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Updated: 10 hours 21 min ago

Spotlight on Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet (#21)

Sat, 05/02/2020 - 23:55
Product Image Review Author:  Paul R. Brown Mushroom Model Publications

This book is one of MMP's Spotlight series and deals with the Me 163 Komet.  

The book begins with a brief two-page history of the development and deployment of the Me 163.

The bulk of the book consists of 40 color plates illustrating many of the color schemes used on the Me 163 with a couple of plates for the DFS 194 development aircraft and the Me 263.  The Me 163A test aircraft and many of the Me 163B prototypes were painted in overall RLM 76.  Several of the plates show different prototype configurations and some of the aircraft have dark red anti-corrosive paint patches on them evidencing either repairs or places where the paint has worn through to the underlying primer.  The plates also include Me 163B V41 in overall RLM 23 Red flown by Maj. Wolfgang Spate.

The color plates covering operational aircraft show a lot more variation in colors than what I was expecting.  While most of the aircraft were painted in a two-color scheme on the upper surfaces over RLM 76 undersides, others were overall RLM 76 on the undersurfaces and on the fuselage with RLM 70 or 71 patches and two-color splinter scheme on the wings.  For fully camouflaged aircraft, the colors for the upper surfaces varied apparently quite a bit as the plates list several different combinations: 70/71, 74/75, 82/75, 81/82 and 81/83.  There are a several plates illustrating a couple of variations of the upper surface paint schemes.

There are also plates illustrating schemes applied to captured Me 163s operated by the United States, the Soviet Union, France and England after the war, included a Me 163S trainer in Soviet markings.  The French aircraft is particularly colorful being overall silver with red fuselage spine, tail and underbelly fairing.   

I enjoyed finding out about the many color variations seen on the Me 163 and highly recommend this book.  Thank you to Casemate Publishing for the review sample and to IPMS-USA for letting me review it.

Enemy at the Gates – Panic Fighters of the Second World War

Sat, 05/02/2020 - 23:18
Product Image Review Author:  Pablo Bauleo Fonthill Media


Fonthill Media has released the latest book from Justo Miranda, covering the "Panic Fighters" of World War Two. The definition of a panic fighter relates to designs that were rushed into service, due to the high likelihood of being attacked by a larger, more powerful country (hence the "Enemy at the Gates" title). 

In this book there are three countries listed as "Aggressors": Germany, the Soviet Union and Japan. Almost all the other countries are the ones that react with some sort of 'panic fighter' design/prototype. Each reacting country has its own chapter with a description of their military situation and a description of the different airframes in their air forces. 

Given that most of these airplanes were designs, or even conceptual designs, some of the drawings are speculative (clearly listed when that is the case) or based on educated guesses. 

I would also say that the cover drawing is perhaps one of the most speculative "out-there" drawings in the whole book. Don't let that make you believe this is a fantasy/sci-fi book. Inside the book you will have high quality line drawings (including panel lines and rivet lines) of many more conventional designs, in some case little known modifications of existing airframes, or even small production operational airplanes like the IK-3.

Among many great findings in the book are drawings of the CW-21, IK-3, a Mosquito with Me-110 engines (conceptual design by the Finish Air Force), the Saab J-23, a hybrid between the Bf-109 and a P-51 designed by Sweden, several one-offs of airplanes with alternative engines (IAR with a DB605, Fw190 with a Ash-82, etc), or a Spitfire design with a spine/swing-arm that would flip the pilot over and around the tail during bail out. Let me add that the book also includes drawings of mass-produced fighters like the Bf-109, the Zero, etc. as those were the "aggressors" fighters that the other countries reacted to.

For the historian, this book is a jumping board to learn about little-known airframes and then explore each airframe in depth on your own. For the modeler (mainly the kitbasher) this book is a roadmap for dozens of projects. 

Highly recommended to both historians and modelers that love to kitbash. I have to say that the Mosquito with Me-110 engines and the Saab J-23 really got my kitbashing juices flowing.

I would like to thank Fonthill Media, Casemate, and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

Brengun – US 300gal Fuel Tank

Sat, 05/02/2020 - 17:34
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Hauler Brengun

This is Brengun has released 1/72 US 300gal Fuel Tank mainly used on US Navy aircraft. These were commonly used on A-6 Intruders, AV-8B Harriers, A-7 Corsairs, A-1 Akyraider and S-3 Vikings to name a few.  

In the box is;

  • 4 x light grey Resin main body of the fuel tank
  • 3 x light grey Resin tail unit
  • 1 x Photo etch sheet of the tail fins
  • 1 x light grey Resin mounting part
  • 1x Instruction sheet

In the review copy the resin mounting parts were missing and I have two Photo etch sheets rather than one. The kits still build nicely without the mounting parts.

The resin is well molded with very little flash and are well detailed. The resin parts are to allow you to make the four versions of the fuel tank used on the aircraft.


First is the removal of the parts from Resin. You should be careful removing the main fuel tank as these are easy to damage.

The next stage deciding which versions you are going to build, I did three different versions for the review.

The build is very easy and simple. The only thing to be aware of is the PE tail fins tabs are too big for the slots in the resin mating part. So, you will need to file them down.



These are very nice fuel tanks, simple and fun to build. I will be installing these on one of my future 1/72 builds.

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

AFV Club Husky Mk. III

Sat, 05/02/2020 - 14:42
Product Image Review Author:  Bill O'Malley AFV Club

Background (Wikipedia)

The Husky VMMD (vehicle-mounted mine detection) family of vehicles are blast-survivable, mission-configurable, wheeled platforms employed by specialized route clearance teams operating in high-explosive threat areas. The Mk. III is the modern single-occupant Husky model. The platform is integrated with pulse induction metal detector panels and overpass tires that enable operators to regulate tire air pressure in order to reduce the risk of detonating. As with all Husky platforms, the Mk. III has been engineered in a unique modular, frangible configuration. In the event of a mine or improvised explosive device detonation, vehicle components break apart in a predictable fashion, reducing damage to the platform and occupants, as well as facilitating fast in-field repairs.


This is AFV Club's version of the Husky Mk. III that was first issued in 2016. Panda Hobby also produced a kit of the Husky in 2015. The AFV Club kit comes on seven dark yellow plastic sprues, one rubber sprue with hoses, four rubber tires, instruction booklet, and an 8 1/2 x 11 colored poster of the box art. A small decal sheet comprised mostly of warning labels, and a small photoetch fret with grilles is also included.

The instructions come in a 16-page stapled pamphlet 8 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches with 37 assembly steps.  A description of the vehicle is included in English, Japanese, and Chinese. Paint colors are called out in Hobby Color, Mr. Color, Mr. Color Spray, Humbrol, Revell, and Life Color. Instructions include diagrams of the sprues and color profiles for two different paint schemes.

Interior Assembly

The first 6 steps assemble the interior cab of the Husky. The kit provides detail for the instrument panels, which appear to be fairly accurate. Clear plastic is provided for the cab windows and called out to be painted clear green. Detailed paint colors are called out for the various controls and panels. The parts for the cab panels fit together tightly and form a secure cab assembly.

Hull assembly

The next series of steps, 8 through 11, assemble the main body of the Husky. A photoetch grille is provided for the top of the engine housing. No interior parts are provided for the engine compartment. Step 11 shows installation of the brackets for the mine detectors, H10 and H11, to the underside of the hull. It would be good to assemble the mine detector plates and fit them between H10 and H11 while gluing to get the correct spacing. I found the brackets fit tightly and ended up trimming the pins to get the detector frames installed. Step 13 through 18 install detector plates, wiring, and other exterior detail on the Husky body. Step 14 shows installation of the cables on the left side of the vehicle body. The cables DA6 are meant to extend underneath the body and connect to the detector plates on the right side of the vehicle. I found that several of these cables cracked and bent in unrealistic shapes, so I reluctantly ended up replacing the rubber hoses with wire. In step 15 the cab rear view mirrors are installed, but I would hold off until after painting to avoid breakage. The mirrors are called out to be painted silver but no plastic lens is provided. Part F20 installs to the side of the cabin, not to the bracket as it appears in the assembly diagram.

Photoetch treads for access to the top of the cab are shown in step 17. The photoetch pieces needed to be sanded down to fit into the frames so check the fit before gluing. Step 18 shows the connection of the rubber cables from the left side of the body to the right detector plate.

Step 19 shows installation of the roof panels on the cab. Options for both closed and open roof panels are provided.

Suspension Assembly

Step 20 through 25 shows assembly of the front suspension, frame, bumper, and fenders for the front of the vehicle. These suspension pieces fit nicely and the instruction drawings accurately show their location. Installation of the rubber hoses and cables to the front of the vehicle are started in the step 22. I held off installing these cables until more of the vehicle was completed, but this was a mistake. It will be much easier to install the hoses at this point as shown in the instructions. The fenders in step 25 are mislabeled and should be B28 for the right fender and B27 for the left fender.

The rear suspension, frame, bumper, and fenders are installed in steps 28 through 35 similar to the front of the vehicle.

Wheels and Tires

Good detail is provided on the rubber tires and they only have a minor center seam. Careful gluing of the wheels will allow the tires to rotate. The tires are glued to the axles and then the front frame attached to the body in step 27. The driveshaft B34 and control rod B13 need to be installed with the front frame to lock them into place.

Steps 36 and 37 complete assembly of the vehicle with exterior rear details, handrail, and antenna.

Hoses & Cables

AFV Club provides hoses and cables that add nice detail and realism to the kit. The hoses come on one sprue as thin rubber, some with connectors molded on the end. The hoses are quite delicate and care needs to be used removing them from the sprue. Nicks in the hose will cause it to kink unrealistically and leaving too much of the sprue connectors will do the same thing. I painted the hose in a dark rubber tire color prior to removing them from the sprue, which may have been a mistake. The paint seemed to reduce the flexibility of the rubber hoses so they did not bend realistically. It would be better to install the hoses first and then paint if desired, or just leave the natural color of the rubber. On the actual vehicles the hoses were painted in the vehicle color, which often cracked and flaked off. Holes are provided on the kit parts for installation of the cables but I found drilling out the holes slightly helped with their installation.

Kit decals

Two paint schemes are shown, both in Sand Yellow FS 33531. The only differences are in some of the warning labels and vehicle number. I painted the review sample in Mission Models Paint MMP-131 Sand FS 30277 MERDEC.

The small kit decal sheet includes warning labels and abrasive strips. Text on the decals is sharp and mostly legible. The decals have a glossy finish, and the decal film is fairly generous beyond the image. Several applications of MicroSol were necessary in several areas to get the extended decal film to lay down.


This is a very nice kit with accurate detail and parts that fit together well. The kit provides more detail than the Panda version of the Husky. The vinyl hoses are a great idea, but they broke easily, and some were even broken on the sprue. The cable installation turned out to be disappointing when they broke.

Thanks to AFV Club for producing a nice, accurate model of this unique vehicle and providing the review sample to IPMS.


Macchi C.205 Veltro, Orange Series

Sat, 05/02/2020 - 00:27
Product Image Review Author:  Phil Pignataro Stratus

My take on the Italian aircraft industry during WW II was they were usually playing catch-up with the Allies. The main Italian fighter at the start of the war was the FIAT CR.42, a biplane even though by 1940, other air forces had moved away from them.  As their aircraft designs modernized, the Italian industry had difficulties producing suitable engines. The answer was to import German engines, mainly from Daimler-Benz. Their DB601 engine with 1075 HP, powered the Reggiane Re.2001 and the Macchi C.202 Folgare. These designs were soon outclassed by Allied fighters, so new designs with more powerful engines were needed. Aeronautica Macchi answered the call by mating the newly available DB605 engine (1475 HP) to the C.202. The resulting aircraft was the Macchi C.205 Veltro (Greyhound).The new fighter had a different nose profile and externally mounted, cylindrical oil coolers, but retained the modest armament of the C.202.


Mr. Skulski traces the development of this aircraft and its operations throughout the war and the years after the end of hostilities in Europe. The main sections of this work are:


  1. Development
  2. Macchi C.205V Veltro - The Users
  3. Museum Exhibits
  4. Technical Description
  5. Camouflage and Markings 


He traces the troubled production runs, upgrades to the machines, and their various missions. A very interesting portion describes actual operations against Allied aircraft. Owing to the fact the Italians were always vastly outnumbered, successes were limited. I was surprised to learn a captured C.205V flew reduce missions for the Australians in North Africa. The Luftwaffe also briefly used this aircraft  in Italy and the Syrians and Egyptians flew it after the war.  There is some speculation it also flew with the Croatians and Swiss.


The author supplements the text with numerous vintage B&W photos, technical drawings from the aircraft's maintenance manuals, and in the "Museum Exhibits" section, color photos. These latter photos are aimed at the modeler because they are close-ups of the cockpit, engine, wheel bays, and exterior surfaces. There are several pages of 1/48 scale line drawings and one page of 1/72 drawings for us 'Braille Scale" modelers. Finally, the book closes with 16 pages of beautiful color profiles.


I enjoyed reading this book and can strongly recommend it to any modeler interested in the Macchi C.205V or the WW II Regia Aeronutica in general. There are several available kits of this Italian fighter in 1/32, 1/48, and 1/72 scales. This book would be a tremendous reference for detailing and painting any of those models. Reading it inspired me to dig out my old 1/72 Supermodel kit. My thanks go to IPMS USA and MMP Books for a chance to review this book.

P-47D-25 Cockpit Set

Sat, 05/02/2020 - 00:18
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Eduard

Hasegawa's 1/32nd scale P-47D-25 is a great kit with good fit and form but like most of Hasegawa's kits, they leave some room for improvement. In this case, the cockpit is Ok OOB but Eduard has produced a single fret of colorized photoetch that will bump the cockpit to the next level.


Inside the package, you'll find one fret of colorized photoetch with 40 parts that address improvements to the instrument panel, the cockpit sidewalls and the rudder pedals. Two pages of instructions detail the installation including a little surgery on the kit parts.


The instrument panel is made from 17 parts. It is basically a two part affair with the back being dials with a clear raised "lens" for each instrument. When sandwiched with the front section, it is awesome. One trick I used is to add all the parts to the instrument panels front and flat coat it before attaching it to the part with the dials and clear. That way, you don't have to flat coat anywhere near the clear shiny lenses and they look better. You do have a little surgery to do prior to gluing the photoetch to the kit panel including sanding it smooth and removing the raised bits but nothing a sanding stick can't do.


The rudder pedals also get the photoetch upgrade with each side getting a part. There is one switch added to the cockpit floor and a new face for the throttles.


Each sidewall has a few parts removed or sanded flat which is minor and took only a couple minutes. minor. Name plates improved electrical panels and trim dials are included in beautiful preprinted photoetch.  All the parts fit well and only a couple need bending.


I painted my parts prior to adding the photoetch. After addition, I added a wash and some dirt followed by some chipping and put all the parts together. A final flat coat followed last.  I also glued the fuselage together to see what it looked like. There was no interference at all with the added parts.


This is a wonderful, quick addition to a very nice kit. With this set enhancing the cockpit and making the instrument panela real standout, add the seat belt and the plane will look spectacular. Most definitely recommended.


My thanks to Eduard for the opportunity to review these excellent sets. If you have this kit in the stash, go get these sets!

F-105D Vacu Canopy (F-Toys kit)

Fri, 05/01/2020 - 21:12
Product Image Review Author:  Ben Morton Brengun

One of the banes of existence for fans of modeling 1/144th scale aircraft are the over-sized, out of scale canopies supplied with the kit that often lack any molded definition. With few exceptions modelers just have to contend with these abnormalities. Another thing germane to our hobby overall is patience, and if you wait long enough everything will be provided by some manufacturer. Such is the case with Brengun and their new vacuum formed, clear canopies for the 1/144th scale F-Toys F-105D aircraft kit. [Technical Note: The F-Toys F-105D kit was originally released in 2010 with another issue in 2018 with new box art and decals.]

The 'kit' from Brengun includes two vacuum-formed canopies on a small sheet of clear acetate. The only 'assembly' required is the careful cutting away of the excess material. And do be careful! After removing the clearly marked excess material all that's needed to do is paint the canopy frames and then attach same to the completed model. Or if you want, attach the canopy to the model, mask, and then paint.

Aside from the scale thinness and clearness of the vacuum formed acetate canopies from Hauler, is the added bonus of being able to separate the forward section of the canopy from the rear, allowing for an open canopy. An option that is nigh on impossible with the kit supplied part.

These vacuum formed canopies from Brengun are most welcome for use with F-Toys' F-105D kit. They will, however, require some careful fitting and use of those crafty modeling skills. The reward will be a crystal clear canopy that may be displayed open. Note: Should you choose to open up the 'front office' your gonna need to scratch build an interior as F-Toys left all those parts (seat, sidewalls, etc.) out of the box. Maybe a detailed interior set coming soon from Brengun?

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

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I-16 Type 10 WWII China Guomindang AF Fighter

Fri, 05/01/2020 - 14:49
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra ICM

This Polikarpov fighter, developed in 1934, took a lot of its design ideas from the then-revolutionary Gee-Bee racing airplane of the same period - that is, the largest engine that could be fit into the smallest airframe.  Adding retractable landing gear and four rifle-caliber machine guns and you had the miniscule I-16, a staple of the Soviet air force through the early part of World War 2, almost 10,000 being manufactured.


These tough little aircraft served in other forces as well, most notably in the Chinese Guomindang, where they pitted themselves against the more nimble and far more numerous Japanese fighters of the period.  How they fared is another story.


ICM continue to broaden its I-16 stable by offering the Type 10 in Chinese markings.  This is the version I was offered for review, and having made the Azur version of this little vehicle many moons ago, I was more than a little eager to see how things had improved since then.  I am happy to report that the ICM kit is a really nice little jewel, with excellent surface detail, attention to variant parts and a smooth and forgiving assembly.  All in all, this kit gave me less trouble than almost any kit I can remember tackling.


ICM offers a number of parts that create the Type 10 version, leaving quite a few large pieces behind, including half a fuselage, the lower wing, cowling and propeller.  A separate sprue contains all the new variant parts, and I was quite pleased with the quality.


Construction begins, oddly enough, with the main wing.  Be sure and use the correct variant part for the right wing aileron, as it's easy to miss this part if you've just looking at the pictures.  The cockpit follows, and again, the parts are a smooth fit.  The control panel features a clear face with a decal that sits behind it.  Normally, I prefer to hand-paint the dials, but in this case I wanted to try this out, and was extremely pleased with the result.  Although you have to meticulously paint the basic panel color around the dial faces, the result is very three-dimensional and convincing.  No seat belts are supplied, so I made my own from flattened solder and wire.  I did cut a slot at the top of the seat for the shoulder straps to insert from, although I have no idea if that's accurate or not.  It just looked correct to me.


The fuselage goes together neatly, and the only putty work I really had to invest in was around the elevator flanges.  The wing attaches with no real gaps so that I had the majority of the body work completed in one sitting.  The single-bank engine is very nicely done, with its support frame and rear equipment - enough so that I chose to leave it exposed - something I rarely do.  A little extra detailing on the cylinder heads and cowl attachment points added the final touch to this area.


Actually, to be honest I can't recall a single point during this build where I encountered an issue.  Even the decals lay down with no fuss.  Because of its size and simplicity, this is really the kind of model to build when you've been stressed out by some over-engineered problem child of a kit.  In contrast, this was a thoroughly pleasant build.


The kit offers 4 finishes, although the Chinese air force of this period was not known for imaginative schemes - think of Henry Ford's comments on Model T paint jobs.  I chose what I considered one of the more colorful versions (a yellow spinner) and had some fun doing shading on the simple body scheme to lend it some texture and visual interest.  I'm actually quite happy with the result.  The only other modification I made to the kit was drilling out the wheel axles so fine thread could be inserted to represent the cabling for the gear-raising crank. 


All-in-all, this is a real charmer of a kit - easy to build, nicely detailed without all the "whiz-bangs" that some kits throw in just to make things complicated.  The final result is a beautiful rendition of this pugnacious little airplane.  I think I'm in love.


My thanks to ICM for creating such a fun kit and to IPMS/USA for letting me get my grubby little fingers on it for review.  Stay safe, everyone!

Armored Personnel Carrier M2/M3/M4 Half Track

Fri, 05/01/2020 - 13:52
Product Image Review Author:  Pablo Bauleo Kagero Publishing

The Topdrawings series specializes in line-drawings of a given subject in each booklet. The 84th installment in this series is devoted to the always popular M2/M3/M4 Armored Personnel Carrier Half-Track.


This booklet has 4-View for the M2 (early, mid, late production), M2A1 (early and late), M3 (early and late), plus color profiles of M2A1, M3, M4A1 (4-view color), and even an M9 in French Service.


The booklet also includes a brief description on the overall history of the AFV and each line drawing has an explanation as to what was modified from the previous block series.


If you are looking for detailed drawings of the M2/3/4 half-track, this book is your destination.


Highly recommended.


I would like to thank Kagero Publishers and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

Kawasaki Ki-45 Kai Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) - Fuselage and Cockpit - Part 2

Fri, 05/01/2020 - 08:40
Product Image Review Author:  James Binder Zoukei-Mura

Part two begins the major work on the cockpit and fuselage interior.

As with all ZM kits you are building the entire interior of the aircraft. Full cockpit, center section, and rear gunner position.

The build in this part starts with the center section using the cockpit and center floor and adding in the fuel tank assembly. Forward and rear bulkheads are added along with the wing spar. This spar is not just a short piece either it's the entire spar assembly for both wings and acts as a fuel tank cover for what turns out to be a lower tank. Lower fuel tank side supports are added along with the alerion linkage rod then work on the cockpit begins. I chose to add to this kit the ZM Photo Etch so some of the cockpit pieces will be switched out for etch. It's a small addition as there isn't much PE but it really adds to an already amazing kit.

The cockpit construction starts with the rudder pedal assembly being attached to the seat support; this then gets attached to the forward part of the center section. It has the control stick linkage molded in that attaches to the aileron rod so if the stick could move so would the ailerons. (like I said ZM kits are basically real airplanes in small scale) next comes adding the various levers and panels to the sidewalls of the cockpit. Some of the PE is used here but make sure you note which variant you are building as some of the PE is not used in the KOU version of the kit. After that comes the forward bulkhead items such as armor plating, oil tank etc., It's amazing what detail is here! As a side note most everything here is painted in Vallejo khaki grey but some detail parts need to be painted red or silver. The directions give very good call outs for these with color photos throughout so just keep an eye out as to what needs to be painted before assembly. The seat is next and though ZM gives you the option of using separate plastic seat belts I chose to go with the photo etch ones.  One unique thing is that the seat has a seat cover! It's a shell shaped piece that fits over the upper part and is painted gray. It looks unique compared to a lot of world war 2 seats. Next comes the control stick. Again, make sure you pick the right one for the variant you're doing. The stick was painted and installed. (make sure you have some tiny brushes for this one) The last part of the cockpit is the Control Panel. ZM gives you various plastic options  for the panel gray plastic, or clear and the various ways to paint and decal them but I went with the PE option as it was simpler and what I was used to using, adding a bit of clear window glue to each dial to give it a glass look. No matter what way you chose if you take your time it will look great.

Moving to the rear gunner station, work begins on the rear bulkhead with what they call a linkage rod. Then comes the Hi-2 Radio which has a PE face you can add if you have the add on PE set. Next up is the seat base which you can chose to show as raised or lowered, I went with raised since no one was sitting in it.  The gun mount is then added, and this part can raise or lower just like the real thing (the directions explain how the original worked.) After this the seat is attached to the mount. I used the PE belts again instead of the plastic ones. The seat is painted in alclad aluminum with a black seat cushion. The side walls are added next and these get some PE as well. Much like the cockpit sidewalls make sure you pre paint the detail parts as they will be hard to get at after. The sidewalls then attach to a rear bulkhead and a shelf with a cannon cartridge and a parachute are added. All this helps to keep the sidewalls square while it dries so make sure everything stays aligned. The last thing that is added in the rear is an Aux instrument panel, this too can be upgraded with a PE face.

The last portion of the fuselage build is to build out the center section between the two cockpits, add the control linkages, the 20mm underside cannon and start adding the "skins" to the aircraft. The center section has you building the upper fuel tank, o2 bottle assembly and bulkheads, then when these parts are firmly attached, flip the aircraft over and attach the rudder and elevator  linkage rod, take notice of the directions showing you which way it goes as one side is a bit longer than the other, add the underside fuselage bulkheads to form the lower cannon bay and then attach the 4 part Ho-3 20mm cannon and the canon magazine to the top of the cannon. When done set the fuselage aside to let everything dry.

When ready attach all the various radios, bread bags and other parts to fill out the fuselage halves. Some of these have optional PE faces from the PE set so that added a bit of time but helps make the sidewalls pop. After this build the spent collection box and tail wheel assembly. I left off the tailwheel itself until final assembly, but the strut needs to be attached to the fuselage before then.

Fuselage "skinning" assembly begins with attaching the right side to the aircraft. Make sure all mating surfaces are bare of paint. ZM really doesn't give you much wiggle room as tolerances are very tight, any excess paint will cause fit issues. Once everything looks good go ahead and glue the side onto the interior. Then attach the previously built spent case collection box and the ammo storage for the rear machine gun. Attach the rear bulkheads and control link extensions along with the previously made tail wheel. Make sure everything remains square and attach the left side fuselage half. Then slide in the upper fuselage, after attaching the rear beacon light, slide it forward and it will snap into place. Setting this large assembly aside to solidify let's move on to the nose section.

As I chose the Kai Ko option this airplane has two forward firing "machine cannons" and we need to make the ammo storage and nose bulkhead. If you chose option B you can skip most of this. I do recommend test fitting the assembly to the rest of the fuselage while the rear bulkhead is drying so that you can make sure it's at the proper angle. When the subassembly is ready attach it to the nose of the plane. There are color photos to show you exactly how much should be sticking out in front of the fuselage sides.

The final section of this review is to add the fuselage underside plate. This is where the underside cannon sticks out and is the last large fuselage "skin" to be attached. Its also the only spot where I had any type of fit trouble. It will take some sanding and puttying to fill the seams on this one but its not a huge problem. Just a slight disappointment as the rest of the kit is near perfect. One thing I did do is remove the barrel of the underside canon for ease of painting. Attach part G-26 to the bottom plate and that completes this part of the build

Part 3 will be the wings, tail, and final build thoughts.

Again, my deep appreciation to Zoukei-Mura and IPMS for allowing me to review this amazing kit.

Platz P-47 Razorback

Fri, 05/01/2020 - 01:25
Product Image Review Author:  Jim Pearsall Platz


The Republic P-47 was one of two very successful fighters flown by USAAF pilots and were built at Farmingdale, Long Island in New York State.  Until the P-51 came along, there wasn't a more successful American escort aircraft and tactical bomber than the P-47.  

I've been a fan of the P-47 ever since I found a copy of Robert S. Johnson's "Thunderbolt!" in my high school library.  This kit contains markings for 4 aircraft, and I decided to do Walker "Bud" Mahurin's razorback.  Bud was the first American pilot to become a double ace in Europe (10 victories) and wound up with 19.75 victories.  He was shot down over France in May of 1944, rescued by the Resistance, and returned to Britain.  Because of his knowledge of the French Resistance, he was transferred to the Philippines, where he shot down a Japanese bomber.  Later he flew fighters in Korea, where he got 3.5 MiG-15s, making him the only fighter ace with victories in Europe, the Pacific, and Korea.  


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 razorbacks, all USAAF.  The extra parts are 3 props for 3 different types of P-47.  There is a nice fuel tank for beneath the fuselage, and bombs and rocket launchers with the necessary attachments.  


This project took minimal time, start to finish.  I started by painting the interior green in the fuselage halves, the landing gear wells and doors, and the tail wheel interior.  The fuselage halves went together with no problems, the wings go together with good fit, and they fit the fuselage neatly.  I used no putty on this model.  There were a couple of spots on the fuselage which required a little work with a sanding stick, but this was work of just a few minutes.  I put the engine in place but didn't glue the cowling in place because I wanted to paint the white stripe on it separately.  The cowling slipped onto the engine and stayed in place with no glue, so I could paint the OD and neutral gray.

I didn't put the horizontal stabilizers on because I needed to paint them separately.

This whole step in the instructions took about 2 hours.  The plastic works well with Tamiya Extra Thin Cement.

I was ready to apply the paint.


I painted the top of the aircraft OD overall.  After the paint had set overnight, I made small masks for the wavy line between the upper and lower colors.  Here Platz made my life easier, because those drawings of the fuselage on the instruction sheet are 1/144 scale.  I just laid Tamiya tape, which is almost transparent, over the drawings and drew the demarcation line with a pencil.  I then pulled the tape off, which didn't damage the instructions, and cut the tape to make the mask.  I then added more mask to the upper part to prevent overspray accidents and put the neutral gray on.  

The next part was those stripes on the nose and tail.  I removed the cowling and put a mask on for the front.  I also made masks for the stripes on the vertical tail and horizontal stabilizers.  There are decals for these stripes, but I've had problems with these not going on nicely, so I preferred to paint them.  Once the painting was finished, I installed the horizontal stabilizers.  

I applied a coat of Future, and continued.


These decals are really the best.  But then they're Cartograf, IMHO the best in the business.  

All of the markings on the left side of the fuselage, from the lettering in front of the victory crosses to the M just in front of the tail are one decal.  And it worked.  The "Stars and Bars" were almost trouble free. 

One place where I did run into a small problem was the serial number.  It's on the same decal as the stripes for the tail.  I cut a little bit off each end of the stripe, and it went on over the painted stripe.  I am proud that the decal and the stripes are the same width.  


I had to do a little paint fixing with interior green, because I didn't mask the wheel wells or the area behind the cockpit.  Once that was done, I installed the engine and cowling, the landing gear, and the tail wheel.  

I then sprayed the model with clear flat to take care of the Future Shine's gloss.  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.  If you look at the instructions, you'll see the antenna is supposed to go on a bubbletop P-47.  But it is in the same place. 

And the whole project was finished.


Highly Recommended.  This kit goes together as well as anything I've built in several years.  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.  The whole project was done in 5 days, and I didn't push it.  I waited for the paint to dry, the glue to set up, the decals to settle down, but everything just came together.  

And you get two kits in the box!

Many thanks to Platz for this lovely kit, and thanks to IPMS USA for providing the chance to increase my knowledge on Bud Mahurin.

Panda Hobby M109A7 Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer

Fri, 05/01/2020 - 00:25
Product Image Review Author:  Dan Brown Panda Hobby

The M109A7 is the latest version of the Army's long serving 155mm self-propelled howitzer.  First debuted in the 1960s to replace the M44.  This newest version of the M109 sets out to upgrade many of the systems that allow a faster fire rate even with the increase in armor.  There are also a number of parts that this vehicle now shares with the Bradley fighting vehicle allowing for cost savings in production and supply logistics.  This new kit from Panda Hobby is the first kit of the newest member of the M109 family in 1/35 scale.  

The kit is packaged in the usual Panda Hobby box with a colorful print of the vehicle in service.  In the box are 5 sprues of tan plastic, 2 PE sheets, a clear sprue, a small decal sheet and a small plastic box containing all of the white metal track parts.  There are also separate parts for the turret, rear turret, and hull parts.  The moldings are well detailed and for the most part the parts are well molded.  However, I did run into a number of issues with short shot parts and some instances of flash.  I will call out the important ones as needed throughout the build.  The instructions are typical for Panda Hobby, with glossy covers and paper insides.  On the surface they look great with clear part locations and breakdowns but there are a number of issues throughout that I will highlight.  The first is that there are two minor errors on the parts list page, there are 2 D sprues and a K sprue that are not mentioned.  

The build starts normally by adding details to the hull bottom prior to attaching the top of the hull.  For the most part I had no real issues in the first 3 steps of the build, except for one issue noted after painting.  The clear lenses for the headlights, Part GP5 which fit into Part D1, these are too small for the opening in D1.  I had to fill around the parts with white glue prior to painting the lenses.  I skipped over steps 4-7 until much later in the build.  I tend to work on the suspension after the base coat is applied.  

In steps 8 and 9 detail is added to the exterior of the rear hull plate and to the interior of the rear door.  I left out of this detail off until after step 10, this allows the detail to be protected if there are any fit issues.  The fit of all the hull parts is pretty good, I didn't have any major issues with the fit of the rear door or rear hull plate but under the sponsons above the tracks there were some very noticeable issues with the mating between the upper and lower hull.  As this vehicle has no side skirts, I did feel that this needed to be filled and sanded. 

Back to steps 8 through 10, this kit does allow display of the rear door open but as there is no interior for the vehicle. I chose to keep it shut and leave off the interior door details.  I had no real issues with any of the parts used in these steps, except for the same issue with GP5.  It was too small for the rear taillight parts as well.  Steps 12 through 18 finish off the details needed for the main hull parts.  In Step 12, PE13 didn't fit great over the bolts that it is supposed to fit over so I removed them.  When assembling the driver's hatch there are a couple of issues to highlight.  If you are careful with your glue, you can make the hatch moveable.  I used this to make painting easier.  Also, here is the first of the errors in the instructions.  In the window for the subassembly for the hatch there is a missing part that is not displayed or called out, Part C76. By adding this part you can model the hatch open.  

Steps 13 and 14 add a ton of detail to the upper deck of the hull.  I left most of these parts off until after painting.  They are tiny and well molded and I didn't want to lose them during handling.  I also left the replacement tracks and the side skirt parts off to allow for easier painting.  Next up is the gun lock and there are two ways to assemble this, locked or in travel position.  I chose locked for firing. I had some issues with the strength of the parts that attach the lock to the hull.  It is difficult to keep these parts straight during assembly, so I attached them to the hull first and allowed them to dry prior to attaching part C26.  In step 17, Part C63 had some short shot pins that made it difficult to work with.  Once I finished with this step I left the assembly off of the tank until after final painting.

Next I started the turret assembly with step 32, the parts for the gun mantlet fit pretty well but there are no poly caps, so if you want to display the vehicle in firing mode you will need to glue Part E34 in place.  The gun barrel is too heavy to stay elevated otherwise.  The base of the turret fits pretty well but did require a little filler to hide some small issues.  In Step 35, Part C12 is glass on the real vehicle so make sure to paint the center silver at the end of the build.  The gun barrel is well detailed but it is molded in two halves, and did require a little filler and sanding to hide the mold seems.  I had no real issues with the rest of the parts in steps 35-40.  

Moving on to the assembly of the rear part of the turret.  This is molded in only two parts, a large box, B2, and the lid.  The fit of these parts to each other and to the main turret was fairly good, it needed a little filler but nothing serious.  I left most of the details from steps 20 and 21 off until after final assembly.  Steps 22 and 23 cover the assembly of the turret baskets and uses most of the photo etch supplied with the kit.  I built these as separate subassemblies and installed them after final painting.  The only issue I had with these steps was that Parts E11 and E12 have large sink marks on the inside that are a little difficult to deal with.  

In Step 25 there is another error with the instructions. They show drilling holes for two different types of coaxial guns but there is actually a third option for the robotic 50 caliber gun mount.  You will have to drill holes for it in a different location and the vehicle can only mount one of the three options.  I left all of the bolts, grab handles and tools off of the turret from steps 24 through 30 until after final painting.  These steps add a lot of external details and for the most part these steps don't have any major issues.  

There are a couple of things I do need to mention.  In Step 28, there are no location holes for Parts C91 on Part E35 and C91 is small so be careful.  Part E26 fits pretty well to the turret but it has two unfortunate sink marks that will need to be removed.  There are also issues with the assembly of the light in step 29.  First, there is an error in the instructions for a missing part, GP3 is the clear lens that needs to be added to the subassembly.  Also, the interior of the light will need to be painted and there are no call outs.  Having built Paladins before I knew that the interior of the light will need to be silver and E29 needs to be white with a silver lens on top.  Lastly, Parts E27 and E28 had some fit issues and needed a fair amount of filler.  I had trouble removing the line between the parts.  

The last assembly before returning to the suspension is for the robotic 50 caliber gun mount.  First there is an instructions error in step 43, Part K32 is mislabeled as K42 and while K42 is shown as being used it is not called out.  In Step 45 the attachment location of the gun cameras is a little vague and in step 47 the ammo box needed some sanding to hide a seam.  Also, it did not fit great with the rest of the assembly.  Lastly, the parts of the base used in step 50 needed a little work to hide some seams. 

Finally, finishing the assembly with the tracks and the suspension.  The drive sprocket and idler wheel are pretty standard and had no issues with assembly.  In final assembly while I was attaching the tracks it seemed like the guide teeth on the drive sprockets were a little off, so just make sure that the teeth match before the glue dries.  The wheels and tires are molded separately, for ease of painting.  The wheels are well molded but the tires were a little short shot.  They needed some sanding for clean-up but nothing too serious.  I left the trailing arms until after final painting, this let me use the wheels to set the proper suspension height as there is a little play in the mounting position of the trailing arms.  

The white metal tracks are the focal point of this release and they are defiantly worth it.  Each link is made up of a molded link, a separate guide horn, and the track pin.  The separate guide horns make assembly a little tedious as 85 links are required per side, meaning 170 guide horns need to be carefully attached.  In order to allow the tacks to move I recommend only glueing in the center of the track link and you will need to be careful as they are easy to knock off during handling.  There is a little flash on the track links that makes some of the pins difficult to install completely.  The 85 links required per side seems to fit perfectly with the correct track sag.  I ended up painting the tracks with several coats of Tamiya NATO black and had no issues with paint adhesion after washing the tracks in white vinegar.  

The painting guide provides information on two vehicles, there is no information on the differences between them except that one has the robotic 50 caliber gun mount and one has the regular 50 caliber gun mount.  The instructions call out C19 from Gunze Sangyo for the overall color, but I used the acrylic Model Master US Sand for modern US vehicles.  After the painting was complete, details and suspension were added I worked on the tools.  I used all Tamiya paints to paint the tools and had no issues except with the Jerry cans.  The fit of the two halves of the Jerry cans was pretty rough they all required multiple rounds of filling and sanding to correct the issues.  

The last step before installing the finished tracks was to decal the vehicle.  I sealed the kit with a heavy gloss coat from Alcad.  The decals were well printed and easy to work with.  Unfortunately, after the decals had a chance to dry it turned out that they had silvered even over the gloss coat.  The best way I found to work with these decals is to place them directly into a puddle of Future and to roll a Q-tip over the decal.  This forces out all the air and seemed to correct most of the issues.  

There are also some errors in the painting guide for decals and their locations.  There are several places where decal 8 is shown but not called out.  On the right side where the tools are located the locations are all wrong, 18 needs to go where 17 is shown.  Decal 17 needs to go where 16 is shown and 19 needs to where 18 is shown.  They are supposed to match the tool in the location, but the guide has them all over the place.  The last thing prior to completion is to add the tracks.  As there are no side skirts or return rollers threading the tracks in was pretty easy.  I had some trouble fitting them around the sprockets, but this may have been due to a slight misalignment of the guide teeth.  

This is an interesting kit, overall a great kit and will build up to an impressive version of the vehicle.  The build isn't complicated but the errors in the instructions and the issues with the molding make the build more difficult than it needs to be.  Due to the minor issues with this kit I can't recommend it to a beginner.  But if you've had a few kits under your belt and don't mind a little troubleshooting this kit is definitely worth it.  Also, I love the decision to include white metal tracks as standard, these are usually pretty high-priced upgrade for an armor kit. They defiantly make this re-release worth it and I hope more companies follow this example.  I would definitely recommend this kit to anyone that is interested in modern US military vehicles or self-propelled artillery.  

My thanks to Panda Models and IMPS for giving me the opportunity to review this kit.  

MiG-17F Zoom

Fri, 05/01/2020 - 00:12
Product Image Review Author:  Floyd S. Werner Jr. Eduard

The Hobby Boss 1/48th scale kit of the MiG-17 series are THE kits of this fighter plane.  The kit does have good detail but like anything, it can be improved upon.  Included in this photo etch set are some major upgrades.


Packaged in the typical Eduard resealable package with card stock support.  This pre-painted single nickel-plated photo etch fret features some prominent upgrades. 


Most of the parts are designed for use in the cockpit.  The biggest being the instrument panel.  The instrument panel is a two-part affair with the instrument faces having glass like faces and over that is the visible panel with its various switches and buttons. On top of that there is a HUD for the gunsight.  It is a single piece of photo etch that replaces the kit clear plastic part.  Sidewall details are also provided.


Externally there are parts for various antennas, lights and if you want to wrap cannon muzzle brake.  There are some details for the sliding track on the canopy and the canopy lever as well. 


This set is very nice and will add some great detail to your model.  The only thing missing is the seatbelts, but they are available separately on set FE1001.  I understand the reasoning behind this.  If you use an aftermarket ejection seat you won't need them.  So if you do you can just buy them separately


The new instrument panel and HUD alone makes this set worth the price of admission.  The addition of the other parts is just a bonus.  Another easy to use set that will greatly enhance your model. 


Highly recommended


Thanks to Eduard and IPMS/USA for the review copy.  You can obtain your copy by contacting Eduard at www.eduard.com or your local hobby shop or online retailer.

MiG-17F Seatbelts STEEL

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 23:58
Product Image Review Author:  Floyd S. Werner Jr. Eduard

The ejection seat in the Hobby Boss kit is a little sparse.  It needs 'help'.  That help comes from Eduard. 


Packaged in their typical self-sealing package.  The pre-painted nickel coated fret contains nine pieces that make up the seatbelts.  They are steel so they are easy to bend and don't lose their color coating unless you are excessive with the bends.  The instructions are easy to understand.  They do have you cut the kit seat and add part C6 in place of C3.  Then it is just a matter of adding the belts.  Simple, easy and effective.


The ejection sheet is the most visible item in the cockpit.  This little fret will add dramatically to the interior of your MiG-17.  This set, along with FE1000, will make your cockpit 'pop'.


Highly recommended


Thanks to Eduard and IPMS/USA for the review copy.  You can obtain your copy by contacting Eduard at www.eduard.com or your local hobby shop or online retailer.

P-47D-25 Seatbelts

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 23:50
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Eduard

Hasegawa's 1/32nd scale P-47D is a wonderful kit with great shape and like many Hasegawa kits is basic in some areas. One of those areas is seat belts. The cockpit opening is smallish, and the seat is prominent and there is no provision of any kind for a seat belt. Eduard to the rescue with set 33234, a seat of belts made specifically for the Hasegawa P-47D-25.


Inside the package is a single sheet of instructions with a fret of colorized photoetch which has nine parts with three spares included. The shoulder harnesses are one piece and the are four. Start by cutting the parts from the sprue and sanding off any nibs. The should harnesses have a bend on each buckle. The lap belts have a pad and latch installed on the left belt; nothing n the right belt.


Installation is simple, bend the parts to look realistic and glue in place. Weather with a little wash and flat coat and done. They are a great improvement to a nice seat.


This set is perfect for those starting with photoetch or just wanting an improvement to a nice kit. Simple to add, minimal parts and a great looking result. Highly recommended. If you have one of the kits, go get one of these!


My thanks to Eduard for choosing such a great subject and for the review sample. Thanks also to IPMS for the ability to review such wonderful products.

Lockheed P-38G-15-LO Lightning

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 22:27
Product Image Review Author:  Paul Mahoney Mushroom Model Publications

One of the latest in MMP's "Single" series covers the P-38G-15-LO, and with the relatively new Tamiya 1/48 kit of the P-38 F/G the timing of this release is perfect. The idea behind this series of books (more like booklets) seems to be to get right to the point and show scale plan views, photos, profiles, etc.

Upon opening the narrow, softcover book, one is immediately presented with several pages of scale plans (in 1/72 and 1/48). No introductory history or anything like that, just right into the plans. This is followed by about 15 pages of photos that are a mix of wartime snapshots and modern museum aircraft, interspersed with snippets from the original aircraft manual. While there is no body of text, each photo has a pretty generous caption. The wartime photos show several aircraft and pilots and give a good sense of the way these early P-38 models were used. The museum photos, as well as the manual drawings, offer up a good mix of external and internal details. At the end of this section there are a few pages of color photos (of museum aircraft), focusing on the cockpit and nose armament. Those looking for superdetailing ideas won't be disappointed here. To wrap things up, there are 3 pages of color profiles. These profiles are all the same aircraft, a New Guinea-based P-38G as of 1943. There are left/right views (including just the pilot's 'pod' without the view-blocking ending nacelle) and a full view of the topside.

This is, by design, a very succinct, almost abrupt book to look through. But there is still a lot of useful information to a modeler within these pages. It is certainly much more of a dedicated airframe reference and much less of a historical treatise. A good one-stop reference on this model of the P-38. Not much history (really none!), but a lot of great modeling detail references. A reasonable price for a good addition to your library.

Thanks to Mushroom Model Publications for the review copy, and to IPMS for allowing me to review it!

Kawasaki Ki-45 Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) - Part 1

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 12:08
Product Image Review Author:  James Binder Zoukei-Mura

Hot on the heels of Zoukei-Mura's new Ki-45 Late comes the Ki-45 Early edition. Giving you two choices of the Early type of heavy fighter the Ki-45 Toryu Kai Ko or Kai Hei. As with all ZM kits this one has a full interior and you have your choice of clear fuselage (to show off all the interior details) or gray plastic fuselage. The box is jammed full of both gray and clear sprues and it comes with a 59-page instruction book.

First up for the build is choosing which variant you want to build. I chose to go with the Ko version, in the instructions this would be option A. I chose this version for two reasons. The alligator type paint scheme and the two machine guns in the nose as apposed to the one cannon.

Opening the instruction book you see that the paint chart is extensive and has call outs for Vallejo paints. I bought the paint set from ZM to try out and they work really well. Just make sure you thin them, especially the model color ones as those are not pre-made for airbrushing.

Unlike most kits that start in the cockpit. Zoukei-Mura is known for starting with the engines and this kit is no exception. Both radial engines start with the same few steps of assembling cylinder blocks (including the cylinders inside!), pushrods, radiator piping and prop shafts but starting with Step 3-1E you differentiate the two engines with left and right. This is because the exhaust rings are attached and they both face outboard. Most of these parts were painted with various metals shades from alclad which really brings the engines to life. After this came the engine mounts and their heatshield covers. These were painted with Vallejo acrylics in a khaki color that is the major color throughout the interior of the aircraft.

The next steps involve building and painting the equipment behind the engines themselves, like air intakes, accessory case, magnetos, etc. and then attaching them to rear of the engine block. One word of caution though the top of the air intake for the Carburetor seems to have an injector pin mark on it. Don't worry about it as that's actually part of the air intake and does not need to be removed. The directions have you building the right then the left and I highly recommend you follow them so as not to mix them up. Zoukei-Mura also includes engine stands in their sprues. I built both of them and used them to keep the engines separate. It's a nice little touch that really helps separate ZM from other manufacturers.

Once each engine was done it was set on the stand and then labeled to make sure each engine would eventually be attached to the proper nacelle. These were set aside and work began on the second part of the build. The cockpit. This part of the build will be described in part 2 of my review.

It has been my pleasure to review this amazing kit by Zoukei-Mura I thank them and IPMS for the opportunity.

Scale Aviation Modeller International Magazine, January 2020

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 12:02
Product Image Review Author:  Paul Mahoney SAM Publications

Scale Aviation Modeller is one of several magazines I used to subscribe to over the years, but have pared back that list and it was refreshing to once again see the content of this magazine.

The quality of the magazine is just as I had remembered - Nice, glossy stiff covers and equally glossy, but thinner, content pages. Excellent quality photos and detailed articles are consistent throughout this issue.

Contents of this issue include at least 6 build articles, several pages of color profiles, an article on the 2019 Telford model show, and another several pages devoted to news of new kits, books and decals.

SAMI builds have always been done to a high level, and this is indeed the case here. Excellent builds, combined with high-quality photos and detailed text make each article a worthwhile read. A good mix of older and newer kits comprise this issue's subject matter, such as the brand new Wingsy Ki-51 Sonia and the venerable Tamiya P-47. I can always discover some new product (well, new to me) in the 'news' section, making that another worthwhile area.

Highly recommend this magazine series to any aviation modeler!

Thanks to SAM Publications for providing the review sample and to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it.

Scale Military Modeller International Magazine, December 2019

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 11:53
Product Image Review Author:  Paul Mahoney SAM Publications

Having 'gone digital' over the last several years, I have severely curtailed my physical magazine subscriptions. As a result, this title was entirely new to me and thus was very keen to review it and have a chance to read through another publication.

Despite the above commentary, Scale Military Modeller International has been around for a while. The quality of the magazine is like many others from the publisher - Nice, glossy stiff covers and equally glossy, but thinner, content pages. Excellent quality photos and detailed articles are consistent throughout this issue.

Contents of Issue #585 include at least 9 build articles (8 military vehicles ranging from WW2 to present-day, and 1 Schnellboot ). Several pages of new product descriptions (covering armor and figures) fill out more of the magazine. Two articles cover historical background of different subjects, accompanied by build articles of the same. There are also some brief pieces on new tools available.

Although I am primarily an aircraft modeler, I found several of the articles to be of great help to me. I always find articles describing painting techniques to be useful, and there were several of that nature in here. One of the builds also included a small base, and the suggestions for groundwork on the base can prove of use to builders of almost any subject. Definitely a magazine produced to high standards, and worth having a look into if you like the subject matter

Thanks to SAM Publications for providing the review sample and to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it.


Thu, 04/30/2020 - 01:13
Product Image Review Author:  Michael A. Turco Flex-I-File

The Flex-I-File "Touch-N-Flow" (Photo 1) is the ultimate capillary action gluing system.  Nothing else I know can get cement into hard to reach spots with such accuracy.  It enables a modeler to put solvent cement exactly where needed, with very little chance of missing the target and marring an outside surface.

The #7000 system is composed of three components (Photo 2):  A bottle of thin Plast-I-Weld solvent cement, a squeeze bottle, the Touch-N-Flow applicator, along with an instruction sheet.  The Touch-N-Flow is a thin glass tube with a very fine needle applicator at one end.  The squeeze bottle is used to pull the thin solvent cement up into the tube.  Once the cement is in the applicator, a touch of the end of the needle releases cement.

The instructions call for removing the hypo needle from the squeeze bottle cap and insertion of the glass tube end of the applicator about 1.5 mm into the cap.  Immerse the needle in the bottle of cement and squeeze the plastic bottle (Photo 3). You should see some air bubbles indicating a seal of the glass tube in the squeeze bottle cap.  Release pressure on the squeeze bottle and solvent cement will be drawn into the glass tube through the needle.  Pull the squeeze bottle off the end of the glass applicator while the applicator needle remains submerged.  The applicator is now ready for use. 

You hold the applicator at an angle and "touch" the needle tip to the point where you want the cement.  As shown in Photo 4, I tested using the Touch-N-Flow to cement a tab on the back of a Monogram Devastator pilot's seat to the shelf behind it instead of putting glue on the part first, just to see how easy it could be.  It is actually faster once the applicator is loaded to use the Touch-N-Flow since you don't need to open then close a bottle or tube to apply the glue, the solvent cement is faster drying than tube glue, and there is no chance of spillage or putting too much glue on the part and making a messy joint.  And it is easier to reach tight spaces with the long applicator than with a conventional tube or brush applicator.

For long joints like fuselage halves, you drag the tip of the applicator across the joint, leaving a nice even bead.  When the cement is applied with a slight separation, the fuselage halves can be compressed, and the resulting bead can be sanded down to leave a smooth joint.  

Care must be taken in use and handling of the Touch-N-Flow applicator.  Note that you must always draw the needle across the seam, not push it against the plastic, an action that could cause melted plastic to plug the fine needle opening.  Should the needle become clogged, it is recommended to soak it in the solvent cement for 5 or 10 minutes to dissolve away any plastic that might clog the tip.  Also, while the applicator appears to be made of a tough glass like Pyrex, it is still glass and might not survive a drop onto a hard floor.  Use of the special stand, Flex-I-File #720 (see Photo 5) to stage it close by but not in the immediate work zone, is handy for this purpose. 

For the capillary action of the needle to work as it does with low viscosity solvent cements, it must be very thin (I estimate 26 gauge) with a near-microscopic opening.  The small opening in the needle requires that the seal around the glass tube, provided by the plastic squeeze bottle, be tight (no air leakage) to create enough continuous negative pressure to draw in the solvent. Eyedropper and ear syringe type bulbs are thus ineffective for filling the glass tube.  

The three items in this set can be purchased separately should loss or breakage occur or if cement replacement be required.  I haven't tried them, but I would think that Micro Mark Same Stuff, Tenax, Ambroid, and Plastruct solvent cements should work with the Touch-N-Flow applicator.

I rate this product highly.

Note that all Flex-I-File products can be found in a 14-page catalogue at alphaabrasives.com website.