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Updated: 10 hours 33 min ago

Platz 1/144 F-4EJ (Final Flight)

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 11:50
Product Image Review Author:  Jim Pearsall Platz


The JASDF is nearing the end of service for their F-4EJ Phantom IIs.  They have ordered F-35s as replacements.  This aircraft is one of two from the 302nd Squadron which were celebrating the retirement of their F-4s.  This one is the black one.  They also had a white one. 

Japan will still have some Phantoms for about a year, depending on F-35 deliveries.



This kit was originally produced by F-Toys, a Japanese company specializing in pre-painted kits which are easy to assemble and finish.  Platz then acquires the molds and makes kits which are pretty easy to assemble, but need to be painted and decals applied. 



The assembly is not complicated, but to reach a desirable finished model, you need to do some work.  I have a photo of one fuselage half with the really large holes for the other half to fit into.  The idea for F-Toys builders is to slide the halves together, and no glue will be needed.  In order to cut down the gaps between fuselage halves, I had to enlarge these holes, then the parts would fit.  The wings and horizontal stabilizers were pretty good.  I had to leave the canopy and landing gear off until after the decals.



This one was pretty darned easy.  Gloss black overall, with some special metallic colors for the exhaust cones and the area under the tail and on the horizontal stabs.  I used gloss black, so there was no prep needed for decals.



Decals were marvelous.  Also incredibly hard.  Those eagles on the sides took up the whole side of the aircraft.  They were on the nose, the intake splitters and on to the rest of the fuselage.  On both sides.  Then there were the feathers, the eagles on both sides of the tail, huge decals on the top of both wings and a decal for the cockpit.  Thank goodness for the single hinomaru on each of the bottom wings.  A spray of Future to prevent splitting or flaking, and I was ready to finish.



There really wasn't much left.  The landing gear went together nicely and fit pretty cleanly.  The gear doors have tabs on them to keep them in place.  Easy to glue.  The nose probe took a little work to get the pin to fit in the hole, but it's in there. 

And the whole project was finished.



This kit is fine, I'll recommend it for the markings.  It can be built into a decent display model. 


Many thanks to Platz/F-Toys for this nice kit, and thanks to IPMS USA for providing the chance to increase my knowledge of anime.

AN/ALQ-87 ECM pod

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 10:42
Product Image Review Author:  David Horn Eduard

The AN/ALQ-87 is an electronic countermeasure pod (originally the QRC-160-8) was first used in 1967. Carried by a variety of military aircraft during the Vietnam, it was commonly seen on the F-100, F-101, F-105, F-111, F-4 and the AC-130. The ECM pod function is to jam the enemy radars guiding surface-to-air missiles, and ground-control intercept radars handling multiple jamming functions. The AN/ALQ-87 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-87

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 six different antennas, two forward sections and two aft sections for a wide variety of pod version. There a single photo etch fret that has generator fan blades and two choices of blade antennas. The decals are very nice, multi color 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. It is a great addition to any model.

Land Craft – Bren Gun Carrier – Britain’s Universal War Machine

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 10:29
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Pen and Sword Books Ltd

This is a book in the Land Craft series which details vehicles and covers model kits and accessories to build the featured vehicle covered in the book. This book covers the Bren Gun Carrier by the Allies during World war two.

I found this book a fountain of information on this important little support vehicle. The Profile pictures are a particular favorite and great source for modelling.

The chapters on the different model builds and kits are of great interest and will provide a good resource when modelling this subject.

 I was impressed at the amount of information and history found in the pages of this extremely enjoyable book. The pictures along are worth the cost of the book. I will find this book indispensible in my library of reference books.

I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in armor and modelling armor. I very much look forward to other releases in this series.

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

Helicopter Crew Vietnam

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 10:18
Product Image Review Author:  Floyd S. Werner Jr. PJ Production

Figures in 1/48th scale, in particular helicopter figures, are like hen's teeth.  So when a new set comes out I am all over it.  The latest of these releases is from PJ Production out of Belgium. 

Packaged in a small end opening box, with a ziplock baggie inside of that, are three pour blocks of light grey resin and a tiny M-60 machine gun.  The small M-60 is loose in the baggie so be careful you don't lose it when opening the bag.  There are no painting instructions inside, but the cover photo of the finished figures is adequate for the job. 

The three resin figures represent two pilots and one door gunner.  This would seem to indicate that it for a Loach since they sometimes flew with a crew of three and Hueys flew with a crew of four.  All the figures have chicken plate body armor and SPH-4 type helmets, but in this scale they could easily be APH-5 helmets. The one thing that stands out is that the heads have microphones molded on.  Great job.   

The three resin pour blocks are beautifully rendered with no bubbles.  My example had very minor flash.  The figures are beautifully rendered with good detail in the face and uniforms.  The uniforms are difficult to make out, but it could be either the two piece or the one-piece flight suits used in Vietnam.  It really just depends on how you paint them.  The body armor covers most of the flight suit so if you paint them olive drab they will be a two-piece suit or if you paint them sage green they will represent a one-piece flight suit.  The pilots have seatbelts molded on them which is nice.

All the pour blocks have the product number on the one side and on the other side is the number to indicate which figure the legs, arms and bodies go to.  There are 15 resin pieces.  The figures take up five pieces usually with the M-60 being a separate item.  The fidelity of the fingers is pretty amazing.  Assembly is easy enough.  The one pilot has his visor down and the other has his aviator sunglasses on. 

All this set needs is to be cleaned up, assembled and painted up.  It is very refreshing to see such quality in this scale.  The only downside to this set is if you are going to use this for the Kitty Hawk UH-1D you'll have to source an additional door gunner figure. 

This is a really nice set of figures that will add life to your US helicopters, whether Vietnam or up to the late 1980s.  I look forward to more figures from PJ Production.

Highly recommended

Thanks to PJ Production and IPMS/USA for the review copy.  You can get your copy off of their website at https://www.pj-production.be/en/ , remember their pricing is in Euros, or at your local hobby shop or online retailer. 

Retribution – The Soviet reconquest of Western Ukraine 1943-44

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 10:04
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Osprey Publishing

This is book is a follow up to Prit Buttar's On the Knife's edge and begins after the battle of Kursk that turned the tide of the Eastern front in favor of the Russian forces. Retributions goes in to detail of the massive Russian offensive that forced a now desperate and shaken German forces out of Western Ukraine.

The author gives accounts of the many little-known battles that were constant throughout the Russian offensive. The this comes from the first-hand accounts are from the German and Russian soldiers that bring this to life.

I learnt so much from this book that I was not aware of and the information and writing really draws you in. The book is 480 pages and there are only a few illustrations, and these are battle maps.

It took me a week or so to read and with all the details I think I will need to re-read it to fully absorbed it properly. I loved the book and how much I gained from reading it in regard to knowledge of this period of the Eastern Front history.

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

USS Skipjack Class Submarines

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 09:52
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell OKB Grigorov

OKB Grigorov has provided a super USS Skipjack submarine which represent this classic class of American Submarine. The Skipjack class first entered service in 1974.

Included is:

  • Five resin parts
  • One Photo Etch Sheets
  • One resin submarine
  • One resin stand


The detail quality is great; The parts are very delicate parts that need careful removal from the resin bases.

There was no instruction sheet in the box I received to review, this was not a problem as it was a simple build.

The Assembly is quick and easy.

The Resin stand is an awesome addition to the kit.

I would like to have seen some small decals.

The final part is painting.

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

Rommel’s Mammoth DAK AEC Armored Command Vehicle

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 09:43
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Reeves AFV Club

AFV Club kits for me have always been a bit of a challenge- multi-part assemblies that could easily be presented as lower part count builds are usually the norm for me. This particular build for the most part avoids this issue, except for the undercarriage. The only real issues encountered for me was in the order of assembly in some cases which will be outlined as we go. The kit is a rebox of the AEC Dorchester kit from 2012. Obviously these three examples were basically captured Dorchesters so the only changes were in the interior equipment and schemes of the three examples captured by the Germans as we will soon see.


What's Inside the Box

The kit has an assortment of different media--plastic, resin, and PE, but not in overwhelming amounts. Inside we get:


  • 12 tan plastic sprues
  • 1 green sprue which I believe came from the original kit as there are British radios and equipment present
  • 1 clear sprue
  • 4 vinyl tires
  • A printed sheet of maps (12 in total)
  • Tissue paper for the awning
  • Bag of resin parts including radio equipment, Enigma machine, field telephone
  • Decal sheet
  • PE fret
  • A4 sized instruction sheet



Out of 22 steps in the assembly, the first five feature work on the partial engine, lower frame and suspension, and exhaust and wheels. All told- this took up a total of 136 parts if I counted correctly. From there, we can take a break as we move to work on the interior of the main compartment. There are numerous holes to drill and are well indicated. Assembly of this interior comprises seven more steps. Some of the features of this section include assembling five comfortable looking leather chairs- each comprising seven parts. We get painting details for the resin pieces that are added here and these include the 5 watt sender, the UKW-Empfanger d1, the Enigma machine, and Feldfernsprecher 33. The map table is quite detailed and includes small lamps and those previously mentioned maps that have excellent graphics on them.

More resin is added to the other side- including the 100WS transmitter, Torn. E. b radio, and Hell Feldfernschreiber. From there we move to the driver's position. This assembly is a bit tricky with the front grill and radiator fitting in tightly with the other parts. Any misalignment here will cause great difficulty when you go to attach the front compartment to the rear main body. I had great difficulty here and no matter what I did, I had to break out the AMMO putty. The front windscreen assembly and hatches are next and can be posed open or closed. I chose closed so there would be one less thing to knock off while handling later. All told, there is a lot of space between here and the read side to add all sorts of extra details like helmets, weapons, maps and magazines and the like. I printed a lot of stuff off of the web and added a few of the maps and weapons from the spares box to populate the interior.

Step 20 starts with the exterior details and there are loads here. The front fenders, doors, and side awning assemblies are all nicely detailed. Doors can be posed open for you to show off some of that excellent detail inside. The tissue paper included for the awning serves the purpose but you may chose something else if you wish. I usually use the outer foil layer from a Klondike bar wrapper as I like the textured detail. Step 21 is probably the busiest step, barring those for the lower frame. Loads of brackets, pins, and grab handles to attach here. Some of the area to attach to are lacking including raised details that make it difficult to apply to.

Step 23 gives a detailed assembly of the roof and vents with some nicely detailed vent fans. You can choose to leave the three vents open or closed. The jerry cans included give different options including open and closed spout covers, and even additional pour spouts to attach. There are no indications for where to add them to the vehicle however. The last step includes adding the roof and PE rails to it, as well as instructions to stretch sprue for the three antennas.

Therein lies the biggest issue for me in the entire build (other than the putty work between the front side and the rest). Nowhere in the instructions does it indicate where to add the undercarriage to the body. It just appears in the last step. As someone who followed the instructions to a T, I would suggest adding the undercarriage long before you get all the excellent detail added. Waiting to the end like I did was not easy--it is near impossible to get the assembly in square and fitting as it should. I really wished I had added it back in step 6 when assembly of the floor begins. I would've been so much easier and if I had it to do again, that's the route I would take.


Painting and Weathering

As mentioned previously, there are three scheme included in the kit- for each of the three captured German vehicles. Two are known to have been used by Rommel himself- Max and Moritz. The last scheme is unnamed but all three sport very similar paint schemes. A base of Light Stone 61 was painted on first using Mission Models paint. I followed it with Vallejo Model Air Light Gull Grey and RLM71 Dark Green. Stock up on your favorite masking tape for any of these schemes as you'll use lots of it. Decals went on quite smoothly using AMMO Decal Set and Fix. I treated the vinyl tires to my "bag o' dirt' pigment mix and will hold off the rest of the weathering until I mount the Mammoth to a base.



Overall, I found this to be one of the easier AFV Club builds for me. Loads of excellent detail, and this is a great way to introduce novice models to using resin and PE with a not so overwhelming amount at once. The resin was easy to handle with only small pour stubs to remove. The radio sets and equipment are nicely detailed with no bubbles I could see. The plastic had no flash and everything went together pretty well. The lower frame took quite a bit of time and patience and care but looks great. I highly suggest you add it right away despite no indication in the instructions to do so. Other than that, the build really looks great and there is loads of detail to add for those who love to do so. Also, in the end, there is plenty to add to the spares box for later builds. Total win-win. I left the roof loose so I can show off all that interior detail. My only extra wish was for a Rommel figure- but Master Box has an excellent set that seems to fit on top of the Mammoth quite well if folks want to add it on and I added the Field Marshal to one of the finished photos.

My sincere thanks to AFV Club and IPMS-USA for the review sample.

North American B-25 Mitchell Decals Part 4

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 09:34
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Lifelike Decals

Lifelike Decals from Japan is one of those hidden gems people need to hear more about. With a large selection in the most popular scales, they have decals for WWII era planes from Japan, Europe and the US. This set covers Part 4 for the B-25C/D/J in 1/72 scale and is meant for the Airfix B-25C/D and Hasegawa B-25J. The first two markings are for the famous Air Apaches of the 345th BG.


Inside the package, there a three small decals sheets covering the roundels and markings for four aircraft. The decals are a mixture of Cartograf and Microscale which is great. A separate page has information on the roundels used at specific times. There is a profile page containing the instructions and details about the four planes represented. Lastly is the cover with the top and bottom profiles and a detailed reference page.


The sheet covers four aircraft:


  • B-25D-15-NC, BuNo. 41-30669 "Chow Hound", "fat cat" of 345th BG, Blak Island, Philippines  December  1944
  • B-25D-15-NC, BuNo. 41-30606 "Chow Hound Junior", "fat cat" of 345th BG, Clark Field, Philippines
  • B-25J-5-NC, Probably BuNo. 43-28016 "Male Call", 390th BS 42nd BG  Sansapor, New Guinea 1945
  • B-25J-20-NC, BuNo. 44-29509 "My Buck", 17th RS, 71st RG, Lingayen, Philippines, February to July 1945


In summary, beautifully printed decals of four interesting subjects with superb references and tips for model builders. Plus, decals made by Microscale and Cartograf. Highly recommended to fans of the B-25 and any modeler wanting a great looking kit with colorful markings in their collection.


My thanks to Lifelike Decals for the opportunity to review this great set.

North American B-25 Mitchell Decals Part 2

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 09:27
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Lifelike Decals

Lifelike Decals from Japan is one of those hidden gems people need to hear more about. With a large selection in the most popular scales, they have decals for WWII era planes from Japan, Europe and the US. This set covers Part 2 for the B-25C/D/J in 1/72 scale and is meant for the Airfix B-25C/D.


Inside the package, you'll find three decal sheets with two being made by Microscale and one by Cartograf all in perfect alignment. Two sheets cover the plane markings and one is for the roundels in two different styles. Also, there is a masking sheet for "Old Baldy". There are specific instructions for each aircraft along with color profiles and details of how to represent that specific aircraft with aftermarket accessories where needed. A separate page on the history and types of national insignia is also included.


The sheet covers five aircraft:


  • B-25D-10-NC, BuNo. 41-30278 "Hell's Fire", 500thBS/345th BG, Nadzab New Guinea, May 1944
  • B-25D-15-NC, BuNo. 41-30592 "Mexican Spitfire", 498th/BG/345th BS, Nadzab New Guinea, April 8-14th 1944
  • B-25D-5-NC, BuNo. 41-30058 "Lucky Bat", 499th BS/345th BG Port Moresby (end of July 1943) or Dobodura, New Guinea (Late January 1944)
  • B-25D-5-NC, BuNo. 41-30036 "Old Baldy", 498th BS/345th BG, Nadzab New Guinea, April 1944


Please note that "Lucky Bat" has separate and distinctive decals for both time frames which give the five varieties of markings.


Looking at one example, BuNo. 41-30036 "Old Baldy", shows the depth of research done. The first thing you note is that Lifelike refers to specific pictures in specific references that are all listed so the modeler can look at that specific picture being referred to in the text. The history of the plane and progression of markings is covered in depth including 83 mission markings (which is in of itself a remarkable feat), The history is covered up until the loss of the aircraft on July 7, 1944.


In summary, beautifully printed decals of five interesting subjects with superb references and tips for model builders. Plus, decals made by Microscale and Cartograf. Highly recommended to fans of the B-25 and any modeler wanting a great looking kit with colorful markings in their collection.


My thanks to Lifelike Decals for the opportunity to review this great set.

North American B-25 Mitchell Decals Part 1

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 09:21
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Lifelike Decals

Lifelike Decals from Japan is one of those hidden gems people need to hear more about. With a large selection in the most popular scales, they have decals for WWII era planes from Japan, Europe and the US. This set covers Part 1 for the B-25C/D/J in 1/72 scale and is meant for the Airfix B-25C/D or the Hasegawa B-25J Solid Nose Version.


Inside the package, there's a lot! First, there are three parts to the decal sheet. The first part is a selection of national insignia; second are a set of nose markings, build no's and mission markings for four of the planes printed by Microscale and lastly, is a set of markings for the last plane and propeller decals printed by Cartograf. All are printed perfectly with great register and color.  Also included are color profiles of each aircraft with the location of the markings. A separate sheet gives details of how to make each of the five planes Each plane is covered in detail with what is needed to change with the recommended kit. Lastly, there is a sheet explaining the how the roundels work as far as sizes, blue outlines, etc. for these planes.


The sheet covers five aircraft:


  • B-25C-NA, BuNo. 41-12905 "Tokyo Sleeper", 405thBS/38th BG, Nadzab New Guinea, March 1944
  • B-25J-5-NC, BuNo. 4327957 "Bugs Bunny", 823rd BG/38th BS, Lingayen Philippines, July 1945
  • B-25J-10-NC, BuNo. 43-28145 "Estalita", 71st BS/38th BG Lingayen Philippines, June 1945
  • B-25J-25-NC, BuNo. 44-30284 Morotai Island, August 1945
  • B-25D-15-NC, BuNo. 41-30597 "Hardships 2nd", hack of 38th BG, Clark Field, Philippines, June 1, 1945



As an example of the directions, for "Tokyo Sleeper", the decal instructions recommend gun packs (QB72573) from Quickboost and several examples of gun barrels. The instructions refer to the extensive reference list on the cover sheet so the builder can refer to the same photos used. Included are discussions around colors. Lastly is along explanation of the changes needed for the glass nose canopy. Airfix parts are referenced. The same detail is given to each of the five planes in this set.


In summary, beautifully printed decals of five interesting subjects with superb references and tips for model builders. Plus, decals made by Microscale and Cartograf. Highly recommended to fans of the B-25 and any modeler wanting a great looking kit with colorful markings in their collection.


My thanks to Lifelike Decals for the opportunity to review this great set.


DFW C.V Landing Gear (WW) for 1/32 scale

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 09:14
Product Image Review Author:  Brent Bristow Scale Aircraft Conversions

The DFW C.V Landing Gear for the 1/32 scale Wingnut Wings kit is one of the many accessories offered by Scale Aircraft Conversions. This is the second of three of these aftermarket kits for which I am providing an out-of-box review. As with their other products, these are made of white metal.

            For the packaging for this conversion kit, we have a blister pack with a clear plastic bubble. My only complaint with this is that you cannot reseal it once you open it. However, it likely keeps the cost of the kit down.

            The kit consist of what appears to be 4 parts, two of which are connected together with a larger piece of metal sprue. Similar large metal sprues are connected to the other two other parts. I have to say that I am very impressed with the casting of the parts. After looking at them very closely, I did not see anything that would require any significant attention other than cutting them off of the large metal sprues.

            The parts are sturdy, but the two thinner parts are easily bent. I spent a little time bending the parts, and while they are very flexible, I never felt that they were close to breaking. The Scale Aircraft Conversions website includes a section on working with white metal, which can be found at https://www.scaleaircraftconversions.com/homepage.cfm?DTTM=20191229213710&RequestedTimeout=500&pageid=USING_WHITE_METAL.

            As the packaging in minimal, there are no instructions included, so you will have to refer to the instructions included with the Wingnut Wings kit.

            This kit consists of parts that have been cast very well, and I'm very pleased with the quality of these parts. If you are interested in building this aircraft, this conversion kit appears to be a wise investment.

Thanks to Scale Aircraft Conversions for supplying the conversion kit for this review.        


ICM Gloster Gladiator Mk.1

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 08:51
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra ICM

ICM continues to floor me with the boldness of their release choices, and the Gloster Gladiator in the impressive 1/32nd scale range is certainly one of them that I never expected to see in my lifetime.


The Gloster Gladiator was one of the rare biplanes to see combat service in World War 2 and was the last operation biplane fighter in British service, seeing service in most theaters of action via a number of air forces.  Despite its obsolescence it acquitted itself reasonably well in combat, even making a couple of aces into the bargain.


ICM's Gloster Gladiator comes on a sturdy side-opening box with separate lid and features a somewhat soft gray styrene as well as clear parts.  This plastic seems familiar, and in fact appears to be the type of choice for Masterbox, MiniArt and other Ukrainian manufacturers. No photoetch or other frills are included, but the decal sheet offers three interesting options, all in British service.  ICM now offers a decals sheet providing foreign service as well, but that's another story.  There are a couple of other options included in the kit, such as a propeller spinner and open and closed engine panels.


Assembly, as always, begins with the cockpit, and there are few surprises there.  The control panel is adequately detailed, and the seat has the correct openings and fiddly bits.  The side panels are fairly decent as well, but the kit makes no provision for seat belts.  I made my own from flattened solder, but you can buy nice sets for this as well, I believe.  Both side doors are separate items although typically only the left-hand one was used.  The machine guns which fit into the cockpit area and out the fuselage ports are decently detailed but lack anything resembling ammunition feeds or controls.  This doesn't present much of a problem as they are barely visible once the fuselage is closed up.


Once the fuselage is sealed assembly of the tail and wings can start, and all feature separate control surfaces.  At this point you might want to consider what approach you'll be taking to the rigging, which is as extensive as many WW1 aircraft.  I decided to use the rigging-through-the-wings approach, which was more challenging than I'd anticipated, largely because both wings are two-part affairs which meant I had to feed each line through not one hole but two.  Still, it worked surprisingly well with a little patience and I'm certainly happy with the end results.


When working on the engine cowl, don't be thrown by the drawings like I was.  If you don't study them carefully, you'll get the impression that each exhaust should have a flat cowl plate glued to it.  In actuality, these are ONLY applied if you plan on leaving the cowls off to display the engine.   Otherwise, the exhausts are glued directly to the cowl assembly.  I glued the plates on without knowing this and then had to prize them off again in order to complete the build as I'd intended, with the cowl closed.


As I neared the end of the assembly, I did encounter a problem with the landing gear.  Due to the nature of the plastic (I think) the final elbow on each of the main gear legs proved to be extremely fragile, and I broke both off during my final build.  Fortunately, it was a fairly simple procedure to drill holes in the stubs and reinforce these with bits of wire.


As to markings, I chose the box art version, as it depicts one of the top Gladiator aces serving with the British.  The decals provided were surprisingly effective - snuggling down with a little setting solution and showing no silvering at all, even over a matt surface.  The colors were a bit intense, so I toned them down to reflect the hot Egyptian sun where this aircraft was supposed to serve. 


All told, I had far fewer problems with this somewhat complex build than I often experience in a project this size - a credit to ICM for a sensible, straight-forward assembly with few surprises.  I can happily recommend this to anyone with an interest in somewhat anachronistic aircraft. It certainly does the Gladiator proud, and I hope to be able to build another one with skis when and if ICM chooses to release one.  The possibilities are endless. 


My thanks to ICM for the lovely kit and as always, to IPMS/USA for the faith to trust this kit to my tender mercies.


OKB Grigorov– German Submarine Type 201

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 08:42
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell OKB Grigorov

OKB Grigorov has provided very nice and unusual submarine in this German Type 201. This was the first post war German submarine. They only built three type 201's U-1, U-2 and U-3 and they first entered service in 1961. The had issues with the Amagnitic steel material which lead to cracks in the structure, so all were scrapped.

Included is:

Two Photo Etch Sheets

One resin submarine

Two small resin parts


The detail quality is great; The parts are very delicate parts that need careful removal from the resin bases.

There was no instruction sheet in the box I received to review, this was not a problem as it was a simple build although there was not much reference materials online due to this being a very short lived program.

The Assembly is quick and easy.

I would like to have seen some small decals.

The final part is painting.

I really enjoy building these small submarine kits and will look for more! They are a very simple and quick build that is fun and leads to a great display once complete.

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

Tiger I German Army Heavy Tank Eastern Front, Summer 1943

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 08:35
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Novosad Pen and Sword Books Ltd

Information from the publisher

The Tiger I tank, probably the most famous German armoured vehicle of the Second World War, might have been a war-winning, break-through weapon if it had been produced in sufficient numbers and if it had been introduced earlier on the Eastern Front, before the balance of strength had tipped towards the Soviet Union. At the Battle of Kursk there were not enough Tigers to make a decisive difference and thereafter the Tiger was forced to play a mainly defensive role as the Wehrmacht struggled to withstand the advances of the Red Army. And it is this period in the Tiger tank's short history that Dennis Oliver concentrates on in this, his third book on the Tiger in the TankCraft series.
He uses archive photos and extensively researched colour illustrations to examine the tanks and units of the German army's heavy panzer battalions. A large part of the book showcases available model kits and aftermarket products, complemented by a gallery of beautifully constructed and painted models in various scales. Technical details as well as modifications introduced during production and in the field are also examined providing everything the modeller needs to recreate an accurate representation of the Tigers of 1943.




  • Detailed design and construction history of the Tiger I on the Eastern Front in 1943.
  • Focuses on the vital role played by the Tiger in the Battle of Kursk.
  • Details of variants and field and manufacturer's modifications .
  • Color references for markings and paint schemes.
  • Gallery of photographs of scale models.
  • Sources for additional information from other publications and websites.



  • Pages 1 through 16 address vehicle history, maps, historical chronology of battles and unit organizarions.  Several black and white images are included.
  • Pages 17-26 show color side views, both left and right side, of several variants.  Accompanying text provides additional vehicle detail information.
  • Pages 27 through 42 are the Modelers' Showcase, featuring work by Ralph Riese, Naomasa Dairaku, and Luciano Rodriguez.  The color photos in this section are well worth the price of admission for the details provided.  Excellent modeling reference. 
  • Pages 42 though 45 provides information on the various manufacturers of scale Tiger I models.  Several of the most popular scales are noted along with samples of build-up models and box art.
  • Pages 49 through 60 address Tiger units on the Eastern Front. 
  • Pages 61 through 64 provides Technical details and factory and field modifications. 
  • And finally pages 64 provides information for Product contact list and acknowledgements.

This is a fantastic publication for any armor fan.  The black and white images and the colors pictures make this a valuable reference and inspiration source for scale modelers and those interested in military history.   Highly recommended.
My thanks to Casemate Publications, Pen and Sword Military and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this publication.

Brengun 1/72 A-4 Skyhawk Crew Access Ladder

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 08:20
Product Image Review Author:  Blaine Singleton Brengun

This is a review of an A-4 Skyhawk crew access ladder in 1/72 scale made of photo etch parts. Given the scale of the ladder, it is obvious that all parts are going to take some patience to remove from the PE sheet and apply to the ladder.


The package contains a photo etch sheet containing all the parts needed to construct the access ladder and a one-page instruction sheet.



The instruction sheet clearly marks parts. The ladder construction has all the parts and their locations in an exploded view of assembly


Building the ladder:

I started out by laying the PE sheet on a strip of tape that I had rubbed on the back of my hand and removed a couple of times to reduce the stickiness of the tape. The parts are so small that I was afraid of the parts flying off into infinity when they were cut from the PE sheet.

I sharpened a toothpick and used it to apply thick C/A to attach the parts. Given how small the parts were, they did not require very much C/A to stick.

I initially built the ladder with it on its back to make sure the ladder sides were movable enough to accept each of the steps. A small rectangular piece went between the ladder rails to give the steps to be glued to. Again, while building this section of the ladder I laid it on some tape that had been de tacked.

One of the final parts to add was the platform which aligned the ladder with all its steps and made the ladder very rigid.

The final addition to the ladder were small wheels at the bottom and again a lot patience to cut these out and add to the ladder.



I started painting the ladder by first applying Mission Models Black Primer MMS-001 mixed 60% primer to 40% thinner and sprayed three coats. I didn't think the ladder would be moved enough to be concerned that the paint may flake off by not using a lacquer primer.

Next after the primer had dried over night, I sprayed Mission Models Orange MMP-005 in three coats mixed with 50% paint and 50% Poly thinner mix. By spraying the 50/50 mix the paint was thinned enough that I could modulate the orange with the black to give it a look of some depth.

Once the paint dried over night, I covered the ladder with a coat of Mission Models Paint Semi-Gloss MMA-005 mixed 30% Gloss to 70% thinner



I did a slight weathering wash with Mission Models Paint with 10% Tire Black MMP-040 and 90% Mission Thinner.



Like I said at the start in 1/72 scale parts for this ladder are very small, so take your time and keep control of the parts as you cut them off the PE Sheet. Construction requires a plan before you start gluing parts because as the joiners for the ladder and platform come together, they give the ladder its shape and stability.


Thank you to Brengun and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this model.


Brengun 1/72 500 lb. AN-M64A1 Bomb

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 08:12
Product Image Review Author:  Blaine Singleton Brengun

Brengun is known as a supplier of high-quality detail parts for aircraft, as well as other subjects. Once assembled and painted the bomb provides a very nice addition to an aircraft model.


Package contents

Eight resin bomb bodies

One sheet of Photo Etch

One instruction sheet



The sheet contains one page showing how the parts are assembled on the bomb (fins, fuse arming fan and bomb rack attachments).



As you can imagine the parts for this bomb are very tiny. The fins once cut from the PE sheets mount with a butt joint on the aft end of the bomb. The fuse and bomb rack attachments are extremely small, so it is advised as you remove the parts from the PE sheet you cut them while the PE sheet laying on a piece of double backed tape.

All parts were attached with C/A.

I started out by laying the PE sheet on a strip of tape that I had rubbed on the back of my hand and removed a couple of times to reduce the stickiness of the tape. The parts are so small that I was afraid of the parts flying off into infinity when they were cut from the PE sheet.

I sharpened a toothpick and used it to apply thick C/A to attach the parts. Given how small the parts were, they did not require very much C/A to stick.

The butt joints of the bomb to attach the fins took a little resourcefulness to attach and get the fin straight in the vertical alignment. I put the bomb on a jig and mounted the first fin, rotating the bomb, so the fin was facing down on the bomb. Once the fin glue had dried, I rotated the bomb 180 degrees, so the first fin was on top of the bomb now and that allowed me to attach the second fin facing down. I used gravity to help keep the newly glued fin 90 degrees to the bomb on the vertical plane. I did the same for each of the next two fins keeping each one of them facing down when gluing to the bomb.



I started painting the bomb by first applying Mission Models Black Primer MMS-001 mixed 60% primer to 40% thinner and sprayed three coats. I didn't think the bomb PE would be moved enough to be concerned that the paint may flake off by not using a lacquer primer.

Next after the primer had dried over night, I sprayed Mission Models US Army OD MMP-026 in three coats mixed with 60% paint and 40% Poly thinner mix.

Once the paint dried over night again, I covered the bomb with a coat of Mission Models Semi-Gloss MMA-005 mixed 30% Gloss to 70% thinner



Thank you to Brengun and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this accessory.



Brengun 1/72 P-51 Mustang 1a

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 19:35
Product Image Review Author:  Keith Gervasi Brengun

What's in the box: Upon opening the box you should find a bag containing 2 sprues of grey, one sprue of tan and a sprue of clear plastic. Also included are a resin piece, decals and a two-page instruction fold out. The plastic looks cleanly molded but has some thick mold seam lines. The clear parts are clean & clear, and the resin intake is molded nicely. The decals are printed cleanly and in register.

Construction: For a kit with few parts this has a good bit of detail, especially in the pit. I will go through the basic construction of the kit itself even though I add the Brengun photo etch set for this review. The cockpit is made up of 10 parts with some nice detail molded in the sidewalls. Test fitting is a must for this kit as there are heavy mold seam lines that need to be cleaned up or you will NOT have fun! Before closing up the fuselage you will have to add the tail wheel support and radiator & radiator outlet flap.

Next up is the wing assembly and this is where my first major problem hit. 6 parts make up the wings (lower section, 2 upper halves, 2 flap and the wheel bay) and in my sample the lower wing had a bit of extra plastic on the left wheel bay opening and the right side of the wheel bay piece. Also, the left flap was warped badly, and I could not straighten it out all the way. I had to thin the ends of the lower half of the wings so they would sit flush (the upper halves have the upper & lower wing tip molded together so your seam is on the underside of the wing).

Next up you attach the wing to fuselage (just a bit of cleanup here but no problems), rudder and intake trunking. The landing gear are shown to be assembled at this point and this was my next problem area. The struts need a lot of clean up and are fragile, luckily I only broke one of them. The horizontal stabilizers have just a small tab to place them on the fuselage and that also needs a bit of cleanup for them to fit right. The resin radiator intake is nice, but my sample was smaller than the attachment area on the fuselage, so a bit of sanding needed to be done. Last is the one-piece canopy and I needed sand a bit and still it sits a little high.

Finishing: You are given 4 marking options for this kit.

  1. Mustang Mk. 1a of 268 squadron 1943 Flg Off. Eric Milne
  2. P-51 41-37322, 154th Observation squadron, USAAF, 1942 Lt N.F. Bush
  3. P-51 41-37328, 154th Observation squadron, USAAF, April 1942 1st Lt Alfred Schwab Jr
  4. P-51 41-37367, Anzio, April 1943.


The decals worked well and set down nicely with a little help from MicroSet.

Conclusion: Even with all the problems I had with this kit I still recommend it to experienced modelers. I butchered it and it still looks pretty good.

I would like to thank Hauler-Brengun for providing this kit and the review corps for not only letting me build it but putting up with my delays in building it!

Brengun accessories for the 1/72 P-51 Mustang 1a kit.

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 19:22
Product Image Review Author:  Keith Gervasi Brengun

Brengun has produced an accessory set for their P-51 1a kit.

What's in the package: This set contains a photo etch fret, clear acetate sheet with the instrument panel dials, 5 resin gun barrels and a single page instruction sheet. Upon inspection I noticed that a couple areas of the etched parts were not fully etched and that bending these would be not quite as easy as normal. The acetate sheet with the dials looked very nice but the gun barrels had a small problem.....two were warped.

Construction: It's fair to say that most of this set deals with the cockpit, which is interesting in one respect, the kit has a one-piece closed canopy! Some minor "reducing" of some raised detail is required for the side walls but nothing real difficult. The control panel is pretty nice when completed but since you can't see the rudder pedals, I decided to leave them out.

The landing scissors and brake line are provided for but be very careful as the struts are fragile. I managed to get the scissors on but had problems with the brake lines, so they were left off.

The Radiators variable outlet flap is included, and some minor but easy surgery is required, and all went well with this installation.

The gun barrels posed a challenge, and I failed. Two were warped and when the attempt to straighten them was made, they broke. So, the kit ones were left on, sorry folks.

Conclusion: This is a pretty nice set despite the problems I had. If you are an experienced modeler and pick up the Brengun P-51 1a kit, I recommend it.

I would like to thank Hauler-Brengun for providing this kit and the review corps for not only letting me build it but putting up with my delays in building it!

F-111 Aardvark In Action

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 18:40
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Squadron Signal Publications

David Doyle's latest book continues to expand on Squadron Signal's long standing In Action series that initiated back in 1971.  This is a completely updated and expanded edition over Squadron's earlier Aircraft In Action number 35, a 50-pager on the F-111 by Lou Drendel that was published in 1984.  This 2019 release is a totally new book that can be considered complementary to the earlier In Action.   This latest edition focuses on color photographs (although black and white pics are used where appropriate) in addition to the additional 30 gloss pages.


After many years of being published in enthusiast publications focused on military vehicle restorations, David Doyle 'graduated' to full-fledged books in 2003.  His first book was a hefty 512 page history of US military vehicles.  He has now had more than 100 books published in military vehicles, aviation and naval topics.  David and his wife Denise have amassed a collection of ten Vietnam era military vehicles that still displays at shows.  In June 2015, was honored with the Military Vehicle Preservation Association's Bart Vanderveen Award, given in recognition of "...the individual who has contributed the most to the historic preservation of military vehicles worldwide."  Be sure to check out David's website at www.DavidDoyleBooks.com  where you can see and buy at a discounted price off of MSRP all his books that are still available.


This book follows the normal format of the current 80-page In Action series, detailing the development and service history of the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark.   This is expanded from Squadron's previous standard 60 page version of their In Action format and it runs 80 pages packed with large, clear photographs.  The front cover features a color photograph of "Karma 54", a F-111F, serial number  70-2415, a veteran of Operation El Dorado and Desert Storm.  The rear cover features an F-111A in a hard left over a desert bombing range.  I counted 175 well captioned photographs; 175 in color and 50 in black and white.  There is one line drawing 3-View and five color profiles depicting the variants by Matheu Spraggins. 


Robert McNamara was appointed Secretary of Defense in January 1961 at a time when both the US Air Force and US Navy were attempting to solve very different design requirements.  McNamara decided that both services would have to share their next generation aircraft which generated the Tactical Fighter Experimental (TFX) program despite both services objections.   The down-select came down to proposals from Boeing and General Dynamics.  Despite both services preferring the Boeing option, McNamara chose the General Dynamics option.  The F-111 would become the first full production aircraft with variable geometry wings.  The Air Force variants would go on to be a successful aircraft, serving for over thirty years.  The Navy bailed on the F-111B variant and pursued the Grumman F-14 Tomcat.


David Doyle provides a short introduction on the F-111 genesis and then launches into the well captioned photographs.  There really is not a Table of Contents, or even sections dividing up the different variants.  David does cover all the F-111 variants with photographs.


I found some very interesting photographs of the Aardvark.  Page 13 features photos of the F-111A production line in Fort Worth.  One picture depicts an F-111A in a climatic research laboratory where extreme-freezing trials are ongoing.  This could be a very interesting diorama project.  A comparison of two F-111Es is shown on Page 29.  The top F-111E is the first of its kind, here flying with Edwards AFB.  It carried a white radome compared to the F-111E on the bottom of the page with the black radome.  Page 42 features two rear shots of a EF-111A above a color side profile by Matheu Spraggins.  A couple of special Aardvarks are on Page 69.  The first FB-111A is wearing a rather bright paint  scheme while based at Edwards AFB.  The NF-111A served with NASA at the Dryden Flight Research center to explore transonic technology.


This is a gorgeous soft-bound book and is well worth the money.  David Doyle provides lots of detailed photographs with detailed captions with many of these photos finding their first time in print.  I appreciate Squadron's effort to bring out new releases of their older books with an emphasis on color and an additional page count.  Of course, in this case, you will want to keep the older Squadron In Action since there are very few photograph duplications, if any. 


Highly recommended!


My thanks to David Doyle Books at (www.DavidDoyleBooks.com ) and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.


1:35 W.O.T.8 ICM Kit Nr. 35590

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 18:28
Product Image Review Author:  Will Kuhrt ICM


ICM Holding, a Ukrainian-based company known for outstanding quality, has produced a very nice version of a truck that you don't see very often on the market.  The W.O.T. 8 (Work Office Transport) was a World War II truck produced by the Ford Motor Company in Dagenham, UK. Ford (UK) was one of the largest suppliers of trucks to British Forces. The W.O.T. 8, a 4x4, 1.5-ton vehicle, was produced from 1941-1942. It was used in North Africa, Italy and also in Europe between 1942 and 1945. Around 2,500 W.O.T.8 trucks were produced.


The finished kit will measure about 6 inches length and 3.25 inches in height. Contained in the box is one sealed bag holding six highly detailed gray styrene sprues and a separately bagged clear sprue. It also has one set of rubber tires and a photo etched set containing five parts. The kit contains 234 parts which were all flash free and showed no injection marks or sink holes. Panel lines are finely recessed. Parts which are not used for this particular model are clearly marked on the sprue diagrams with pick highlights.


The 28-page assembly guide follows the typical vehicle building methodology. The last page shows two full-color pictures of two different vehicles. The paint and decal call-outs are clearly marked. The two versions provided are the W.O.T.8, 1st Czech Armored Brigade, Germany, Spring 1945 (depicted in the review sample), and the W.O.T.8 France, Summer 1944.


Reviewer's Comments:


This kit was quite enjoyable to build. The assembly went rather quickly and was mostly free of problems, but there are a few things to watch out for. I have a few recommendations to help you make the most of this nice kit.

  1.  Many of the parts are very small.  Prepare your cutting surface. Make sure it is clean, that you have a good cutting matt and take care removing parts from the sprues.
  2. Some parts are very thin (exhaust pipes, door frames, handles, etc.). I made the mistake of using a sprue cutter on one and the part snapped in half. I switched to using a small saw and no longer did any parts break.  Lesson learned:  use a saw or very sharp blade to remove parts.
  3. Step 71 has a mislabeled part. This is a large part (rear cab panel) and is easy to find, but instead of A10, the part is really A12.


The chassis assembly is straightforward and the parts fit accurately. Pay close attention to the diagrams and test fit as you go along to ensure you have proper orientation at all times. Be careful as you handle the chassis, especially after you install the exhaust pipes and tie rod. They are fragile and will break.


The engine is appropriately detailed for this scale. The cab construction goes together nicely and the parts fit together well. Before adding the clear parts (windshield and windows), paint the frames first to avoid having to mask them. Three decals are used for the gauges. The seams of the cab's rear panel were about the only seams I needed to sand. No putty was required to make them disappear. The truck bed was also very quick to build and the parts fit precisely.


To complete the model, final details will be added:  mirrors, lights, canopy & photo etched grill. I would like to offer a few tips to help you avoid some pitfalls:


  1.  The photo etched grill parts do not have an indication on them as to where you make the bend. To solve this problem, I cut the sticky end off of a Post-It note and applied it to the front of the model and made a mark with a pen. I transferred this mark to the PE part, and this worked great. Don't be over aggressive with the angle. I provided a photo showing the angle you should have, but make sure you test fit before gluing it into place.
  2. Watch the mirrors as you handle the model! I didn't pay close enough attention and snapped one off and had to repair it.
  3. When gluing the truck bed to the chassis, use some weight to help it set. I loaded mine up with a few Tamiya paint bottles and let it sit for about 15 minutes, and that did the trick.


Overall, this kit is a very nice and enjoyable to build.; it is the kind of kit that would make a great weekend project!  With following some of the recommendations, you can have a really great model of a very interesting British vehicle to add to your collection.


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