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Updated: 2 hours 41 min ago

Tank Warfare 1939 - 1945

Wed, 02/10/2021 - 00:10
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Pen & Sword

The book covers the Tanks that played a key role in the battlefields of World War II and how they were used and utilized. The book goes into great detail of the tank's role in all the major campaigns of the war, how the tank was used, the way its role evolved over the war, the different locations it was used in. It goes into great details on unit use and tactics which help you understand how it was used. The unit strengths and makeup are very interesting.

This book increased my own knowledge of tank warfare a lot and helped me understand more its role in battle and tactics of all sides in the conflict. The information shows the speed of progress made with tank design and use during this important war.

The images in the book are excellent and inspire diorama ideas for modelers.

I high recommend this book to everyone with an interest in WWII especially in armor and tank warfare.

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

The Normans in Italy 1016-1194

Tue, 02/09/2021 - 23:39
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra Osprey Publishing

Normans, the direct descendants of Viking marauders who finally settled in France and the Low Countries, were a restless bunch.  Due to population pressures many of the more ambitious traveled far afield, looking for conquest or new lands to call home.  Italy was one such location.  Here, they established a number of kingdoms, even going so far down the "boot" of Italy to settle on the island of Sicily, where many of their descendants remain to this day.

The story of this migration and the military events associated with it is the basis of this new book from Osprey.  As is typical of Osprey works, this one is carefully researched, using surviving artifacts and stories to fill in the details.  I know for my own that I was quite surprised to see what a cultural crossroads this area of the world was back then, with not only local, but Muslim and even Oriental influences impacting the weapons and tactics of this warrior breed.  Quite the rich stew!

The color plates provided in the book do a good job of showing this polyglot influence, and the impact on both arms and armor is fascinating.  It's also interesting to see how the very early pre-heraldic markings on both shield and armor were developing during this period.  As a fan of heraldry, I have always wondered if the various and colorful shields used by the earlier Vikings might have had meanings that have been lost to time.  Were they clan or family markings?  Were they handed down from father to son?  Although this book can't answer all of this directly, it does address some of the intentions of the markings on the Norman equipment, being used to distinguish leaders in the field for instance. 

In any case, I found this to be a truly intriguing read, as I'd had no idea that the Normans had wandered so far afield, although it certainly makes sense.  They were, after all, descendants of a curious and acquisitive people themselves.  

As with almost all such Osprey titles I've read over the years, this one is chock full of ideas for the figure modeler, and it's certainly given me some juicy ideas for a diorama or two.  Highly recommended and well worth a look-see.

My thanks to Osprey Publishing for continuing to publish fascinating glimpses into exotic times and places, and to IPMS/USA for the read.  Excellent!  Happy modeling, all, and stay safe!

Tupolev TU-22 Blinder Supersonic Bomber, Attack, Maritime Patrol, & Electronic Countermeasures Aircraft

Tue, 02/09/2021 - 00:05
Product Image Review Author:  Phil Pignataro Pen & Sword

With both engines mounted astride the vertical stabilizer, the supersonic Tu-22 Blinder was unique among modern bombers. It entered Soviet Air Force service during the height of the Cold War in 1961 and was a contemporary of the USAF's B-58 Hustler. Though a direct comparison between the two aircraft is close to the "apples and oranges" conundrum, the Tu-22 was not as fast as the B-58, but was more versatile. In addition to its conventional and nuclear bombing capabilities, it could fly reconnaissance, anti-shipping, and radar & comm jamming (ECM) missions.

The book was first published in 2005 and this volume is a reprinted soft-cover version. Burdin and Dawes (who is also the translator) document the development, system design, operations, and combat experience of this bomber. Below are the Chapter headings which show the scope of the coverage.

  • Chapter 1      Development History of the Tu-22
  • Chapter 2      Design of the Tu-22
  • Chapter 3      Tu-22 Weapons
  • Chapter 4      Reconnaissance and ECM Variants of the Tu-22
  • Chapter 5      Introduction of the Tu-22
  • Chapter 6      Combat Applications of the Tu-22R
  • Chapter 7      Combat Applications of the Tu-22K
  • Chapter 8      Emergency Escape and Life-support Systems
  • Chapter 9      Incidents and Write-offs Involving Long-range Air Force Tu-22s Between 1960 and 1989
  • Chapter 10    Training of Iraqi and Libyan Aircrews

Details of its construction, weapon systems, photoreconnaissance & jamming equipment are included and cover all variant models. In many instances, the explanations are very detailed and read almost like a pilot's manual. The chapters on its use in Afghanistan were quite interesting. The Tu-22 was a complicated machine and very advanced for its time. Consequently, the bomber was a demanding aircraft to fly and its operational service was punctuated with numerous accidents. The chapter on "Incidents" is 36 pages long with information from official and unofficial reports, as well as from the crew members themselves. It makes for somber reading. 

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book about an aircraft I want to model. I found it particularly interesting since the aircraft was a follow-on to the "conventional" Tu-16 and laid the foundation for the more advanced Tu-22M3 and Tu-160. However, the book is aimed primarily at the historian, rather than the modeler.  All the photos are vintage Black & White and were provided by crew members who actually flew the aircraft. Although there are some close-ups of seats and landing gear, as well as a couple of instrument panel drawings, most pictures are of the entire aircraft. I would highly recommend this book to those interested the Tu-22 itself or Soviet aviation during the Cold War in general. 

My thanks go to Pen & Sword Books Ltd. for providing the book for review and to IPMS for the chance to review it.

P-38F/G Lightning Gun Barrels var.B

Mon, 02/08/2021 - 23:39
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra Quickboost

Call me old-fashioned, but I consistently find myself being floored by the level of modeling detail available these days, especially with resin aftermarket materials.  In the old days, you could only dream of this kind of quality.

Quickboost scores another one with their release of this outstanding set of P-38 gun barrels.  Designed to fit the Trumpeter kit (although I suspect they'd fit the venerable Revell kit in the same scale). The set includes four .50 caliber barrels and the 20mm cannon barrel.  

Each machine gun barrel has the lightening holes beautifully represented completely around the barrel as well as an open muzzle.  The cannon barrel displays the minute recoil spring and an open muzzle as well.  Designed to be drop-in pieces, they should require no additional work to add them to your model and will certainly enhance this area immensely.  

As an added thought though - I'd wait to add these until your build is almost complete as they are completely to scale and could break off easily, especially in a vulnerable area such as the nose.

The improvement over the kit parts, especially at this price, is a VERY worthwhile investment and can do nothing but enhance the look of your masterpiece.  I can heartily recommend this set without reservations.

My thanks to Quickboost for making this wonderful (and highly useful) set and to IPMS/USA for a chance to add this to my own project.  Wonderful!

WWII British Vickers MG Crew

Sun, 02/07/2021 - 23:19
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery ICM

Review Text: 

ICM Holding is a well-known Ukrainian kit manufacturer. ICM offers a variety of kits available in multiple scales and divided into subject areas. 

Subject Areas:

World War I, World War II, Before 1950, After 1950, Modern, USSR, Post-War, 19th Century

1/32nd, 1/48th, 1/72nd and 1/144th                                


1/16th, 1/24th, 1/32nd, 1/35th, and 1/48th


1/24th, 1/35th, and 1/72nd


1/72nd, 1/144th, 1/350th, and 1/700th

Sets - includes sets of trucks, armor, figures and autos ready for a diorama.

1/24th, 1/35th, and 1/72nd

Decal sets in 1/48th and 1/32nd for various aircraft.

This review focuses on the "ICM WWII British Vickers MG Crew". ICM previously released kit #35712, a 1/35th scale Vickers Machine Gun, and has now combined that Machine Gun kit with figures of two British soldiers manning the weapon. The resulting kit is, therefore, a Vickers machine gun and crew of two. There is already a review of the stand-alone kit of the Vickers Machine Gun on the IPMS website. It can be viewed at https://web.ipmsusa3.org/content/british-vickers-machine-gun.  Since the machine gun kit has already been reviewed, this review will focus on the two figures in this kit with a passing reference to the machine gun components.

The Box - Taking the box top off does not open the contents to inspection, but rather reveals a sturdy white cardboard box which is sealed by a "tab and slot" arrangement. The tab must be extracted from the slot and the "lid" pushed up to reveal the bagged kit parts. The part runners, of which there are four, are contained in a clear baggie. The paperwork accompanying the kit is underneath the baggie. 

The Paperwork - The paperwork inside the box includes a broadsheet with a very handsome dog holding a parts runner in his mouth. ICM states that they will replace parts when eaten by the carpet monster or real critters, such as this pup. But one look at this dog tells you he is a "good boy!"

There are two other papers in the box. The first is the sheet of instructions for the machine gun, the same instructions that are found in the #35712 machine gun kit mentioned above. Printed front and back, this instruction sheet has illustrations that guide the modeler in the assembly of the machine gun. The opposite side of this sheet, on the right side, has an illustration of the part runner for the machine gun with each part clearly numbered. The left side of this sheet contains the list of suggested paints, providing item #s and color names for paints available from Revell and Tamiya.

The remaining piece of paperwork features images of two runners. The larger runner holds the parts making up the two figures and the gear that each is "wearing". The smaller runner holds the weapons, helmets, and other small items such as canteens. Note that there are four runners in all. Two of the four runners are identical and provide a helmet and weapons for each figure.

Two Options - ICM has provided two options when assembling the machine gun. The first of these two options is an illustration of the weapon in the "firing position". The machine gun can be displayed in "sitting firing" position or in "prone firing" position. Studying the images that accompany this review, note that there are two tripods on the same runner. Part 5 is the tripod to use if you wish to display the machine gun in "sitting firing" position. Part 6 is the tripod to use for the "prone firing" position.

The second option provides two barrels for the machine gun. One barrel represents the water-cooled jacket that was fitted to some of the Vickers guns. The other barrel is the simpler barrel, without the water-cooled jacket. If you decide to use the water-cooled barrel, you will note that there are parts that assemble into a water container, which can be posed next to the weapon. ICM did not include the "hose" but one can be cobbled together with ease using a small gauge wire. 

The Parts - The plastic is on the "soft" side, making it rather easy to use a sharp blade to remove the parts from the runner, and then to remove any "gate residue" from the part. The detail is well molded. The various belts and straps that are molded on the figures are sharp and well formed. The uniforms are detailed with creases and folds, which assists in painting the shadows and highlights during the "work in progress" portion of the project. The faces are detailed sufficiently to provide the painter with some "guides" when painting the eyes, nose, and mouth. Even the ears have some "depth of detail" molded in them as well. The hands and fingers are molded in a manner which gives them a natural appearance, as if gripping the handle on the machine gun, or holding the ammo belt so that it feeds into the gun breach without binding. The machine gun is loaded with detail. Due to the rather small size of some of the parts for the weapon, it is advisable to make sure that your workspace is such that you will not be feeding the carpet monster during the "build". Don't ask me how I know......

Of course, there are some especially important features that figure modelers wish to see present when assembling the arms, legs, and body. The joining surfaces for the arms and shoulders are molded in such a way as to guide the builder into a proper placement of the arms onto the body so that gunner's hands will be in the proper position to be holding the handles of the weapon. One of the features of these ICM figures that I found most impressive was the natural positioning of the arms, hand, and fingers. There is nothing "stiff" or unnatural in the appearance of these parts. In fact, they give the figure "movement". The only seams I had to fill were the seams on both figures where the upper and lower body parts joined together. Had I taken more time to test-fit those parts I could have avoided creating that seam and then having to fill it. My bad.

Conclusion - I found this kit easy to assemble, and very enjoyable. Total working time on this kit was about 4 1/2 hours, most of which was taken up during the painting process. Please note that I am a neophyte when it comes to painting figures, but I found that these figures had an abundance of surface detail to aid me in the shadowing and highlighting stages of the painting process. In the hands of an experienced figure painter these figures would make a stunning contribution to an armor diorama.

This kit is highly recommended due to the high quality of detail on the figures and the machine gun, the simplicity of assembly, the excellent instructions and illustrations provided in the kit, the very sturdy package in which the kit is presented, and a reasonable price for a kit of this high level of quality. Thanks to ICM Holding for making this kit available to IPMS/USA for review.

Normandie 1944: 2. Panzer-Division Tome 1 Reformation et Combats

Sun, 02/07/2021 - 22:44
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery Heimdal

C'est une magnifique publication, riche en prose et en photographie. Presentee en francais, mon manque de maitrise du francais me fait passer a cote de la qualite de la prose, mais la photographie ne necessite pas de traduction precise.

In English - This is a magnificent publication, rich in prose and photography. Presented in the French language, my lack of command of French means that I am missing out on the quality of the prose, but the photography and the captions for the images does not require precise translation. While the book is in the French language, some ability to read and understand French would be extremely helpful. My command of French is, at best, that of a six-year old. But even with a remarkably disappointing ability to speak and write in French, I found that the captions of the photographs were not at all difficult to roughly translate and to understand. When all else fails, one can seek an online translation tool. 

This publication is the first of two books that focus on the 2nd Panzer (Wiener) Division, this volume, Volume 1, picks up the story of the 2nd Panzer Division in 1935 through the fighting at Rauray and in the Cheux area in June of 1944. From some online sources of information, the author studied the organization, deployment, and combat history of the 2nd Panzer Division for a decade. The result of this intense and indepth research is a detailed and thorough coverage of the Weiner Division. The 2ndvolume in this set is not part of this review, but it can be noted that both publications are about 350 pages in length, with some 800 images included. Some English-language sources stated that the pictures were previously unpublished. During my reading of this first volume I can agree with that statement. I found none of the images familiar. In this first volume of the set, the 2ndPanzer Division begins with the division being located in the Arras area, alerted to the upcoming allied invasion, terminating in June/July 1944. 

For those who have a limited French vocabulary, it is possible to follow the text to varying degrees by simply reading the text slowly, and using accompanying images to provide helpful guidance as to the meaning of the text. This being the case for this reviewer, the organization of information was presented mostly in chronological fashion, with support from the images, maps, and documents the author had uncovered during the research phase of his preparation for publication. The book goes into remarkable detail about the personalities of those in command. Also covered in detail are descriptions of the vehicles being used by the 2nd Panzer Division and the positive or negative attributes of these weapons. 

For those who model armor and for those who model figures of German soldiers of W.W.II, this book is a gold mine of reference material. 

Table of Contents

Sommarie (Summary, aka Table of Contents)

Avant-propos                            Foreword                     Page 4
Historique                                History 1935-1943        Page 7
Reformation - France 1944       Reformation                 Page 23

Organisation                             Organization

Panzer-Nachrichten-Abteilung 38                                  Page 54
Panzer-Aufklarungs-Abteilung 2                                     Page 64
Panzer-Regiment 3                                                        Page 100
Panther-Abteilung                                                         Page 114
Pz.Kpfw.IV- Abteilung                                                    Page 136
Panzer-Pionier-Bataillon 38                                           Page 156
Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 74                                        Page 168
Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 2                                        Page 180
Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 304                                    Page 196
Panzerjager-Abteilung 38                                              Page 214                                  

Premiers Combats                              First Fights

Approche du front                    Approaching the Front              Page 230
La hauteur de Caumont             The Height of Caumont             Page 244
Installation en Normandie         Installation in Normandy           Page 270
Cahagnes-Briquessard               Cahagnes-Briquessard               Page 288
Le front de Saint-Germain-d'Ectot                                              Page 304
La ligne de front devant Caumont          The front lat Camont     Page 316
L'arrive'e des Panzer IV             The arrival of the Panzer IV        Page 332
Combats pour Rauray/Cheux     Fighting for Rauray/Cheux         Page 338

This book is recommended for several reasons. The photographs are stunning. Those who model armor and those who are "figure" fans have a treasure chest of sharply focused, clear, and detailed images available to them. I am of the opinion that it is not necessary to be fluent in French to find this book worthwhile and very enjoyable. 

Merci a Casemate et Heimdal d'avoir fourni cette excellente publication a IPMS / USA pour examen. 

(Thanks to Casemate and Heimdal for providing this excellent publication to IPMS/USA for review.

P-51K/MK.IV Mustang Propeller

Fri, 02/05/2021 - 22:46
Product Image Review Author:  David Horn Quickboost

The P-51K is basically the same airframe as the P-51D with a few differences. Other than being manufactured in Dallas Texas, the only visible difference is the cuffless Aeroproducts propeller instead of the "Cuffed" Hamilton Standard propeller. The two blade differences can be seen in a photo from Trumpeters P-51B kit and the Quickboost propeller. This set is designed to work on the Tamiya P-51K/Mk.IV Mustang, which I do not have yet to show what the Tamiya kit propeller looks like.

The propeller set comes in a sealed bag with picture of the parts and what portions to trim. This is the extent of the instructions which is all that is needed for this simple set. The resin is flash free and zero bubbles for a flawless surface. There is a small part of excess resin at the tips of the propeller blade that needs to be trimmed and sanded flush. This excess portion helps ensure all the necessary resin reaches the propeller tip and does not leave a void.

During assembly, you will need to check references on blade angle since there is not a tool to assist in assembly. Other than trimming the pour block, excess resin and blade angle, the assembly is effortless. How Quickboost produces thousands of castings for our hobby, day in and day out, with this level of exquisite detail on all of their update sets is remarkable.  I would like to thank Quickboost for this review sample.

F-4E/EJ/F/J/S Phantom II Vertical tail air inlet

Fri, 02/05/2021 - 22:35
Product Image Review Author:  David Horn Quickboost

Tamiya set the standard with their 32 scale F-4 Phantom II kits and these still dominate the market with their attention to detail. While being on top of the modeling empire, the leaders do lack at times in details and the nature of injection molding that makes some detail difficult, if almost impossible. Quickboost came to the rescue with this little gem that will close out the leading edge of your Phantom tail. In 1/32 scale and on top of the model, this is a highly visible addition.

The replacement vertical tail vent comes in a sealed bag with picture of the parts and what portions to trim (on one part) and a reference to what part number it replaces on the kit. There are two identical vents in the package so depending on how many Phantoms you have, one set could last a while. This is the extent of the instructions which is all that is needed for this simple set. The resin is flash free and zero bubbles for a flawless surface.

The vents have excess material connecting to the pour block and the directions indicate cutting that away. I recommend filing that extra tab to a shape that matched the tab on the kit part, but it may install without any issue cutting the vent as the instructions show.

Something I did not realize until this review is the vent is different on the USAF C/D models than the USAF E/F and NAVY J/S Phantoms. This set is for the USAF F-4E/F/J/S Phantoms. If you are modeling earlier model F-4B/C or D Phantom II, use the Quickboost set QB 32 246. I would like to thank Aires for this review sample.

Jasta Colors: Volume 1

Fri, 02/05/2021 - 10:44
Product Image Review Author:  Dennis Tennant Aeronaut Books

This first volume of a multi-volume set is going to excite a lot of people. In addition to the photos and color plates of these aircraft, historic documents such as flight rosters, vintage newspaper clippings, hand-drawn sketches and flight line photos are included in this highly visual presentation of German WWI aircraft markings.

The book is beautifully printed on quality paper and begins by explaining the research done by both Schmaling and Leckschid over a period of many years. According to the publisher, Schmalling (a former modeler) started interviewing the old pilots in 1974 when he was in high school and has continued his research to the present. In 1976 he started working with Alex Imrie, the most well-known early researcher into the German air service, to document the colors of these airplanes, especially fighters. His continuing research has made Bruno the world's leading expert on Jasta Colors. He has at least 14,000 photos given to him by the pilots he interviewed, and many of them appear in this book.

The book is an easy read and doesn't necessarily need to be read cover to cover. I preferred to jump around a bit and treated it like a reference book without a problem. It's visually interesting and full of information about the WWI fighter pilot experience I'd never read before.

The most impressive part of this book (and hopefully, the series) is the wartime images of these planes. Many are previously unpublished and are of both pilots and aircraft in a variety of situations. Over 2/3rds of the book consists of aircraft profiles with full color plates and vintage photos of the aircraft profiled.  Included are various models of Fokker, Pfalz, Albatros, Rumpler and Halberstadt aircraft from the mid to late-war period with informative text and trivia about their pilots, jagdstaffels and markings.

From a modeler's perspective, many of the plane markings would be easy to reproduce with a little careful brush painting. Interviews with the men who flew these planes and their recollections of the markings on their planes is especially useful when determining the actual paint colors used--very useful considering his reference photos are in black and white. This brings me to the most interesting chapter in the book.

Chapter five covers grey-scale color interpretation of the black and white images of this era. Photos made during WWI were taken using orthochromatic film, not the panchromatic films still in use today. Simply put, ortho film captured certain colors in black and white tones differently than we are used to seeing today. For example, reds were darker and blues were both lighter and darker in WWI photos, depending on a number of factors. The author takes the reader on a deep dive into the various ways researchers use to determine the "real" color of aircraft...as best they can. This chapter alone could make a very interesting book about how modern-day researchers interpret photos and other information to figure out the colors and markings of these iconic WWI German fighter aircraft.

This book is perfect for anyone wanting to learn more about the markings and colors of a variety of WWI Jasta aircraft. I found myself reading though a bit at a time to add to my knowledge of what it was like to fly a biplane for the Kaiser. I enjoyed reading this book and found it to be an indispensable addition to my WWI aircraft research library.

I think this title will be very popular with Great War aircraft enthusiasts and, given that we now seem to be in a golden age for WWI aircraft kits, should be a on a "must have" list for anyone interested in learning more about these pilots and the distinctive markings on their flying machines.

I can't wait for volume two. Thanks to Jack Herris at Aeronaut Books for the review copy.

The Continuation War 1941-44 Soviet Soldier vs Finnish Soldier

Fri, 02/05/2021 - 10:18
Product Image Review Author:  Pablo Bauleo Osprey Publishing

Osprey Publishing continues to expand its "Combat" line, this time with an installment of the Soviet Soldier vs Finnish Soldier during the so-called "Continuation War", which lasted from 1941 to 1944.

This conflict started a few days after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, when Finland attempted to regain territories lost during the Winter War of 1940.  Shortly after the fast advance of the Finnish Army, the military actions turned into trench warfare, with front lines mostly stable until the Soviet Army launched an offensive in 1944, in which the Finnish stopped the Soviet advance but were forced to seek an armistice and switch sides.

This book covers in depth the recruitment, training and morale of the troops, weapons, training, tactics and even leadership skills in each side. There are three chapters, each devoted to a major battle: Sortavala (June-August 1941), Kuuterselka (June 1944) and the critical battle of Tali-Ihantala (June 1944) which blunt the Soviet attack, triggered the armistice and forced the switch of sides by Finland.

The last chapter includes a brief, but clear analysis of each one of the previous three battles and their significance to the overall campaign and strategic situation.

The Finnish-Soviet Wars (Winter and Continuation) are little known in the West. This book -and its accompanying book "The Winter War - Soviet Soldier vs Finnish Soldier") rectify the situation.

Being easy to read, with clear maps describing the overall tactics employed by each side, supplemented with great color artwork, this book is highly recommended.

I would like to thank Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

RATO for A-4 Skyhawk

Fri, 02/05/2021 - 10:11
Product Image Review Author:  Paul R. Brown Brengun

When the A-4B Skyhawk was designed, provisions were made for it to use RATO rockets to give it a short deck-run launch (if carrier's catapults were unavailable for any reason).  One RATO bottle could be mounted on each speed brake giving an additional 9,000 lbs. of thrust for five seconds.  The bottles were fired electrically and upon burnout were jettisoned hydraulically from the cockpit. While this capability was never used by the US Navy, in Vietnam, the Marines took advantage of this capability when launching A-4s from short airfields.

This new set from Brengun provides four RATO bottles, enough to equip two Skyhawks.  Each bottle is comprised of two parts - the main body of the bottle and a separate piece with the exhaust nozzle.  The main body includes simplified mounting brackets for attaching the bottle to the speed brake.  Three of my bottles has a thin strand of resin stretching out from the top of the bottle, which was either flash or could have been intended to represent the electrical connection between the bottle and the aircraft.  However, it was a bit out of scale and not very flexible, so I removed it and will use very thin stretched sprue as the wiring when I install the bottles on a kit.

After soaking the parts in Simple Green to remove any mold release residue, I removed the bottles and nozzles from the casting block with a fine razor saw.  Next, I sanded the cut ends on a piece of sandpaper attached to a piece of glass to square up the ends.  I used super glue gel top attach the nozzle parts to the bottles to give me time to refine the alignment of the nozzles, as the nozzles are angled away from the centerline of the bottle and point away from the aircraft fuselage when installed.  Once the glue had set, there was a small gap between where the parts joined, so I used Mr. Surfacer to fill the gap.

After sanding the seam, I painted the bottles white and the nozzles steel.  In several of the photographs I found it appears that the nozzles should be white as well, but I wanted them to show up in the photographs.  The set does not include and decals, but I am sure all of us have some spare stencil decals laying around that could be used to dress up the units.  

There is a good photograph of a RATO bottle being installed on a Marine A-4E on page 33 of Ginter's Naval Fighters Number Fifty-Two for more details.

This is a neat little set and will go nicely with Fujimi's A-4E kit or the new Hobby Boss A-4E kit in the appropriate USMC markings.

Highly Recommended.

Thank you to Brengun/Hauler for providing the review sample and IPMS-USA for letting me review it.

F-4J Phantom II Auxiliary Air Intake

Fri, 02/05/2021 - 10:03
Product Image Review Author:  Paul R. Brown Aires Hobby Models

This set provides replacement parts for the auxiliary air intakes and associate doors for Academy's recent 1/72 F-4J kit. The set includes replacement bays for each side, replacing the single part provided in the kit.  The set also includes replacement doors and actuators for the doors, again replacing the somewhat simplified kit parts.   

As shown in the attached photographs, the resin bays are very nicely detailed and really capture the look of this area of the Phantom's engine.  The doors are very thin and include nice rivet/fastener details on the exterior side and sharp interior details on the other side.  The actuators are also crisply molded and Quickboost wisely provides two extra actuators for those of us who are guaranteed to lose at least one of them to the carpet monster.  The bays and the doors are sided, as the left side set is different from the right side set, but the bays are conspicuously marked with "L" and "R" on one of their exterior sides and the pour stub for the doors is labeled "L" and "R" next to the appropriate door to help minimize confusion.

Unfortunately, the kit I ordered to install these in is still enroute somewhere, so I cannot comment on how they will fit in the kit.  In looking at the kit's instructions online, I note that the kit includes a portion of the J-79 engines that will need to be installed before closing up the fuselage and wing part, however I do not know where those engines will sit in relation to the aux intake bays, so I do not know if the resin parts will or will not interfere with the installation of the kit engines.

As I have a fairly large pile of Hasegawa 1/72 Phantom kits, I pulled one out to see if I could install the Aires set in one of those kits.  Unfortunately, they will not without some significant work.  Part of the problem is that when I located the auxiliary intake doors on the Hasegawa kit, I discovered that the corresponding doors on the Hasegawa kit are both longer and wider than the Aires doors.  In addition, on the Hasegawa kit, the doors are curved as they follow the contours of the underside of the Phantom, whereas the Aires doors are perfectly flat.  I guess the parts could be made to work, but you would have to file in and re-scribe the panels around the auxiliary door in order to get the panel lines, etc., to line up.

This is another nice set from Aires and will look nice painted and installed in your Academy Phantom. 

Recommended.  Thank you to Aires for providing the review sample and IPMS-USA for letting me review it.

LAU-131 Rocket Launcher

Fri, 02/05/2021 - 09:55
Product Image Review Author:  David Horn Brengun

The LAU-131 is a seven shot rocket pod commonly used on USAF fighter, attack and rotary wing aircraft. A variety of rockets can be caried in this pod including the Hydra 70 rocket. This set is for the original LAU-131A which is shorter than the extended version LAU-131A/A that can carry APKWS II.

Packaged in a sturdy plastic box, resin is protected by bubble wrap with all parts flash free and cast in light gray resin. A nice touch is the pour block on the pod is on the underside opposite the side on where it connects to the pylon. This makes it easy to remove that portion and sand contour without damaging features.

The set contains two components, rocket tube, two version of ends which also include the lifting lugs. There are two choices, with rockets or an empty dispenser. The set does not include the front and rear covers however I have rarely seen these pods with covers installed. These parts can easily be sanded free of the pour base. Instructions clearly show the components to install and painting note. Decals are not included so you may need aftermarket decals or leave unmarked.

The only thing I need to worry myself with is deciding on what kit to put this on, F-16, A-10 or other, then again I can always get another set! Two pods are included in the set.

I would like to thank Brengun  for this review sample.

Pacific Adversaries Volume 3: Imperial Japanese Navy vs The Allies

Fri, 02/05/2021 - 09:46
Product Image Review Author:  Bill Kluge Avonmore Books


This is the third installment of Claringbould's accounts of aerial combat between Japanese and Allied air forces. Volume 3 continues with accounts of Japanese Naval Air Force operations in the Solomons and New Guinea from 1942 to 1944 against Allied forces - USN, USAAF, Australian and New Zealand. Everything that I wrote previously about Vol. 2 applies here regarding the author's approach to documenting both side's account of individual actions by researching official records, eyewitness testimony, personal narratives and diaries, and often evidence obtained from recently discovered wreckage.


The 16 stories told here reflect a wide range of actions and incidents from the 1942-1944 timeframe. They include the first "kill" claim made by a 5th Air Force P-38 pilot, Capt. Bob Faurot, not by gunfire, but from the splash of an exploding bomb dropped by Faurot. The bomb missed its intended target - the Japanese airstrip at Lae - and exploded in the water off the end of the strip, catching a Zero taking off at just that moment. American eyewitnesses confirmed Faurot's claim, but Japanese records dispel the claim. Other stories include the only long-range Japanese bombing mission against the US rear base at Espiritu Santo by an Emily flying Boat, coincidentally occurring during a visit of US Navy Secretary Frank Knox, and accounts of both Japanese J1N1 Irving and American P-70 night fighter actions. Each story is illustrated with several aircraft profiles (41 different aircraft in total). Also included are five 3-views and five illustrations depicting events from the accounts. Aircraft depicted include Japanese Bettys, Nells, Rufe, Irvings as well as numerous models of Zeros, plus American Corsairs, Wildcats, P-38s, P-39s P-70s, PB4Y, B-17s, B-25s Australian Beaufighter and New Zealand P-40s. All of the illustrations are very nicely accomplished by the author himself.


Once again, Michael John Claringbould has presented a wide-ranging selection of events from the Pacific War, some well-known and some virtually unknown. Each is well researched and documented, and accompanied with numerous illustrations based on extensive research, giving the modeler the reference to create a specific replica with its own unique story to tell. Thanks to Casemate Publishing and IPMS for the opportunity to review this excellent book.

Hawker Hunter GA.11 Conversion

Fri, 02/05/2021 - 09:37
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette PJ Production

PJ Productions from Belgium continues with their simple conversions allows the Airfix F.6 to become a GA.11 single-seat training version for the Royal Navy. Looking around the Internet, there were 40 GA.11 airframes converted by adding an arrester hook, adding a Harley light to the nose and eliminating the guns. The starting kit is the Airfix Hunter F.6. I am sure the Academy F.6 could also possibly work.


 The conversion set contains three grey resin parts and one clear resin light. Casting is excellent with no pinholes and minimal casting blocks. Preparation is simple by removing the casting block on the parts for the arrestor hook and filling the one lone gun port. Washing of the resin is also recommended. A small instruction sheet shows the location of the arrestor hook under the aircraft. The nose plug looks like a direct replacement for the kit part and should fit right in place. The clear resin light is good but a quick polish and some Future should make it stand out.


This is yet another great and simple conversion for the excellent Airfix kit which will yield a unique version. Well made, inexpensive and simple to use- definitely recommended.


My thanks to PJ productions and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this conversion.

Hawker Hunter FR.10 Nose Conversion

Fri, 02/05/2021 - 09:32
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette PJ Production

This simple conversion from PJ Productions in Belgium allows the Airfix F.6 to become a FR.10 reconnaissance version. Looking around the Internet, it looks like the FR.10 is a single-seat reconnaissance version with 33 made of rebuilt F.6 airframes. The starting kit is the Airfix Hunter F.6. I am sure the Academy F.6 could also possibly work.


The conversion itself consists of six parts- a new nose, four cannons and a clear resin nose tip insert for the cameras that fit into the nose. The first step would be to remove the parts from the casting blocks wash the parts. Instructions show that the cannon barrels need drilled out with a 1.6mm drill and shows the exact position of the barrels when attached. After reviewing the kit, the nose would be direct replacement for the Airfix kit nose which is a separate piece so installation would be a breeze. Casting of the parts is excellent and the clear part is great but I would still do a polish and future treatment on it for extra shine.


A quick side note. In researching this variant, it was noted that the instrument panel also had some differences but considering the cockpit is black with a narrow opening, I am not sure how apparent this would be. It was also normal for the recon versions to have 2 x 230 gallons wing tanks and these would be attached to the kit also.


This is a quick conversion to get a interesting variant of the Hunter. It is very inexpensive and simple to install and is definitely recommended


My thanks to PJ Productions for the review sample. 

Hawker Hunter F.58 Conversion Kit

Fri, 02/05/2021 - 09:26
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette PJ Production

One of the latest conversions from PJ Productions in Belgium is the set to convert the Airfix 1/48th Hawker Hunter F.6 to a F.58 which is the export version for Switzerland. A total of 88 were built and 12 converted for an even 100 airframes. Changes addressed by this conversion include a new nose to the aircraft, under wing rocket option, Side blister under the cockpit, change to tail fairing, fuel tanks and various antennas. All this comes from 34 resin parts which are very well cast. There are no decals for the markings and those will need supplied elsewhere.


The parts prep is simple, remove the casting blocks and wash to eliminate mold release. Conversion can start with the nose which is a direct replacement. You will need to drill out the gun holes and add the cannons but the directions are clear on placement. The next direct replacement are the blisters on the side directly in front of the wings,. These are trimmed and added directly and even have an alignment tab so fit should be quick and easy. Under the wings, there is a fairing added 8mm from each wing tip and this is clearly given exact location so it should be a quick sand and glue to get this attached. The tail fairing will need sawed off after the fuselage is together and cuts on a panel line and has a plug to help fit nicely. The new under wing tanks need minimal clean up. You have to add the two tails which are shown clearly in the directions and then can be added to the kit pylon. There is one under belly antennae to add and it is also clearly located.


The wing pylon/rocket assembly is the fiddliest. First, my set had one broken rocket which is easily glued and sanded to place. After washing and drying, you build each rocket mount from three parts. The base part has two pylons and you glue two more onto that watching to get the angles correct. There will support your rockets. I would then glue the rocket mount to the new pylons and that to the fuselage and then add the rockets later. There are no painting instructions but reference photos are easily available.


All in all, this is a simple conversion to a Swiss jet that was used for many years. I would recommend a little experience with resin as some of the parts are very fine and small but nothing too difficult. Recommended for all who want the Swiss version of this beautiful plane.


My thanks to PJ Productions for the opportunity to review this conversion.




Gloster Gladiator Air Intakes

Fri, 02/05/2021 - 09:19
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra Quickboost

ICM's Gloster Gladiator series in 1/32nd have to be one of the most anticipated kits of the year, and having built all of them (so far) I can honestly say they are a delight and a wonderful addition to my collection.  However, the small air intakes associated with the detailed engine build were a bit of a trial.  Consisting of three parts each, they were a fiddly assembly and due to the nature of the sprue attachments, it was all too easy to damage the thin nozzle rim on removal (I speak from experience).


Quickboost's replacement engine nozzles eliminate both the fiddly build and the potential damage scenario. Consisting of two small handed replacement parts, they are extremely easy to remove from the molding block and to clean up.  They also feature some really fine detail within the intake nozzles which is missing from the ICM parts.  No modification of kit parts is necessary, and they simply drop in where the kit parts would be, adding just that little additional touch of finesse to your model.


At the price, you really can't beat this.  I can heartily recommend these Quickboost replacements for all your 1/32nd scale Gloster Gladiator needs.  You won't regret it. 


My thanks to Quickboost for coming out with these lovely little bits and to IPMS/USA for a chance to add them to my lovely Gladiator collection.  Stay safe, everyone, and happy modeling!

F-4C/D Phantom II Vertical tail air inlet

Fri, 02/05/2021 - 00:12
Product Image Review Author:  David Horn Quickboost

Tamiya once set the standard with their 32 scale F-4 Phantom II kits and these still dominate the market with their attention to detail. While being on top of the modeling empire, the leaders do lack at times in details and the nature of injection molding that makes some detail difficult if almost impossible. Quickboost came to the rescue with this little gem that will close out the leading edge of your Phantom tail. In 32 scale and on top of the model, this is a highly visible addition.

The replacement vertical tail vent comes in a sealed bag with picture of the parts and what portions to trim (on one part) and a reference to what part number it replaces on the kit. There are two identical vents in the package so depending on how many Phantoms you have, one set could last a while. This is the extent of the instructions which is all that is needed for this simple set. The resin is flash free and zero bubbles for a flawless surface.

The vents have excess material connecting to the pour block and the directions indicate cutting that away. I recommend filing that extra tab to a shape that matched the tab on the kit part, but it may install without any issue cutting the vent as the instructions show.

Something I did not realize until this review is the vent is different on the USAF C/D models than the USAF E/F and NAVY J/S Phantoms. This set is for the USAF F-4C/D (also works on NAVY F-4B). If you are modeling later model F-4 Phantom II, use the Quickboost set QB 32 247. I would like to thank Aires for this review sample.

Velikiye Luki 1942-43: The Doomed Fortress (Campaign 351)

Thu, 02/04/2021 - 11:43
Product Image Review Author:  Marc K. Blackburn Osprey Publishing

When the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, known as Operation Barbarossa, began on 22 June 1941, it would quickly become the campaign that would destroy the Nazi Empire. Long before the battle of Berlin began in 1945, there were a thousand moments of violence and drama that would define this struggle. While many know the broad strokes of the eastern front, these individual battles within larger campaigns remain in the shadows. This book focuses on one of those struggles.

"Velikiye Luki" is the 351st offering in Osprey's long running campaign series. They follow a tried and true formula. It begins with a brief introduction that speaks to the origins of the campaign, a brief chronology, the commanders of both sides, the forces at their disposal, the plans of both sides, and then a narrative focused on the campaign and its aftermath. Like many of these works, the book is richly illustrated with contemporary photographs from both sides of the front line, colorful and detailed maps of each step of the campaign, and several full color illustrations that depict key moments in the campaign.

The story focuses on a series of events that took place in the winter of 1942-43. Velikiye Luki is an old Russian Fortress town south of Leningrad and Novgorod. It was on the border line between Army Group North and Center, which was to cause problems as the commanders of both Army Groups were uncertain who was responsible for the defense of the fortress. Moreover, the Soviets took advantage of this weakness. To put this event in context, far to the south, the siege of Stalingrad had been going on since the summer, so much of the strength of the Wehrmacht had pivoted south. Velikiye Luki had been captured and lost in 1941 and recaptured again and had been held by the Germans since the late summer. This story focuses on the Soviet winter counter-offensive that took advantage of the weaknesses in the German line. The plan was to surround and cut off the German garrison.

The Soviet offensive was successful in surrounding the Germans, initiating a siege that would last into January, 1943. The German garrison was a hodgepodge of forces that entrenched in the old fortress. While they put up a determined fight, the Soviets squeezed the German perimeter. As at happened in Stalingrad, the Luftwaffe attempted to supply the garrison by air (mostly by glider). There was an attempt by the Germans to relieve the garrison in December. They met a great deal of success, but could not break the siege. As the perimeter contracted into itself, they did not fight to the last man, but surrendered to the Soviets in January. Unfortunately, the rigors of captivity took a toll on the survivors. Most perished. For the Soviet's, even though the garrison was eliminated, they did not make the large gains that they had hoped. For the Germans, while Stalingrad overshadowing everything, it was a loss they could ill afford.  

The Second World War was won on the backs of the millions of Soviet soldiers and citizens, not only murdered and killed by the Nazis, but by the Stalin regime as well. This book is a tiny vignette of a long and bloody struggle. It is a welcome addition to the Osprey campaign series. My thanks to IPMS and Osprey Publications for giving me the opportunity to review this book.