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Updated: 4 hours 31 min ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

Many thanks to Casemate for the review copy.

Legends of Warfare M24 Chaffee Vol 1

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

The Author

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

Contents:

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

  • Chapter 1      Production
  • Chapter 2      Field Use

In the Book

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

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

Summary 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phantom Airframe Data (Stencil Type)

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

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

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

Decal Sheet Contents

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Very highly recommended.

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

P-51 D-5 Mustang Profipack Edition

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

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

What's Inside the Box

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

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

 

Construction

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

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

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

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

Painting and Weathering

The six included schemes include:

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

 

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

Hyundai Santa Fe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flex-I-File "Flex-Set" 550

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Pave Hawk” HH-60G, Part 2 Exterior

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

"Pave Hawk" HH-60G

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

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

Background

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

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

Engines

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

Upper Fuselage Cowling "Dog House"

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

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

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

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

Intakes and Transmission Covers

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

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

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

Fuselage Assembly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Armament

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

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

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

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

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

Decals

Kitty Hawk provides decals for two versions of the paperwork:

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

 

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

 

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

USS Hornet (CV-8) - Legends of Warfare

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

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

Contents

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

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

American Armor in the Pacific

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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

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

Summary

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

More Air National Guard Mustang Decals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I would like to thank Eduard for this review sample.

Saab JA-37 Viggen

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 11:35
Product Image Review Author:  Tom Choy Special Hobby

Once known as MPM, Special Hobby is one of the premier model kit manufacturers in the Czech Republic. It is actually a collective of other well-known brands, such as Azur, CMK, Planet Models, and many more. Once known for its short-run kits of esoteric subjects, Special Hobby has now become a major powerhouse in the model kit industry, using cutting-edge steel molds to produce a diverse and well-engineered range of subjects.

Introduced into service in 1970, the Saab Viggen was one of the most advanced combat aircraft of its time, an incredible feat given that the aircraft was developed independently in Sweden. The design was ambitious and bold. It could use its STOL capability to operate from dispersed, short runways only 500 meters long (including local roads), and featured a low landing speed and high controllability in landing, even in high crosswinds. The Viggen was also the first modern aircraft to incorporate canard wings. The aircraft even had a folding tail fin, allowing it to be stored in unconventional spaces if needed; this trait was part of the Bas 60 (Flygbassystem 60, or Air Base System 60) requirement for a defensive force dispersal of aircraft and supporting operations in case of war. Now retired and replaced by the equally capable Saab Gripen, the Viggen stands out as a favorite among aviation enthusiasts as a distinct and futuristic design; many of its elements were incorporated into its successor, evidence of how far ahead of its time the aircraft was.

Surprisingly, the Viggen never got much love in modeling circles. Airfix, Heller, Hasegawa, and Matchbox released Viggen kits of middling quality in the early to late '70s. In terms of outline, Heller's and Matchbox's were considered the best, with the Heller kit being more detailed (and offering the ability to build various versions out of the box), and the Matchbox being the simplest to build. The Airfix and Hasegawa kits were more representative of the prototype. It wasn't until 2015 that a new Viggen kit became available: Tarangus, a Swedish model company, released a modern, accurate JA-37 kit in 1/48 as a collaboration with Special Hobby. Tarangus/Special Hobby followed up in 2018 with a 1/72 offering.

The Tarangus boxing is a little harder to get - there is no difference in the Special Hobby boxing, other than decals and instruction sheet. This review focuses on the JA-37 variant.

The kit comes in a sturdy cardboard box with attractive box art of a gray airframe sporting a commemorative red tail scheme of Red 10 of Wing F16. In the kit, you'll find six sprues of gray styrene and one clear sprue. You're going to wind up with a lot of spares as the molds contain all the parts needed to build other variants, save the two-seater SK forward fuselage and different noses. Before starting on the kit, I recommend the following:

  1. Remove C1, C3, C8, J44, K6, K8, K9, and J2. These are for different variants, but look very similar. Taking these off will eliminate a lot of confusion later on, especially K6.
  2. Very carefully remove C11 and C12, and store separately in a small box. These are the main landing gear scissor links and are very delicate. I managed to snag one of the links on one of the sprues and it broke the links at the joint. Fortunately, I was able to glue them back together.
  3. Before cutting them off the sprue, locate and write the part numbers on K14 and K15 with a permanent marker. These are the intake trunking halves and have very subtle curves. I managed to get confused, and I installed them upside down initially.

Construction is fairly conventional, starting with the cockpit. The seat is fairly detailed and is a decent representation of an RS-37 seat (incidentally, RS stands for Raketstol, or literally, "rocket seat"!). I used masking tape to add some seat belt straps to breathe more life into the part. The kit also includes rudder pedals, which are a little thick for scale but will not need replacement as they are barely visible. Sidewall panel parts J23 and J37 should be the same shade of gray as the cockpit, with black dials and buttons, instead of black as indicated on the instructions.

This kit has the option of installing the RAT (Ram Air Turbine). Special Hobby makes a resin set for this, but it's so small it might not be worth the effort to buy it. I ended up using the kit part. You'll need to open up the door, so precise cutting is necessary. It's a very delicate assembly, so save this part for last.

After the cockpit, paint the wheel wells of the nose and main landing gear. This is because the surfaces of the well are flat aluminum, but the sidewalls are gray. Doing this now will save a lot of bother in the long run.

I suggest deviating from the instructions at Step 11 at this point and leaving out the turbine blade (part A5) for now, as you want to make sure that the fuselage seams are cleaned up, and will be easier to do this before mating it with the aft fuselage and intakes:

  1. Clean up the interior seams on the intake trunking.
  2. Install the intake trunking.
  3. Glue the upper and lower fuselage halves together.
  4. Glue G2 as instructed.
  5. Glue J3 as instructed.
  6. Install D1 and D2.
  7. Fill the seams between the forward intakes (D1 & D2) and intake trunking.
  8. Sand off the filling medium until there is a smooth transition between the air intakes and intake trunking.
  9. Blow out the intake trunking to remove sanding debris.
  10. Paint the intakes and intake trunking flat aluminum.
  11. Glue A5 to G2.

The reason for adding J3 so early in the build is that this piece and G2 act as a bulkhead. This will reinforce the forward fuselage halves when you clean up the seams, preventing the fuselage from flexing and cracking at the seams.

Once the forward fuselage assembly is complete, continue with installing the burner can and petals. The instructions miss it, but the lower portion of the exhaust interior is on the upper half of part C2, between the flaps, and will also need to be painted burnt metal like the rest of the exhaust.

I also recommend modifying Step 17. With some discussion with a friend and some test fitting, I've found that the upper wing could be mated to the wing roots with very little gap. This is done by using part G2, the fuselage plug, as a bulkhead. The goal is to glue the upper wing halves to the wing roots, then glue the lower wing to the entire assembly. This should let you pull the upper wing halves to the lower wing as well, eliminating the need to fill and sand a wing root:

  1. Do not glue the wings to the aft fuselage.
  2. Dry fit the forward fuselage to the aft fuselage assemblies.
  3. Trim for fit.
  4. Apply thin cement to mate the forward and aft fuselage assemblies.
  5. Dry fit C2 to the fuselage.
  6. Trim for fit.
  7. Dry fit D3 & D4 to C2.
  8. Tape the wing halves together.
  9. Glue D3 & D4 to the fuselage wing roots with liquid cement.
  10. Allow the joint to set.
  11. Adjust the fit of C2 to the upper wing/fuselage assembly.
  12. Glue C2 to the fuselage with liquid cement.

Once this sequence is complete, the wing root no longer needs to be sanded. Additionally, you will no longer have to measure and cut spacers out of sprue to bulk up the fuselage cavity, thanks to the fuselage plug. You'll also notice that the entire airframe is now very rigid, and there is little chance that a seam will pop. This is a testament to the clever engineering that went into this kit.

Assembly as this point is straightforward. There are some very small bits prone to being broken off, such as the canard flaps, airbrakes, antennae, and some small vents on the base of the tail fin, so I advise leaving those out until the last moment. With all of the major components assembled and the canopies marked, one can move on to paint.

Alongside the attractive box art of the valkyrie on the red tail of Uppsala Wing F16, the kit also had markings for a plain gray aircraft from F4. The third and final option was the distinctive splinter camouflage scheme of Red 12, also from F16. I had a hard time deciding, as the gray scheme is very purposeful and looks fantastic on the Viggen, but the splinter scheme is unique to the Viggen, and the day-glo numbers added a huge splash of color. Painting ended up taking a few weeks as I opted to mask it by hand, spraying one of the colors, masking the shapes, and repeating the process three more times for the other colors. The masks were then removed, in order to inspect my work and make corrections. In hindsight, this was a frustrating and painful way to do it. A less aggravating path would have been to purchase a commercially available masking set or to make my own by scanning in the instructions, scaling it by a factor of 1.6014, then cutting frisket film out of the shapes to mask accordingly.

The decals were a little thicker than expected and surprisingly fragile. The day-glo numbers did not react well to Solvaset and turned into white splotches. I ended up having to repaint the affected areas, using Testor's International Orange.

The landing gear is extremely delicate and took some planning to put together. The landing gear struts are gray (I used Vallejo gray primer, which is Light Ghost Gray), but some of the actuators are natural aluminum, and others stainless steel.

I used two shades of metallic paint, but in the end, the differences were so subtle that they all but blended together under weathering. I found that it was best to paint the landing gear pieces separately, as there would be some areas (like the oleo) that would be hard to access because the oleo scissors are in the way. I found these steps to work best:

  1. Glue A15/16 to B9/B10.
  2. Glue C12/C11 to B9/B10.
  3. Snap A13/A14 to A14/A16.
  4. Attach the main landing gear strut assembly to the wheel well.
  5. Maneuver A13/14 into its notch on the wheel well.
  6. Apply liquid cement to all contact points.
  7. Glue J28 as instructed.
  8. Attach wheels.

Having fun yet? I seriously recommend investing in a pair of Opti-Visors for this part. Also, have a good pair of needle nose tweezers as these are really tiny parts. One of the main landing gear actuator struts attaches to the main landing gear strut too, so at the end you're going to have a very busy wheel well.

The final challenge to this kit was installing the navigation lights. The port and starboard light covers were very small pieces, and some trimming needed to be done as I found that the area where the lights fit on the wing needed to be trimmed with a file because the mating surface was not 90deg in the corner. I wonder if the navigation light assembly could have been better engineered by tooling part of the wingtip in clear plastic so that the builder would have an easier time attaching it to the wing and also eliminating the gap between the light cover and wing.

The model's top and bottom lights were also very small. Due to their teardrop shape, I couldn't just use a scrapbooking embellishment gem from the local craft store. In order to keep the part clear, the sprue attachment point was molded below the light as well, so cutting it risked the part falling out and bouncing off somewhere. I found the best way to separate the part was to use a thin razor saw to slice out the attachment from below. I then stuck the pieces on a piece of double-sided tape, painted the lights red and attached them to the aircraft when dry. Once the fiddly bits were installed, I added the RAT and nose pitot, and I was done!

After two and a half months of pain, much of it self-inflicted in the paint department, the Viggen is finally done. It does stand out in the display case among the other aircraft. It's a superbly engineered kit, but can be a bit frustrating due to some very small and fragile parts. I believe the oleo scissors would have been best served as photoetch sets, as they would be tougher than the kit parts and more detailed. However, this is a very minor complaint against an otherwise excellent release. I'd recommend this kit to the intermediate modeler. Just make sure to plan ahead and have a lot of appropriate tools for the smaller parts. Many thanks to Special Hobby for the opportunity to review this excellent product.

Landing gear for the 1/144 Fokker 100 Airliner

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 11:17
Product Image Review Author:  Jim Pearsall Scale Aircraft Conversions

The Aircraft

The Fokker 100 is a 100 passenger medium range airliner built by Fokker AG in the Netherlands.  When it was introduced in 1987, sales were brisk, and it was a financial success.  But by 1995 there were several competitors introduced, and sales were low.  Fokker had to declare bankruptcy.  They were bought by Deutsche Aerospace AG, but they also had financial problems, and production was ended in 1996.  Most have been retired, but there are still a number flying in Australia and Iran. 

The Revell kit was introduced in 1996, and has been re-released in 1996 and 2005 with new decals.  There are also several aftermarket decal sets available for this kit. 

The Scale Aircraft Conversions set.

You get two sets of gear parts in this set.  This is very handy, because I have another Fokker 100 in my stash.  The parts are all white metal, and they fit nicely in place of the kit parts. 

Painting

In this case, all of the gear legs were the same gray as the underside of the Swissair plane.  Easy to paint.   

Assembly

The Revell kit went together pretty well, considering it's now 25 years old.  The biggest problem I had was that whoever sold me the kit, probably at a swap meet, didn't include the instructions.  Fine, I had another kit, but there were some differences, and the markings instructions were totally different.  The Revell decals were fragile, and the long stripes broke several times. 

The SAC parts were far better than the decals.  I was able to put the wheels on and install the gear without a problem.  I then added the gear doors, and the project was finished. 

Overall Evaluation

Very highly recommended.  The SAC metal parts are much more robust than the kit parts, and more immune to problems caused by handling the kit after construction and during movement or display.

Thanks to Scale Aircraft Conversions for providing the aftermarket parts and IPMS/USA for giving me the incentive to do a kit which was just sitting in the stash.

Tanks in the Battle of the Bulge

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 09:16
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Reeves Osprey Publishing

What's Inside

This exciting new volume in the New Vanguard series from Osprey gives the reader a new analysis of the tanks from both sides of one of the last and most intensive battles of the European Theater of Operations- the Battle of the Bulge. Who better to offer up the analysis than one of the most acclaimed authors in military history in the present day- Steven Zaloga. His book gives a thorough survey of the principal tank and tank variants that took part in the Ardennes Campaign from December of 1944 through January of 1945.

 As per usual with the New Vanguard series, the book opens with an overview of the campaign including tables of Wehrmacht Panzerwaffe in the Ardennes (16 December, 1944) and US Armored Divisions in the Ardennes from the duration of the campaign.

Following this is The Tanks, Doctrine, and Organization- from Wehrmacht, US Army, and British tanks. Numerous tables filled with statistics are scattered throughout the section. There are a number of excellent color profiles from both sides present here, as well as some little seen period photographs that provide all sorts of great ideas for vignettes and dioramas. I have included some here in the review to give you an idea of the potential here.

Of particular interest to me is the following section detailing Technical Factors for each side. Another great set of charts are included, featuring comparative technical characteristics of Sherman variants versus Panzer IV and Panther tanks. Another chart matches up assault guns and tank destroyers like the StuG III, M10s, and M36s. Another set of charts give thorough run downs of US tank gun types versus German guns. In the section is one piece of color artwork that centers on the Battle for the Dom Butgenbach Mayor Farm occurring on 21 December, 1944.

The Battle Analysis chapter gives a nice summary of what was learned from both sides, including organizational and doctrinal lessons, technical lessons, and a breakdown of tank casualties. The book concludes with a brief section outlining Further Reading.

Conclusion

Osprey continues to impress with this series of books, giving a vast amount of knowledge in a small volume that could easily be devoured in one sitting. Tons of color profiles give excellent references if one is looking to recreate a more unusual scheme (I particularly was fascinated by the StuG III and Ersatz M10 Panther in US markings), this is just the reference book for you. The vast number of period photographs gives endless ideas for placing one's model in a unique setting. Mr. Zaloga has delivered once again and I heartily recommend this one for anyone interested in the armor of the Ardennes Campaign. My thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS-USA for the review sample.

7th SS Mountain Division Prinz Eugen At War 1941-1943

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 09:08
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Pen & Sword

The book is another in the great Casemate Images of War series. It is history of the 7th SS Mountain Division Prinz Eugen. This division was formed soon after the Germans invaded Yugoslavia. It was formed in late 1941 to combat the brutal guerrilla warfare that had broken out. The division was drawn from foreign volunteers for campaigns in Serbia and Montenegro.

Its name was from Prince Eugene of Savoy and outstanding military leader who liberated areas of Croatia from the ottoman empire.

In 1942 they added the Mountain Division title to their name.

The images in the book are excellent and inspire ideas for dioramas to me,

The book is full of amazing photos of the division through its history.

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

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

Napoleon’s Waterloo Army – Uniforms and Equipment

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 01:24
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Frontline Books

When Napoleon returned from Exile on Elba he wanted to rule France in peace but that was not to be. In the following weeks Napoleon gathered an army of 128,000 soldiers. This book gives all the details of the troops of the French Army under Napoleon at the battles of Ligny, Quatre-Bras, and Waterloo.

I was surprised at how much content this book held when it arrived for review, it is one heavy book (in weight)! The book's chapters are based on all the different divisions and corps within the army. The details within each of the chapters are incredible and shows how much research the author did to put this book together. I was amazed at the pictures of original equipment and uniforms. They make this book a great reference source.

I must say that the book is very in-depth which some may not like, and could make it heavy work for some. I myself loved the amount of information and lists included.

I found this book so informative and was full of facts and details I was never aware of. Another nice touch is the inclusion of the unique paintings of Keith Rocco.

I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in military history.

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

RAF Fighter Command: Defense of the Realm 1936-1945

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 00:12
Product Image Review Author:  Hub Plott Fonthill Media

This book details RAF's fighter command from just prior to the conclusion of WWII. Their job was to be the defensive shield for the home islands from all comers. This chapter explains how despite this mission the flying and training during this time did very little to prepare them for aerial combat much less the all-out struggle for survival during the early days of aerial combat in WWII!

The book is broken down into 17 chapters, beginning with  as it is titled "The greatest Flying club in the world" giving an overview of planes and issues  used by and facing the RAF from WWI up through1945.

Chapter 2 has the RAF playing catch up with the Nazis albeit with the sound and familiar designs of the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire. One of the biggest advances and advantages the RAF would have was with RADAR. This would, in the coming conflict provide a warning when the Luftwaffe was coming and give the RAF a precious time advantage. Here also is covered the means by which all of this new equipment would have the well trained personnel to operate it. The Nazi's continued expansion finally culminated with Britain and France declaring war after the invasion of Poland. This came while the Home defense Force was still 25% short of the 52 squadrons needed.

Chapter 3, 4 and 5 covers the "Phoney War", the fighting beginning in earnest and the evacuation at Dunkirk which saved may men to fight again. With buildup of RAF strength in France encounters with the Luftwaffe increased and the old FCA attack plans were proven to be anachronistic and would lead to a great loss of pilots and planes during the early days of WWII. But thanks to the armada of boats both military and civilian a vast number of personnel were saved and returned to England to fight again.

Chapters 6 and 7 cover the aftermath of the retreat from Dunkirk and the period known the world over as the Battle of Britain! This period between July and October of 1940 would play out in a desperate attempt to hold off the planned Nazi invasion of Britain, beat and counterpunch the Luftwaffe and begin the defeat of Nazism and the saving of the world. After this the process of taking the fight across the channel and to the Germans would begin.

Chapter 8 covers The Blitz time period where the Luftwaffe bombers made their nighttime raids in England and particularly London. Early RAF night fighters such as the Boulton Paul Defiant and later the Beaufighter took the fight to the German bombers. The final raid during the Blitz occurred on the night of May 10-11 and proved to be one of the worst nights of bombardment for London. Its conclusion would see approximately 2000 Londoners dead and large areas devastated. Only time would show that this raid was effectively the end to the Blitz until some attempts were made to repeat this in early 1944.

The remaining chapters, 9 through 17 cover taking the fight to the Germans. As more and better aircraft came out of British factories the fight gradually began to turn more and more against the Nazis. Aircraft such as the Typhoon, Tempest and Mosquito would join the Spitfire and Hurricane in challenging the Bf-109 and its much respected and feared stablemate, the Fw-190. Night fighters built at first to defend the country from aerial bombardment became nighttime hunters taking the fight to the Luftwaffe and wreaking havoc under the cover of darkness and coming full circle in taking the offensive from the Luftwaffe!  There is also a good discussion on the lead up to D-Day and the long planned invasion of the continent! The RAF and American planes continued to pound areas of the continent to both soften up the invasion grounds and to obfuscate the location of the actual invasion. Once the foothold was secured it spelled the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. The vaunted Luftwaffe once the scourge of European skies, was now outnumbered and on the defensive. The many "wonder weapons" of the last months of the war such as the V-1,V-2, Me-262 and Ar-234 while terrifying could not change the ultimate defeat that Germany was rushing toward as they were too little, too late. The book concludes with an overview of what was accomplished and how far the RAF had come from its early days in 1936 and its contributions to the demise of the Luftwaffe.

 

This is a good read. There is a lot of information within this massive tome. The authors do a great job of presenting a tremendous amount of information and historical data in an entertaining, informative and easy to read volume. Many interesting B&W photographs, color illustrations and a nice selection of mostly wartime color aircraft add a very nice touch, and do much to aid in the story being told! I recommend this book to all with an interest in the RAF, British aircraft, WWII and aviation history as well as modelers worldwide!

Our thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review copy and my thanks to IPMS/USA for the review opportunity