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James Hatch

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  1. James Hatch

    Cutter/Mitre tool

    THIS is the one to get. Pure quality. Tell those guys you saw the review here 🤣
  2. James Hatch

    Cutter/Mitre tool

    Cutter/Mitre Tool RP Toolz Catalogue # RP-CUTR Available from RP Toolz for €85,00 RP Toolz’ Cutter Tool (or Mitre Tool) isn’t really a new idea. There are of course a few manufacturers out there who produce fairly similar tools, and I used to have one of them myself, so when RP Toolz announced that they were releasing their own, I was pretty keen to see it for myself. A mitre tool is designed so that the modeller can produce mitred plastic junctions of specific angles on strips of either flat styrene or shaped section stock. If you’ve ever tried to make a 90-degree angle frame, you’ll know how difficult it is to get right if you don’t have the correct tools. The Cutter Tool is designed to ease all of your woes. This tool is packaged into a robust, corrugated box with a colour product label on the lid. You’ll also notice the weight. There’s some heavy metal in here, and some of the best you’ll see from a tool manufacturer. Unlike some contemporaries who may mould their cutters in some form of plastic, this one is precisely CNC-machined from a very hard grade aluminium, which has also been given a tough matte red anodised finish. The box fits the tool almost perfectly, with an insert used to support the cutter arm. A hex key is provided for changing the blade, as is a second blade with a finer cut. The tool is fitted with a 0.3mm thick blade for regular cutting tasks, with a slightly thinner (0.25mm) blade for something a little finer. The first thing you notice when exploring this tool is that there is no playin any of the parts. That is, there is no looseness or wobble in either the arm pivot or the two adjustable fences. Those fences are also neatly engraved with degree graduations and the base is marked with a reference point too, in order to align the fences. The bottom edge of the fences is also marked, but in centimetres, with ZERO being at the actual cutting point of the blade. With the fences in their neutral position, an end stop can be positioned so you can cut precise and equal straight-edged lengths of strip. This stop can be removed of course so the fences can be adjusted. It can also be switched to the opposite side of the cutter for maximum flexibility. The stop and both fences are tightened using plastic thumbscrews that cover the metal fixing bolt. Now, a cutting area really needs a cutting mat, and this is what is fitted to this tool. A self-healing and graduated mat, sits flush with the upper surface of the tool, and proved a hard yet non-damaging surface to the cutting blade. I made a small number of cut tests with this tool and found it both precise and effortless. Conclusion RP Toolz’ arsenal of quality modelling tools is certainly expanding, and like those before it, the sheer quality of this really does demand the price asked of it. This is no flimsy or inaccurate tool, but one with which you can work with total precision in producing either angled lengths of styrene, or equal, multiple lengths too. If you like to scratch-build or even just improve on what a kit supplies, then this could well be of interest to you. This is the very best of the mitre cutting tools that I have ever seen, without a doubt. My sincere thanks to RP Toolzfor the review sample seen here. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of the article.
  3. Double Punch & Die Storage Box RP Toolz Catalogue # RP-WB2 Available from RP Toolz for €22,00 RP Toolz make some of the best Punch & Die sets that you can buy. These include the regular large, small and hexagonal sets. When you buy these products, they are packed into a small cardboard box, with a plastic bag containing the punches and hammer. Whilst it’s hardly an elegant solution, this is fairly typical of the market, but RP Toolz has realised that you may want something a little better and organised, especially if you have multiple sets of punches hanging around on your workbench. To this end, they have now released a number of laser-cut plywood boxes that are specifically designed to hold the components for their own releases. Today, we take a look at the twin punch storage box. The old look! The Double Punch & Die Storage Box is flat-packed into a large zip-lock sleeve with a product label attached. Inside the box, there are NONE laser-cut parts of creamy-pale ply, and a single sheet of instructions. This set has also been designed so that the laser-numbered parts are assembled in part number order, which is a nice touch. A sliding lid, emblazoned with the company logo, will keep your punches nice and dust free. First of all, we need to remove the parts indicated in yellow on the instructions sheet. These are several discs and the ends of one of the die storage slots. A scalpel makes clean work of this. Part 1 (base) is now glued to Part 2 (side panel), using Titebond adhesive. Make sure the side panel is square to the base using a right-angle tool. Part 3 is now located into the notched side panel and glued in position. Part 4 simply sits on top of Part 3 and is glued into position. Make sure you get the orientation correct with regards to the large/small punch sides. Part 5 is the last internal floor and again sits in the side wall notches. Again, I glue this in place. Parts 6 & 7 are the side panels with the routed slots. These fit nicely together with a little push (and a few spots of glue) Part 8 is the last side panel and has a scalloped top edge to make it easier for your fingers to slide out the lid (Part 9). That is it! So simple to build. Here you can see what a difference it makes to have all your punches in order. It certainly helps those of us who like a little order in our lives. Conclusion A very nicely designed and produced box that is easy to assemble and really helps to restore karma to an untidy tool storage area I have. These are keenly priced and, in my opinion, very much worth the investment. Functionality and beauty rolled into one. My sincere thanks to RP Toolzfor the review sample seen here. To order directly, click the link at the top of the article.
  4. Planet Working Bench Amati Catalogue # 7396 Available from Cornwall Model Boats for £10.58 Having worked in plastic modelling for a while now, where I’m having to remove casting blocks from larger components but doing that either on my cutting mat or between my fingers, a tool like this appears to be very useful. When it comes to ship modelling too, the ability to be able to lay some small timber sheet flat whilst you use a fine saw on smaller components, without sawing tracts into your worktop (ask me how I know!), definitely helps. Amati’s Planet Working Bench is a tool that is designed for work on small components and materials, helping you hold items whilst you saw, file and drill. Let’s take a closer look. Amati’s Planet tool is packed into an attractive, sturdy and glossy box with an image of the tool clamped to a desktop. The back of the box is a little more illustrative, with examples of how this tool can be used with your work. All writing is in Italian, but we can grasp what’s happening fairly easily. Although Amati are generally known for their wooden model ships etc. this tool can of course be used for other areas of modelling where basic tools such as saws, files, and drills, are used. Inside the box, two thick plastic sleeves contain the components. In the largest is the Planet Working Bench itself, complete with two small aluminium bollards plugged into it. These bollards have a rubber O-ring fitted to them to prevent the metal scuffing any delicate work that you will use with the tool. The main part is moulded from a very tough plastic that still does have a little give in it, but it certainly rigid enough for the tasks that it’s designed for. It also has various channels moulded within in as well as holes to reposition the bollards, and a series of small, numbered holes which I’ll come back to very soon. The front slot is there to help you cut into materials, without a risk of cutting into your actual workbench. Just be careful not to start sawing into the Planet itself. The second wallet contains the two clamps which will secure the Planet to the desk. These are formed from two angled, threaded rods onto which a locking nut and the part which forms the lower side of the clamping jaw. To fit these to the Planet, you insert them from the underside and lay the angled part of the metal rod in the moulded channels. Slacken the nut off and then fit to the edge of your workbench, securely tightening the nuts to lock everything in place. Now, those small numbered holes. These refer to a moulded sleeve in the underside of the Planet, into which you will fit a wooden dowel or metal rod into which you wish to drill a hole centrally within the diameter. The hole of course aligns with the dead centre of the sleeve into which you will plug the wood or metal rod. Conclusion This is a very handy little gadget for working on those small model parts, but sold as it is, the full potential of the tool isn’t realised. To really get your money’s worth from it, I really do advise that you also purchase the small clamps which are designed to plug into it. These is called the ‘hand vice’ on Amati’s catalogue page and contains one single unit. Better still, a couple of these would be immensely useful. The Planet itself is very reasonably prices, nicely constructed and is a cinch to fit to your bench. I’ve already started to use it whilst building my Amati Orient Express Sleeping Car. My sincere thanks to Amati for sending this tool out for review. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of this article.
  5. Airbrush Painting Clips Holder HobbyZone Catalogue # HZ-AC1 Available from HobbyZonefor £13.54 (at current rates) Modellers tend to be quite resourceful and innovative folks, from scratch-building parts, to fabricating things to make their hobby a little easier. One such fabrication, for me, is a polystyrene foam block with cocktail sticks to hold parts whilst I airbrush them. I also stick parts to steel rules that have been covered in masking tape, plus I’m always using bits of Blue-Tack to mount parts to whilst I paint. It just seems to be the way I’ve always worked. Doubtless, you do the same, or have your own bespoke solution. HobbyZone have quite a nice solution to this that you may just be interested in. I’ve actually been sitting on this review for a couple of months now, pending the release of this new product from HobbyZone. Today, they asked me to publish it for you. The concept is very simple. It’s essentially a magnetic box with a series of holes in the lid. Into these will fit stiff wires that are furnished with a shrouded crocodile clip on one end. You pop your model part into the jaws and then paint. Whilst drying, you can stand the wire upright in the lid. After your work, all the wires sit neatly in the box, out of the way. This product, like all those from HobbyZone, are machine cut from MDF, and require assembly. This one is packed into a sturdy corrugated box with a simple product label. Upon opening the box, you’ll note that all parts are protected with a covering of bubble-wrap. Upon removing that, you’ll note that the box itself is built up from five layers of MDF. These form the base with a white plastic outside coating, and two frame parts, one of which glues to the base, and another recessed frame which glues to the top of this. The two-part lid then sits in this and is held via magnets. To complete the package, a series of nine neodymium (rare earth) magnets are included, as are nine croc-clip wires and a set of instructions. The instructions are nice and simple to follow and I had no issue with understanding them at all, but for the ease of explaining this product to you, I’ve built this up as a guide for you. Here we go! 1.I start with the lid. Using TiteBond adhesive, I run a line of this around the non-recessed face of this part, and add some spots between the holes, being careful not to put too much glue there, or get too close to the holes. 2.The white, plastic-coated lid is now fitted to the previous part and held with clamps until fully cured. 3.The base is now clued to the lower frame section (the one without the holes) and clamped until fully set. 4.Now we can glue the upper frame in situ, being careful of alignment. Again, clamps hold this until filly set. Note the frames are slightly scalloped on each of the long edges. This is to give your fingers something to hold whilst you remove the lid. 5.Now, this part is VERYimportant. We need to ensure that the magnets all fit into the holes, so the same pole is facing upwards on each one. This is dead easy. Keeping the stack of magnets upright, and keeping the same orientation, remove two of them and push into the one of the corner holes. Do the same with the others, again, without changing the orientation of your stack of magnets. These push in quite easy, but you know they won’t come out afterwards! Now fit the lid to the box so that the magnets align with the holes in the lid. Push firmly down, and if necessary, gently tap the lid into place with a small hammer, being careful to protect the surface of the product. That’s it! The lid will now come off with magnets and will reattach in the same way. Job complete! 6.After your work, store the wires/clips in the box and replace the lid. There’s plenty of room in there for more, in case you want to make your own clip holders. Conclusion A superbly simple idea, carried off very nicely. As with all of HobbyZone’s products, this is designed to keep your workbench in tidy order, and of course, this has the functionality added to it. I’m quite a fan of HobbyZone, with my workshop being fitted out with all of their various storage modules, so I’m more than happy to stay true to the brand and its style/quality, with this addition. My sincere thanks to HobbyZonefor the review sample seen here. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of the article.
  6. James Hatch

    1:32 Polikarpov I-153 ‘Chaika’

    1:32 Polikarpov I-153 ‘Chaika’ ICM Catalogue # 32010 Available from Hannants for £35.99 The Polikarpov I-153 Chaika (Russian Чайка, "Seagull") was a late 1930s Soviet biplane fighter. Developed as an advanced version of the I-15 with a retractable undercarriage, the I-153 fought in the Soviet-Japanese combats in Mongolia and was one of the Soviets' major fighter types in the early years of the Second World War. The aircraft was of mixed metal and wood construction, with the fuselage structure being based on chromium-molybdenum steel with duralumin skinning on the forward fuselage, and fabric covering on the fuselage aft of the front of the cockpit. The aircraft's wings were made of fabric covered wood, while the tail surfaces were of fabric covered duralumin. The aircraft was fitted with a tailwheel undercarriage, with the mainwheels retracting rearwards, rotating through 90 degrees to lie flat in the wing roots, being actuated by cables operated by a pilot-driven handwheel. The solid rubber tailwheel did not retract but moved in conjunction with the rudder. The I-153 first saw combat in 1939 during the Soviet-Japanese Battle of Khalkin Gol in Mongolia. The Japanese Army Air Forces' Type 97 Fighter (Nakajima Ki-27) Nate proved a formidable opponent for the I-15bis and I-16 but was more evenly matched with the I-153, which retained agility inherent to biplanes while featuring improved performance. While the overall I-153 performance was satisfactory, some significant problems were revealed. Most troublesome was the absence of a firewall between the fuel tank mounted in front of the cockpit and the pilot. Combined with strong draft coming in through the wheel wells, fuel tank fires invariably resulted in rapid engulfment of the cockpit and severe burns to the pilot. In addition, the M-62 engine suffered from a service life of only 60–80 hours due to failures of the two-speed supercharger. The Polikarpov I-153 Chaika never flew with any Spanish Air Force units during or after the Spanish Civil War. Two earlier variants of this aircraft, the I-15 and the I-15bis, did fly with the Republican Air Force during the conflict and, later, captured examples of both types were used by the Fuerzas Aéreas till the early 1950s. Three I-153s are still flying. Extract courtesy of Wikipedia The kit Well, we weren’t expecting this in 1/32! ICM are rapidly becoming well known for their excellent choice of kit subject, coupled with some rather nice engineering and kit production standards. Some will hark to the old days when kit fit may have been less than stellar, but it’s time for those to move on a little. ICM, as with many of their peers, now use CAD to assist them in design. I’ve partially constructed their 1:48 He 111 and mostly built their Ju 88C-6 kit with nothing to report on in terms of some of the mud I recently saw flung at them on one forum. Anyway, I digress. This release is packaged into ICM’s now familiar single-piece corrugated box that is extremely robust, and has a glossy product box top lid depicting a low-flying Chaika with all guns ablaze. Lifting the lid reveals a large, clear and resealable sleeve containing THREE large sprues of light grey styrene. Also in there is a single sprue of clear plastic, packed into another protective sleeve. In the bottom of the box lies the instruction manual and within this, a single decal sheet is tucked. Sprue A We’re straight into the action with this sprue, containing the fuselage halves and three-part lower wings, amongst other components. Looking at the fuselage first, the external textures are nicely refined with a very realistic fabric and stringer representation of the rear fuselage, along with details such as the spring-loaded footstep cover plate, plus delicate panel lining at the forward half, including fastener and louvre detail. The latter aren’t moulded as open slots, but they are so fine that a simple wash will be all that’s needed here. To facilitate the upper wing fixture, the upper forward fuselage is an open area that will accept the full-span wing section. Note that the rudder is also moulded separately, therefore can be posed dynamically. Some cockpit sidewall detail is moulded within the fuselage, such as rib and stringer details, and this will of course be supplemented by the tubular cockpit tub. ICM has moulded the lower wing also as a full span unit, and all parts of this are to be found on this sprue. External wing surfaces are also resplendent in the same realistic and subtle fabric and rub textures as seen on the fuselage, with munition mounting hardpoints also present. The fuselage centre section is moulded with the openings for the main gear wells and retract channels. When it comes to the upper wing panels, recesses are moulded within the strut hardpoints, and should provide good, clean and positive strut placement. Those struts on the I-153 are broad, single units, and are delicately moulded on this sprue. Rigging points are also moulded, but I think these are best being drilled out before you reach that stage. Note that the main gear well ceilings are moulded onto the inboard edge of the upper wing panels. Also on this sprue are the cockpit floor, two-blade propeller, two-part wheels with integral hubs, a superbly defined instrument panel with empty gauges for affixing the instrument decals, multipart engine cowl panels, and landing gear doors with nicely detailed interiors. I note that some minor clean-up of seams will be required on some parts, but nothing at all onerous. Sprue B The second sprue holds the last of the major airframe parts, such as the three-part upper wing. As with the lower wing, the main panel is moulded full-span, sans ailerons. As well as the subtle rib and fabric detail, and external wing stiffening strip. A separate full-span elevator is provided, and the construction of this and the stabilisers is quite traditional, with a tab to fit to the fuselage. Ailerons are moulded as one-part items, with a nice, thin trailing edge. As with the previous I-16 kit, the Shvetsov M-62 radial engine is very nicely moulded as front and rear halves. Cooling fin detail is nicely defined, but of course, that seam runs right through it. If it’s anything like the I-16 kit, you’ll barely able to see the joint when assembled. Also remember that the engine is buried deep in the cowl, and unless you have a panel or so removed, you’ll hardly see anything in there. The forward cowl and engine firewall are also moulded here, as is the pilot seat. Sprue C This really is the detail parts sprue, with components here for the tubular cockpit tub (seat brackets, two-part control stick, pistol, consoles and oxygen tank etc) There are a variety of underwing munitions choices, and this is where you’ll find them. The engineering of the bombs is so that the fins remain thin, and the seams minimal. Also note in the exhaust parts in this photo. You will need to hollow out the ends though. A number of other engine parts are moulded here, but you will need to be super careful in cutting them from the sprue in some cases. Almost surgical precision will be needed. The munitions rails are also nice and sharp and have positive wing attachment points. Some of the finer parts will still require a little paring of the seam lines, with the edge of a fresh scalpel, but the details are sharp. Just a little lead wire added to these cockpit frames, will be all that you really need, unless you want to go the further mile and utilise Eduard’s new sets for this specific kit. I must admit that they do actually look very good. Undercarriage struts are also nicely depicted and sharp in detail. The angled plunger axle will ensure a nice snug fit to the wheels. Sprue D A very small, clear sprue holds just 6 parts. The main one of course being the windscreen. Other parts here include the wingtip and rudder lights, plus the windows in each of the main gear bays. Clarity of the parts is excellent, and no mould flaws are to be seen. Decals The decals for this model are a very simple but well-presented affair. A single sheet contains the markings for three machines, with these being no more than a variety of red stars, some with borders and circles, and the various numbers. No stencils are provided, but a single instrument decal is. I’m not actually too keen on that and would look at using something from an aftermarket sheet. At the very least, you would need to punch the dials out. Printing is very good, being nice and thin, plus with minimal carrier film. Colour is also solid and registration is perfect. The four schemes are: I-153, 70thIAP (Fighter Regiment), Khalhin-Gol, August 1939 I-153, 72ndSAP (Mixed Regiment) of Nord Fleet Air Force, Vaenga, 1941 I-153, 15thIAP (Fighter Regiment), Lithuania, June 1941 I-153, flown by Major P.I. Biskup, 71stIAP (Fighter Regiment) of Baltic Fleet Air Force, Lavansaari, Summer 1942 Instructions ICM’s instructions style is unfussy and clear to follow. This A4-size manual has construction broken down into 55 stages with shaded line drawings and good reference to painting. Paint codes are given for Model Master paints, as well as the colour name so you can check your stash of other manufacturer’s colours. A very small amount of rigging is needed, but this is so simple that it really shouldn’t be a concern for those who would normally shy away from a biplane. The last pages of the manual are taken over with the colour schemes, which are all reasonably different, and there should be something there to suit most modellers. Conclusion Whilst our hobby had been waiting for a new-tool I-16, perhaps we didn’t know that we were equally waiting for the I-153 too! If you are into Soviet WW2 aviation, and even if you aren’t, I think this is one of those releases that you’d seriously enjoy building and would look equally as good in your completed collection. Even though this is a biplane, this is no flimsy model. Both the upper and lower wings are secured firmly to the fuse, and the two struts are broad not particularly fragile. Rigging is also a cinch, with about 6 lines in total. Detail is also particularly good in terms of surface renderings and internal representation. At around £35, this should be one to consider. Build something a little different! My sincere thanks to ICM for the review sample seen here. To purchase, click the link at the top of the article.
  7. 1/72 Brockley Combe, 1938 Cargo Ship Navarino Models Catalogue # B721 Available from Navarino Models for €299,00 Brockley Combe was a British cargo shop which was built by Hill Charles & Sons in their Bristol shipyard, in 1938. She was a typical example of a dry load cargo ship of the age and was 56.2m long. Her power came from a diesel engine. Information on Brockley Combe is scarce at best, with me only being able to pull a single image from an online search. Her career came to a sad end on 15thDecember 1953, when she broke up and sank after running aground south of Jersey, on the islands known as Minquiers (known as "the Minkies" in local English). Thankfully, no one perished in the sinking, with all of her crew being rescued by the Jersey lifeboat. The kit Navarino Models generally produce models of ancient and traditional Greek vessels (being a Greek company), so this particular model stands out a little in their catalogue. Their instruction manual says that the lines of this vessel were found in a book that ironically deals with scratch-building ship models without kits. Navarino took the lines and developed this 2016-release kit of this little-known vessel, sharing her with us and allowing us to recreate a 1930s cargo ship. This is no small venture either, with the model being roughly 730mm in length when complete. Navarino’s kit is packed into a very sturdy, single-piece corrugated box with a colour image of a completed Brockley Combe model on the lid. The lid is tabbed so you just pull this out to unlock the contents within. After removing the two instruction booklets and two plan sheets, your construction materials are uncovered. What you’ll immediately notice is that there are no actual sheets of parts from which to remove the individual components. Instead, all the various bulkheads, false keel, bulwarks etc. are pre-removed and, in some cases, bagged for a little extra security. Unlike many kits these days, the parts in this have been routed on a CNC machine, so there are no black/char edges to clean up before use. There are some slightly fuzzy edges on some parts, and you will need to tickle them with sandpaper to sharpen them up, but that, and regular hull/frame sanding is about the only waste material you’ll create when building this model. No empty wooden frames to dispose of at all. The false keel in this model, like the bulkheads, is machined from a good quality 6mm ply. It also comes in two parts that you will need to glue together and reinforce with the supplied pieces. A quick text of the fit shows that I’ll need to remove a small amount of wood from one joint, so the keel bottom and deck height are even. All slots are evenly machined and also very, very accurate. Test fitting the bulkheads shows not only a very snug fit, but also that they fit at the correct 90° angle to the keel parts. Note also that the bulkheads also have other slots too, into which two 4mm x 4mm longitudinal stringers locate, further helping keep things true and rigid. As an aside note, all parts in this kit are numbered with what appears to be a laser. There are a wide range of 1mm ply components in this kit, and they are all bagged in a clear sleeve. These include the bulwarks with their pre-cut portholes and scuppers, cabin fascias, doors, various deck parts (5 main sections), bulwark cap strips. Also worthy of mentioning are the marked positions on some decal parts, for the deck structure locations. Deck parts are also accurately notched to receive the 6mm bulkheads. Another bag of ply parts contains some 6mm ply sections that glue into the stern and bow areas to create a solid block that you will then sand to profile before planking commences. More 6mm ply forming the false keel reinforcement plates, and forecastle and main loading hatch structures. This little bundle are the parts for the loading hatch profiles, with their curved roof sections. All nicely machined and held together with elastic whilst in the box. When it comes to planking this hull, 60 strips of superbly cut limewood are supplied, each measuring 500mm x 1.5mm x 8mm. You may feel the need to halve that width when you plank around the fairly tight curve that exists on some of the bulkheads. Timber quality really is very nice, with this material being creamy and homogenous in appearance, with nice, sharp edges. Another bundle of wood contains more Ramin and lime strip wood, as well as Ramin dowel. Again, all materials here are of high quality. This material is for the deck planking and to me, it looks like Sapele due to the grain pattern and resin spots. Some edges are a little fuzzy, so it would be an idea to gently sand each edge before fitting to the decks. A smaller bag of ply parts are included for the rudder, and numerous other structural and superstructure areas. No matter how smooth you get that hull, the final planking will be achieved using 0.15mm aluminium sheet, cut into 20 strips of 25mm depth. It would appear that these need to be divided further into their correct lengths and then a riveting tool used to add that important detail to them. This material should form well around the hull but check how this would be laid out in pattern with regards to the bow and stern. You’ll need to fit these with cyano or contact adhesive. A small cardboard box contains various fittings and rigging. In there, you’ll find two small plastic launches with a clinker hull, brass and copper wire, rope, copper and brass rod, brass tubing, brass nails, stanchions, portholes, anchors, rigging rope spool, and other various fittings. Two plastic sleeves hold the parts for the staircases (pre-machined), rigging blocks and copper eyelets. A set of ship name decals is supplied, as are flags, printed on stiff paper. The last bag of components are all cast from a creamy yellow resin, save for one metal cast part for the mast. Here are all of those important detail features that you will scatter around the decks and superstructures. These include funnels, life preservers, bitts, winches, cleats, hatchways, doors, boxes and the single, large funnel. Most parts will need some form of clean-up, as you would expect with resin, and I would also recommend that you wash them first to remove any traces of mould release agent that could prevent paint adhering properly. A set of simple but useful colour illustrations are included in one of the manuals, but the text is in Greek. Another copy of this is included in black and white, but with English text. It also has a table of parts to reference. I think the instructions supplied are adequate for the model as most of it is straightforward and can be referenced on the two plan sheets. Both plan sheets have the charm of being hand-drafted and annotated. This takes me back to my days of school woodwork, but the illustrations are easy enough to follow and should provide a competent builder with no problems. Conclusion This is the first Navarino kit that I’ve seen, and I do really like the way things go together, the quality of materials and those little quirky things like not having to remove parts from frames. Brockley Combe is truly a multimedia kit, with not just timber, but also metal, resin and a little plastic too. Materials quality is excellent. Whilst I couldn’t recommend this kit to a raw beginner, I do think that someone with a model or two under their belt could do this some real justice. Some experience with resin could be useful, but not necessary. In all, a lovely model of a classic cargo ship of yesteryear, and one with character too! My sincere thanks to Navarino Modelsfor sending this kit for review on Model Ship World. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of this article.
  8. 1:35 Railway Tools & Equipment MiniArt Catalogue # 35572 Available from Hannants for £10.99 Back in the days of yore, before portable arc welders, mass-produced tools and battery drills etc., your average railway worker would still of course need to maintain his stretch of track so those lumbering steam locos would get to their destinations safely. There are of course a number of 1/35 locos and wagons available for which to create some nice dioramas, but until this new release from MiniArt, you might have been struggling to find period rail tools and equipment for it. Struggle no more! MiniArt’s new release is packaged into one of their smaller, slim but glossy boxes, this time depicting the whole gamut of the railwayman’s arsenal of equipment. You’ll notice a barrow, buckets, lantern, lump hammer, blowtorch, and even a small ear-trumpet to listen to the track to see if any trains are likely to arrive on the scene of a maintenance job. Inside the box, a small clear heat-sealed sleeve contains SIX light grey sprues, plus another small sleeve with one further small sprue containing the buckets and clear lantern lenses. MiniArt has also employed some excellent slide-moulded parts to make your project a little easier to handle. Sprue Bf The basic layman’s tools are provided here, and you’ll see a lump hammer, small hammer, straight crowbar for moving rail sleepers, pickaxe, shovel and spade. Of course, these are single-piece items and no assembly is required. Just cut, clean and paint. Sprue Bg On this sprue, you’ll find the gas tank and blowtorch ensemble, which only requires a length of wire to represent the connecting hose. Note also a two-part wrench, spanners, standard crowbar and a wood plane. The latter is slide-moulded for a nice one-shot part! Sprue Bh The multipart lantern is represented here, made up from numerous parts, as well as an oilcan, grips, ear-trumpet and a broad shovel. Sprue Ef Here we have the smallest sprue, with parts for two sizes of bucket. The base on these is a separate part, and again, slide-moulding is used to good effect, so you don’t have to remove a seam. Sprue F1 & F2 These are simply the lenses for the lantern, with one moulded in clear, and the other in clear red. A small nub will need to be snipped off before use. Sprue Kd (x2) Two rail sleepers are included here, moulded as halves, with the joint being along the corners. You’ll only need to remove a diagonal seam on the end of each sleeper. These parts have an excellent wood grain detailing too. Sprue Kh Our last sprue contains the parts for the barrow. This comprises 10 parts and looks great when built up. Note, of course, the single, wooden spoke wheel too. A very agricultural-looking item but fitting perfectly the era. Again, wooden parts are detailed with a grain pattern. The back of the packet contains the assembly instructions, as well as a paint guide, with colours given for Vallejo, Mr.Color, Life Color, Tamiya, Testors, AK etc. Probably more options than your average kit would normally list. A parts map is also included on the obverse side of the box. You will note that the instructions themselves are very clear in their approach, with line drawings used to represent the construction, and clear part annotation. Some wire will need to be added, for the bucket handles, and in the case of the lantern, a small colour image is presented to help you with painting this nice little addition. Of course, some smaller items such as the ear-trumpet do not need assembly and aren’t represented on the instructions. However, you can look at the box front for a colour representation of that item. Conclusion A wonderful and comprehensive little set that will provide invaluable to railway diorama modellers, and typically those that model period steam locos, as this appears to be the era to which these tools pertain. Beautifully realised, engineered and moulded, this set is very easy to construct, has plenty of detail and will provide those little touches that really help a diorama come alive. It’s also a very reasonably priced release. Go check it out! My sincere thanks to MiniArt for supplying this sample for review. Click the link at the top of the article to purchase directly from Hannants.
  9. 1:35 German Grenades & Mines Set MiniArt Catalogue # 35258 Available from Hannants for £12.35 Every self-respecting soldier can only operate properly when they have the correct weapons for the field. And we don’t just mean rifles, machine guns, carbines and mortars. Some of the more subversive and violent aspects of war, both close and remote combat, need the use of explosives, whether these are simply lobbed at the enemy through an open window or door as house clearance, or by laying them underground in the hope that it’s an enemy protagonist (and not civilian) will tread on them and be sent to meet their maker. War…it’s a bloody business. MiniArt’s new set comprises a whole swathe of nasty explosive devices which is guaranteed to make any battle go with a bang. As the box art shows, this set contains the famous Stielhandgranate (stick grenade) and other deadly incarnations of it, landmines (both pressure and magnetic activated), crate of Model 39 egg grenades, crate of Heft Hohladung Granate magnetic mines, and even the low-tech Molotov Cocktails for some extra whizz-bangs! The back of the box shows the same image as the front. But minus the background. Here, you will find the references for painting and decaling. Paint codes are given for Vallejo, Mr.Color, Life Color, Tamiya, Testors, AK etc. The illustrations themselves are excellent and a great reference for detail painting your new set of fireworks. Inside the box, a single clear sleeve contains SIX sprues of light grey styrene with a total of 113 parts. Another sleeve within this also contains a sprue of clear green and one of clear red parts (40 in total). To complete the set, a small decal sheet is included, as is a card sleeve containing a photo-etch fret of a further 12 parts. This set comprises 125 pieces of lethal ordnance. Sprue Ab Here we have both magnetic and pressure activated mines, comprising each of two plastic parts. Very simple to assemble and nicely detailed. These will be supplemented by the fitting of handles from the photo-etch fret which is included. Sprue Ac (x2) No weapons here, but these two sprues make up the open-topped crates into which the Molotov Cocktails will be stored. The various parts have a convincing wood grain texture to them. The crate will look convincing if painted in a wood colour and then overpainted with an actual finish colour before being worn using the hairspray technique to antiquethings a little. Sprue Ad A whole crate of Heft Hohladung Granate magnetic mines is included, and here are the parts for assembling the crate and the weapons. The mines are moulded in rows of four and have separate fuse which needs to be fitted to each. As with all wooden parts, a convincing grain texture is moulded on the crate sections. Locking clasps are included as PE parts. Sprue Ae This sprue contains two varieties of Stielhandgranate (M43 ‘potato masher’ and M24), plus a small number of loose weapons such as the Heft Hohladung Granate, and Model 39 egg grenade. An option to make a Stielhandgranate bundle (Geballte Ladung) is also included. Sprue Ag The largest sprue in the box contains parts to build a crate of Model 38 egg grenades, plus one case and one crate of Stielhandgranate. The weapons themselves aren’t separate and are moulded in rows to make things easier. Sprue Aq (x2) One sprue of each clear red and clear green wine bottles are moulded here, with 20 bottles on each sprue, giving you a battle-busting 40 Molotov Cocktails to equip your soldiers with. These are superbly moulded and are removed from the sprue which connects to the bottom of each bottle. Labels are included for these as decals, so all you need to do is to pop them in the supplied crates when complete. PE Here we have handles, latches and a strap for the Stielhandgranate bundle. Only twelve parts to play with here, which is nicely made and come in a protective card sleeve. Decals All of those crates, mines, Molotovs and cases could use a few stencils and labels etc. This rather packed little sheet of decals has enough to keep you toiling for a few hours. Note also that some signage is also present, and for these specific decals, you’ll need to affix them to a backing of plasticard, so as to create the board. Decal production is excellent with printing being nice and thin, and with everything in register. Carrier film is also minimal. Instructions A single, double-sided sheet contains the instructions for this kit, clearly printed and easy to follow, over a total of 9 stages. Paint references are also supplied throughout. Conclusion I’m really quite a fan of these small detail sets from MiniArt, despite not actually being any good at diorama work! This set is well thought out and engineered, as well as moulded and presented. Details are excellent throughout and this set would perfectly complement MiniArt’s own Panzerfaust set. For not much more than a tenner, you get a full range of perfectly-formed explosive weapons and a really nice decal sheet too, plus the small PE fret. Definitely one to consider for your next WWII dio! My sincere thanks to MiniArtfor sending this kit out for review. To purchase, click the link at the top of the article.
  10. 1/48 Junkers Ju 88A-4 WWII Axis Bomber ICM Catalogue # 48237 Available from Hannants for £27.99 The Junkers Ju 88 was a German World War II Luftwaffe twin-engine multirole combat aircraft. Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke (JFM) designed the plane in the mid-1930s as a so-called Schnellbomber ("fast bomber") that would be too fast for fighters of its era to intercept. It suffered from a number of technical problems during later stages of its development and early operational roles but became one of the most versatile combat aircraft of the war. Like several other Luftwaffe bombers, it served as a bomber, dive bomber, night fighter, torpedo bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, heavy fighter and, during the closing stages of the conflict in Europe, as a flying bomb. Despite its protracted development, the aircraft became one of the Luftwaffe's most important assets. The assembly line ran constantly from 1936 to 1945 and more than 16,000 Ju 88s were built in dozens of variants, more than any other twin-engine German aircraft of the period. Throughout production the basic structure of the aircraft remained unchanged. Without a doubt, the Junkers Ju 88 was one of the most versatile and adaptable aircraft to have been used during WW2. Entering service as the war was literally starting (on the day of the Polish attack), the Ju 88 became successful for its numerous famous and infamous roles, starting out as a light bomber/dive bomber, and when losses started to mount around the time of the Battle of Britain, it was moved into other theatres of war, such as North Africa, and against shipping in the Mediterranean with a torpedo-carrying variant. Where it is perhaps best known are for its roles as both a heavy fighter and night-fighter, in which it excelled. The A-4 was an improved variant. It had a longer wingspan due to redesigned wingtips. It also had a more powerful defensive armament. Power was provided by two Jumo 211 J-1 or J-2 engines (1410 hp) driving wooden bladed propellers. A reinforced undercarriage was also introduced, as was a provision for four external bomb racks. Courtesy of Wikipedia. The kit There has certainly been some mileage seen in the moulds for ICM’s rather sweet Ju 88 kit, with there now being TWELVE incarnations that have been released across the ICM, Hasegawa, Special Hobby and Revell labels, with Special Hobby creating their own resin and injection plastic parts to accompany the base ICM plastic. This particular Ju 88A-4 version was released about April/May of this year. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see more incarnations of this kit in future, hopefully covering a number of the other exotic machines that were derived from the base Ju 88 airframe. In fact, a C-6b night-fighter seems to be slated for later this year. There is of course a reason why we are seeing this kit being given multiple releases and that is simply because it is the definitive tooling of this important aircraft that is currently available, and with so many Ju 88 versions that existed, modellers are going to want to build the one that is specific to their interests, such as the heavy fighter, torpedo aircraft etc. Packaged into ICM’s very sturdy, full corrugated cardboard box, with a colourful and glossy product lid that depicts a Romanian machine at rest on an airfield, this kit consists of a single clear sleeve that holds all EIGHT medium-grey sprues and a single clear one. Around about 250 parts makes up this release. Thankfully, the clear sprue is separately bagged within the main sleeve and all of the others are tightly packed up against each other, so no space for them to jiggle and rub against each other. A 24-page A4 manual is included, and a single decal sheet finalises the contents. I know that some modellers can be driven to frustration by the engineering choices that some companies make, but with this kit, ICM has boxed clever. As we know, it has been designed to accommodate other versions so as to maximise the tooling, but none of this is done to the disadvantage of the modeller. Some very intelligent design work can be seen here, such as the fuselage halves being full length, so no need to graft on different nose versions. The fin is also separate, indicating something from the 88G family, maybe. Wing root fairings are moulded to the fuselage and are tabbed, meaning that the upper wing panels can easily sit on these and provide a positive location point. Another touch of genius is a single piece lower fuse and inboard wing panel section. When this is fitted to the fuselage, and then the wing panels added, the lower seam will be totally hidden under the broad nacelle structure. The nacelles themselves will then locate into the undersides via tabs. If you’ve ever seen the Revell 1/32 kit, you’ll know that there is a sturdy structure within the nacelle that the undercarriage is mounted to. Looking at this model, I think that whilst you may need to fit that mounting structure prior to the nacelle, it appears that you can probably fit the landing gear later, after painting. All control surfaces on this model can be posed, with the rear of the nacelles being separate for this purpose. You may need to fiddle things with this, and I can’t comment further without test fitting this one. Two detailed Jumo211 engines are included in this kit, with the provision to display one/either of them. These really do look very good, with each unit containing around 15 parts per engine, including the firewall and associated plumbing. The engines must be installed within the nacelle before the whole assembly is offered to the wing. You’ll need to make sure your painting and masking regime is good here. Cowl radiator flaps are presented as open only, so to pose these in the more aesthetically pleasing closed position, you will need to do a little surgery. Propellers are supplied as single piece units, and the spinner comprises of the typical back-plate and front section. If you expect a lot from the cockpit area, in terms of detail, then this won’t disappoint. There are already a number of Eduard sets for this, pertaining to the earlier Luftwaffe A-4 release, so there’s always plenty to choose from if you wish to detail this model further. As no seatbelts are included in this kit, you will definitely need to sort out that omission. The office area is very well-appointed, with nicely moulded fuselage sidewall details, superbly equipped radio rear bulkhead, ammunition racks and drums, detailed instrument panel, side consoles with delicately rendered instruments, two-piece control column, rudder pedal assemblies, seats with intricate mounting points etc. I don’t really think there would be much to add in here, with the exception of some colour PE, perhaps. When assembled the cockpit will most certainly be a very busy and visual area. The bola gondola is well-appointed too, and this area is moulded separately to the underside fuselage and can be fitted later in assembly. Surface detail is everything you would expect from a modern-tooled model, with finely engraved panel lines and port details. There are also no rivets at all, so if you do want them, then you’ll have to get out Rosie. Plastic quality here is excellent with no flaws or obtrusive ejector pin marks. Clear plastic parts, both ICM and Special Hobby, are superb, with excellent clarity and nicely defined frame details. Of course, this particular kit does vary in a number of aspects, from previous releases, and looking through the parts maps does indicate a large number of parts that should NOT be used with this particular release. In fact, the original Sprue C has been supplemented with Sprue C1. This contains whole new engine nacelles, propellers, spinners, annular radiator intakes, tabbed fin and rudder, fuselage spine section with dipole etc. Parts not to be used are clearly defined on the parts map by being shaded in pink. Decals An ICM-printed decal sheet contains markings for FOUR marking schemes, with all printing being in solid, authentic colour, with minimal carrier film and also being both nice and thin. Registration is perfect too. As well as markings, a full suite of stencils are included as are instrument decals. The instruments are probably better punched out from the decal and applied individually, so you don’t have to attempt to get the decal to conform to the raised panel details. My only reservation is having to assemble the swastikas on the Finnish scheme, as these are produced with all arms as separate decals. The four schemes in this release are: Ju 88A-4, Grupul 5 Bombardment, Romania, 1944 Ju 88A-4, 3/1 Bombazo szazad of Hungarian Air Force, Russia, 1943 Ju 88A-4, 1/PleLv 44, Onttola, Finland, Summer 1944 Ju 88A-4, 3/PleLv 44, Finland, Summer 1944 Instructions ICM’s instruction manuals are very attractive and easy to follow, with 102 easy-to-follow stages that shouldn’t present any issues with assembly. The first part of the manual highlights the colours needed for completing this model (Revell and Tamiya paints), as well as parts maps of the sprues. The rear of the manual has two pages for the four schemes, printed in colour and with good decal placement notes, plus a page denoting stencil placement etc. Conclusion Another excellent Ju 88 release, and as this is Revell, you know that the price point is spot on. This kit currently retails for around £30 or less in the UK, and I think that relates to excellent value for money when you look at the detail levels that are provided here. The A-4 was a pretty common variant from around the end of the BoB until the latter stages of the war, so doubtless that this specific release will prove to be popular. I certainly hope to see more in future. This kit doesn’t have any PE parts, so for at least the seatbelts, you might want to consider some of Eduard’s aftermarket sets for the other ICM/Revell variants. Most parts will be completely usable in this release. Of course, this is an in-box review, but I am currently building the C-6 version and have found very little in the way of problems, with everything being straightforward and fitting superbly. ICM’s engineering seems to be logical and sensible, and without the annoyances of the earlier, unrelated Dragon releases. Highly Recommended My thanks to ICM for the review sample seen in this article. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of this article.
  11. James Hatch

    1:48 Do 17Z-2 WWII Finnish Bomber

    1:48 Do 17Z-2 WWII Finnish Bomber ICM Catalogue # 48246 Available from Hannants for £27.99 The Dornier Do 17 was designed as a lightweight, fast bomber that could, in theory, outrun any attempts by fighters to shoot them down. The long thin fuselage of the aircraft led to its nickname of ‘flying pencil’, and its shoulder mounted wing carried two engines, whilst its tail design was of twin fin/rudder arrangement, typical of that on the Bf 110. Initially powered by inline Daimler-Benz/BMW engines, but these were changed in favour of two Bramo 323 radials. A crew of three were carried, and up to 1000kg of bombs could be carried internally. Civil War in Spain saw the first baptism of fire for the Do 17, operating with the Condor Legion. Many of these pilots were unknowingly honing their skills for future operations against Poland, leading to the start of WW2, and eventually to the skies over Britain in 1940. It was here that the Do 17 became seriously outclassed by British fighter defence. The main version was the Do 17Z, which is the subject of this kit. The Z-2 mounted the new Bramo 323P-1 engine (1,000 hp), which was specifically tuned to the performance needs of the Do 17 by decreasing supercharger power at lower altitudes and thus improving low-level performance. The increase in take-off power allowed the bomb load to be increased from 500 to 1,000 kg However, the combat range with a full 1,000 kg bomb load was a very short 330 km. Armament was further upgraded by adding another pair of guns firing out of the sides of the upper part of the pod, but as the three guns were all fired by a single gunner, only one of them could be fired at a time. The kit At the time of writing, this is the fourth incarnation of this 1/48 release from ICM, with this being the second Z-2 variant. The first Z-2 release depicted this same aircraft in native Luftwaffe markings. ICM’s style of packaging is probably one of my favourites, with the kit being supplied in a one-piece, sturdy corrugated cardboard box with a locking tab, and a separate product lid which sits over this. The glossy lid depicts a single Do 17Z-2, resplendent in its Finnish markings, taking off from a snow-laden airfield in a blizzard. This scheme is also shown on the box side. There are two schemes with this release, both quite different, with in a flat black and olive camp ensemble, and the other being the same, but with a randomly applied white colour, creating a tricolour camouflage. Inside the box, a total of five light grey sprues are packaged into a single re-sealable clear wallet, and a clear sprue is also slipped into there, protected within its own sleeve. In the bottom of the box, a 20-page A4 instruction manual is to be found, with a long, narrow decal sheet tucked within it. This release contains no photo-etch parts, instead leaning on companies such as Eduard, should you want to detail your model further. This certainly helps to keep down overall costs. Sprue A You can certainly see why this aircraft was called the flying pencil when you look at the fuselage halves. This was supposed to be the very essence of the Schnellbomber, but alas, the Do 17 was easy prey whilst undertaking that particular role. The characteristic fuselage is moulded with an open belly for the various loadouts or fuel tank assembly (the latter, for the purpose of this kit), and of course, the upper fuselage is open due to the shoulder-mounted wing that will be fitted here. For the tail-plane, the traditional slots are included on both port and starboard. ICM has created some very fine external detail in the way of panel lines and various access ports and panels. These are both very narrow and even in depiction. They should take a wash beautifully. Note that the airframe is devoid of any rivet detail, leaving a blank canvas for those of us who wish to add this. Internally, the fuselage doesn’t have any detail to speak of, but instead location holes and slots for the separate detail parts. One thing I really do like about this release is the rib and fabric depiction of the control surfaces. This is superbly rendered and doesn’t look at all exaggerated. All control surfaces are separately moulded, and you will find them here, as well as the stabiliser and fin parts. It is worth mentioning too that the Z-10 nose cone is still on this sprue, as is the clear part (Sprue E) for the infrared detector for target illumination. Without delving further, I’m not sure if a Z-10 can be made from this release, but it does look pretty favourable. All the parts do seem to be here. Other parts you will find here are the fuselage bulkheads and two bomb bay door options (both open or closed). A small number of parts are slated as not for use in this release. Sprue B Only three parts here. These are for the full-span upper wing, and two lower wing panels. You will note that the ailerons are moulded separately, but the landing flaps are integral and not poseable without either aftermarket or with some surgery and scratch-work. ICM has designed the wing so the gear bay openings are moulded into the lower panels, with some rudimentary, corresponding interior detail on the underside of the upper wing panel. The nacelles and the remainder of the detail is separate. Externally, that detail is very neat, with thin and uniform panel lines and port details This model is not riveted, and for me, that leaves things looking pretty bare, so I will add the various rivet and fastener lines when it comes for me to build this kit. Sprue C Parts here mainly concern the engine nacelles and main gear interiors, plus the general internals for both the cockpit and bomb bay. A two-piece fuel tank is found here, moulded with its support straps. This will occupy half of the bomb bay. For the main gear bays, left and right walls are supplied, with moulded structural details, and also forward and rear bulkheads. The idea here is that these will be installed to the wing, complete with the retraction units for the main gear, and then the nacelles are built around these. Looking at the instructions, I do think that the retraction units can be fitted later, or at least I think so (don’t quote me!), making overall assembly and painting easier. Bar a couple of small parts, everything on this sprue is for use in this release. In amongst the numerous parts, you’ll find a lot of components for the cockpit, such as the two-part instrument panel, consoles, seats with their lattice weave, pilot floor and rudder pedals, control stick, avionics, machine guns, etc. Sprue D (x2) This sprue is supplied twice and deals with those items for which multiples are needed, such as the engine, cowls, propeller, spinner, main gear wheels, mudguards, oleo struts, engine bulkheads and mounting frames etc. Bombs are also found here, as are a couple of MGs and saddles, plus the bomb mounting racks. The engine is excellent and comprises an exhaust system for which separate manifolds and stubs are included. ICM has chosen to depict their wheels without any load, so you will need to sort the weighted appearance yourself. A few seams lines here and there on parts, but nothing out of the ordinary. Sprue E If you hadn’t already guessed, this is the clear sprue, and it is identical to all previous incarnations of this kit, including the glass nose. There are also two different greenhouse canopies included, with only one slated for use with this particular kit release (with the rear, side MG positions). For use here are the clear blister as well as the clear parts for around the nose, and the lower gondola glazing. Three parts are included for the latter, but only one is to be used for this variant. Transparency is excellent, with reasonably thin, distortion-free plastic that has no visible or unsightly patina. Framing lines are nicely depicted and those frames are frosted. Full marks. Decals The decals for this release are printed onto a long but narrow sheet and are very basic by nature. I’m not a fan of how ICM has chosen to break down the swastika on these, with the main decal being a blue cross on a white circle, but each blue swastika arm needing to be added separately. If you don’t add these precisely, they’ll look odd. Printing is nice and thin, with solid colour and minimal carrier film. Everything is also in register. No stencils are supplied, but decals are included for the instrument panel. The two schemes in this kit are: Dornier Do 17Z-2, 3/LeLv 46, Finnish Air Force, February 1942 Dornier Do 17Z-2, 2/LeLv 46, Finnish Air Force, Autumn 1942 Instructions This is a rather nice 20-page A4 publication with the schemes printed on the glossy cover, and the construction sequence within, broken down into 84 stages. Illustrations are by means of both shaded and line-drawn images, with paint references given throughout for both Revell and Tamiya colours. Conclusion I quite like this release as it gives plenty of detail out of box and still leaves areas to improve further, should you wish to. ICM are surely one of my favourite players in this hobby, releasing the sort of subjects that cry out for my attention. You may have seen their Ju 88 kits reviewed here, both in their own label and under names such as Special Hobby and Revell. Quality is excellent, my experience so far shows their kits to fit superbly. This really isn’t an expensive kit and provides amazing value for money in an age where everything seems to be getting more expensive by the day. I’ve always wanted a reasonably large scale Do 17, and with these new ICM releases, I’m certainly not disappointed! Highly recommended. My sincere thanks to ICM for supplying this kit for us to review. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of this article.
  12. James Hatch

    Stepless Adjustment Circular Cutter

    Go to my FB profile and seek out Corien & Evert. They may be able to help directly.
  13. James Hatch

    1/48 Miles M.35 Libellula

    1/48 Miles M.35 Libellula Planet Models Catalogue # 129-PLT270 Available from Special Hobby for 1.231 Kč (approx. £43) Miles’ diminutive M.35 design has always been something that has intrigued me. This was an aircraft that earned George Miles a firm slap on the wrist from the Ministry of Aircraft Production, as it was conceived, designed and built without official sanction. Miles’ intention was honourable with the aircraft being inspired by the unusual tandem-wing Lysander test layout that was being trialled at the time. George Miles saw an opportunity to build an aircraft that could be carrier-borne, but without the usual problems that beset such aircraft, such as wing folding mechanisms and the problem with visibility when landing. As well as improved visibility and no need for complex and weighty wing-fold mechanisms, other advantages of a tandem layout would be lower drag, lower weight and drag factors, and good manoeuvrability. In 1941, Miles requested his designer, Ray Bournon, to come up with such a design, and within only 60 days, the Miles M.35 Libellula (so named after a genus of Dragonfly), took to the air. Now, when we say it took to the air, it was reluctantly. A badly placed centre of gravity prevented the machine from performing as it should, but this was soon corrected. Flying the aircraft on that day was George Miles himself as his test pilot was so concerned about the layout of the aircraft that he declined to fly it. The design which took flight was indeed diminutive, being only just over 20ft in span on both front and rear wings, plus roughly the same in length. It was also had a pusher layout with power being provided by a de Havilland Gipsy Major engine to the rear. The pilot occupied the nose of the aircraft, which sat on a non-retractable tricycle undercarriage, with another helperwheel to the rear of this to protect the propeller on landing. However, as Miles had designed this as an unauthorised, private project, any possibilities that could have arisen from his design, were stamped upon by the ministry, and the type never saw development as a fighter. Undeterred, Miles and Bournon designed the tandem-layout M.39B which was to meet an Air Ministry specification for a high-speed bomber, but this was cancelled in 1944 after two accidents forced the literal break-up of the only prototype. The kit Well, this is a subject you don’t see every day! I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this announced in the Special Hobby newsletter, and knew I just had to have a go at reviewing and building it. Of course, Planet Models is the brand of Special Hobby which deals with whole resin kits, and this is just what this release is, along with a vac-form canopy. The kit itself comes in a small box that is still quite large for such a tiny model, even in 1/48 scale. The tough corrugated box has a product label on the lid with a colour profile of the M.35. Inside, all parts are packed into two heat-sealed clear sleeves that are also sealed in between the main components. A small sleeve contains the vac-form canopies (x2) and a small decal sheet. A small zip-lock wallet holds some white metal parts for the undercarriage. Two A4 sheets are provided for the instructions and colour scheme profiles. All parts in this release are cast in a light grey resin. Generally, the parts are excellent, with nicely recessed panel lines, sharp details (such as the instrument panel etc.), and with little in the way of flaws. In fact, I noted just a couple of pinhead-size air bubbles that I would need to fill as I assembled. A quick lick with a knife, along the top of the heat-sealed wrap, and all of the parts are freed. Of course, there will be the inevitable parts clean-up, but with this kit, that time is thankfully low. In fact, I think it took me just over an hour and half to cut the parts from their casting blocks and trim them with a knife, ready for final assembly. The model breakdown is also so very simple as to possibly be a good first introduction to the world of full-resin kits. The fuselage is cast onto a single block, and presented as halves, with some cockpit wall detail already in place. Tabs are also present, against which the rear cockpit bulkhead will sit. Externally, the fuselage has little detail, save for panel lines. No rivets or any other detail is present. The engine area is open, in readiness for the separate rear cowl, and again, there are tags there to fit the engine bulkhead against. Having built the model, I can tell you that the positions of these are accurate and will aid the closing up of the fuselage. All flying surfaces are cast as individual and complete components, so once you remove a wing or fin from the resin block, and clean it up, you can install it. No fussy upper or lower panels to mate up. The rear wings are cast onto a single block and connected via a narrow web. A thin web of resin also extends to the wingtip and this comes away with almost zero effort. For main sawing, I would advise the use of a razor saw. The rear wings have tabs to install to the fuselage, and also onto which the fins will sit. Ailerons are cast in situ. Surface detail is naturally minimal for such a craft. The forward wings are very similar in their presentation. When it comes to the vertical tail fins, you are best removing these with a sharp knife, angles outwards and away from the part. The reason is that no thin web is present here and the parts are up against the casting block. Fin details are excellent with their rib and fabric representation. They also fit nigh-on perfectly to the rear wings. The remainder of the resin parts are cast across thirteen smaller blocks. These include the engine, engine cowl, intakes, exhaust stubs, cockpit parts, oleo scissors, propeller, pitot, wheels, undercarriage suspension housings etc. A few small pin-hole bubbles exist in some places, but nothing that a dab of CA won’t fill easily. The wheels are supplied as weighted (where they connect to the casting block), and some parts will need a little excess resin removing, such as the engine cowl intake. I will say that whilst the cockpit is quite nice in some respects, it is also very basic. There are no seatbelts, for instance. I used some wine bottle foil to make mine, as well as the rudder pedal straps. Another issue is that the side console parts are way too small. I would say by at least 30%. I fabricated replacements from plasticard and PE instrument dials. It’s a nice easy job, and you won’t see too much anyway, as the canopy is to be fitted in a closed position. For the undercarriage, this kit contains white metal parts. The rear stabiliser undercarriage strut is cast in two parts and includes the wheel. Only a little straightening is needed before glue, and all parts fit to the model with little effort. Casting is very good for their size. Two vac-form canopies are included, just in case you bork one of them whilst working on the model. There isn’t too much frame definition, so careful masking will need to be done to get them right. A single decal sheet is included for the single prototypical scheme. These look to be very good, but I’m questioning the colour density of the ‘P’ symbols. It might be worthwhile substituting these with some from Fantasy Printshop. Note that instrument panel decals are also included, but the Airscale ones would be a much better option. Two A4 instruction sheets are included, containing the simplistic construction illustrations and the colour scheme. As I said, this is a simple kit and the instructions signify that and work perfectly. Conclusion A great little kit which is superbly designed and cast, with the only real quibble being the undersized instrument consoles and lack of seatbelts. This would be a perfect introduction to a full resin kit as it has no nasty surprises afoot, and price-wise, it’s also fairly reasonable. The finished model is quite small and fits in the palm of an average-sized hand, so this will be extremely manageable to display. In fact, it may well get lost on a model club table! My sincere thanks to Special Hobbyfor the review sample seen here. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of the article. Please watch out for this build in the October 2018 issue of Military Illustrated Modeller.
  14. James Hatch

    1/48 Heinkel He 111H-6

    1/48 Heinkel He 111H-6 ICM Catalogue # 48262 Available from Hannants for £41.99 The Heinkel He 111 was a German aircraft designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter at Heinkel Flugzeugwerke in 1934. Through development it was described as a wolf in sheep's clothing because the project masqueraded the machine as civilian transport, though from conception the Heinkel was intended to provide the nascent Luftwaffe with a fast, medium bomber. Perhaps the best-recognised German bomber due to the distinctive, extensively glazed greenhouse nose of later versions, the Heinkel He 111 was the most numerous Luftwaffe bomber during the early stages of World War II. The bomber fared well until the Battle of Britain, when its weak defensive armament was exposed. Nevertheless, it proved capable of sustaining heavy damage and remaining airborne. As the war progressed, the He 111 was used in a variety of roles on every front in the European theatre. It was used as a strategic bomber during the Battle of Britain, a torpedo bomber in the Atlantic and Arctic, and a medium bomber and a transport aircraft on the Western, Eastern, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African Front theatres. The He 111 was constantly upgraded and modified but became obsolete during the latter part of the war. The German Bomber B project was not realised, which forced the Luftwaffe to continue operating the He 111 in combat roles until the end of the war. Manufacture of the He 111 ceased in September 1944, at which point piston-engine bomber production was largely halted in favour of fighter aircraft. With the German bomber force virtually defunct, the He 111 was used for logistics. The H variant of the He 111 series was more widely produced and saw more action during World War II than any other Heinkel variant. Owing to the uncertainty surrounding the delivery and availability of the DB 601 engines, Heinkel switched to 820 kW (1,100 hp) Junkers Jumo 211 powerplants, whose somewhat greater size and weight were regarded as unimportant considerations in a twin-engine design. When the Jumo was fitted to the P model, it became the He 111H. German-built He 111s remained in service in Spain after the end of the Second World War, being supplemented by Spanish licence-built CASA 2.111s from 1950. The last two German-built aircraft remained in service until at least 1958. The H-6 variant (the subject of this review) was a torpedo bomber and could carry two LT F5b torpedoes externally. It was powered by Jumo 211F-1 engines, had six MG 15s and one MG FF cannon in forward gondola. The kit I think it would be pretty fair to say that 1/48 Heinkel He 111 kits have been few and far between over the last years. In fact, before the initial ICM He 111H-3 version which was released towards the end of 2017, the last was another re-boxing of the old Monogram kit that dates back to 1994, and seen subsequently under Revell, Hasegawa, and Revellogram labels. It seemed that almost every other German twin had seen some release or other, apart from another Heinkel. Well, when ICM announced that they were to give us a newly-tooled He 111H-3, it was fair to say that many Luftwaffe fans were extremely pleased. The breakdown of the model also invited future versions to be released, and 6 months later, this is exactly what we got. ICM has a reputation for accurate model kits, with plenty of detail inside as well as refined external details. Their Ju 88 kits have seen numerous version releases, both with ICM themselves, and also with Revell and Special Hobby. No one can accuse ICM’s newer kits of having flimsy boxes, as per one German manufacturer. This one comes in a sturdy corrugated cardboard box with a locking tab, and with a separate, glossy product lid sat snugly over this. Box art depicts a France-based machine flying relatively low over the French countryside, towards dusk, with one box edge showing a couple of the FOUR schemes that can be built from this H-6 torpedo-carrying version. Once you cut through the clear disc tabs, remove the lid and open the box, you will find SEVEN sprues of medium-grey styrene and ONE of clear, tightly packed into a single clear sleeve. Normally I don’t like this approach, but there was pretty much no way these were going to rub over each other. The clear sprue was also packed into a separate sleeve within this main one. Now, those 7 sprues are actually common to the previous He 111H-3 release, as a second clear sleeve contains a further FIVE light grey sprues, and a separately bagged clear one. This brings the total sprue count to FOURTEEN! Of course, a healthy parts count is on definitely on the plate here. A heavy 28-page instruction manual lay in the bottom of the box, and tucked within this is a long and narrow decal sheet. This kit contains no PE parts. Sprue A Our first sprue brings us two of the main parts; namely the fuselage halves. It’s impossible to ignore these, so I’ll look at them first. These are very similar to how Revell went about their 1/32 kit, in that the upper forward fuselage is a separate piece, that can of course be an indication of other variants coming our way. Externally, detail is superb and very refined, with evenly and neatly recessed, narrow panel lines and a slightly proud wing root fairing with rivet fasteners. Elsewhere, however, no rivets are depicted. I quite like the difference that a riveted surface creates with a finished project, so will add these myself with a beading tool. The rudder is moulded separately, as is the belly. With the latter, two parts options are provided on this sprue, and those are for a bomb-doors closed, and doors open option. That certainly negates any ill-fitting doors that wouldn’t perhaps sit flush. Perhaps one thing that I’m not keen on are the aerial arrangement runners that are moulded to one of the lower fuselage halves. This makes removing seams a far more difficult task. Easy to fix though: slice off the detail and fit it later when seams are gone. Only a niggle really. Internally, I think ICM have made a very reasonable job of recreating the structural elements of this aircraft, with such detail extending from the nose, back to just aft of the belly gondola. There are some ejector pin marks though, but these are generally shallow enough to simply rub them away with a fibreglass pen, or other lightly abrasive tool. You will note that due to moulding limitations, ICM has had to produce a wing root insert to glue into position within the fuselage, and you might want to blend this in to the surrounding detail. This is the same solution that HK Models used on their 1/32 B-17 Fortress kits. Similar inserts exist for the lower bomb bay walls, but these sit primarily between the two main spar and bulkhead parts that form the basis of the construction. Note also the port and starboard wheel well walls, as well as the ceiling for this area. Fore and aft walls are moulded to the main spars. These walls will provide basic constructional elements and could/should be enhanced further by the modeller, with a little plasticard and wire. I’m not going to really criticise this due to the price of the kit, and the area providing a far more than adequate basis for detailing further. Other parts on this sprue are for the lower gondola, cockpit sidewalls, and radio equipment wall. Sprue B1 & B2 Both of these have the wing upper and lower panels as their main components, moulded with integral landing flaps. I would quite have liked to have seen these separate, and it will take some work for the modeller to achieve. However, the ailerons are separate items, moulded as halves on one of these sprues. As per the fuselage, external wing detail is very refined, with superbly thin and even panel lines and port access details. No rivets here again, except for key lines and those around fuel tank panels and upper nacelle fairings. Internally, positive channels are moulded for the main wing spars, creating what looks to be a very sturdy and unambiguous assembly. Going back to the ailerons, these have very subtle rib and fabric details, and shouldn’t need any toning down. Other flying and control surfaces are moulded here also. These are the stabiliser, elevators and rudder, moulded as traditional halves. These of course exhibit the same finesse as seen generally on external surfaces. Sprue C (x2) Where there are generally multiples of specific components, then these are the sprues on which you will find them. This model is equipped with two complete Junkers Jumo 211 A-3 engines, comprising of almost 20 parts each. I really am very impressed with the detail on these, and they certainly convincing against my reference material, including personal photographs of the 211. As with the wheel bays, just a little lead wiring should be all that’s needed to bring these to life. Unusually, the prop shafts are moulded into the main engine halves, instead of having a separate, captive pin that will allow the props to rotate. I did say this model had a full interior, and further evidence is seen here with multipart bomb bay cages, plus a full complement of eight SC500 bombs that sit within the cage’s vertical cells. Don’t get too excited though, as these AREN’T for use with this H-6 release! Nice additions to your spares box though. Other parts on this sprue include the numerous engine cowl parts, and the forward cowl ring with its characteristic lightening holes. Wheels are moulded as halves, but these aren’t weighted. They also aren’t used, as alternatives are provided on a new sprue, but they still aren’t weighted. Maybe Eduard will oblige us… Sprue D1 Unless it’s tied into more future releases, I admit that I don’t understand the nomenclature of the sprues D1 and D2. They seem unrelated. This particular sprue contains those two chunky main spars, complete with integral fuselage bulkheads and moulded bulkhead and main gear bay details. Note also other internal bulkheads, and for the cockpit itself. ICM has designed a rather tidy main cockpit, that is generally spread over both this sprue and D2, and should look great as it is, out of box. No doubt that Eduard will still be able to persuade us to invest further though. Decals are provided for enhancing the cockpit further, and these are clearly labelled on the instructions sheet. Internal parts on this sprue include the rear cockpit wall, cockpit floor, multi-part pilot seat with head armour, ammunition racks etc. Other parts here include the upper fuselage deck with moulded cupola gun traverse gearing, engine cowl to wing cowl fairings, splayed bomb bay door option, tail wheel that is moulded in situ with strut, and the main gear bay doors. Unusually, these last items have no detail moulded internally. This would definitely need addressing. Sprue D2 Someone at ICM had the foresight to include most of this kit’s more fragile and smaller parts on this sprue, meaning you can safely stash this to one side during the course of building. On here you will find the undercarriage struts and braces, ammunition rack components, rudder pedals and linkages, smaller cockpit components, control yoke and torsion tube, bomb aimer/co-pilot seat, MG mounts, etc. Sprue E This last sprue of generic He 111 parts contains all of the clear components. Where the varying items have sections that aren’t a part of a window etc. then these are frosted. Framing is pretty good, and this shouldn’t be too difficult to mask up for airbrushing. Even easier if Eduard release masks for this kit. What I do note is that whilst the clear areas have a good transparency, these areas look a little rippled, and more so when you look at through them to things in the distance. However, whilst this isn’t particularly good, if you look at things that are in close proximity to the clear areas, then this isn’t as noticeable. I have some faith that this won’t be too obvious when the model is complete, but don’t quote me. The He 111’s famous glazed nose is comprised of three parts. Care will definitely be needed in assembling these. Two options are supplied for the lower gondola glazing, as are weapons too. Note that the instrument panel is moulded here too. I’ve never seen the point of clear IPs, but that might only be my mileage. Instrument decals are supplied for this and other cockpit areas, but you may choose to punch out the individual dials and apply them separately. It certainly makes for a cleaner finish. Sprue E1 This new, clear sprue contains just four parts. Two of these are for the upper gunner position and the options here are for an open glazed area with a retracted canopy, or a closed version. I’m glad to see they provided optional parts instead of having to assemble this. The remaining two parts are for the front and rear of the ventral gondola. The standard of glazing here is actually nicer than the main canopy parts. Sprue G The first of our new grey sprues contains two underbelly sections. One of these is for the torpedo-carrying machine, and the other for the one carrying an external bomb payload. There are some slight differences here. Of course, the ETC racks sit over the He 111s bomb doors, and with this machine, you won’t fit the internal bomb racks. They are showed as not for usewith this release. Two scheme options provided in this kit have the tail with the rear-facing MG. Parts are provided here for that, but you will need to take a saw to the kit and remove the original tail. Maybe a slight oversight in ICM’s original modular design. The last parts are for the new tail wheel strut and ventral gondola. Sprue F (x2) These identical sprues contain the new props and spinners, two-part exhausts (thus hollow!), and external bomb load. Sprues H1 & H2 Not wanting to waste time and cost, of course, ICM has provided the same sprues in this release as for the Ju 88A-4/Torp. After all, they are the same weapons. Just remember that the racks won’t be needed as they are moulded to the underside of the new parts on Sprue G. The torpedoes themselves are moulded as halves, with separate propulsion impellors and a fin modification unit that is similar to the ones that the Japanese used on their torpedoes at Pearl Harbour, allowing the torpedo to operate very close to the water’s surface. Detail on these is excellent, and laden with two of these, this He 111 version should look particularly unusual and menacing. Decals One decal sheet is included, and there is no indication of where it is printed. I am assuming this is a homebrew ICM product. Printing is fairly thin and carrier film is minimal. Everything also appears to be in full register. No swastikas are included. A full set of stencils is included, along with the markings for the FOUR machines. These are: He 111H-6, 3./KG26, Norway, Summer 1941 He 111H-6, Stab I/KG26, Bardufoss, Norway, July 1942 He 111H-6, 8./KG53, Poland, June 1941 He 111H-6, 7./KG27, Russia, November 1941 Instructions I quite like ICM’s approach to the assembly manual, with the result being totally clean in approach and fuss-free. Starting with a history of the type, plus a colour chart for both Revell and Tamiya paints, a full parts plan is then printed, and then 116 constructional sequences. Assembly illustration is very clear, with colour annotation and selective use of shading to make some drawings clearer, such as where the 3D could mess with your mind! The last pages are taken over with a stencil drawing and four colour profiles for the supplied schemes. Decal placement and paint application is clear. Conclusion This appears to be a pretty accurate-looking kit with all the right curves in all the right places, and also a very intuitive and interesting assembly sequence. For example, you can’t build the wing separately to the fuselage, as the through-spars incorporate fuselage interior, and the bomb cells are loaded into the fuselage after main fuselage assembly, complete with the lower belly. Apart from the ripples in the glazing (which I don’t think will be too noticeable when assembled), the quality of this kit really is excellent, and ICM are setting new standards, outside of their Asian counterparts. This is also a kit with serious value for money, coming in at around £40. Plenty of buildability and one of those kits that really excites me. Hopefully, I’ll make a start very soon. My sincere thanks to ICM Model Kits for the review kit seen here. To purchase this one for yourself, click the link at the top of this article.
  15. James Hatch

    1/48 Junkers Ju 88C-6

    1/48 Junkers Ju 88C-6 ICM Catalogue # 48238 Available from Hannants for £27.99 The Junkers Ju 88 was a German World War II Luftwaffe twin-engine multirole combat aircraft. Junkers Flugzeug- und Motorenwerke (JFM) designed the plane in the mid-1930s as a so-called Schnellbomber ("fast bomber") that would be too fast for fighters of its era to intercept. It suffered from a number of technical problems during later stages of its development and early operational roles but became one of the most versatile combat aircraft of the war. Like several other Luftwaffe bombers, it served as a bomber, dive bomber, night fighter, torpedo bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, heavy fighter and, during the closing stages of the conflict in Europe, as a flying bomb. Despite its protracted development, the aircraft became one of the Luftwaffe's most important assets. The assembly line ran constantly from 1936 to 1945 and more than 16,000 Ju 88s were built in dozens of variants, more than any other twin-engine German aircraft of the period. Throughout production the basic structure of the aircraft remained unchanged. Without a doubt, the Junkers Ju 88 was one of the most versatile and adaptable aircraft to have been used during WW2. Entering service as the war was literally starting (on the day of the Polish attack), the Ju 88 became successful for its numerous famous and infamous roles, starting out as a light bomber/dive bomber, and when losses started to mount around the time of the Battle of Britain, it was moved into other theatres of war, such as North Africa, and against shipping in the Mediterranean with a torpedo-carrying variant. Where it is perhaps best known are for its roles as both a heavy fighter and night-fighter, in which it excelled. The Ju 88C series of standard fighter-bomber versions from the C-2 onwards culminated in the Ju 88 C-6, applying experience acquired with the A-4 bomber, equipped with the same Jumo 211J engines but replacing the "beetle's eye" nose glazing with a smoothly curved all-metal nose, pierced only by the barrels of its forward-firing offensive armament. The C-6 was used mostly as fighter-bomber and therefore assigned to bomber units. As a reaction to the increasing number of attacks on German shipping, especially on U-boats in the Bay of Biscay, from July 1942 it started flying anti-shipping patrols and escort missions from bases in France. V./Kampfgeschwader 40 being formed to operate the C-6. Courtesy of Wikipedia. The kit There has certainly been some mileage seen in the moulds for ICM’s rather sweet Ju 88 kit, with there now being TWELVE incarnations that have been released across the ICM, Hasegawa, Special Hobby and Revell labels. This particular Ju 88C-6 version was released about a month ago from the date of this review, and of course sees the original manufacturer’s progression through some of the key Ju 88 versions. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see more incarnations of this kit in future, hopefully covering a number of the other exotic machines that were derived from the base Ju 88 airframe. There is of course a reason why we are seeing this kit being given multiple releases and that is simply because it is the definitive tooling of this important aircraft that is currently available, and with so many Ju 88 versions that existed, modellers are going to want to build the one that is specific to their interests, such as the heavy fighter, torpedo aircraft etc. Packaged into ICM’s very sturdy, full corrugated cardboard box, with a colourful and glossy product lid that depicts a low flying C-6, possibly over the Bay of Biscay, this kit consists of a single clear sleeve that holds all NINE medium-grey sprues and two clear ones. A total of about 250 parts makes up this release. Thankfully, the clear sprues are separately bagged within the main sleeve and all of the others are tightly packed up against each other, so no space for them to jiggle and rub against each other. A 24-page A4 manual is included, and a single decal sheet finalises the contents. This release sees the addition of three new sprues, catering to the change in nose, equipment and canopy. I know that some modellers can be driven to frustration by the engineering choices that some companies make, but with this kit, ICM has boxed clever. As we know, it has been designed to accommodate other versions so as to maximise the tooling, but none of this is done to the disadvantage of the modeller. Some very intelligent design work can be seen here, such as the fuselage halves being full length, so no need to graft on different nose versions. The fin is also separate, indicating something from the 88G family, maybe. Wing root fairings are moulded to the fuselage and are tabbed, meaning that the upper wing panels can easily sit on these and provide a positive location point. Another touch of genius is a single piece lower fuse and inboard wing panel section. When this is fitted to the fuselage, and then the wing panels added, the lower seam will be totally hidden under the broad nacelle structure. The nacelles themselves will then locate into the undersides via tabs. If you’ve ever seen the Revell 1/32 kit, you’ll know that there is a sturdy structure within the nacelle that the undercarriage is mounted to. Looking at this model, I think that whilst you may need to fit that mounting structure prior to the nacelle, it appears that you can probably fit the landing gear later, after painting. All control surfaces on this model can be posed, with the rear of the nacelles being separate for this purpose. You may need to fiddle things with this, and I can’t comment further without test fitting this one. Two detailed Jumo211 engines are included in this kit, with the provision to display one/either of them. These really do look very good, with each unit containing around 15 parts per engine, including the firewall and associated plumbing. The engines must be installed within the nacelle before the whole assembly is offered to the wing. You’ll need to make sure your painting and masking regime is good here. Cowl radiator flaps are presented as open only, so to pose these in the more aesthetically pleasing closed position, you will need to do a little surgery. Propellers are supplied as single piece units, and the spinner comprises of the typical back-plate and front section. If you expect a lot from the cockpit area, in terms of detail, then this won’t disappoint. Whilst there is no specific Eduard sets for this release at the time of writing, some areas could still use some of the sets designed for the ICM release. As no seatbelts are included in this kit, you will definitely need to sort out that omission. The office area is very well-appointed, with nicely moulded fuselage sidewall details, superbly equipped radio rear bulkhead, ammunition racks and drums, detailed instrument panel, side consoles with delicately rendered instruments, two-piece control column, rudder pedal assemblies, seats with intricate mounting points etc. I don’t really think there would be much to add in here, with the exception of some colour PE, perhaps. When assembled the cockpit will most certainly be a very busy and visual area. The bola gondola is well-appointed too, and this area is moulded separately to the underside fuselage and can be fitted later in assembly. Surface detail is everything you would expect from a modern-tooled model, with finely engraved panel lines and port details. There are also no rivets at all, so if you do want them, then you’ll have to get out Rosie. Plastic quality here is excellent with no flaws or obtrusive ejector pin marks. Clear plastic parts, both ICM and Special Hobby, are superb, with excellent clarity and nicely defined frame details. Of course, this particular kit does vary in a number of aspects, from previous releases, and looking through the parts maps does indicate a large number of parts that should NOT be used with this particular release. In fact, the original Sprue C has been supplemented with Sprue C1. This contains whole new engine nacelles, propellers, spinners, annular radiator intakes, tabbed fin and rudder, fuselage spine section with dipole etc. Parts not to be used are clearly defined on the parts map by being shaded in pink. Another sprue that takes a major hit on unused parts is the engine sprue. Here, you can discount all of the bomb parts, and guns/ammo drums etc. There are THREE new sprues in this particular torpedo bomber version, and it will come as no surprise to find out that two of these, H & H1, contain the reworked gondola with fixed rear facing guns, solid nose with gun apertures, forward fuselage window blanking plates, machine guns, ammunition containers for forward guns, optional exhaust shrouds, etc. Whilst I note that a single MG has been provided for the lowermost nose gun position, the others are simply represented as stubs which fit into the nose apertures. The savvy modeller could possibly work out the remaining details and install them too. One of the new sprues (H) has only one part for use with this release, with the other solid noses and nightfighter aerial arrays being scheduled for a later release. The new clear sprue contains the main canopy area, minus the upper, rear glazed sections which are supplied on the original sprue. Again, clarity and framing definition is excellent. Decals An ICM-printed decal sheet contains markings for FOUR marking schemes, with all printing being in solid, authentic colour, with minimal carrier film and also being both nice and thin. Registration is perfect too. As well as markings, a full suite of stencils are included as are instrument decals. The instruments are probably better punched out from the decal and applied individually, so you don’t have to attempt to get the decal to conform to the raised panel details. No swastikas are supplied. The four schemes in this release are: Ju 88C-6, 11./ZG.26, Mediterranean, Summer 1943 Ju 88C-6, 11./ZG.26, Mediterranean, 1943 Ju 88C-6, 13./KG.40, Lorient, France, November 1943 Ju 88C-6, 4./KG.76, Taganrog, Russia, Fall of 1942 Instructions ICM’s instruction manuals are very attractive and easy to follow, with 96 easy-to-follow stages that shouldn’t present any issues with assembly. The first part of the manual highlights the colours needed for completing this model (Revell and Tamiya paints), as well as parts maps of the sprues. The rear of the manual has two pages for the four schemes, printed in colour and with good decal placement notes, plus a page denoting stencil placement etc. Conclusion Another excellent Ju 88 release. This kit currently retails for around £30 or less in the UK, and I think that relates to excellent value for money when you look at the detail levels that are provided here. The C-6, for me, is one of the more attractive versions of this aircraft and certainly paved the way for the later BMW-powered G versions with their nightfighter prowess. This kit doesn’t have any PE parts, so for at least the seatbelts, you might want to consider some of Eduard’s aftermarket sets for the other ICM/Revell variants. Most parts will be completely usable in this release. Of course, this is an in-box review, and I’ve not looked at the fit of this. I have seen a small number of Ju 88 kits built though, and spoken to modellers who have built others, and they claim no real problems in construction. ICM’s engineering seems to be logical and sensible, and without the annoyances of the earlier, unrelated Dragon releases. Highly Recommended My thanks to ICM for the review sample seen in this article. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of this article.
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