The Polikarpov U-2, later PO-2, was designed as a light training biplane, and first appeared in 1928. It was a two seat, of mainly wooden construction, training aircraft similar in many respects to most late twenties biplanes, and had all of the characteristics required for a military trainer, including rugged construction, a low powered but reliable powerplant, and excellent flying characteristics. It so impressed Soviet authorities that it was produced in very large numbers, over 30,000 being completed by Russian and foreign factories and maintenance units between 1928 and 1953, and the last ones weren't built in Poland until 1959. The PO-2 served mainly as a primary trainer at first, but eventually was pressed into service as a crop duster, military liaison aircraft, med and general supply aircraft, and later as a reconnaissance and light bombing type. During the war, many were used by units made up of women pilots and ground crews, who were very effective in harassing the Germans by making night attacks and keeping them awake. They were called the "Night Witches", and certainly played an important part in the conduct of the war. A number of PO-2's have survived, where they are either displayed in museums or are flown by enthusiasts wishing to preserve the aircraft's history. An internet source lists 36 basic designations for the type, although some are duplications since during the war, the airplane was redesignated from U-2 to PO-2 in honor of the designer, Nikolai Polikarpov, a practice which recognized the efforts of creative designers in the Soviet Union. For example, the Soviet I-26 fighter was later redesignated Yak-1 honoring its designer, Yakovlev, for the same reason.
Aside from the internet, there aren't too many references available on the aircraft, and even on line, there are few photos available. There was a book published by Kagero entitled Polikarpov Po-2, which included 44 pages, 175 photos, color information, and a set of Polish decals in 1/72 and 1/48 scale. The book is based on an example on display in the Polish aviation Museum, and is written in Polish and English. Basically, it gives a lot of information on the museum aircraft, and the excellent color photos illustrate all of the major details of the aircraft. There are two side profile drawings of the museum aircraft, and several color photos of a Polish civil flying example, SP-YPB. If you are looking for detail, this is an excellent resource, but if you are looking for various color schemes and markings carried by the aircraft, you won't find these here. There are some sites on line with a lot more information, and even the instructions in various kits of the aircraft have more information on different aircraft that this book does. One good source uis Wings Palette. Seeing as how there were numerous variants of the aircraft, there must be hundreds of possible color schemes and markings for the aircraft. Good luck on that one.
The instruction sheet for this model consists of 12 8 1/2 x 11 inch pages of text and drawings. The text is in Russian and English, and the drawings are mainly pictorial, with little if any text required. The drawings are large, clear, and very useful during the assembly process. The last two pages provide good 1/72 scale color drawings showing the four aircraft for which decals are provided. All are armed attack aircraft, and one features skis and snow camouflage. One good feature is the inclusion of the flying and landing wire and the control cable positions, as this airplane had a lot of each. They used to say that if you put a bird in between the wires in a biplane, and it got out, there was a cable or wire missing. That would certainly be true with this airplane.
One problem with the instructions is that the drawings are confusing. The engine is shown as being entirely "gunmetal grey" in the side view color drawings, while the instructions show a mixture of gunmetal, steel, and gunship grey. The engine on the color photos of the airplane in the Kagero book shows a silver crankcase with black cylinders and a dark green propeller. The really confusing part is the undersides of all four of the aircraft for which decals are provided. These are shown in the side views as being black with some sky blue details, while in the underside views in the instructions, the undersides of all of the airplanes are painted a sky blue shade, typical of Russian aircraft of that era. I am not aware of Soviet night attack aircraft being painted black underneath, but it stands to reason that they probably were. This is an area that suggests more research.
This kit was originally issued around 2013, and I know this because I built one and wrote the review for this website during that year. Maybe this amounts to justification for what we reviewers do, because I noted a couple of problems with the 2013 kit, which was numbered #72241, and comparing the two kits, I found that the producers had completely redone the moldings, correcting the major error, which had the prop rotating in the wrong direction. I noticed this because I've hand propped real airplanes all my life, and this one just jumped out at me. It is nice to know that kit producers pay attention and want to get it right.
The original issue from 2013 that I built was #72241. I've seen references to a #72242 for the same airplane, and this one is #72243, which says that there have been two reissues. I haven't seen #72242, so I can't comment on it.
The main sprue has 56 parts, the small armament sprue has 31 parts, and the clear sprue has two windshields. There is almost no flash, and the detailing is extremely well done, with the wing fabric being better than I've seen in a long time, and excellent cockpit interior sidewall detail just waiting for superdetailing. There are a lot of small detail parts, but if you are careful, they shouldn't escape, and the effect will be tremendous. This kit is very well done, and was a pleasure to build. And the propeller turns in the proper direction.
One problem I encountered with the basic airframe assembly is that the seats, which consist of 6 parts each, are quite flimsy, and their attachment points to the cockpit floor, which is located on the lower wing center section, are very weak. However, the whole thing went together OK, and once the seats were installed and the fuselage halves were joined, there was no problem.
The kit goes together pretty easily. The fuselage halves match up and required very little filler. I had to use pretty heavy clamps to get the lower wing section to stay in place, and the vertical and horizontal tail units were very thin, although they lined up perfectly. The wings and tail unit lined up perfectly, and after painting, the upper wings were attached to the airframe using superglue in the little holes provided for the mounting struts. The struts themselves, while very nicely done, required considerable trimming, as they each had several attachment points on the leading edges of the struts. In fact, the underwing skids, about 1/2 inch long, had four attachment points that needed to be trimmed, and one of mine broke off, with part of the unit escaping. I replaced them with plastic rod bent to the appropriate shape. Although the landing gear struts went on easily, the same can't be said for the skis. I suspect that the wheels would have gone on more easily, but the skis had very tiny holes on the mountings, which were supposed to attach to the very small tabs on the landing gear strut. The problem was to get the ski mounted in the correct position, as my model was to be sitting on the ground, or snow. I tried regular Tenax cement, but I had to devise a jig to hold the airplane in the right position, and the Tenax was not fast drying enough to hold it in place. I finally tried super glue, and this worked, but it took a long time (overnight) to dry. Once dry, the gear is very fragile, and must be handled with extreme care. The wire bracing helped.
PAINTING AND FINISHING:
Unless you intend to paint the entire airplane one color, I would suggest doing all of the major painting before attaching the upper wing. The airplane is fragile enough that applying and removing masking tape on the airframe would be very critical, and you are just about assured that something will break. In the case of the snow-camouflaged PO-2 that I built, the undersides were sky blue, the upper surfaces were white, and the wing and landing gear struts were Russian green. I realize that most of those snow camouflage schemes probably had green showing through due to weathering and wear and tear, but I just painted mine white and let it go at that.
DETAILING AND RIGGING:
Once the airplane is completely assembled, the details can be added. The instructions state that the small details, such as the control horns for the elevator cables, located on the fuselage sides even with the cockpits, and the small venture tubes on the fuselage sides should be installed at an early stage of assembly. I waited until the plane was completely assembled, and added them just before I installed the rigging wires and control cables. I used my tried and true method of using unstranded electronic wire for these, and it was really not as difficult as it looks. White glue dabs held the wires and cables in place, and wires make it look like a real biplane. Fortunately, all of the flying and landing wires on this airplane are single wires, so there are no parallel wires to consider. However, the rudder and elevator control cables are parallel, but you can get away with single wires if you want to.
The windshields are very tiny, and attach just ahead of the cockpits. They had small tabs on the bottom, but there were no corresponding mounting holes in the fuselage ahead of the cockpits, even though it shows on the instructions. I just trimmed off the little pegs and mounted the windshields without them. There is another clear plastic piece, part # D2, which is a window located on the right wing root, and which was there to allow one of the crew members to use a bomb sight. There is a part, #A2, which apparently is the bombsight, which mounts on the right side of the fuselage. My clear part didn't fit properly, and flew away when I tried to mount it in the wing, and I never found it I , however, filled the small hole with clear plastic filler, and it looks OK. The PO-2 in the Polish museum just has an open space, so there were variations on this detail.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
There are several kits of the Russian U-2/PO-2 biplane in 1/72 scale listed in the Burns Guide, , including ABC, Ace, A-Model, Frog, KP, Omega, and Ursus, and the ICM kit has been around for at least 7 years. I have only built the KP kit, and it is a totally acceptable kit, so don't throw any away if you have them. The revised ICM kit is probably the best available at the moment, and although it is not intended for inexperienced modelers, it is certainly buildable, and I would recommend it highly. This is a very important airplane in the history of aviation, considering that over 30,000 were built, and certainly should be represented in any collection of 1/72 models, covering the thirties, forties, fifties, and even later periods. I have built 5 so far, three KP kits and 2 ICM kits, covering military versions and even a crop duster variant. The kit has a lot of potential, and is certainly worth getting several of.
Thanks to ICM for the review sample.
Now with even MORE Red Baron - MENG‘s Fokker Dr.I Special Limited Edition with 10th scale resin bust...
Being an aficionado of the history of the aircraft and persons involved in aviation during World War I, this book became a "must have" after reading some of the reviews describing the book. I must say that I was not disappointed in any way, and in fact found this "photo history of the Lafayette Escadrille" one of the most compelling "reads" I've experienced in many a year.
The story of The Lafayette Escadrille is laid out in photos, quotes from letters written by the pilots, and historical records of the time. The author spent a year travelling to universities and museums, as well as the actual geographic locations described in great detail in the documentation uncovered during the research phase for the book. The author captured images of some of the buildings frequented by the men of the Lafayette Escadrille and the comparison of historical images and the modern images taken by Ruffin are remarkable.
The text reveals that all was not "civilite' and "camaraderie" within this group of aviators, and that resentments toward each other and toward their French "commandant d'escadron" were not only present but obvious to the men involved. The personalities and possible motivations of those who sought to join the "Escadrille" are covered in dramatic and personal detail as are the fates for each of the aviators. The air war was brutal and bloody, as well as a platform for gallantry and honor. The text, often supported by excellent black and white images, help to bring the story of these young men and their machines to life.
The paperback version (the version being reviewed) is 194 pages in length with appendices, a list of archival sources, a bibliography, and an excellent index.
Table of Contents
1 A n All-American Idea Takes Shape
2 The Escadrille Americaine Is Born
3 First Blood
4 Into the Grinder
5 Season of Discontent
6 The Battle Continues
7 The Best and the Bravest
8 Misery in the Somme
9 Mac Goes West
10 The Heartbreak of Ham
11 Chaudun and Beyond
12 Hard Times at Senard
13 From Falcons of France to American Eagles
I can say, without equivocation, that this publication is the most thorough and detailed historical narrative of the Lafayette Escadrille that I have had the opportunity to study and read. This book is highly recommended due to the excellent maps, large number of stunning black and white images, and detailed coverage of the subject. Thanks to Casemate for providing this copy for review by IPMS.
ZOUKEI-MURA has some excellent kits out there, including this large-scale Henschel Hs 129, a type nicknamed the 'can opener' for its powerful weaponry.
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Helion produces books on many aspects of Military History from the Late Medieval period through to the present day. Helion was established in 1996, and since then they have published almost 1,200 books, with 100 or more new titles coming out every year. The '[email protected]' series covers African military history since 1945.
Peter Baxter is an author, amateur historian and heritage travel guide. Born in Kenya and educated in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), he has lived and traveled over much of southern and central Africa. Peter lives in Oregon, USA. His interests include British Imperial history in Africa and the East Africa campaign of the First World War in particular. He is the author of Pen and Sword's Gandhi, Smuts and Race in the British Empire. You can find out more at peterbaxterafrica.com
Helion's latest book in the Africa @ War series is a square back soft cover includes 72 gloss paper pages. This revised edition is an update of Africa @ War Volume 4. This updated edition includes vehicle and aircraft color profiles. The cover background features an enlarged black and white photograph of Pete Clemence and Sergeant Dzingai inspecting a possible insurgent track (Page 19). The lower cover depicts a color side-view by Tom Cooper of a Reims-Cessna FTB.337G 'Lynx' that was the primary air support the Selous Scouts received. I counted 24 color pictures and 146 black and white photographs. There are also four aviation color side profiles by Tom Cooper and three armor color side profiles by David Bocquelet, along with two black and white maps and three color maps.
Peter Baxter starts off with a nice introduction to Frederick Courteney Selous, the inspiration for the Selous Scouts. Frederick was apparently an inspiration for the series of books and movies on Allan Quartermaine of King Solomon's Mines fame. Then it's off to understanding the history of Rhodesia from 1890 up to the beginnings of the Selous Scouts. Peter Baxter provides a lot of insight into how the Selous Scouts were created and the selection of Lieutenant-Colonel Ron Reid-Daly to lead the unit. The Selous Scouts operated as a Special Forces unit of the Rhodesian Army from 1973 until the ending of the Rhodesian Bush War in 1980. Peter Baxter covers the major operations, both inside Rhodesia, as well as externally, as in Mozambique. The Selous Scouts were responsible for some 68% of the Chinese-backed guerilla deaths. Essentially a war between the British colonialism and Mao's communist manifesto, the end result was the destruction of a country considered "The Jewel of Africa". Zimbabwe has become just another example of the destructive policies of the Marxist Socialism that was delivered by Robert Mugabe. The sections include:
Glossary & Abbreviations
Prelude: A Brief History of War in Rhodesia
Chapter One: The Formation of the Selous Scouts [Page 12]
Chapter Two: Operations Commence [Page 27]
Chapter Three: External Operations - Terrorizing the Terrorists
Selous Scout Operations in Manica Province, Mozambique, 1976-79 [Map]
Color Profiles [Page 32viii]
Chapter Four: Intelligence and the Reconnaissance Troop [Page 44]
Chapter Five: The Selous Scout Spies
Chapter Six: The Mud Begins to Stick
Chapter Seven: Operation Miracle [Page 59]
Chapter Eight: The End
I found many sections of this story very interesting, but one stood out. Ron Reid-Daly set up the Selous Scouts to be bi-racial squads at the outset, as opposed to the rest of the Rhodesian military that was not integrated. The Rhodesian SAS had no black members of their unit, the Selous Scouts were very dependent on their black members to accomplish their mission. Ron Reid-Daly was initially not for external raids, but finally an opportunity came up to attack the enemy in Mozambique. The Selous Scouts were essentially welcomed into the middle of the ZANU/ZANULA camp in August 1976. Ostensibly a refugee camp, the Selous Scouts found no refugees, but plenty of ammunition, weapons, and "Red Cross" supplies. Roaring into the middle of the camp in Unimogs, the Selous Scouts stopped in the middle of the terrorist camp and began proclaiming that Rhodesia had suffered a major defeat, propagating slogan after slogan. Finally as the convoy had collected a huge crowd, the Selous Scouts opened fire. Over a thousand ZANU/ZANULA terrorists were killed. It ended up being a public relations nightmare as Mozambique argued to the pro-communist UN and the liberal world press that refugees were slaughtered, despite the photographs of the engagement. The action also cost Ron Reid-Daly the support of the Rhodesian SAS whose leadership was furious that he had succeeded.
Peter Baxter is a very good writer and his impassioned perspective led me to read this tome in one night, although it was a late night. I have to admit that I really had not heard of the Selous Scouts before and that I was attracted to this book review because of the Reims-Cessna FTB.337G 'Lynx' on the cover. Although the FTB.337G does not get heavily covered in this book, there is a nice Roden 1/32 Reims-Cessna FTB.337G 'Lynx' available to try your real modeling skills on. Helion does have another [email protected] volume on the Rhodesian Fire Force (Volume 20) that may better address the 'Lynx', which will be next on my list to acquire. The contemporary photographs support the text, and they certainly give you a good perspective of the events described. If you own one the previous releases in the Africa @ War series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.
My thanks to Helion & Company, Casemate Publishing, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.
The North American A-5 Vigilante was an American carrier-based supersonic bomber designed and built by North American Aviation for the United States Navy. It set several world records, including long-distance speed and altitude records. Prior to the 1962 unification of Navy and Air Force designations, it was designated the A3J Vigilante. The RA-5C was a reconnaissance variant.
This ladder accessory is not identified for use on one specific manufacture's kit. It contains one photo etched tree with enough components to construct two ladders. An assembly guide is also provided.
Assembly was straightforward, and with the use of a PE bending too, the build went quickly. I began by bending the right and left sides to 90-degree angles. Next, I attached the wheels, and finally the two cross bars. After the assembly was completed, I primed it using Mr. Surfacer 1000 and finished painting it Insignia Red.
This is a very nice accessory. It is easy to complete, and I believe it would look very nice propped against any 1/72 RA-5C aircraft.
Thank you to Brengun for supporting the IPMS Reviewer Corps and for providing this very nice accessory. Thank you to IPMS for the opportunity, and to Bill and Phil for all of your work.
When I obtained the 1/48 Special Hobby Si204D for review, I knew I was going to need to see if anybody made pre-cut masks for it. It has a large canopy similar to that used on the Heinkel He111, so I didn't relish the task of masking it, especially if I had to cut my own masks. Luckily, shortly after I received the kit a new list of Eduard items was distributed for review and the Siebel masks were on the list. I immediately requested them.
The masks come in the now familiar packaging, with easy to follow color instructions. The material is the usual kabuki tape and is slightly thinner than Tamiya masking tape. The position of the masks is clearly marked on the instructions and they fit perfectly. Included are masks for the canopy and all of the cabin windows. The set also includes masks for the main and tail wheels. I had already painted the tail wheel, so I didn't use that mask. I had also already painted the tire portion of the main wheels, so I only need to use the mask for the hubs.
The masks have excellent adhesive characteristics, and are easy to remove once all painting and clear coating is done. If you have this kit, I highly recommend that you invest in this set of masks from Eduard. Many thanks to Eduard for the chance to review this product. Highly recommended!
The Siebel Si204D was a Luftwaffe training and liaison aircraft which first flew in May 1941. It possessed excellent flying characteristics and was very reliable, albeit not particularly attractive. I believe this is the first injection molded 1/48 kit of the type. MPM did a vacuform kit many years ago, and I have tried several times to obtain one, but with no luck. When I saw this offering listed amongst the available review kits, I jumped at the chance to review it.
The kit comes in a sturdy, medium sized box with nicely done artwork on the box. Inside are eight sprues of medium gray plastic, one sprue of clear plastic and a resin radome for one of the three decal schemes - two Luftwaffe aircraft and one Swiss. Parts count is just under 200, but about 25 of those are not used. There are no photo etch parts. The parts have nice detail and for the most part the panel lines are recessed and crisp. As I looked closer I could see that parts cleanup was going to be time consuming. Just about every part had a mold seam that needed to be dealt with.
The instructions have large, clear CAD drawings with paint callouts for Gunze colors. The parts that are to be attached are shown with dark shading on the instructions. Because of that dark shading there are a few instances where it was impossible to make out the detail in the drawings, which made it hard to figure out which way around the part went.
Construction begins in the cockpit, as expected. Due to the large glasshouse canopy, careful painting and assembly will be essential. The detail is very nice and decals are provided for the various instrument panels and they fit perfectly and snuggle down well with a little Micro Sol. I added a few levers to the side consoles as depicted in the Schiffer book on the subject.
The rudder pedal assembly is very nicely detailed, but a bit fiddly to put together. There are no positive locating holes or tabs for some of the parts, so careful placement and alignment is needed. The mold seams combined with the small size of the parts made cleanup tedious. Continuing along in the cockpit, the supporting frames for the seats were another fiddly assembly which would have been much easier with a third hand. Once again, the detail was great, but the assembly and parts cleanup was time consuming. In addition to the pilot and co-pilot seats, there are five well done seats for the cabin that also need to be assembled. Just as I started putting together the seats, an email came from the IPMS review team regarding Eduard review items that were available. Lo and behold, there was a set of steel seatbelts and a set of canopy masks that needed to be reviewed. The seatbelts were up to Eduard's usual high standards and really helped dress up the interior.
There are two identical parts H43 that go on either side of the cockpit bulkhead door, but one of them was missing from my kit. It didn't appear that it was broken off the sprue, but that maybe it didn't get molded. Luckily it was a simple looking part, so I made a replacement from scrap plastic.
The next several steps deal with the cabin interior, which has some excellent detail. In addition to the aforementioned five seats, there is a radio operator's station, a couple more bulkheads and a rack which holds a bunch of what I assumed are oxygen bottles. Fit of the parts, once cleaned up, was very good. The cabin floor is then mated to the cockpit assembly. Once they are together, it makes for a very impressive interior.
Before the fuselage can be joined together, there are several windows that must be installed. Since I had the Eduard masks to review also, I attached the masks to the cabin windows before gluing the windows in place with Gator glue. There are also inserts to cover the wing attachment points and a few boxes that need to be attached to the cabin side walls. There are also a couple of long sections which go on the ceiling of the cabin. The position is somewhat vague and I found the strip running down the center to be very difficult to position correctly. Mine ended up being slightly crooked, but after the fuselage is closed up it's not visible.
The fuselage halves went together better than I expected considering all that stuff being on the inside. There were a couple of areas where I had to do some fairly aggressive clamping, but it all turned out good and the seams only required a few smears of putty and some sanding. The upper fuselage has several panels that are added along the spine, so that helps to hide some of the seams there. The instructions would also have you add the two-part canopy at this time, but I decided to leave that until the rest of the airframe was together. I chose to open up the cabin door on the port side of the fuselage. I found a very interesting picture of a group of what appear to be Russian airmen posing along the side of an Si204 with the cabin door open. I hope to do a diorama someday based on that picture.
Next we turn our attention to the wings. The first step here is to glue in the forward wheel well bulkhead. There is a note in red on this step that says, "Dry fit first." Hmmmm. That doesn't sound promising. Well, the note was good advice because it took 15-20 minutes of sanding, test fitting, sanding, etc. Finally I achieved what I felt was a decent fit and glued it into place. The next few parts also require some guesswork and the whole wheel well assembly left me worried that my landing gear were not going to be straight.
The engine nacelles have decent detail on them and in them and went together without much fuss. However, when they were offered up to the wings they didn't match the shape of the mounting point on the wing. Looking at pictures in the Schiffer book, the sides of the nacelle have a bit of a step in them but the top and bottom should be flush. The forward portion of the nacelle was larger along the Y axis. I mulled this over for a day or two then came up with a solution. There is a panel line on the wing portion of the nacelle just forward of the wheel well. I cut along that panel line with a razor saw and then wedged a triangle of sheet styrene in the cut to force the lower portion to widen until it matched more closely with the engine nacelle (see accompanying pictures). I then aligned the engine nacelle and wing portion of the nacelle on the underside, glued them together and then used some Apoxie Sculpt on the top to fair them into each other. I was happy with the results, but lost some of the recessed detail in the process.
Once all that was sorted out, it was just a matter of attaching the wings to the fuselage, then the twin tail is assembled and attached. The instructions give a head-on drawing to help with getting the correct dihedral for the wings and tail. I left off the landing gear until after painting because I have a tendency to knock stuff like that off during painting and decaling.
Now it was time to attach the canopy, which consists of the forward nose glazing and the rear part of the canopy. Here is where I ran into the biggest problem with the kit and I hope my sample was just a one-of-a-kind issue. The rear part of the canopy was misshapen. Not only was it too wide by about 2mm on each side, it did not have the correct curve to it to match the fuselage and the forward part of the canopy. It's almost as though that part was exposed to some heat and got slightly warped. I thought about how to resolve the problem for a couple of days and finally decided to try dipping the part in slightly boiling water and trying to reshape it. I figured if I ruined the part I could buy another kit to see if that was a prevalent problem with the kit. Fortunately I was able to get the width problem solved with the boiling water trick, but never did get the curve to match up perfectly. Someday I hope to have access to another kit to see how the canopy looks. It should also be noted that there is an extra bit of plastic that needs to be removed at the front of the port side of the fuselage so that the forward portion of the canopy will sit flush with the forward part of the fuselage. It's an easy fix, but an obvious flaw in the molding.
After masking the canopy with the Eduard masks, it was time for primer, paint and decals. I chose option A, which is a Luftwaffe machine based in France during the Summer of 1943 in the typical RLM 70/71 splinter scheme over RLM 65. The yellow RLM 04 fuselage band was painted first, then masked to apply the other three colors. The decals are by Cartograph and performed perfectly, as expected. There are no stencils provided other than four yellow fuel triangles for the upper wing. The swastika is provided in two parts.
Once all that was done, it was time to tackle the landing gear. It is well detailed and is made up of multiple parts, all of which need to have the seams cleaned up. Fit was pretty good, although I had to open up a few of the attachment points to get a better fit and allow for a little fine tuning. In the end my earlier fears about alignment were unfounded.
After that it was just a matter of all the fiddly bits being attached. I used a diagram in the Schiffer book for placement of the antenna wires rather than what was shown in the instructions, but I'm guessing there were different configurations depending upon how the aircraft was used.
Finally done! If you are a 1/48 Luftwaffe fan, then this kit is a must-have. It's typical limited-run - lots of cleanup, test-fitting, sanding, filling and modeling experience required. But I think the results are well worth it. I am happy with the results and it's something off the beaten path. I do hope that the canopy issue was just in my kit. I recommend this kit highly to experienced modelers who are interested in the subject. My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the opportunity to review this great kit of an important subject. If you do obtain this kit there are lots of interesting pictures here - https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/threads/nc701-martinet-or-siebel-si204.42294
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If you were ever a fan of the Saturday morning cowboy series back in the '50's and '60's, or enjoyed the classic Sam Peckinpaw movies, this figure should be fairly familiar to you. Labeled as "Pedro Melgoza, bounty hunter", the beautiful illustration on the box cover bears an unmistakable resemblance to Tom Selleck. As I've discussed before, Masterbox is unique in the modeling world for illustrating the products BEFORE sculpting them, and I believe this is a good example.
On opening the box, you find both our bounty hunter figure as well as a very nicely done mount with two complete heads for some variety in the choice of poses. Sorry to say, ladies, but the figure within does NOT resemble Tom Selleck, but appears much more a typical Bandito figure to my eye. The figure assembles quickly, with only the setting of the shotgun across the shoulders requiring a little finagling. No putty was required.
As you can see, the figure paints up very nicely indeed, although it was beyond these old eyes to do the lacework as depicted on the cover. The best I could do was a simple approximation, although I know there are others out there that can do real justice to this piece.
The instructions give general directions on the assembly of the horse, but fail to show or mention either the rifle holster, stirrups or bit. My previous experience with Napoleanic cavalry figures helped me here as did a quick peruse of the internet to identify any differences in harnessing. All reins and other necessary straps were made with flattened solder. Again, I had some extra fun with this one, making a "painted" horse which seemed to me to be a more appropriate mount for an outlaw - sort of the "mutt" of horses. Only a little filler was necessary around the neck area and otherwise this, too, was a quick build.
As with any non-military pieces, there's a lot of flexibility in how you finish this set, and it would certainly look good with some of the others in the series. My one general complaint about Masterbox's historic figures is that I wish they were doing them in 1/32nd scale rather than 1/35th, as they are not likely to be posed with military vehicles and would more closely match the classic metal and resin figures available on the market already. Still, you can't beat them for innovative ideas and quality renderings. Have fun with this one, folks - it's a charmer.
My thanks, as always, to Masterbox for their continued wonderful contributions to this great hobby and to IPMS/USA for the chance to remember a part of my own childhood with this set. Happy trails!