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Updated: 8 hours 42 min ago

MiG-25PU Foxbat-C

Sun, 05/17/2020 - 00:09
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk continues their release of the MiG-25 line with the MiG-25 PU Foxbat-C version. This version was a 2 seat conversion trainer for the MiG-25 P interceptors. It has a new nose section with 2 separate cockpits and has no combat capability.

 

Looking in the box, you get lots of sprues. There are sixteen gray sprues with well done parts with nice engraved panel lines. There is also two decals sheets representing the four markings included. There are resin parts supplied for the landing gear, cockpits and two superb pilot figures. Lastly, there is one sheet of photoetch. The markings allow the building of:

 

  • Ukraine Air Force 001
  • Russian Air Force Red "32"
  • Russian Air Force Red "34"
  • Indian Air Force

 

IPMS/USA did a great review of the Kitty Hawk MiG-25RB/RBT here- https://web.ipmsusa3.org/content/mig-25rbrbt so I will concentrate this review on the differences.

 

The first change starts in step 1 when you do the resin cockpits instead of the kit supplied plastic ones. The resin parts are very well done with crisp casting and minimal to no removal needed. Both fore and aft cockpits are included in resin and contain the tub, stick and rudder pedals and full instrument coaming. Sidewalls are also included. These fit well and are primed and painted with no issue EXCEPT there are no color call outs for painting the cockpit. A quick Google search and it is the standard Russian interior green color. The next change was building the main and nose landing gear bays. All are built with individual sidewalls and trap the resin gear struts in place.  Since this supports a very beefy plane and I could not find a way to suitably add the gear later, the gear was added, and the bays built and set aside.

 

The intakes were next and are posed closed as there is no intake trunking back to the engines. No issue here but they would have you add then to the front fuselage and glue which I did. I have large fit issues with the intakes mating to the fuselage so I would suggest leaving them free to add later. The front fuselage traps the nose gear and aft cockpit. It is a bit of a balancing act, but they fit well.

 

The engines are built and added to the bottom fuselage and then the top fuselage added and then the front with the aft canopy. I had pretty significant steps by the intakes and wish I had added the fuselage and then the intakes as mentioned. Part of this might be me hurrying also to meet deadlines. The wings, gear doors, etc. were all similar to the other build.

 

The next change was the addition of the second cockpit to the new long nose. This took a little time to fit and in the end was OK. One thing to note, the instructions clearly have you add the resin cowling over the instrument panel. Fact is, it is a single part and the instructions look only partially revised as the plastic parts are this way. Not a big issue but we aware of it as you build.

 

I added the very nice wind screens and it was paint time. I used Light Compass Gray with pre-shading for the main parts. The engine sections were masked off and sprayed gloss black and then finished in burnt iron with several colors added to show heat. I chose Red "32" and masked off the black sections around the vertical stabilizers and cockpits.  Once shined up, it was time for decals.

 

The decals had a little mottle look to them and I was concerned but this was unfounded and they worked very well. A little more weathering and a flat coat and we are ready to finish it off.

 

The canopies were added along with their struts as well as a pitot tubes and a few miscellaneous parts. Included in the kit are multiple sprues of weapons including R-60, R-40, KH-31, KH-58ME and KH58 missiles along with a large drop tank and two EW pods. There is also a great instruction showing what goes on which pylon...problem is, this version was unarmed. Yup- discovered that AFTER I added R-60 and R40's to the wing pylons. Look better that way but no accurate. 

 

Another flat coat and only the seat left to go. The seats are resin and are very beautiful and delicate. Paint is simple. Wait a minute, didn't I see seat belts on the PE fret. Yup. Beautiful belts and no mention of them anywhere in the instructions. They were added and the seats glued in place.

 

The first thing I noticed after I stepped back was how big and beefy this plane is- stocky to say the least. It builds into an impressive model. The fit is generally very good with the intakes being an exception to me., Other have not reported the same issue. The only let down to me was the instructions- so many misses like the seat belts. Experienced modelers won't find it an issue but newer modelers might follow the instructions and leave the bets off entirely which is shame as they are very nice.

 

I can definitely recommend the kit to medium to experienced modelers. There are some great shots on the Internet of really worn and faded kits and this would be a great jumping off point for that build.

 

My thanks to Glen and everyone at Kitty Hawk for the opportunity to add this to my Russian collection.

The German Heavy Cruiser Prinz Eugen (Top Drawings No. 86)

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 15:12
Product Image Review Author:  Marc K. Blackburn Kagero Publishing

Kagero, the prolific Polish publishing company, has released the newest addition to their series, Top Drawings. This is number 86, the German heavy cruiser, Prinz Eugen. Distributed by Casemate Publications, this 28 page paper book provides drawings and a color profile of the famous German cruiser. I imagine most of you know the ship's history. It accompanied the Bismarck on its first and only voyage, accompanied the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in their famous channel dash, and ended her career in the Baltic.

For those of you unfamiliar with this series, the book provides a series of profile drawings of famous warships, warplanes, and armored fighting vehicles. Other ships in the series include the Japanese battleship Nagato in 1944, a whole host of Soviet warships, HMS Royal Oak, etc. The drawings are 3-D black and black line Illustrations that show the ship from stem to stern with some additional close up drawings of fittings and armament. The back of the book provides a color profile of the ship that is illustrated in the book. The drawings provide the level of detail that ship modelers would appreciate. The production quality, though, is a bit spotty, with some illustrations very crisp and others not so much.

For ship modelers and amateur historians, the level of detail is fantastic. The focus of the book is on what the Cruiser looked like close to the end of the war. If you would like a more detailed technical and operational history, you will have to look elsewhere. There are also no dates associated with the various drawings of profile. I can only assume that given the radar rig and number of anti-aircraft guns, the ship is depicted as late war. In spite of these minor quibbles, it is a nice addition to any modeler's book collection.

My thanks to IPMS and Casemate Publications for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Castle Fence

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 14:47
Product Image Review Author:  Ben Morton Hauler Brengun

Hauler is introducing a new 1/72nd scale diorama accessory that should find its way into a myriad of scenarios. Their Castle Fence set consists of both resin and photo-etched bits. On the resin front, there are five fence posts( 36mm tall), one section of stuccoed wall ( 69mm x 21mm) and three sections of short, brick wall (69mm x 9mm).

 

Photo-etched parts are included for wrought-iron fencing along two sections of wall and a complete gate for another section. The photo-etched gate bits include both sides of the gate as well as latches and a gate support should you wish to pose it open.  All of which is nicely illustrated in the assembly instructions.

 

The molding of the brick wall sections is as we have come to expect from Hauler, first rate. After removing the pour plugs from the resin parts all that's required is to apply paint and the weathering of your choice. You may even wish to put some trailin' vines on the finished wall when its all said and done.

 

Even a cursory glance at this diorama accessory item from Hauler and I was left with a plethora of ideas for it use.  As your imagination is probably way better than mine, and your painting skills, uses for this castle fence may run into the hundreds.  Best to get more than one set.

 

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

Horten Ho 229 1/72&1/144 Set, Part 2

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 01:06
Product Image Review Author:  Phil Peterson Zoukei-Mura

This is the 72nd scale build from this box.  John did the 1/144th scale one a bit earlier.

https://web.ipmsusa3.org/content/horten-229-part-1

Zoukei-Maru are known for very detailed kits with interior parts in 1/32nd and 1/48th but this is the first time they have delved into the smaller scales, and on this 72nd scale kit they have decided to go for the full interior structure as well.

While I haven't seen any of their larger kits in detail, I was a bit disappointed in the molding of this kit.  There are lots of molding seams and bits of flash throughout this kit.  While that isn't a real problem, as it cleans up easily, it was just something I was not expecting.

One other thing that caused me and my fat fingers issues was trying to get all this lovely internal detail to stay put.  The connecters are also scaled down which makes the process of getting things to line up a bit of an experience.  If I were to build this again I would probably try CA glue for the interior bits and probably some accelerator.  I think this would give you a chance to get the structure together all in one go and save some fit issues later.

That said the detail on the kit is superb from the interior, cockpit, engines, the surface detail all nicely molded, and looks great once it is all together.

Assembly

The build starts with the engines and as usual for Z-M they supply both full engines which build up from 8 parts each.  They do look really nice when done though I had some alignment issues on mine.

Next is the cockpit which is very detailed and includes a decal for the instrument panel which settled well with Micro Set and Sol.  You really need to do steps 3 and 4 at the same time to ensure you get the fit correct.  I did it over 2 nights and had some problems.  The only thing missing was some seatbelts which would have been nice in decal form in this scale.

Steps 5-14 all deal with putting all that lovely internal structure together and adding the guns and engines.  I really think if you do this in one sitting by using super glue you can get a much better fit than I managed.  I put this down to my skills and not the kits design.

You build the wings in steps 15-20 and this is where my only other issue with the kit comes in to play.  It is designed with all this internal structure but the instructions tell you to glue the outer skin panels to the interior nullifying you of seeing all that work.

Between steps 20 and 21 is an important notice to check the fit of the body parts before proceeding.

The next 4 steps have you add the wings to the fuselage structure and then glue the body panels starting with the top rear, then the bottom two ,and finally the nose and engine covers.  Again, you are advised to glue the covers on.  I decided to take a picture of what the whole internal structure looks like before doing these steps as I want to remember all that detail that I worked so hard to get together.  

I also found out that I obviously didn't get something to fit correctly as I could not get the nose piece to set back far enough to fit which lead to having to resort to some Tamiya putty.  If I had done this all correctly throughout the build I am sure I would not have had to use any putty.

Some other positives before I finish up are there are multiple drawings throughout the instructions that help show how parts are supposed to align.  These show side, top and front aspects so your can really see how things are supposed to fit as you go along.  The other is the way the wings attach to the structure and then the top and bottom panels attach to the wings really does insure a good fit.  

The final steps are for the tricycle landing gear which includes molded on hydraulic/brake lines, some antenna and the canopy which was nice and clear.  These were all added after the paint job.

Painting

The color callouts throughout the instructions are given for Vallejo Color and Mr. Color paints.  I used Tamiya pretty much exclusively except for some MMP Tire color for the, um, tires.  I also used a bottle of Modeler Master Acrylic RLM 66 for the cockpit and wheels.

Since my airbrush is still in the box (I need to redo the model room to make some space to set up) I used Tamiya rattle cans colors for the interior, AS-18 Light Gray (IJA), (which was mainly done on the sprues) and exterior, AS-2 Light Gray (IJN).  John had already done the camo version for his build and I didn't want to do a nightfighter without radar, which is the other kit option so did mine as a what-if prototype.  The actual prototype was engineless, but think they had to do one up with engines so there you go.  I did use the kit decals for the top crosses, wing(nacelle) walk, and engine octane marking, but had to source a couple more black crosses for the underwings.  These came out of the old ProModeler Bf-109G-10.  The model was coated with Future (the real stuff) and the decals added with no issues again using Micro Set and Sol.  The kit included many extra markings including 2-part swastikas so you can make pretty much any what-if late war flying wing you want.  Tamiya TS-80 Flat Coat covered the build.

I left one of the engine covers and top wing covers off so you can still see some of the internal details.

If 72nd is your preferred scale you definitely can get a great detailed model with this kit.  Just take your time, use CA, and check your fits.  Then you just need to decide whether to leave all the panels off and show off all the interior detail or cover it up.  Would also be pretty easy to build it in sections like the one survivor currently is at the Smithsonian.

Thanks to Zoukei-Mura and IPMS/USA for the review kit.

The Royal Dragoon Guards, A Regimental History 1685-2018

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 00:21
Product Image Review Author:  Jim Pearsall Osprey Publishing

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Macfarlane served with the Royal Dragoon Guards.  The Colonel of the Regiment commissioned this history to make it accessible to the public.  Histories cover the facts, but there has to be a lot of research and digging to get the information which is presented here.  

CONTENTS

  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Regimental Life
  • Keeping the Peace
  • Small Wars
  • Major Wars of the 17th Century
  • Major Wars of the 18th Century
  • Major Wars of the 19th Century
  • The First World War 1914-18
  • The Second World War 1939-45
  • The Cold War
  • 21st Century Operations
  • Appendices
  • Bibliography
  • Index

An explanation.  Dragoons were originally organized as infantry but were mounted to give them mobility.  As things advanced, they were used as heavy cavalry, armed with swords and pistols.  

When World War I began, these units were used as cavalry, against German cavalry in the opening moves.  Most of the fighting was done dismounted, but the horses were still useful for mobility.  As the war became trench battles, the dragoons were used as a mobile reserve but also spent time in the trenches as infantry.

The antecedent units took part in some famous battles, such as Balaclave in the Crimean war.  They were the heavy brigade and were not in the charge of the Light Brigade.  They were at Waterloo, where the Inskillings and Royal Guards put a stop to the French infantry attack, but then they were stopped by French cavalry.  

In the Battle of France in early World War II the units were equipped with infantry tanks, which were slow and under armed.  These were all destroyed and abandoned at Dunkirk.  When the units went ashore at Normandy, they were equipped with Cromwell or Sherman tanks, and had much better luck against the Germans.  

The text doesn't go deeply into the unit names when talking about actions, deployments or battles, but if you can keep in mind that the units were the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th, it gets easier.  Also, the Inskillings (6th) were called the "skins".  

The book is nicely written, with brief but clear descriptions of the battles and the less glamorous but still necessary smaller actions. 

I did notice that they managed to stay out of North and South America.  

Many thanks to Osprey Publications for this informative book, and to IPMS USA for allowing me to review it.

Ki-43 Hayabusa

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 00:41
Product Image Review Author:  Jim Pearsall Platz The Aircraft

The Ki-43 has been described as the "Army Zero". The Hayabusa and Zero were contemporaries, and the Ki-43 was quite successful in the first part of WW2. The Allies code named the aircraft "Oscar". But like the Zero, the Oscar had some design problems, mostly the lack of self-sealing fuel tanks, armor protection, and light armament. Nevertheless, it did well against the early Allied fighters like the Buffalo, the P-36, the P-39, and Spitfire I. Almost all of the Japanese Army aces got victories in Oscars early in their careers.

The Model

This is a Platz/Bego kit. The molding is delicate and outstanding. You get 2 kits in the box, nice extra parts, and decals for 4 Ki-43-1s. There is a nice fuel tank for beneath the fuselage, and bombs with the necessary attachments.

Assembly

This project took only a little time, compared to some recent projects. Everything fit nicely. I didn't have to use any putty in the entire project. I painted the interior and the wheel wells using a metallic blue which the Army used for corrosion prevention. The interior is minimal, but includes the seat, control stick and instrument panel. The big delay for the fuselage was waiting for the interior paint to dry. Once the interior was installed, the fuselage halves went together beautifully. I painted the engine and the exhausts, and glued them to the mount. I put the cowling in place, but didn't glue it in, waiting until paint was complete. I also waited until paint was complete to install the horizontal stabilizers.

I was ready to apply the paint.

Painting

The paint job was pretty basic. The entire top of the airplane as well as the horizontal stabilizers was Nakajima Green. I then masked the top and painted the bottom and the stabilizer bottoms light gray-green. This is a great paint scheme... Two colors and you're done. I did have to paint the landing gear doors underside gray-green and the canopy dark green. There was also some detail painting on the landing gear legs and the wheels, but in this scale, that's not a big deal.

I put the horizontal stabilizers on at this point, because they are necessary for decal placement.

I applied a coat of Future and continued.

Decals

These decals are really the best. But then they're Cartograf, IMHO the best in the business. I applied the markings on the fuselage sides and tail first because I didn't want to foul up the other decals when fooling with these more difficult markings. The victory markings and lettering on the tail are all part of that long stripe that goes down the fuselage side. I did the right side first, and everything went pretty well. The left side fought a little. The stripe folded. Twice. But it's a credit to Cartograf that I was able to get it straightened out. The large hinomarus on the wings went on without any trouble, as well as the tiny ones on the fuselage. I was a little worried about the white stripe that goes around the back of the fuselage. I didn't need to worry, the stripe went on nicely, first try, and the ends mated up cleanly, with a little overlap, just in case.

I waited a couple of days, then sprayed the whole thing with clear flat to protect the decals and even out the finish.

Final Assembly

I assembled the landing gear and got it mounted under the wings. I also put on the bomb racks, but didn't put the bombs on, because this is a fighter, right? I put the tail wheel in place. It's tiny but fits nicely. The canopy was next, then the prop, and last was the antenna. I always manage to break off the antenna unless I leave it until last.

And the whole project was finished.

Overall Evaluation

Highly Recommended. The parts are finely molded, and except for where the parts attach to the sprues, there's not a lot of work involved in getting everything together.

The decals are first rate, and the schemes are interesting. I also need to reveal that I built a similar kit from Platz about 6 months ago for a review. But this one is the military Oscar, the other was from the anime TV series "Magnificent Kotobuki". This one is just as great as the anime version.

And you get two kits in the box!

Many thanks to Platz for this lovely kit, and thanks to IPMS USA for letting me build it.

Petsamo and Kirkenes 1944, The Soviet Offensive in the Northern Arctic

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 00:20
Product Image Review Author:  Jim Pearsall Osprey Publishing

This book covers a short but brutal campaign near the end of World War II where the Soviets took northern Finland from the Germans, pushing them back into Norway. Finland had capitulated in September of 1944, and the Germans were seriously considering leaving when the Soviet Army (and Navy) attacked in early October. The battles lasted from October 7 to November 5.

Contents
  • Origins of the campaign
  • Chronology
  • Opposing commanders
  • Opposing armies
  • Orders of battle
  • Opposing plans
  • The campaign
  • Aftermath
  • The battlefields today
  • Further reading
  • Index

The area in question was somewhat political, but there also was a port at Kirkenes, which is in Norway, and Petsamo has iron and nickel deposits and mines which the Russians wanted to deny to the Germans.

The surrounding area is rough, desolate terrain, with many steep hills and valleys. There was only one decent road in the area, so armored warfare was out of the question. The weather was poor, with temperatures ranging from 5C (41 F) to -5C (23F), but there was almost continuous rain and snow for the period.

There were several keys to Soviet success. One was the use of Naval Infantry (we would call them Marines) to perform flanking attacks by landing on the coast behind the Germans. Additional advantages were that the Luftwaffe was pretty much absent, and the Soviets had Il-2s, Pe-2s, and Yak-3 aircraft for tactical and strategic attacks, and the German artillery was under-supplied with ammunition. Although the Soviets had an advantage in guns, they also had problems getting shells to the front.

The Russians had a manpower advantage, but the German troops were Gebirgsjager, mountain troops with training and experience working in difficult terrain. There were many heroic actions on both sides, but also large numbers of casualties.

And the Russians won.

Many thanks to Osprey Publications for this informative book, and to IPMS USA for allowing me to review it.

OKB Grigorov 3cm Flak Panzer IV Kugelblitz

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 00:51
Product Image Review Author:  Jim Pearsall OKB Grigorov

OKB Grigorov produces resin kits and accessories.  The kits are 1/700 submarines and 1/72 armor.  The accessories are for 1/35 and 1/72 armor.  The kits aim for great detail.  This is one of those kits, and it hits the mark.

THE VEHICLE

The Flak Panzer IV Kugelblitz (fireball) is a Panzerwaffe '46 model.  There was an idea for a Panzer IV armed with anti-aircraft weapons, something like the Wirbelwind, but with 3cm guns instead of the Wirbelwind's 2cm guns.  The concept was for an enclosed turret, providing protection lacking in the Wirbelwind, and greater stopping power from the larger caliber guns.  

The Kugelblitz never made it into production or even prototype.  Nevertheless, it's an interesting vehicle based on an interesting idea.

THE MODEL

The model is almost all resin, with some PE parts.  If you look at the picture with the parts laid out, you can see that there are a LOT of resin parts in this kit.  The result is very fine detail in the wheels and suspension and the Panzer IV hull.  The tracks are resin, and go on the tank in an interesting manner.  

PRELIMINARY WORK  

As I started this project, I decided that I wanted to do it in Wehrmacht late war camouflage of overall panzer yellow with sprayed on dark green and dark brown.  So I painted all of the resin parts with a medium yellow acrylic paint which looked pretty good.  Well, it looked fine, but whenever anything touched the model, the paint would scrape off.  I used a stiff brush to remove all of the acrylic and repainted everything with a Model Master enamel.  That worked.  

Further work was done by painting the rims of the road wheels and return rollers flat black for the rubber tires.  

ASSEMBLY 

I began with the suspension and road wheels.  I put the suspension on the hull, and added the axles for the return rollers.  Then I had to assemble the road wheels and return rollers.  This was a project unto itself, as each wheel is a pair of wheels, and there are 8 wheels on each side, plus 4 return rollers.  Since this is a resin kit, I used gel type CA.  I am also very glad I have a tool called a "Glue Looper" which allows fairly precise placement of small amounts of glue on the parts.  

Once the wheels and rollers were assembled, I put them aside for a while and put the upper hull in place.  Part of this process is installing the PE fenders.  The instructions are a little vague on exact placement of these parts, but using photos obtained from Google, I was able to figure these out.  

At the front and back of the fenders are parts which are attached to the fenders with hinges.  The hinges are given as separate PE parts, and they're about 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) square.  They need to be bent to match the angle of the added parts, and then put in place with minimal CA.  I had to use my jeweler's magnifier to see the parts and an arm rest because my hand shook too much to get these parts in place neatly.  This is just about the epitome of detail modeling for me.  

I then assembled the turret.  I left off the guns until the end, because I have a habit of accidentally removing small parts while working on the model.  

I test fit the turret.  It didn't fit.  The rounded bottom of the gun stuck out too far to allow the turret to fit to the hull.  I had to cut a hole in the hull to allow the turret to fit.  This wasn't a terribly hard job as far as figuring out where to cut, the hull has an area exactly the size and shape you need, it just isn't deep enough.  So I got out my razor saw and started the cut.  I discovered that the upper hull has several braces inside, which meant I had to sometimes put more pressure on the saw.  The braces are super from the point of view of making the hull immune to warping or cracking.  But this also meant that I separated every one of the suspension brackets where the super glue let go from the pressure.  Very fixable, just slowing down the progress.  

PAINTING 

I already had the vehicle painted dark yellow, all I had to do was put on the camouflage.  I used my airbrush at lower than usual pressure, less than 20 psi, and set the stop so I wouldn't pull the trigger back too far.  I thinned the paint more than usual.  It was then just a case of drawing a series of lines in color across the upper hull and front and rear.  The nice thing about doing a "possible" project is that there's no prototype to prove my scheme wrong.  

FURTHER ASSEMBLY

So back to the suspension and tracks.  I put the drive sprockets in place at the front.  They went in pretty nicely.  I put in the wheels at the back.  They had a small attachment piece which probably allowed track tensioning.  It's small enough to really be a project to install.  But I got that too.  

The road wheels on the bottom went in pretty well.  With all those rollers, it required some care to get all of them in place and pretty well aligned.  The return rollers, being smaller required less care, because there's more room between them.  

The tracks were a problem, in that they come in 2 pieces of track per side.  And the piece length is such that two pieces are more than enough to do that track.  So I installed one piece, putting the ends at the top, under the fender where the joints would be harder to see.  The tracks were a little stiff, but I was able to use CA to keep them on the drive sprockets and the road wheels.  I also managed to knock one of the rear rollers off while trying to bend the track around it.  Easy fix, though.  Once I had the single piece installed, it was a moderate task to cut the other piece to length and install it, because it fit under the fender, and there isn't much room in there.  But it didn't require any bending, so it went in pretty nicely.  

I installed a couple of small detail parts and the guns. 

And the Kugelblitz was finished.

OVERALL EVALUATION

Recommended.  This kit is not for the ones who want a simple kit which goes together in one evening.  The extreme detail, the large number of parts to get around the simplification you find in some 1/72 armor, and the resin parts make this a kit for a project.  That and the $50 price make it a kit for the dedicated armor modeler who wants to do something which is a super model and is out of the ordinary in several ways.  

Thanks to OKB Grigorov for the superior review kit, and to Phil and IPMS for letting me do this review. 

French Flying Boats 1924-1939

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 17:32
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus MMP Books

MMP was founded in 1996 by Roger Wallsgrove, to publish "Mushroom Model Magazine". This quarterly modelling magazine was developed from "Mushroom Monthly", a club newsletter which ran from 1985 to 1995, achieving a world-wide reputation for quality articles, fearless and honest reviews, and a great sense of humor.  From 1997 the magazine was produced in collaboration with Robert Peczkowski and Artur Juszczak (Stratus), which meant a big leap in print quality and design.  MMP expanded into book publication in 1999, and since then we have built up a list of books on aircraft and aviation, naval, military vehicles, and military history.

 

Marcin Wawrzynkowski author's the latest in Mushroom Model Publications' series of aircraft used in the Polish Air Force.  This volume represents Marcin Wawrzynkowski's first book for MMPBooks. The front cover by Marcin Gorecki features a Liore et Olivier LeO H-13B3 flying above a Latham 43 HB.3 on the water.  The back cover by Marcin Gorecki features a Schreck FBA 17 HMT.2 banking over a peninsula.  I counted 160 black and white photos along with one colorized period photo.  Janusz Swiatlon contributes 25 full color side views as well as top and bottom views as appropriate. Colors are called out along with any unique logos or designs with scrap views. The great part of these color side views is they are backed up with period photos of the aircraft that is being portrayed.  The Table of Contents focuses on the following sections:

 

Organization of Polish Aviation

French Aircraft in the Polish Naval Aviation

Camouflage and Markings

The Naval Air Squadron's Numerical Markings System [Table]

Liore et Olivier LeO H-13B3 & LeO H-13E [Page 32]

Periods of Service and Assignment of the LeO H-13B3/E Flying Boats [Table]

CAMS 30E [Page 45]

Periods of Service and Assignment of the CAMS 30E Flying Boats [Table]

Latham 43 HB.3 [Page 61]

Long Distance Flights Performed in Poland by the Latham 43 HB.3 Flying Boats [Table]

Periods of Service and Assignment of the Latham 43 HB.3 Flying Boats [Table]

Schreck FBA 17 HMT.2/HE.2 [Page 80]

Long Distance Flights Performed by the Schreck FBA 17 HMT.2 Amphibians [Table]

Periods of Service and Assignment of the Schreck FBA 17 HE.2 Flying Boats [Table]

Periods of Service and Assignment of the Schreck FBA 17 HMT.2 Amphibians [Table]

Liore et Olivier LeO H-135B3 [Page 91]

Long Distance Flights Performed by the LeO H-135B3 Amphibians [Table]

Periods of Service and Assignment of the LeO H-135B3 Amphibians [Table]

 

Marcin Wawrzynkowski kicks off this tale with a background of the creation of Polish naval aviation from its start in 1911.  Early aircraft acquisition was ex German and Italian flying boats, many of which will well worn by the time they reached Poland.  The influx of French amphibians and flying boats in 1924 brought a new era to the service.  These aircraft managed to soldier on until the start of World War II, where they were completely outclassed.  The chapter on Camouflage and Markings heads off into the interpretation of black and white photos, dealing with several theories on the actual colors of the aircraft. Marcin Wawrzynkowski then covers the acquisition and service of each type in more detail.  I especially appreciated the first person interviews as it provides the reader a sense of time-travel to find out how things really were. 

 

What I really enjoyed in this book is the use of actual photographs to support the color profiles of each type.  MMP Books features this in many of their books which I think is a huge attraction.  This really brings these period photographs to life.  The examples as shown on pages 45 and 80, are a good example of this.  The illustration and photo captions are quite detailed and provide great insight into what is depicted.

 

Polish Wings 27 provides an interesting view into a lesser known chapter in aviation history. The text and captions are well translated into English thanks to Tomasz Basarabowicz, alleviating the need to bone up on your Polish reading skills. Marcin Wawrzynkowski ably crafts the storyline with interesting morsels to prevent this from being simply a progression of facts. This book is essential if you're considering building any of these aircraft in scale.  Choroszy Modelbud has a CAMS-30E available.  Several kits are available of the Schreck FBA 17 in 1/144, 1/72, and 1/48.  I could not locate any kits of the Latham 43 HB.3, Liore et Olivier LeO H-135B3, Liore et Olivier LeO H-13B3, or LeO H-13E flying boats.

 If you have any interest in Polish (or French) aircraft, this is a must-have book.

 

My thanks to Casemate, Mushroom Model Publications, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

 

Highly recommended!

North American F-51D Mustang Korean War

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 00:20
Product Image Review Author:  Dan Brown Tamiya

The P-51 is often viewed as the most successful aircraft designed in WWII.  It was originally developed in 1940 by North American Aviation for the Royal Air Force prior to being adopted by the U.S. Army Air Force.  After WWII ended, all variants of the P-51 were retired except the P-51D, which was kept in service for the Air National Guard. In 1948, with the separation of the U.S. Air Force from the U.S. Army, the designation was changed from P-51 to F-51.  At the outbreak of the Korean war in 1950, most of the airfields on the Korean peninsula were ill suited for jet aircraft.  So the F-51D was called back into service.  This new release from Tamiya captures an F-51D from the Korean War and is their newest release of their highly regarded kit, last released in 2016. 

The kit comes packaged in a huge box with a colorful print of the aircraft "Was That Too Fast" on the box top.  In the box are 17 sprues of light grey plastic, 1 black plastic sprue, 2 PE sheets, a clear sprue, two large decal sheets, 3 canopies and a small cardboard box.  Inside the cardboard box is the sticker for the nameplate, two large rubber tires, a bag of shafts, a bag of poly caps, a bag of screws/nuts, a screwdriver, magnets and 4 special parts for the engine cowling.  The special parts for the cowling are packaged in a special tray for protection and are molded extremely thin to allow the engine to be displayed.  The parts are well detailed and are flawlessly molded. There were no molding or flash issues noted.  The instructions are great, very clear, well designed, and when paint, extra parts, or decals are required the callouts are very clear.  Also, there are very helpful sections that clearly display when and how to remove tabs from parts.

The base kit has been reviewed a number of times, including on IPMS USA but I will do my best to highlight this new release.  The build starts with the engine, which forms the front of the center section of the build.  The parts are all well molded and I had no major fit issues, but as I intended to display the aircraft with the engine cowling off I spent some extra time sanding the subassemblies from the first three steps.  I did leave H22, H24, and H23 off until after the engine was completely painted to allow me to chrome H24 easily.  

In step 5, the first set of screws and poly caps are called for.  The nice thing about this kit is that it calls out the required part in the top of the step and it has a full-size drawing of the part that is required.  This allows you to easily compare the part to the drawing and ensure that you have the correct one.  I also left H30 and H31 off until after the engine was painted to allow for easier painting of the silver.  I had no issues with any of the other parts in Steps 7-8. All of the fits were great and the paint call outs were very helpful.  In Step 8, the buildup of the engine is completed by attaching it to the fire wall.  

In Step 9, we move on to the assembly of the cockpit.  The first part of the cockpit to be assembled is the instrument panel.  This is probably the best instrument panel that I've seen included in a kit as standard.  The front is molded in normal styrene, there is a clear piece for the gauge fronts and there is decal that is printed in reverse to allow it to be applied to back of the clear part.  It really looks great once it is complete.  Next is the seat and seat belts. The seat looks great and I had no major issues with it, but I did leave it out until the cockpit was complete.  There are two different options included for the seat belts and both are unpainted photoetch.  One is for use with the included pilot figure and one is for the empty cockpit.  The photoetch is a little thick, not thick enough to require it to be annealed but definitely thick enough that you will need to carefully bend it into the required shape prior to installation.  

In Step 13, we have the first instance of different parts needing to be selected for different decal options.  Airframes A and C require a different radio setup than B, I had no issues with the parts used and the paint callouts are clear.  The rest of the cockpit assembly is very smooth and I only encountered a couple of issues.  There was a small seam on the gunsight between D26 and D25 that required some sanding.  Also, there is a tiny decal on top of PE a-29 that is easy to miss.  Step 16 finishes the assembly of the cockpit section. Take care to attach in the order and manner shown.  

Steps 17 through 20 complete the assembly of the aircraft interior.  The kit includes some parts to add extra detail to the interior of the sidewalls.  Parts D35 and D36 add a huge amount of detail to the interior of the cockpit.  There are a lot of small parts and details here that will need to be painted, so refer to your references and make sure you pay close attention to the color call outs.  The only issue I had with these steps was with the small decals, once added they were very difficult to move around without tearing so care is needed to get them as close as possible before pressing them to the surface.  The last issue I had here was with the two halves of the main fuselage. Some of the engine mounts are supposed to be painted the same as the exterior metal color.  This requires some very careful and complicated masking to accomplish.

With the interior completed it is time to install it into the fuselage and close the fuselage halves.  Step 21 deals with the assembly of the radiator interiors, I had no real issues with these parts but this is the first instance of the addition of the magnets.  When working with these magnets pay attention to the polarity and attach everything with superglue.  In most cases the magnets are there to attract a flat piece of photo etch, so the direction of the polarity is not super important, but to avoid any issues try to install all of the magnets in the same direction.  

In Steps 22-23 installation of the radiator and interior subassemblies is completed.  The first issue that I had here was with part V28/V26 assembly.  This is the backstop for the rear wheel well and for the wheel up option the fit was perfect.  When I went to install the wheels down version after final painting the fit was not great and I ended up cutting the assembly out to improve the fit.  The intent of this assembly is to allow switching out the parts for wheels up and down. But as with the rest of the parts intended to allow for the multiple display options, the inclusion of this in the final build compromises the fit of one of the options.  You would be better off picking which display option that you want early in the build and removing the parts not required for the multiple options.  

Once the radiators and cockpit are installed in the left half of the fuselage it is time to close the fuselage.  Take care not to forget the poly cap added in Step 23, as it is critical for the addition of the horizontal stabilizers in Step 35.  After the fuselage halves had cured I noticed the first of the very few fit issues.  For the most part the fit of the fuselage is remarkable, but I had some trouble removing the seams on the underside from the outside of the radiator housing to the tail.  Filling and sanding helped but it was difficult to accomplish without loosing rivet detail.  

In Step 25 I left the exhausts off until after final painting and I also deviated from the color call outs here.  I chose to paint the exhausts Model Master Metalizer Burnt Iron rather than the paint mix shown in the instructions.  The location points for the battery on the engine frame are a little vague/weak, the battery broke loose several times while I was handling the kit.  I also left part R21 off until after final painting as on the A and C options it is painted red.  Lastly the fit of V13/V14 is a little rough in Step 27, the seam needed a bit of clean up prior to painting.  

In Step 28 and 29 it is unclear if the straps on the pipe insulators are required to be painted silver, so refer to the reference book for further details.  In Step 30 take care not to miss the two paint callouts for white and red, as these are easiest to complete after initial painting but prior to final decaling.  I had no issues with the fit of the rudder or the stabilizers. The leading edges needed a little filler and sanding but nothing more than normal.  The same can be said for the elevators and second part of the stabilizers in Steps 32 and 33.  The inclusion of the shafts and PE parts for the hinges is a great addition.  With care in the application of super glue you will get a very strong hinge that is completely workable. 

Next up is the assembly of the rear landing gear and bay.  You will need to paint all of the parts in Step 34 prior to assembly as the gear will not fit into the bay if the bay sides are already assembled.  I left the tire, V19, off until final assembly.  The kit thankfully includes shafts that are used in construction of the landing gear that strengthen the gear significantly to the point that metal landing gear may not be necessary.  The detail and fit of the landing gear parts is great.  They required a little sanding after assembly but nothing serious.  There are two options for the rear landing gear bay in Step 34, gear up or down, and the kit includes duplicate parts so that you can build both options.  

In Step 35, the horizontal stabilizers are attached and the rear landing gear bay is finished.  I had no major issues with the fit of the stabilizers which is superb.  To finish the gear bay it needs to be attached to the exterior part.  Again, this is designed to be removable so there are multiple parts provided.  The option for the landing gear up fit much better than the gear down option, both to the exterior parts and to the fuselage itself.  I used the gear up option as a convenient way to mask the bay for painting.  Unfortunately, this created some issues later in the build.  Once I pulled the closed landing gear bay in final assembly, some fit issues with the open bay were noted and I had to remove the backing plate added in Step 22 to improve the fit.  

Next up is the assembly of the main landing gear bay and the start of the main wing assembly.  In Step 36 start by assembling the main structure of the main landing gear bay.  In this step you add the nuts that the landing gear screw into, take care as these nuts are tiny and nearly impossible to replace.  Parts J6 and J7 are very fragile and some of mine were broken on the sprue.  There are some sink marks on part F14 between the cross braces.  They could stand to be eliminated but I noticed them late in the build and I can say that once the gear bay is painted/installed they are nearly invisible.  

I had no issues with any of the parts used in Step 37.  Step 38 starts the process for one of the kits cooler options, the open gun bays.  You do have the option to display these as open or closed.  If you opt for closed you can leave out the lions share of the parts and painting in the next three steps.  I would just include the structural parts like W11 to support the structure of the wings and doors.  I chose to display the gun bays as open, so I followed the steps as written.  I had no issues with the parts or the fits but I did swap out a couple paint colors.  For gunmetal I used Model Master Metalizer Gunmetal and for the brass on the shells I used Vallejo Brass.  

The rest of Step 41 and the following four steps cover the completion of the main wings.  I had no issues with the fits of the wing tops or the ailerons.  The edges of these parts did require some filling and sanding but nothing more than normal to hide some small seams.  In Step 43 take care to not forget the small decals for the flaps after the final painting.  I left the landing lights off until after the final clear coat but the fit of the clear parts was awesome.  The worst of the leading edge fits issues were with part A8.  In Step 45 it attaches to the wings and the main landing gear bay.  It had some larger seams here that required multiple passes with filler to eliminate.  Step 46 finishes the wings by attaching them to the fuselage and the fit around the wing roots was awesome.  No real sanding or filler was required. I did run some Mr. Surfacer 1000 along the wing roots to ensure that there were no inconsistencies.  

 In Step 47, I had some fit issues with R26/R27 for the radiator intake.  There were seams on the interior of these parts that were difficult to remove.  Luckily due to the size of the kit, the seams aren't too difficult to reach for sanding and filling.  I also had some fit issues with R12/13 in the same step.  There was a nasty seam on the exterior of this assembly that I never completely got rid of.  The fit of this subassembly in Step 48 to the main fuselage is decent but it did require some filling and sanding.  The fit of parts A9/10 to the leading edge was great.  

There are two options for the landing gear bays doors, retracted or down, and Step 49 covers the open doors.  I had no real issues with the parts in this step, just take care to not forget the tiny deal added here.  Also, the PE plates here are to attach the subassembly by magnets.  The fit of this assembly into the wheel well is very tight so take care when installing it after final painting.  Again, I used the gears up option as a convenient way to mask the gear bay for painting.

Next is the assembly of the main landing gear itself.  The kit includes some extremely nice detail for the landing gear like some very finely molded brake lines.  Again, there are metal shafts buried in the gear assemblies to strengthen the gear.  The kit includes some very nice rubber tires and the only issue with them is that there is a small molding line running down the center of the tires.  I found this to be fairly easy to remove with a very sharp number 11 blade but some people may want to opt for resin replacements.  The assembly of the gear is pretty smooth with no major issues.  I did find that the struts did require some sanding to remove some small seams.  I also left the gear doors and tires off until final assembly.  Once assembly of the landing gear was complete I set them aside to install into the fuselage at the very end.  Do not forget about the tiny decals shown in Steps 50-51, they add a ton of detail and handle the curve of the struts fairly well.  

I skipped over Step 54 as I would be adding most of the parts later.  I did add the magnets to parts A11/12 and I attached them to the kit temporarily with Silly Putty for masking.  I skipped over the next few steps as well, moving on to the canopy.  The canopy parts are extremely well molded and the only major issue I had was with the main canopy.  It has a serious molding seam running down the center of the glass. This will require a serious amount of work to remove but the result is worth it.  I started by sanding with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper and then buffed the canopy with micro abrasion pads.  These had grits ranging from 3200 to 12,000, the goal here is to remove all of the scratches and turn the canopy milky white and cloudy.  I was then able to buff the canopy with a Turtle Wax product for plastic before sealing it with Pledge Floor Care.  

After the buffing was complete I had one final task before masking the canopy.  I needed to drill a small hole to run the antenna wire, which is drilled through the small hump on the main canopy.  This is fragile so take your time and work slowly.  The kit does include masking for the canopy but it is not precut.  It is marked for the patterns that you need to cut and it is pretty easy to work with.  The fit of the masking is great and it is very similar to Tamiya tape, super low tack and it didn't leave any glue behind once it was removed.  The fit of both parts of the canopy is pretty good, I did have some issues with the fit of the front canopy that required some Mr. Surfacer 1000 to fill.  I did add D33 in Step 63 to the main cockpit part, this helped keep it in place during painting.  Just be careful, the fit of this part into the fuselage is very tight and it is easy to damage the paint while moving the canopy around.  

Also, in Step 63, I worked on the lower engine cowling.  There are two pins that slide into the engine that are installed during this step.  The exact location of these is a little unclear, I originally installed them as shown in the instructions but had major fit issues with the lower cowling to the airframe.  I ended up having to break them off and move them slightly forward to improve the fit.  Use a slow setting glue and test fit often to get the placement right.  The rest of the parts for the cowling are prepared next.  I started by installing the PE and painting the interior of the parts the same as the exterior color.  These parts are extremely well molded and very thin so take care when working with them.  For the most part the fit is incredible, but I did have a slight issue with U3, the upper cowling. I could not get it to fit flush to the back near the cockpit.  

The last few things that needed to be completed prior to painting were in Steps 68-72.  I used Q2 for masking but left it loose to allow for removal later.  I left the wing lights off until after final painting.  Next, I cut tabs off of K6/K7 to use for the masking of the gun bays.  Thankfully the kit includes two sets to allow you to display the bays open or closed.  I kept the doors in place using thin pieces of Silly Putty.  I also prepared the closed landing gear doors to be used in masking off the gear bay.  The build is simple with no noted issues.  The last step before painting was to mount the aircraft on the included display stand, which is convenient and allows for touch free handling. 

Moving on to the painting of the kit.  There are three attractive schemes covered by the decals.  The first is the main aircraft shown on the boxtop, "Was That Too Fast" with the shark mouth.  The second is for "Karin Ann" from the 39th Fighter-Intercept Squadron and the last is an aircraft from the Republic of Korea Air Force.  All paint call outs are for paints from Tamiya's various ranges of rattle cans and acrylic and all three airframes are in overall silver.  As I mostly work with Tamiya paints, I stuck to their suggested colors and color mixes.  For the overall silver, I chose to use Model Master Metalizer 1418 Aluminum - Non Buff.  I did use X-18 Semi-Gloss Black as a primer under the Model Master enamel to check for surface flaws. The scheme that I chose was the for the Korean aircraft and once I had the silver complete I masked the front to spray the anti-glare panel. 

After a heavy coat of Alclad gloss, I moved on to the decals.  This is a large kit and there are a ton of decals.  I had some reservations about working with the kit decals as I had heard some mixed things about Tamiya decals.  However over the coat of gloss with Micro Sol, I had very few issues with adhesion and no issues with silvering.  The register of the decals is great and I had no issues working with them.  The red decals for the rear part of the wing walks did have a hard time settling over the large rivets but with liberal applications of Micro Sol and Micro Set I was happy with the result. 

After allowing the decals several days to dry they were coated with another gloss coat, followed by a Semi-gloss coat from Alclad's line.  The only issue I had with the decals was after I masked to spray flat on the anti-glare panel.  Even with multiple protective coats I had a couple decals lift when I removed the tape.  I was unable to rescue most of the decals that lifted.  Some minor touch-ups completed the painting.  Once dry I went back and installed all of the lights left off in previous steps.  

Once the painting was complete it was time to complete the underwing stores, complete the propeller and mount the landing gear.  The fit of the landing gear into the bay is tight but good.  The landing gear is keyed and attached by screw, so getting the proper alignment is easy.  Once the gear was installed I re-installed A11/12 parts.  Unfortunately, the fit with the magnets is awful and I need to remove them and the spacers to improve the fit.  This meant I had to install these parts permanently.   The kit provides two options for the propeller and both are well designed/easy to work with.  I would recommend painting the tips of the blades yellow prior to decaling, this will improve the register of the decals as they won't be applied over black paint.  Also, the decals will not cover the edge of the blades so this will eliminate the need for touch ups.  

The last major part is the underwing stores.  The fit provides several options for loading up the Mustang.  There are 5-inch rockets, large Napalm bombs, 75-gallon drop tanks and 500lb bombs.  For my build I chose the Napalm bombs and the 5-inch rockets.  The Napalm bombs are really straightforward with no fit issues.  The part seam is thoughtfully along a real seam on the tanks.  My only issue with them is that the instructions call for the racks to be painted semi-gloss black rather than body color.  This seems a bit odd and I would recommend checking your references.  

The rockets were much harder to work with.  First pay close attention to the instructions duding assembly.  The parts for the rocket bodies are all extremely similar and it is very easy to use the incorrect one.  So be careful when prepping them for assembly.  Second, the fins are molded separately and they are subtly keyed to fit a specific way. Follow the guides in the instructions carefully.  I found the fit of the fins to be pretty rough and opted to do a lot of sanding/filling to correct.  Installation of the underwing stores is very smooth with no real issues.  The last step was to run the antenna through the hole in the canopy to the tail.  I used a type of line commonly used for railroad electric lines as it has some give.  This and the addition of the open gun bay doors completed the build.  

This is a wonderful kit. It was my first large scale aircraft in a long time and it was my first large scale Tamiya aircraft.  It was surprisingly easy to build especially for its size.  The engineering is also fantastic.  My only real complaint is that the ability to swap from flying to on landing gear compromises some of the fits.  As stated above I would recommend that you pick which option you are planning on building early and stick to it.  I would highly recommend this kit to anyone that is interested in large scale propeller aircraft that is looking for a surprisingly fun build.  My thanks to Tamiya USA and IMPS for giving me the opportunity to review this kit.  

S.W.A.T Team Figures

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 09:26
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell ICM

ICM has released a set of the four S.W.A.T. fighters that were previously released separately.

In the box is;

  • 8 x light grey Sprues
  • 4 x clear Sprue
  • 4x Instruction sheets

While you get 8 sprues, you also get plenty of unused (spare) parts as four are the same which is for the weapons and accessories for each figure.

All the sprues are extremely well molded with no little flash and great detail.

 

Construction:

The four figures have separate instruction sheets, and each has several options such as helmets, weapons etc.

The construction of each is very easy and they assemble very well. You do need to do a little filling on some of the arm joints but its minimal.

You also must remember if you use the glasses supplied over their eyes these must be installed before the helmets are attached.

I really enjoyed building these and they look great as a team of individually.

 

Now, the only moan about a this kit is the lack of decals which would have been a great addition. I made my own FBI patches rather than try to paint them.

 

Summary

This was a fantastic kit and really fun to build.

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

SPITFIRES OVER BERLIN

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 09:14
Product Image Review Author:  Brian R. Baker Casemate Publishers

HISTORY

This book covers the air war over Germany during the last year of World War II.  With the Americans and British closing in on the Third Reich from the west, and the Soviets moving in from the east, the Germans had worked themselves into an impossible situation, and it seems that many of them were as much interested in preparing as comfortable a defeat as possible by avoiding as much contact with the Russians as they could, as they were in preserving their lives and way of life as much as possible.  In no way was this truer than in the air.  It had to have been obvious to nearly everyone concerned that time was running out, and that even though newer, high-tech weaponry was slowly becoming available, the end was near. The ground forces were moving relentlessly towards the German capital, and although some of the most fanatical Nazis still fought on, the majority of the German military and population was probably preparing for what was to come.

THE BOOK

This book is a very readable and thought provoking discussion of some of the specific events in the air war that marked the beginning of the end.  The author did an amazing job of collecting some true stories that occurred involving both Allied and Axis forces that occurred at the end, many narrated and illustrated by the very people involved. The Allies had almost complete air supremacy, and could send out bombing raids at will, and with their escorting fighters, there wasn't much the Germans could do about it without sustaining prohibitive losses.  With the German fuel situation getting more desperate every day, training and operational standards were declining, allowing more freedom of movement for the Allied Forces.  Although the Germans were in the process of producing more advanced aircraft, they never had the ability to produce everything they needed, even with slave labor, and although they managed to score some outstanding production accomplishments, nothing was going to alter the final outcome.

The author begins with an analysis of the Luftwaffe's capabilities at the war's end, and discusses such programs as the Mistel project, pilotless bombers used as flying bombs guided by control fighters mounted above,  the development of jet and rocket fighter aircraft, dispersed production facilities, and projects designed to reduce the use of fuel.  One very informative section is the author's detailed analysis of the various types of fighter planes used by the Americans, British, and Russians, and his conclusions as to which was actually the best. He comes up with a trio, the North American P-51D, the Spitfire Mk. XIV, and the Messerschmitt ME-262 jet fighter. 

 

Another area of discussion is the discussion of new strategies and tactics used in air combat.  The Allied bomber offensive was a difficult problem for the Luftwaffe to handle, and although the Germans used ground mounted flak, gun-armed interceptors, rocket firing heavy fighters, and even fighter design to bring down bombers by ramming them,  in the long run, every solution was ineffective.  Even the last ditch development of interceptors such as the Heinkel HE-162 and Messerschmitt ME-163 had no real effect, and conventional jet fighters like the ME-262, although excellent aircraft, were not available in numbers sufficient to have any real effect.

 

Towards the end of the book, the author relates some very interesting stories that happened to various individuals during this stage of the war.  The story of the first test flight of the Bachem Natter rocket fighter is related, along with the project to develop fighter units devoted to ramming bombers in order to bring them down.  The failure of Operation Bodenplatte, a large scale Luftwaffe raid on Allied airfields in Western Europe intended to destroy the Tactical Air Force, is covered.  The role of Gen. Adolf Galland in the last weeks of the war in his belated attempts to develop an elite unit using the Messerschmitt ME-262 shows how the Nazi bureaucracy had deteriorated towards the end.  Even the story of the Heinkel HE-162 Volksjager is related in detail, showing why so many were built and so few did anything substantial.

The last section of the books deals with the aftermath.  One remarkable feature is the list of Luftwaffe aircraft captured by the Western Allies, including positive identification, serial numbers, and any exterior markings.  This would be very useful for anyone who is looking for information on specific airplanes.

FEATURES

Aside from a very well written text, the book is filled with photos, some in color, most of which I have not seen published before, and a few good color drawings which would be very useful for modelers inspired by the stories.  There isn't a lot of information specifically aimed at modelers, but the value of this book is that if you read through it, you'll say to yourself over and over again, "I've got to build a model of that plane in my scale."  So reading can become addicting.   Be careful.

RECOMMENDATION

I feel that this is a fascinating little book.  Once I started it, I found it was very difficult to put down.  Even though it told a story I have heard many times before, it told it very persuasively, and you'll want to keep it around for future reference.  Don't pass this one up.  This one's a keeper.   Highly recommended.

Selous Scouts - Rhodesian Counter-Insurgency Specialists

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 08:59
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

Foreword

Prelude: A Brief History of War in Rhodesia

Introduction

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

Epilogue

 

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!

Spotlight on Mirage III & Mirage 5

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 08:44
Product Image Review Author:  Pablo Bauleo MMP Books

Review

 

The Spotlight ON series specializes in color profiles of a given subject. In this case it is the Mirage III and Mirage 5 series of aircraft.

 

The book starts with a two pages description (landscape format) the characteristics of the aircraft and operational history of it. It is not meant to be exhaustive; it is just a primer as the real reason for this book are the fantastic 42 color profiles of the Mirage in service with different air forces.

 

With an aircraft that has seen such an extensive service -and combat- it is not possible to cover every single camouflage scheme worn by them. As such the book selects a representative sample of mainstream and one-off schemes, like retirement schemes and such.

 

Among the profiles you will find the liveries of France, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Gabon, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Peru, Saudi Arabia (delivery scheme only, those airframes were operated by Egypt), Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela and Zaire.

 

Each profile includes a short description of the airframe plus the location of the airplane and, if applicable, a description of the ordinance being carried.

 

I would say that the quality of the printing is superb. The artwork is amazing and inspiring. I feel like I want to start building and painting Mirages in each one of the profiles in this book.

 

Highly recommended.

 

I would like to thank Stratus MMP and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

 

Master 72-142 Gloster Meteor Pitot Tube

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 00:49
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Master Model

Master Model is a scale model metal detailing parts manufacturer located in Poland. Their lines include exquisitely detailed photo-etched and white metal replacement parts for aircraft and ships in the most commonly produced scales.

 

This Master Model set provides a huge leap over any of the injected molded parts available on any 1/72 kit.  Many of the older kits didn't even include a pitot tube.  Those kits that do offer a pitot tube will be one that is over-scale due to the limits of injection modeling, not to mention successfully removing the sprue attachment points.

 

Notable is the thin re-sealable pouches that Master Model uses that makes the parts easy to review and then stuff back into the re-sealable package securely.   You will want to be careful handling this brass part due to its small size, it makes it an easy sacrifice to the carpet monster.  Another caveat is that the point is really thin and can be accidently bent.  I've had this happen on one pitot in 1/144 scale, but not to worry, it can be fixed.  Placing the pitot tube in between a smooth flat set of tweezers will straighten out the tip.  Just be extremely gentle so you don't break off the tip when you gently roll it so that it is straight once again.

 

This Master Model set provides you with a wing mounted pitot tube.  There is no assembly, but you will need to drill a 0.6mm (~73 carbide drill bit) hole into the assembled wing and insert the pitot tube up to a marking line on the base of the part.  Just follow the instructions and its only a few minutes to complete.

 

Be sure to use your favorite thin CA (super glue) or epoxy, as the normal plastic glues or solvents will not react with the resin or brass.  Due to the size of the parts, this is one set where you don't want to use a gel, or thicker super glue.  You will also want to be careful painting the parts to retain their sleek nature.

 

Highly recommended!  This set is a super upgrade over the injected kit part, especially if your kit doesn't have them to begin with.  This excellent set will easily enhance any 1/72 Gloster Meteor that you choose to build.

 

Thanks to Master Model and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this set.

 

AIM-9X Sidewinder (2pcs)

Sat, 05/09/2020 - 23:00
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Brengun

The AIM-9X is the latest version of the venerable Sidewinder first used in 1956. If you are going to build a modern jet past 2003, it probably would have carried the AIM-9X. For modelers, AIM-9X missiles are scarce in the 1/32nd scale range. Brengun comes to the rescue with two superbly cast examples in set 32039. Inside the package, you will find one casting block containing the missile body and two different motor sections- one for training and one live. There are two of these blocks to make two missiles. Also included is a PE fret for the fins, two cast seeker head covers, and a magnificent clear casting for the seeker heads. Lastly, a complete set of decals is included.

Assembly is straightforward and the only decision you need to make up front is live or training missile. I chose live and cut the appropriate parts loose from their blocks. Keep them square and the fit is good. Also, before the glue sets make sure the front and rear fins are aligned. I added a slight amount of putty and wiped off with lacquer thinner. Next, I made a mistake. I glued all the fins on. The fit is great but I think I knocked about half of them off painting and decaling so I would leave them off until done. Masking and painting was easy (except for the fin losses) and a quick clear and then decals. The decals are very thorough and go down well. I added Flory wash to bring out the details and then a flat coat. The last thing was to cut the seeker head from the block and glue in place.

I can't recommend this set enough- easy construction, great detail, and the decals really make it pop. Highly recommended to fans of modern jets.

My thanks to Brengun for opportunity to review this set. 

British Pilots in Tropical Uniform

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 11:54
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra ICM

Following directly on the heels of the release of their truly lovely Gloster Gladiator biplane fighter in 1/32nd scale, ICM has released a figure set to create an instant diorama with the aircraft.  Consisting of two pilots, clearly fresh from a flight, and a ground officer taking notes, the figures create a lovely tableau straight from the box.  I suspect they're discussing about exactly who shot down that last Italian fighter that day.

Assembly of these figures is quite straight-forward, as they have little equipment or clutter associated with them.  Both pilots have nicely molded separate life vests as well as oxygen masks along with the hoses.  About the only modification you may need to make is to bend the hoses a bit to make them sit more naturally.  It was unnecessary to use any filler on any of these figures.

Right out of the box I was struck by the very skilled drapery of the clothes on the figures as well as the very individual faces, which all have a lot of character and certainly look the part.  Detail everywhere was very, very good.  Painting proved to be especially easy, as you mostly have to come up with various subtle shades of khaki to set them apart from each other. 

All in all, I had no trouble with the assembly and painting of these figures, and the final results look terrific posed next to my Gladiator.  I am consistently impressed by the quality of ICM's 1/32nd scale series of figures and eagerly await their U.S. Wasp set as well as any other imaginative sets they may release in the future.  Highly recommended.

Thanks to ICM for continuing to release this beautiful series of figures and to IPMS/USA for a chance to enhance my lovely ICM Gladiator with them.  Be safe and keep modeling!

MB Military Vehicle

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 11:48
Product Image Review Author:  Tim Wilding Meng Model

The develop of the iconic Jeep in 1940 lead to the production version known as the Willys MB Military Vehicle. Over 640,000 vehicles were produced by Willys and Ford during World War II. Meng's new tooled kit follows their flame thrower version released a few months ago.

The kit consists of three sprues of tan plastic, one sprue of clear parts and the Jeep's body. There is no photo-etch parts and a small decal sheet for three different jeeps. One of the sprues is the 50-caliber machine gun and this is dated 2014. The other sprues are dates 2019. The 50-caliber machine gun receiver is molded separately and has a hollow barrel guard. There are three choices of barrel assemblies included. This is the best machine gun I have seen in 1/35 scale. The other two plastic sprues have a little flash on the smaller parts. It is easy to remove but takes some care. The instruction booklet is 20 pages long and consists of 22 steps, three color paint/decal plates and a sprue layout. In each step, the parts that being added are in a tan color, whereas the already built parts are in gray. Some of the final color is on these tan parts to assist in painting.

Construction starts with a full engine build up followed by a full suspension. There is some small, thin flash on a few of these parts, mainly in the smaller details. Steps four and five would have you build the suspension off the frame then attached it in step six. I found it much easier to get the leaf springs lined up correctly with their frame mounting points by building up the suspension on the frame. I basically combined these three steps into one. In step three it calls out to fill in a hole and cut off two mounting points on the rear bottom of the frame. I found that these will never be seen, so I skipped this. The tail pipe does need to be drilled out since it is not slid molded. More flash around the edge of the hood needs to be removed. You can add a hinge to position the hood open if you want to show off the detailed engine compartment. There are a could knock out pin marks on the bottom of the body and frame that need to be removed if you are going to detail the underside of this jeep.

On the rear tailgate, the instructions again tell you to fill in molded-in holes and mounting points, but they will not be visible after installing the spare tire and fuel can. I once again skipped this step. The jeep's body sat a little proud of the frame. I had to wedge it hard on the rear to get the tailgate to pop into place. I then clamped and glued it. The five tires come as two pieces but glue up well together so the seam is easily removed. I left these off for painting and installed at the very end. The windshield is a thick clear part and mine had two scratches in the driver's side. A couple coats of Future helped to hide these. The interior windshield wiper detail and windshield frame is molded in this clear part. I wish Meng would have made these parts separate to save the masking of both sides of the windshield. The windshield assembly can be installed in the down position on the hood. The instructions do not show this, but the windshield is on a pivot hinge to allow that.

The interior is fully detailed with decals for all the gauges and data plates on the dashboard. I left the steering wheel off until the end to allow better access to the gauges. There is a frame for a canvas top that is in the stowed position. This comes as three pieces, so make sure to line with the cross members since they were one piece on the real vehicle. The fuel can on the rear has a molded on round pack of some kind. I wish Meng would have molded these separately since this part does not look good. The last steps deal with assembling either the 30-caliber or 50-caliber machine gun. I choose the 50 because it is the best 50 I have seen in his scale. I was missing part B10, the ammo box holder for the side of the machine gun. It was broken off the sprue, but I did not notice this when I started construction, so I do not know if it came like this. I did contact Meng and they replied that I could by this whole sprue when this kit goes into production.

I painted this kit using Tamiya olive brad and khaki paints mixed about 50/50. The decals are very thin and laid down great with just a couple applications of a setting solution. I was worried about the hood star having silvering between the star and roundlet, but it looks great.

I would like to thank Meng and IPMS for the opportunity to build this fun little kit.

Chernobyl #1- Radiation Monitoring Station

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 11:38
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra ICM

I don't think it's necessary for me to go into the details regarding the horrific Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster that shook the world in the 1980's and created the largest uninhabitable radioactive region on the globe, ultimately costing hundreds if not thousands of lives.  The Fukishima disaster may ultimately turn out to do more damage, but Chernobyl certainly stands out as one of the top examples of manmade blunders up to now.

On that cheery note, it is with more than a little awe that I examine one of ICM's latest and perhaps most ambitious products - the Chernobyl #1 diorama-in-a-box.  Literally intended to be an entire scene in one package, this kit contains a command center truck, five new figures, a small hut and various bits and pieces to compose a radiation check point outside the recently destroyed power plant.  To top it off, a beautifully rendered background is included to help you recreate the box cover in its entirety.

The truck:  ICM includes a copy of their previously released Zil 131KShM command truck as the centerpiece of the diorama.  Although the standard decals for this model are included, they also include a decal sheet specific to the diorama, presumably representing a real vehicle which was at the catastrophe at some point in time.  The model goes together very well, although there is no interior to the command center itself.  I was seriously tempted to scratch something for this, as there are a lot of windows, but the parts themselves made it clear that ICM has, in fact, already released a version of this kit with full interior, so this seemed like an exercise in futility.  Clear parts are included for all the windows and lights as well as rubber tires which look quite good once sanded down a bit.  A new driver figure with face mask is included with the kit.  The only change I made to the truck kit was to dremel the seats to give them a bit of sag, as they were geometrically perfect straight from the box, which looked a bit odd to my eyes. The kit-specific decals were used in this build, including the very nice separate decals for all the instrument faces in the cab.

The figures: As stated previously, this kit comes with a new driver figure for the truck.  Also included are an officer (presumably a passenger in the truck), a rather nattily-dressed traffic cop, a man in a full radiation suit and a radioman sitting at a table.  All of these figures either are wearing or have face masks included, and the poses are natural and quite well done. Intiguingly, they are not QUITE the figures as displayed on the box art, although they are close.  See if you can spot the differences.  The only modification I made to any of them was to extend the radiation counter strap and add a wire to the man in the radiation suit.

Accessories:  The largest accessory is, of course, the radio hut.  This item comes with a detailed door, clear windows, clothing hooks and a sleeping cot.  Like the cab seats, this latter item was way too geometric so I dremeled it down to look more natural as well as adding a simple pillow.  There is also a desk, stool and radio set for the radioman but you will want to cut down some paper to give him something to write on.  Obviously, you can add a lot of details to the interior from your spares box.  I've got a shovel, backpack and satchel case waiting for mine. The other accessory is the guard gate, which comes in two pieces with a sign.  According to the cover art, this is painted in white and red stripes, which might be somewhat challenging to paint as no decals are provided for this.  However, a little patience and a steady hand can yield good results.

Last but not least is a fold-together backdrop and base which is quite well printed and looks surprisingly good when put together with all the bits and pieces, making this literally a complete diorama in one box.

All in all, I had no difficulties to speak of in assembling any parts of this kit.  It just takes some time because there's so MUCH to make.  The end result is really impressive and gives you a tiny piece of recent history for your book shelves.  I am still amazed that a major model company had the guts to create a kit of this event, as you'd think this would be something that anyone from region would just as soon forget.  Nonetheless, it is a truly fascinating idea and I look forward to seeing their second diorama in this series, which is due to come out shortly.  If recent world events are your bag, this kit provides some marvelous challenges for any modeler worth his/her salt, and is a really singular addition to any collection.  VERY highly recommended.

As always, my thanks to ICM Models for the courage to release a kit of this nature and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to add this wonderful set to my collection.  Be safe, and happy modeling, everyone!

English Electric Lightning

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 11:29
Product Image Review Author:  Jarrod Booth Airfix

From the Airfix product page: As the only all-British built Mach 2 plus capable fighter aircraft, the English Electric Lightning occupies a unique place in aviation history and remains one of the finest achievements of the British aviation industry. Possessing incredible performance, this Cold War warrior entered service in 1960 and became Britain's primary interceptor for the following two decades.

The 1/72 Airfix Lightning F.6 is a reissued kit with new decals and parts. The compact red box that has become synonymous with the "new" Airfix is packed full. A single bag containing all grey plastic sprues, a clear sprue within its own bag, Instruction manual and decal sheet.

The grey plastic parts were all in good shape, but there was some flash on a few parts and a couple of items had separated from their sprue.

The instructions were the newer format showing previously added parts in red, and each step was uncluttered. There was a full page for each marking option showing colors and squadron specific markings followed by a page of dedicated stencils. The last page showed decal placement for the over wing tanks and missiles.

Construction started with the cockpit, and it was a simple affair. A rather basic looking four- piece ejection seat, an instrument panel and stick are glued to the cockpit tub. Instrument and switch decals dress up the panels. Aftermarket seats and belts are available if desired, or as I did, the supplied pilot could be assigned to this aircraft. I modified his oxygen mask so it was over his face and not dangling around his chest. I didn't want him passing out at high altitude!!!

As I had just built the 1/72 F.2A version of this kit with wheels down and canopy open, I decided to build the F.6 in flight. The model includes the closed undercarriage doors as one-piece parts for each of the two main wheel bays and nose wheel bay that fit beautifully. Airfix really does a fantastic job with these options. Step 13 shows where to make holes for a separately sold stand (AF 1006).  I had other plans for mounting the aircraft.

Airfix has a novel way of acknowledging their model designer by imprinting his face on the drawing of the pilot in the instruction sheet - Nice!

The cockpit sats on top of the air intake trunk. This intake was in two parts with the nose cone and air diffuser fitting inside it. Everything lined up fine, and a compressor face is located at the rear of the trunk. I left the nose cone "bullet "fairing off until later in the build. I painted the intake aluminium and lower compressor face steel, but very little could be seen once assembles. Four grams of weight was suggested inside the nose cone, but it would be easier to load some against the rear of the compressor plate.

The engine turbine and afterburner "faces" were integral to a rear fuselage bulkhead and mate with the exhaust/jet pipes. Two exhaust nozzles and the rear fuselage fairing were then attached to complete this part of the build. Everything fitted together quite nicely and was mounted in a fuselage half. After removing the sprue gates from the inside to the exhaust nozzles, I rotated a blade around the inside edges to thin them a little. It is not necessary, but I think it improved the look and scale appearance.

The only part of the build that presented fit issues were the forward fuselage sides that wrapped around the nose cone and intake trunk. The fit was very tight and if anything is off, even a little the two fuselage halves won't come together. Make sure the cockpit is seated onto the top of the intake with no gaps otherwise it will interfere with the fuselage fit.  There was a slight excess of plastic built up from the molding process at the very front of the fuselage halves that needed scraping, as well as a couple of ejector pin marks that sat proud and presented issues. With the nose area taken care of, the rest of the fuselage came together very nicely.

Both upper wing parts one lower wing part needed holes drilled to accept the over wing ferry fuel tanks and refueling pipe. Once the holes were drilled the wings halves went together with no problems. Just make sure the upper and lower wing roots are lined up perfectly so there are minimal gaps where they meet the fuselage sides. The separate flaps were glued in the up position.

The two over wing fuel tanks were assembled and set aside for later. I glued the speed brakes in the closed position to the rear fuselage sides and assembled the missiles. The wings included large tabs that slotted into the fuselage sides. There was a little play, but alignment was easy. Aside from the nose area, if care is taken, this model can be built quite quickly. There were quite a few panel lines that needed to be reinstated. I used my razor saw for that job.

The "glass" was masked with Eduard masks - CX408. Both canopy and windscreen parts had hairline marks through the left side panels. I noticed these before removing them from the sprue. I was afraid they might crack, and they did a little. I emailed Airfix for a replacement.

The model offers two painting options: a grey over grey and all-over bare metal. I chose the grey version, as my F.2A was in bare metal. I used Tamiya XF-83 - medium sea gray 2 (RAF) and XF-19 - Sky gray to paint the camouflage colors.

A gloss coat was applied to prepare the aircraft for decals. There are two marking options and tons and tons of stencils. Separate stencils are provided for each option as one set was black for the bare metal aircraft and the set I used was white for the grey camouflaged jet. It took several days to apply all of them. Mircro-Sol was used to eliminate any possibility of silvering. All the decals performed perfectly. I sealed the decals with another gloss coat, and then applied a panel line wash. A final flat coat finished the painting.

The model completed with the assembly of the tail planes, pilot and seat, the canopy, missiles and their mounting pylons and pitot tube. The Lightning was mounted using brass tubing from my stores onto a wooden base.

I enjoyed building the Airfix Lightning, and it looks great. While I think most people would be able to build this model successfully, the beginner may struggle with parts of the assembly. Especially the nose area. The rest of the build should not present any major problems.

My sincere thanks to the Airfix team and the hard working guys at the IPMS.