of writing this review, the molds hold really well. There is no flash anywhere and the panel lines are sharp and well defined. Eduard knows how to keep its technology in such way that their products are consistent over time.

I had the opportunity to review this kit with the P-400 Look set (reviewed independently) so the interior that you will see is from that set.

This model (like most) starts with the interior. Given the "car door" design of the P-400, plus the "bubble canopy" it is a good idea to spend some time making sure you get things to look as nice as you can. Either using the Profipack PE or the Look set you will get a top notch interior.

Assembling the interior presents no challenges. The cockpit area attaches to the nose wheel well and using the fuselage as an alignment gig, everything goes together without a glitch.

Just make sure you add plenty of weight in the nose to prevent a tail sitter. I added a piece of styrene to the nose wheel well (creating a "roof") that helped me to install the lead sinker that worked as the nose weight.

Fit of the assembled interior to the fuselage is so good that I didn't need to glue the subassemblies in place. I just glued the fuselage sides and the subassembly stayed in place.

Next up was the wing. The design is a single lower part that sets the (minimal) dihedral of the wing and two upper parts. Remember to open a small hole in the wing leading edge for the wing guns. Again the fit is solid there. But to my surprise I ended up with a small gap on both wing-roots. I used some filler and sanded to shape. As of note is the trailing edge of the wing. It is thick for the scale. I decided to leave it as is. You can probably sand down the mating surfaces but you might have a step at the wingroot to deal with.

I also had to add a small piece of styrene to the port fuselage just in front of the cockpit as during test fits I noticed a small gap between the grey plastic and the clear part for the canopy.

Thanks to the solid engineering of this model (plus the pre-cut canopy masks) I was ready to move into painting in just a few hours of work.

I choose an airframe that was assembled from different airplanes, sporting both RAF and USAAF colors.  I used Tru-Color paints (reviewed elsewhere in the website) to finish this model. On the paint front I would say that I am impressed by the quality of the paints, the ease of use and the easy of cleaning. Please read the paint review for a full description of them.

After the painting was done I sprayed a coat of Tru-Color Gloss, and again, I am very impressed by the quality of it. A single coat was enough to have a great glossy finish in preparation for the decals.

Decaling itself went without issues as well. The decals are printed by Eduard and have nothing to envy to the aftermarket decal makers. Great color definition, in registry and they can handle some gentle tugging as you move them around to be properly placed. I didn't even need to use a setting solution!

After letting the decals set I applied a Tamiya enamel panel line wash to bring up all that nice surface detail. There was no reaction between the enamel panel line wash and the Tru-Color Gloss coat. You can use them together without any concern.

I was in the home stretch, with just the propeller (made up of 3 independent blades, make sure all of them have the same pitch) and the landing gear left to work with. Painting the wheels was again very easy as masks are provided.

Assembly of the landing gear was straightforward, but attaching it to the airplane not so much. The locating pins are handed (good engineering there, to prevent mix-up of left and right gear) but the attachment is a bit on the weak side. You might want to consider adding a metal pin and a tiny bit amount of superglue for a stronger landing gear. Let me be clear, it is not a flimsy landing gear as designed. It is a delicate one. If you are careful with handling you will be fine.

The final step was a flat coat and to glue the doors and canopy in place. As the airplane operated out of Guadalcanal I simulated distress paint by a liberal application of pastel  chalk, mainly light grey, yellows and tans.

In summary, this is a good model. It might be 20-year old but the plastic is as good as if new. The surface detail is appropriate and can compete with newer molds. I did have an issue with the wing roots. Not sure if it my mistake or the molds. Either way, it was not difficult to resolve. The landing gear is a bit on the delicate side. Consider using some pins to strength it.

I would summarize my experience as "I had fun with it and I would build another one".

Recommended with the noted issues.

I would like to thank Eduard Models and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

Cobblestone Street

Thu, 06/11/2020 - 23:38
Product Image Review Author:  Bob LaBouy Tiger Werke Summary

This is a review of a base which is made of finely molded piece of medium grey resin base. I thoroughly enjoyed working with this diorama base. Unlike many of the bases I have previously worked with, the Tiger Werke base is (a) reasonably priced, (b) lays flat on the table without having to be sanded or otherwise manipulated, (c) takes a variety of paints and or primers (I used an acrylic by Mission Models, though I also tested a small patch with both Alclad's Lacquer and their Aqua Clear Gloss--both of which worked very well), (d) finished up with a patch work mosaic pattern of what to my mind resembles a cobblestone pattern and (e) used a number of Vallejo Model colors to paint the individual tile pieces. I suspect there is a multitude of cobblestone designs or patterns available, all the way from what I tried to represent to dusty or very dirty street scenes (see color and pattern notes below).

Also, worth mentioning, I could not find any scale or size references for the Tiger Werke bases. I have displayed my base with a 1/35th scale Takom Panther Ausf. D. in what I see is a typical European street scene.

From my observations, this base is a bit unusual in that there are two features somewhat unusual: the raised curb stone area and the modern metal sewer manhole cover. Both are great additions to the surface detail though the later detail is clearly more modern than I witnessed in my several visits across Western Europe. What does this mean? In my opinion, this cobblestone street scene can be used to portray typical scenes from western Europe, the middle east, northern Africa, Disneyland, and any number of other foreign locations by merely changing the color of the stones, sidewalk or the man-hole cover.

This base comes with several 'Hints & Tips' including these caveats:

  • All resin items should be washed with warm water and adding a few drops of detergent. Let air dry.
  • When sanding, grinding, or drilling resin, wear a particle mask or a NIOSH respirator approved for dust. It is important not to inhale the resin dust, which could potentially cause an allergic reaction.
  • Wear safety goggles. If you are wearing a dust mask or respirator, you need to be wearing goggles as well. They are also necessary if you are working with power tools and resin, such as when drilling, sanding or polishing.
  • The use of a suitable primer is recommended for bonding purposes. CA glue or epoxies need to be used for resin items.
  • Not suitable for children.

Because of the huge number of stonework patterns and the wide variety of colors for such cobblestone, I would suggest diving into the literally thousands of photo images available on the internet. I recommend that you begin your research with such sites as 'European cobblestone patterns' on Google.

Overall Evaluation

I am impressed with this Tiger Werke cobblestone street base and recommend its use to enhance your dioramas. It can serve as the corner stone for a simple diorama base or with the addition of added vegetation, grass, sand or simple resin pieces and details I can imagine a more extensive diorama scene. I want to thank both Tiger Werke Resin and IPMS-USA for the opportunity to review this base.