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Found 53 results

  1. Hello all, Like many of us of a certain age, I grew up watching Space 1999 in the 70's. Looking back at it now, it's pretty cheesy, but the classic design of the utilitarian Eagle Transporter endures. I was smitten as a kid, and had the Dinky Eagle, in lurid green paint, and restored one a couple of years ago. I also got hold of the old Airfix 1/72 kit a few years ago, but when the 1/48 scale MPC Eagle kit was announced, I just had to have one. I was saving it for my retirement, so now's the time! Here's the box: ..and for those interested, here's the sprues: That's what the sprues look like when you spend three consecutive evenings cutting off and cleaning up 308 parts, many of which are round rods with a mould seam up both sides. I'm not sure how visible those seams will be on the finished article, but better safe than sorry. I separated the parts into plastic containers so I wouldn't get them mixed up: Comparing the beak to the 9" long Dinky toy I restored gave me my first impression of how big it'll be - referring to it as the 22" Eagle is all very well, but it's only when you get the bits in your hands that you start to wonder where on earth (or moon) you're going to put it afterwards: I had a glueing frenzy last night, and many of the subassemblies are ready to have their seams dealt with...more when that happens... Cheers, Dean
  2. An eternity ago I built Hasegawa's 1/48 F-104C Starfighter straight from the box in a Puerto Rico ANG scheme. I soon discovered that the 1/48 decals by Eagle Strike (48-239, "Starfighters 1") weren't really scaled well. The Puerto Rico flag for the rudder was way too large, as were the U.S. insignia. So I opted to build it as 0-70929 as seen on this photo on Airliners.net: http://www.airliners.net/photo/USA-Air-Force/Lockheed-F-104C-Starfighter/170101 You can see that the ragged edge of the anti-dazzle panel on the nose is accurate and not because of a lack of masking capabilities! I did suffer from a lack of observation skills though, as the photo is of F-104C 57-929 and the decals for 56-929... The weathering was done rather heavy-handed as the real PRANG One-Oh-Fours didn't look too "concours-ready" either! One thing that no manufacturer of Starfighter models seems to get right is that the tip tanks of the F-104A, F-104B, F-104C and F-104D had small inboard fins, similar as the outboard fins. It was not until the F-104G that the inboard were enlarged... So aside from adding simple pieces of seatbelt from tape between the headrest and the moulded-in belts on the backrest, I scrounged the outboard fins from another pair of tiptanks to get this (in my eyes) quite visible detail right.
  3. Well I like to be a bit different with my builds, so here's something you don't see every day, a Polish SE5a. About 20 aircraft were supplied to the Poles to fight against the Soviets when war broke out in the East in February 1919. To link it back to WW1, most of the conflicts in Eastern Europe directly after 1918 were the result of WW1 and much of it was fought with captured WW1 equipment or as in this case, surplus war machines were supplied or bought directly from countries looking to offload equipment and make a few bucks. I'm on a bit of a stash queen build at the moment. I've had this kit a long time, maybe 20 or more years. It's pretty basic but will make into a decent model and it's a good thing to practice my rigging on.
  4. Grunhertz


    This is the Eduard Bf109 G6 that I've built for Sean at top notch. Half painted with his masks and the other half blank so that the masks can be applied showing how easy they are to use. It will be on the top notch table at Southern expo. The eduard kit is a peach and one of these days I'm just going to build one for the fun of it. The first one I did for the weekend in a weekend build and then this one.
  5. This is the old Monogram 1/48 MiG 15 from the 70's. Dad had this kit kicking around the house for at least 30 years and he finally gave it to me so I thought I'd build it. It's not too bad, but scales out to around 1/44, so any aftermarket bits you have in 1/48 will be way too small. The fit is decent but the canopy is fairly poor. I added some instrument decals to the cockpit to add a little detail. Markings are those of Maj I. P. Golshevskij who apparently flight night time interception missions over Korea. Decals from the spares box and I made the front FOD cover.
  6. Well here we go and this will be my entry when we open. Not sure when I'll be starting yet. I'll probably do option 2 and this will need careful planning I expect
  7. Deanflyer

    Zero Interest

    I've retired! :-) Lots of time free to indulge my hobbies, so I've started with this, the Hasegawa 1/48 kit built straight from the box apart from seatbelts and antenna wire. Cheers, Dean
  8. Grunhertz

    Mustang iii

    Got this one done too
  9. Stated this weds when I started clipping bits off the sprue, 8 needed something as an easy build. I didn't think it would be this easy. I make it 4 hours total to get here. If you want a kit to fight you all the way don't buy tamiya
  10. Tamiya's lovely P-47D 'Razorback' OOB. Painted with Gunze / Tamiya acrylics, weathered with Oils and Pigments. One of my Go-To kits, as it's so well engineered and is a pleasure to build, and you end up with a Jug - what's not to like. Not a huge fan of the Ammo Matt varnish though, it had a tendency to rub off when weathering, so probably only really works as a final coat WIP available here
  11. So I've decided to start this at last as some of you will remember I reviewed it here And I'm going to be adding a few of the extras the brassin pit and engine with nose guns. Nothing to see at the mo as I'm busy chopping resin and a bit of base coating at the moment. I'll be doing a JG 2 bird and using Sean from top notch masks for the camo and Balkankreuz.
  12. Special Hobby Model 239 Buffalo “Taivaan Helmi over Finland” No.48180 The Brewster F2A Buffalo was an American fighter aircraft which saw service early in WW2. Designed and built by the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation, it was one of the first U.S. monoplanes with an arrester hook and other modifications for aircraft carriers. The Buffalo won a competition against the Grumman F4F Wildcat in 1939 to become the U.S. Navy's first monoplane fighter aircraft. Although superior to the Grumman F3F biplane it replaced and the early F4Fs, the Buffalo was largely obsolete when the United States entered the war, being unstable and overweight, especially when compared to the Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero. Several nations, including Finland, Belgium, Britain and the Netherlands, ordered the Buffalo. The Finns were the most successful with their Buffalos, flying them in combat against early Soviet fighters with excellent results. During the Continuation War of 1941–1944, the B-239s (a de-navalised F2A-1) operated by the Finnish Air Force proved capable of engaging and destroying most types of Soviet fighter aircraft operating against Finland at that time and achieving in the first phase of that conflict 32 Soviet aircraft shot down for every B-239 lost, and producing 36 Buffalo "aces". In December 1941, Buffalos operated by both British Commonwealth (B-339E) and Dutch (B-339D) air forces in South East Asia suffered severe losses in combat against the Japanese Navy's Mitsubishi A6M Zero and the Japanese Army's Nakajima Ki-43 "Oscar". The British attempted to lighten their Buffalos by removing ammunition and fuel and installing lighter guns to improve performance, but it made little difference. After the first few engagements, the Dutch halved the fuel and ammunition load in the wing, which allowed their Buffalos (and their Hurricanes) to stay with the Oscars in turns. The Buffalo was built in three variants for the U.S. Navy: the F2A-1, F2A-2 and F2A-3. (In foreign service, with lower horsepower engines, these types were designated B-239, B-339, and B-339-23 respectively.) The F2A-3 variant saw action with United States Marine Corps (USMC) squadrons at the Battle of Midway. Shown by the experience of Midway to be no match for the Zero, the F2A-3 was derided by USMC pilots as a "flying coffin." However, the F2A-3s performance was substantially inferior to the F2A-2 variant used by the Navy before the outbreak of the war despite detail improvements. Finland In April 1939, the Finnish government contacted the Roosevelt administration to acquire modern combat aircraft for its air force as quickly as possible. On 17 October 1939, the Finnish Embassy in Washington, DC, received a telegram clearing the purchase of fighter aircraft. Prompt availability and compatibility with 87-octane fuel were the only requirements stipulated by the Finns. The U.S. Navy and State Department arranged to divert remaining F2A-1 fighter aircraft, in exchange for its order of F2A-2 Buffalos scheduled to be delivered later. Consequently, on 16 December, the Finns signed a contract to purchase 44 Model 239 fighters. The total agreed price was U.S. $3.4 million, and the deal included spare parts, ten replacement engines and 20 Hamilton Standard propellers. The Buffalos sent to Finland were de-navalised; all the naval equipment, such as tail hooks and life-raft containers were removed, resulting in a lighter aircraft. The Finnish F2A-1s also lacked self-sealing fuel tanks and cockpit armour. These F2A-1 Buffalos, given the export number Model B-239, were equipped with an export-approved Wright R-1820-G5 nine-cylinder radial engine of 950 hp (708 kW). After their delivery to Finland, the Finnish Air Force added armored backrests, metric flight instruments, the Finnish Väisälä T.h.m.40 gunsight, and four .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns. The top speed of the Finnish B-239s, as modified, was 297 mph (478 km/h) at 15,675 ft (4,750 m), and their loaded weight was 5,820 lb (2,640 kg). Built and shipped in four batches, the Finnish B-239s were shipped to Bergen, in Norway, in January and February 1940 from New York city. The crated fighters were then sent by railway to Sweden and assembled by Saab at Trollhättan, northeast of Gothenberg. In February 1940, Finnish Air Force pilot Lieutenant Jorma Karhunen flight tested the first B-239. Unfamiliar with the aircraft, he burned out the engine while flying very low at high speed; crashing on a snow-covered field, damaging the propeller and some belly panels. Initially unimpressed, the Finns later witnessed a demonstration by a Brewster test pilot, who was able to stay on the tail of a Finnish Fiat G50 Freccia fighter from Italy; although the Fiat fighter was faster in level flight, the Brewster could out-turn it. Of the six Buffalo B-239 fighters delivered to Finland before the end of the Winter War of 1939–1940, five of them became combat-ready, but they did not enter combat before the war ended. The Brewster B-239E fighter aircraft was never referred to as the "Buffalo" in Finland; it was known simply as the "Brewster" or sometimes by the nicknames Taivaan helmi ("Sky Pearl") or Pohjoisten taivaiden helmi ("Pearl of the Northern Skies"). Other nicknames were Pylly-Valtteri, Amerikanrauta ("Butt-Walter" and "American hardware" or "American car", respectively) and Lentävä kaljapullo ("flying beer-bottle"). The 44 Buffalo Model B-239 (export) fighters used by the FAF received serial numbers BW-351 to BW-394. In Finnish Air Force service, the B-239s were regarded as being easy to fly, a "gentleman's travelling plane." The Buffalo was also popular within the FAF because of its relatively long range and also because of a good maintenance record. This was in part due to the efforts of the Finnish mechanics, who solved a problem that plagued the Wright Cyclone engine by inverting one of the piston rings in each cylinder, which had a positive effect on reliability. The cooler weather of Finland also helped, because the engine was prone to overheating as noted in tropical Pacific use. The Brewster Buffalo earned a reputation in Finnish Air Force service as one of their more successful fighter aircraft, with the Fiat G.50, that scored an unprecedented kill/loss ratio of 33/1.In service from 1941 to 1945, Buffalos of (Fighter Squadron 24) claimed 477 Soviet Air Force warplanes destroyed, with the combat loss of Lentolaivue 24 just 19 Buffalos, an outstanding victory ratio of 26:1. During the Continuation War, Lentolaivue 24 (Fighter Squadron 24) was equipped with the B-239s until May 1944, when the Buffalos were transferred toHävittäjälentolaivue 26 (Fighter Squadron 26). Most of the pilots of Lentolaivue 24 were Winter War combat veterans. This squadron claimed a total of 459 Soviet aircraft with B-239s, while losing 15 Buffalos in combat.The Brewsters had their baptism by fire in Finland on 25 June 1941, when a pair of Buffalos from 2/LLv24 intercepted 27 SovietTupolev SBs from 201st SBAP over Turku Five SBs were claimed as downed. Subsequent attacks were repelled by LLv24 pilots who, by dusk, had flown 77 missions. Many Finnish pilots racked up enormous scores by using basic tactics against Soviet aircraft. The default tactic was the four-plane "parvi" (swarm), with a pair flying lower as bait, and a higher pair to dive on enemy interceptors. The Soviet Air Force was never able to counteract this tactic. The top-scoring B-239 pilot was Hans Wind with 39 kills. Lt Hans Wind, with six other Buffalos of LeLv 24, intercepted some 60 Soviet aircraft near Kronstad. Two Soviet Pe-2 bombers, one Soviet Hawker Hurricane fighter, and 12 I-16’s were claimed for the loss of just one B-239 (BW-378). After evaluation of claims against actual Soviet losses, aircraft BW-364 was found to have been used to achieve 42½ kills in total by all pilots operating it, possibly making it the highest-scoring fighter airframe in the history of air warfare. The top scoring Finnish ace, Ilmari Juutilainen, scored 34 of his 94½ kills in B-239s, including 28 in BW-364. During the Continuation War, a lack of replacements led the Finns to develop a copy of the Buffalo built from non-strategic materials such as plywood, however the Humu, as they called it, was already obsolete and only a single prototype was built. By late 1943, the lack of spares, wear-and-tear, and better Soviet fighters and training greatly reduced the effectiveness of Finnish B-239s, though LeLv 26 pilots would still claim some 35 victories against Soviet aircraft in mid-1944. The last victory by a Buffalo against Soviet aircraft was claimed over the Karelian Isthmuson 17 June 1944. From 1943, Finland's air force received Messerschmitt Bf 109Gs from Germany, and this much-superior fighter re-equipped most Finnish Air Force fighter squadrons. After Finland signed an armistice with the Soviet Union in September, 1944, they had to drive Finland's former ally Nazi Germany out of the country during the Lapland War. The only clash with the Luftwaffe took place on 3 October 1944 when HLeLV 26 intercepted Junkers Ju87’s claiming two, the last victories to be made by Brewster pilots in World War II. By the end of the war in Lapland, only eight B-239s were left. Five B-239s continued to fly until 1948, with last flights of Brewsters by the Finnish Air Force on 14 September 1948, when they were stored until scrapped in 1953. The Kit. Well where to start? A quick search on Scalemates produced a timeline for this kit and I found that this is a rebox of a Classic Airframes kit. Dating back to 2005 with new parts being introduced later and a quick google search shows that this is one of their better kits, not without its problems but better than some, (why do some people shun these kits because with work they usually turn out to be nice models just check out Peter Marshall’s Blenheim on this very forum here). Inside we have three medium grey plastic sprues, a separate bag with one clear sprue in a separate bag with four resin components, a decal sheet containing markings for three separate schemes all for the Finnish Airforce, an unpainted Photo Etch fret and a film sheet for the instrument panel. Sprue A This sprue contains the parts for the fuselage, propeller, aerials, cowl ring and seat. There is a small amount of flash evident but sink marks are not evident. Typically of Classic Airframes kits the sprue gates are quite thick and will require cleaning up, some rib and sidewall detail is evident and will benefit from careful painting to bring out the interior detail. Exterior detail is by way of reasonably fine recessed panel lines with a small amount of rib detail on the fin, there is a small blemish on the fin that looks like it may be a result of a small amount of mould damage that will sand off successfully. It should by now go without saying that there isn’t anything by way of locating pins anywhere but so long as you make sure the mating surfaces are square this is no problem. Sprue B On here we have the wings, wheels and a couple more cockpit parts, wheels and a different tailcone that isn’t used. The wing detail is nice with raised panels where needed and recessed lines where needed very nice however they do appear to fade a little towards the leading edge. , A single piece lower part of the wing with wheelbays and two part upper wing surface with locating tabs to ensure a good fit of wings to fuselage and a guaranteed correct dihedral. Tail surfaces have mounting tabs again sprue gates are quite thick. And some flash is evident flying surfaces are moulded in situ with quite fine rib detail. Sprue D On here we have the small parts and we have a large amount of parts that aren’t used so check the instructions. There are no part numbers on the sprues but there are in the sprue map so you will need to go back to the instructions to check you have the right parts. flash on this sprue is non-existent, the detail is quite soft on things like undercarriage legs but then when you get to the engine this is as good as anything I’ve seen from Eduard, Hasegawa or Tamiya the ignition ring is moulded in place, as are the plugs all its going to need is some wire and careful painting you will have a truly lovely engine. Full engine mounts and bulkheads are supplied and this looks nicely detailed. I would go so far to say that this sprue has been reworked at some time a quick check on Scalemates has confirmed new parts a couple of years later. Sprue F Clear parts these look good nice and thin with three pieces for the canopy with different windscreens and sliding sections (some not used) a glazed bottom panel is supplied too but not fitted. Sprue gates are thinner on here and the parts are crystal clear Resin Resin parts are supplied for wheel bays which will be rib detail that can be seen from the undercarriage bay, nice and crisp as well as simple the back of the engine is also supplied in resin and again this looks great with really great detail there is also a nice crisp gunsight, they will need removing from the casting blocks, and a word of health and safety warning here be very careful how you remove the resin from the blocks without creating too much dust and a mask will be a good idea here try to carve rather than sand. But these are the things on limited run kits that really bring things out. Photo Etch This unpainted with cockpit parts, and seat belts they will need painting and in some places folding or rolling. This is what will bring out the detail in the cockpit so take your time with painting and folding, be careful. The instrument panel looks great and sandwiches a film section in between both PE sections a bit of white paint on the reverse will make the instrument panel really pop out and look great. It is testament to Classic Airframes and Special Hobby that when you put the PE in to what can look like a bland cockpit gets a real makeover and then looks great. Decals At this point the kit really comes to life the Finnish aircraft really are colourful with lots of yellows, greens yellows, whites and blues. The decals are printed by Cartograf in perfect register and nice and glossy, annoyingly the Finnish swastikas are two part (I was under the impression that only black swastikas were embargoed in Europe, you live and learn) this does mean you are going to have to take your time lining things up. Cartograf decals respond really well to Micro Sol and Set. All Schemes are black and olive green over light grey with yellow cowls, theatre bands and under wingtips. The schemes are: · BW 393 of 1/LLv 24. April 1943 this is black and Olive green over grey with a white overspray with a blue rudder. · BW 393 of 1/LLv 24. November 1942 this is black and Olive green over grey with a blue rudder. · BW 378 of 4/LLv 24. Late 1941 this is Black and Olive green over grey with a white rudder. Instructions The instructions are printed in colour on a 12 page A5 sheet with the first page being given over to a brief history of the type; the second page has a sprue map and a breakdown of the colours to be used. Call outs are in Gunze paint. Construction pages start unusually with the wings and then the engine bulkhead, with colours called out throughout the build sequence. From there the cockpit floor goes in and the engine is painted and installed. Only at step 11 do we get to the fuselage and the cockpit proper; this is a strange sequence that has you join the starboard fuselage half to the wings then assemble the cockpit before glueing the port fuselage side in place, (warning check the fit!). Next up the tailplane and cowl ring goes on with undercarriage canopy and prop to bring up the rear. Conclusion, If you were to look at this kit against a Tamiya or Hasegawa kit you would be somewhat perplexed as this is not going to be a “shake and bake” kit. The flash and the slight damage to the mould had me going “really?” but then I remembered that this is a limited run kit in the true sense of the word. It is a kit that rewards some hard work being put into it and that is what will make it a rewarding build. It is going to need thought putting into it as well as time and patience. With all that said it is definitely the best example of the type from a detail point of view in the scale. And the Finnish colours are going to give you a nice colourful and unusual model for the shelf. It’s good to see this back. My verdict if you want a buffalo in 1/48 it’s the best in the scale and I can recommend it to experienced modellers looking for a challenge. My thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample.
  13. This one comes from my imagination, made from the older Revell/Monogram Bf 109G-10. It's not a terrible kit, but it does show its age, lacking a lot of detail but I enhanced the kit a bit using Hasegawa 109 parts; Canopy with amour, main wheels and tail wheel. I also used some RATO packs from the Tamiya Me 262, as I figured this baby might need some help hauling that torpedo into the air. The torpedo and the center line mount come out of the old Trimaster Fw 190D-9 kit.
  14. After what seems like months (it probably is!) the brand new Great Wall Hobby 1/48 Su-35S Flanker E has arrived in stock at BlackMike Models. I have only had a brief glimpse in the box so far but it looks like a fantastically detailed kit. The batch I have are from the first issue so have the optional tinted canopy parts which is a bonus I wasn't expecting. I will get some photos of the sprues etc taken and post them up as soon as I can. In the meantime you can head over to the BlackMike Models website and get your hands on one now with free postage within the UK. https://www.blackmikemodels.co.uk/products/great-wall-hobby-l4820-1-48-sukhoi-su-35s-flanker-e Duncan B
  15. Loved building this Painted with tamiya acrylics rigged with AK rigging thread
  16. Focke Wulf FW190A-5 light Fighter Profipack History, When it comes to the European and Eastern front aircraft there are eight really well known fighters: The Spitfire, Hurricane, P47, P51, Yak series LaGG series, BF109 and last but by no means least the FW190. When you look at all of the above fighters they went through numerous development stages throughout the war and as such modellers love them. The FW190 started life in 1938 as a result of a technical requirement of the RLM and that is nearly where the story ends, the new fighter had a lot of flaws and was nearly cancelled there and then. The RLM decided to pursue an aircraft that they saw promise in particularly as it wasn’t to use the DB603 engine being used on the BF109 and was to use the BMW 801 series radial engine. By June 1941 most of the problems had been ironed out and the FW190A-1 was released for squadron use to say the aircraft was a shock when it appeared over the channel front and was superior to the Spitfire VB in service with the RAF at the time. The type went through various modifications were put in place culminating in the A-4 series as the most versatile of the first series of airframes. This type was used as a fighter and fighter bomber as well as a bomber interceptor. One of the problems with the first series of airframes that was never really solved was cooling for the engine, this was solved when the design team looked at the versatility of the type and decided to move the centre of gravity back slightly to improve the balance when using drop tanks and bombs this gave a visible change of a longer nose section which also improved the cooling no end. After that the type went from the A-5 to the A-9 with various changes to armament and wing configuration as well as more powerful engines and armoured panels for attacking the US bomber streams. The kit we are looking at now is the A-5 the first of the longer aircraft also an aircraft that only had 2 cannon and two machine guns unlike the other dedicated fighters that had 4 cannon and two machine guns. So what have Eduard done this time? Lets have a look The Kit This is the second Profipack boxing of the 190A since the new tool came out late last year to rave reviews (I have the A4 boxing on the bench at the moment with shed loads of resin and PE). There is a Royal class boxing is available containing the A2, 3, and 4. And there is an A3 boxing on the way in the Profipack and no doubt there will be others too looking at the sprues. The original boxing’s of the 190 A and D series were fine kits but were complicated with a full engine to be displayed as well as nose guns and wing gun panels open. This led to a complicated, some say tricky build and having built 6 of them I can testify that they took some practice and test fitting and I eventually got the hang of them and enjoyed building them. Eduard however listened to comments about the early kits and produced a somewhat different kit this time. Gone are the open engine and gun bays (don’t fret these are still available in resin) and the slightly thick fin of the previous kit, in its place we have an easier to build kit which does not sacrifice the detail. On first look you would be forgiven for thinking that some sprues have been reused from the earlier kit (I certainly thought so) but no this is all new tool. The box Eduard’s standard top, opening box is nice and sturdy and holds the contents well for the kit, on top with a picture of “Pipps” Priller carving through a formation of B17’s and Spitfires. On the sides are the various decal options in side view. Inside the box we have an A4 colour instruction sheet, four Grey and one clear sprues of plastic parts, the sprues are packed in separate bags one for the common sprues to all of the FW190’s and a separate for the unique to the A5 sprues. The clear sprue is again in a separate bag to prevent it getting scratched, a photoetched sheet containing about 40 parts, a set of masks for the canopy and tailwheel and finally two decal sheets. Rather than go through sprue A, B etc. I will take the sprues in a more logical order starting with…… Sprue R The fuselage and what has to be said here is full marks to Eduard rather than using inserts in their parts they will use different sprues for different variants and the difference here between this and the earlier kit is the lengthened nose section fitted from the A5 onwards and we have a fuselage with very little in mating parts; basically behind the cockpit up the fin and behind the wing underneath the plus of this is very little in the way of seams to clean up (god I hate cleaning seams). Panel lines are restrained as is the rivet detail which is probably as close as you will get to perfect in the scale. Cooling fins behind the exhausts are moulded shut. On the inside there are a couple of ejector pin marks that are hidden perfectly there is some cockpit framing moulded on the inside with locations in place for the canopy crank handle. Being Eduard the tooling is designed to accommodate the Brassin resin parts with the radio hatch as well as the engine cowlings being recessed on the inside to make cutting out a breeze. Sprue G The wings and again these are a different tooling to the 190 A4 wings due to the fact that this kit only has the inboard cannon. From the A6 onwards there was a different wing which was stronger to accommodate different heavier field modifications (rustatz). Again rivet and panel line detail is sublime, no sink marks or flash is evident moulded in here as well there are the lower cowlings. The lower wing is a completely different layout to the A4 tooling because of the nose extension. Again the flaps on the lower wing are recessed in case you want to fit aftermarket flaps and on some versions you will need to remove the centre section where the inner undercarriage doors fit. The inner gun bay doors are moulded onto the wings with cut outs for the doors in the fuselage. Sprue A This is the first of the common to all sprues in the box and there is a lot of similar parts here so check the instructions thoroughly there are no less than 3 different cooling fans, 3 different bomb racks 2 propellers and 2 cockpit tubs, 3 wing inserts and 2 different undercarriage legs so be careful. The detail here is sublime and has the part that was the source of so much trouble on the old kit; the main spar. The engine here will make you think is that it? It’s a flat panel with half a row of cylinders and crankcase but, by time you have the fan and propeller on you really can’t see much under there. And if you want more engine there is a resin replacement available. There is a bulkhead to go behind the engine and this really holds everything in place perfectly and builds a remarkably rigid structure for the fuselage. There is a 2 piece cowling ring with the annular oil cooler and armour ring both separate this allows for the A8 variants that have different thicknesses of armour. Finally there is a seat with separate seat pad (some had them some didn’t so check any references you may have). Sprue B Like Sprue A, lots of bits on here aren’t used; drop tanks, rudders control surfaces cowling parts and gun covers. Certainly Eduard have an A7,8,9 planned as well as an A3. Whatever parts you use you can be sure that they are superbly moulded and detailed (I have the etched undercarriage doors and to be honest I’m not sure whether I’d use them as the moulded ones are that good). Sprue C Lots of parts here that allow you to decide whether to use the etched parts or if you really aren’t bothered by etch moulded detail in the cockpit. Also on here there are various wheels exhausts, cockpit parts, wing internals and guns as far as the not used parts, there are nightfighter antenna and late model head armour. The moulded instrument panels are as sharp as injection moulding will allow but not to the same standard as resin parts but still more that good enough and in my mind probably better than using decals in this scale. Clear parts Eduard have repeated what they did with the previous tooling and to my mind are unique in the respect that they have separate canopies for open and closed with the open canopy being pinched in as it slid back on its rails. Again this sprue points towards lots of other variants with both blown canopies, different gunsights and two different windscreens and armoured panels for and A8/R2 Sturmbock version. Clarity is excellent and the parts are flawless. A nice touch on the clear parts is the heaver gauge plastic bag for the clear parts as well. Photo etch At first glance I would have said that this was nickel plated brass but now I’m certain that this is the steel they use for the steel belts they produce. The steel material I prefer to brass it has less spring to it and forms to shape easier. What’s more here the paint seems to stick to this material better as well there are seat belts on here as well as instrument panels, rudder pedals and a morane antenna. I certainly couldn’t paint as well as that and usually end up buying at lease a Zoom set just for the Instrument panels and seatbelts. Masks Masks are supplied for the canopy as well as the tail wheel (mainwheels can be painted before the tires are fitted) the masks are made from Kabuki tape and will require the use of a liquid mask like Maskol or small pieces of tape. Just make sure you burnish the edges down with a toothpick or cotton bud Decals 2 sheets, one with markings and on this I have to say that for some time Eduard have been producing their own decal sheets having been using Cartograf, I don’t know if this was a price decision or other decision but they get no complaints from me, not too thick or thin they respond well to Microsol and are always in register with great colour density. Whats more a european company that supply whole Swastikas! Added to this there is a separate sheet for the stencils which have 2 copies of the smaller stencils because you just know you are going to get one wrong. Check your references for colours however as some had red walkway lines and some had black. Decal options are: 1. Black 13 Major Josef Priller JG26 Lille, France May 1943 2. White 4 Oblt. Walter Nowotny JG54 Orel, Russia Summer 1943 3. <o Oblt. Rolf Strohal JG1 Deelen, Holland April 1943 4. Major Hermann Graff JGr. Ost Toulouse, France April 1943 5. Red L 6/Schl.G1 Deblin – Irena, Poland January 1943 Instructions Standard Eduard Fare here nice clear drawings starting with a sprue map then going onto paints, cll outs are Gunze but also call out the appropriate colour in the instruction sequence and then the construction phases. Starting typically with the cockpit using all of the lovely PE bits with options for bomb controls either fitted or not fitted. Then the fuselage goes together trapping the cockpit tub and engine in place. From experience here (and I’m building the A4 as I type) glue the back edge of the fuselage together, and the upper instrument panel in place then slot the tub for the cockpit in then the front bulkhead then the engine and hey presto it all lines up without needing 10 pairs of hands to get everything lined up. The the wings and flying surfaces go in next followed by the landing gear. With the landing gear we have proof that Eduard listen to people; when the A4 was released photographs appeared everywhere showing the inner landing gear doors shut while the aircraft was on the ground while Eduard told you to leave them open. So a few things came up here firstly, if a bomb rack was fitted the doors were removed, otherwise the doors cycled so on the ground, unless the system was being worked on, the inner doors were shut on the ground. Eduard’s instructions give you the choice or gear doors raised or lowered, do bear in mind from the A6 onwards the cycle mechanism was removed and they just raised or lowered with the gear. Finally there are mask placement diagrams Conclusion Well the internet (particularly Facebook) has been full of the A4 and I haven’t seen a bad one yet and reports are Particularly from James on here that it is a shake and bake kit. And from my experiences even with putting a resin cockpit in they have certainly addressed the difficulties of assembly with the previous kits and the choices for markings are so varied that I can see loads of these being built (I now have 3 of the new tool kits) you don’t need loads of the aftermarket to produce a fantastic replica of a Butcher bird and I would suggest that this and other A series kits will be hard to beat Now how about a the full D series and TA152 H series to go with them? Verdict Very highly recommended and my thanks go to My long suffering bank manager and Duncan at BlackMike models for the review sample
  17. This will be one of my entries And a little aftermarket in the form of an Aries cockpit And this will be the marking option But I have to finish at least 1 project first
  18. Thanks to Jessica for the kit. As can be seen I have the Windsock book and will tart up the interior to the best of my ability with some scratching. I'm going to order a decal sheet , and possibly a couple of bits and bobs and in need of some paint. Looking forward to getting stuck into this project and hopefully will be able to start soon. (Also looking forward to failing to save the Earth from the Old Ones, apologies for the Eldritch Horror)
  19. Yesterday I received some stock of the Ltd Ed GWH Mig-29 Slovakian Air Force Digital Tiger kits. What a belter of a kit, the detail on the plastic parts looks amazing and the decal option will look fantastic when completed. The decal sheet gives you 2 options, one for the 2014 scheme and for the 2016 scheme which appears to carry slightly revised tail markings. Don't worry, you don't have to mask off and paint all those digital dots by hand, decals take care of that for you. ...and here's one I prepared earlier (not really). To order yours head over to BlackMike Models, follow the link: https://www.blackmikemodels.co.uk/products/great-wall-hobby-l4809-1-48-mig-29as-slovak-air-force-digital-camo-2014-2016-ltd-ed Duncan B
  20. Seeing Brian's Warbird build that included a venerable Tamiya 1/48 Fw190D-9 I decided to have a dig into my stash and drag the one I have out to give it a go. I don't remember how long it has been in there but it is a long time. One reason it never got made was that I also bought the Aires engine and cockpit set for it at the same time and I realised that I didn't have the skills back then to successfully attempt it, we'll see if I have them now! It'll be a slow start as I have a titchy tank to finish so will be only spending time on this one between painting sessions if I have time (once the tank is completed I'll move this to the head of the line, sorry Fujimi Phantoms you'll have to wait a while longer!). There's no turning back, those of a squeamish nature look away now. The firewall was removed from it's pouring block and dry fitted to see what needs fettled. First impression is that it's quite a good fit, nothing that a bit more fettling and some epoxy won't fill. So that's where I'm up to. I don't expect to get much done until the weekend now. Duncan B
  21. History Well how’s about this for a famous aircraft? Designed to meet a threat that didn’t materialise No other cold war aircraft that I can think of created as much of a stir as the MiG 25. If you look back at the 1970’s we can see its lines in most contemporary and later aircraft (just look at the F14, 15, and 18 to name but a few). For all of its futuristic looks at the time what we actually have is quite a primitive aircraft. Importantly it was only when the west actually got a good look at it they realised they had actually spent a fortune developing aircraft to combat what was actually something that was not really very good. Yes the numbers are fantastic; three times the speed of sound (if you wanted to lunch the engines) 90,000 feet altitude, but an all-round fighter it wasn’t; if you wanted to shoot down a B70 it was perfect or you wanted to carry out high level high speed recon. Lots of airforces retired their MiG-25’s long ago, but the Russian Air Force decommissioned their last examples, the reconnaissance MiG-25R model, in December 2014. There are scattered reports of MiG-25s being used in the services of Azerbaijan, Algeria, Armenia, and Syria, but as those countries can barely afford the fuel to get the titanium-and-steel bird off the ground, it might as well be good as dead. But what a crazy rat rod it was. For those unfamiliar with the term, a "rat rod" often looks old, it looks beat up, it looks like it was never designed to be pretty. At the very least, it looks like it's way past its prime. And yet to be a true rat rod, it's got to have a ridiculously powerful engine under the hood. Because you just got to go fast. I love rat rods. Which is why I love the MiG-25. It's not particular pretty, and every example looked unkempt, full of grime and exposed rivet heads. But it had a huge engine; two of them. Work on the MiG-25 began in the early 1960s in the Soviet Union's Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau. Faced with the daunting prospect of American B-70 Valkyrie bombers screeching over the horizon at thousands of miles an hour, the Soviets needed a plane that could intercept them and stop them before they unleashed their nuclear payloads. And because the prototype for the American bomber, the XB-70, could easily travel at three times the speed of sound, the new interceptor needed to utilize speed above all else. Fighter planes designed today blend a mix of manoeuvrability, stealth, and advanced avionics to make a balanced weapon. The MiG-25 was not that. To say the plane was shaped like a bullet is to do it a disservice. It's shaped like a hypersonic space needle. Imagine taking the biggest engine you could find, and building a plane around it. Now make that plane have two of those engines. That's basically what I'm talking about. And because the Soviet Union was plagued with constant material shortages and the plane itself presented unique challenges, the result was absolutely incredible. Mikoyan-Gurevich, the plane's designer and builder, originally wanted to make most of it out of titanium. That was a good idea, as titanium is light, strong, extremely heat-resistant, and the Soviet Union was the world's main source of the metal in 1964, when the plane first flew. The only problem was that titanium was still incredibly expensive, and difficult to work with. Which is a huge problem in a place that doesn't have the greatest manufacturing standards. So titanium was used only where absolutely necessary, and the rest of the aircraft was made mostly out of a nickel-steel alloy. It was mostly welded together, but if an exposed rivet-head wouldn't adversely affect the top speed, it was left as-is. Your mother's Lexus, this was not. The radar didn't use any of those fancy-shmancy semiconductors being used in contemporary American planes, either, sticking to good old fashioned, ridiculously overpowered vacuum tubes. Vacuum tubes are more likely to survive the pulse from a nuclear explosion. Oh, and they had a weird unintended side effect, at least if only anecdotally. Rumors tell of the radar throwing off so much energy it would kill rabbits hanging out near the runway. And that's just the bits that didn't help it go fast. The whole sled was powered by two massive Tumansky R-15 turbojets, with equally massive intakes up front, for better feeding the engines the ridiculous amounts of oxygen they craved. The Tumansky R-15 is one of the most ridiculous engines ever made, and the information available about it is barely believable. Each one produced more than 24,000 pound-feet of force at afterburner, and the MiG-25 had two of them. It could propel the plane to over 90,000 feet, and to Mach 3.2. One small problem with going over Mach 3, though. If the Tumansky was an animal, it would be a voracious mutant. Push it above three times the speed of sound, and it became an unstoppable, rabid force of nature, continuing to consume fuel and spit out fire until it eventually tore itself apart. Theoretically, the MiG-25 could top Mach 3.2, but the throttles were redlined at Mach 2.8 in what seems like a desperate act of self-preservation by the plane. Above speeds of 2,000 miles per hour, the Tumansky engines began to transform. The sheer power of air rushing into the intakes at such speeds totally overwhelmed the fuel pumps. No longer capable of limiting their own flow, fuel would just be dumped into the combustion chamber at an uncontrollable rate. Air would begin to speed past the turbine compressors, turning the engines into ramjets. A pilot would almost certainly be killed, sitting at the front of what had effectively become a runaway train, miles above the rest of humanity. All that is theoretical, of course. In reality, the plane began to eat away at itself before it came close to its own top speed. Before the air could bypass the compressors, the compressors themselves would become so powerful that they would literally start to cannibalize other parts, sucking in bits and pieces until everything would just disintegrate. The MiG-25 was tracked by Western radars near its top speed, but only once. In March of 1971, an Egyptian Foxbat was tracked by the Israelis going Mach 3.2 over the Sinai desert. The pilot managed to land the plane, but the engines were destroyed. Because the original foe of the MiG, the Valkyrie, never made it into production, the MiG-25 never truly found its niche. Owing to its great weight and relatively high wing loading, it couldn't turn very well, so it wasn't much of a dogfighter. It did alright in a reconnaissance configuration, though, loaded up with cameras and other equipment, and the MiG-25R reconnaissance variant was the final form in which it saw use. It served all over the world, often in the desert. Saddam Hussein loved his so much, that when the Americans invaded in 2003, he buried his under the sand, in the hopes that they wouldn't fall into his enemies' hands. But now, the Foxbat is soon to be no more. A heavily modified and modernized variant, the MiG-31, lives on, but even that will be retired sooner rather than later. It has no true replacement. But while it lasted, the MiG-25 was a crazy Soviet rat rod. Words taken from a piece by Mike Ballaban at Jalopnik. Have a look at his stuff on www.jalopnik.com The Kit The MiG 25 is one of those aircraft that has gained almost mythical status over the years and as a result it has been kitted by various manufacturers. Before the iron curtain fell it was difficult to get anything remotely accurate as all we generally had was low resolution photos and Revell’s boxing of the MiG in this scale was the first attempt at a 1/48 scale MiG 25. Then Kitty Hawk released a Kit a couple of years ago, which had mixed reviews. Then in 2016 ICM released the MiG 25 RBT which has since been reissued by Revell and Hasegawa. In 2017 we then had this kit released with new parts which basically backdates the aircraft to an earlier reconnaissance bomber. So let’s have a look what’s in the box. The Box We have a large box for this one again with a glossy box lid with a Russian Bomber sitting on a hardstanding. Under the lid is a sturdy hinged lid opening box packed with sprues. So much so that if you take this out to have a look be careful to take note how and what order they come out of the bag in or you won’t get it back. Inside we have 12 Sprues of medium grey plastic with one clear sprue. A 24 page instruction book in A 4 with colour profiles and two decal sheets one for national insignia and one for stencils the grey sprues are tightly packed in one bag with the clear sprue in another bag so that it doesn’t get scratched. ICM’s packaging is really nice these days and this is no exception. I’m interested to know whether the Hasegawa boxing of this kit contains the weapons but I’m not going to buy one to find out. Sprue A On here there is a top and bottom section to the main fuselage and here is where we see what a huge aircraft this is construction is very much akin to AMK’s Mig 31 and to be honest that’s probably the best way to do it if the moulding is good. Panel lines are mainly recessed with nice rivet detail on the top section some of the panel lines are raised and this is in keeping with the real aircraft’s construction techniques, a nice touch and well done. None of the raised sections are going onto other panels so this means that sanding isn’t going to obliterate the detail. We have compressor faces on here and undercarriage bays. The compressor faces look quite small for the size of the engines but to be honest they are so far down the intake tunnels you would barely see them anyway. Wheel bay detail doesn’t have a great deal of wiring on in them but there is a lot of crisp panel line detail in there and the same goes for the bay doors on here; the detail is lovely. The cockpit and noeswheel bay section is also on here too, again nicely moulded with no sign of flash or sink marks. Sprues B1-B2 The wings are on here moulded in two halves with slots with slots for strakes and fences as well as pylons; the panel lines are consistent with the fuselage detail with large tabs to hold the wings o. the sprues run round the wings to protect them in transit. This is again a nice touch and ICM have gone out of their way to ensure that the product reaches you in good condition. Sprue C There are Various Parts on here; a nose section for one of the versions, two side panels that aren’t used in this boxing. The Nose section has again nice crisp moulding with panel lines again nicely consistent with the rest of the kit; there is also the camera panel for the undersection of the nose. The solid part of the instrument panel is on this sprue with holes for the clear section which sandwiches in behind the moulding on this panel is again crisp and will benefit from careful detail painting. The upper wing fences are on here and the base parts of the pylons for under the wings. A rear ECM pod for one version is also on here that sits in between the Burner cans. Speaking of burner cans; well let’s face it if it’s a cold war Russian fighter its going to have big engines and the MiG 25 is no exception in fact there are photos out there of people kneeling inside the burner cans of the aircraft. On this sprue there is a heatshield, various afterburner rings and the petals for the after burners. The Petals look ok and will benefit from painting and weathering properly the amount of engine parts does two things: · Reflects the size of these engines to push the aircraft to three times the speed of sound. · Reflects the agricultural nature of some of the engines, it has been said that the soviet union made more money from replacement engines for customer airforces than the aircraft they supplied, just ask general electric how much it cost keeping the USAF’s 4477th TES MiG 17, 19, 21, and 23’s airworthy. Finally we have the Pitot on this sprue and another small sensor for the nose again these are crisp but if you want to improve them then I’m sure there are turned brass and PE replacements available. Sprue C1 On this sprue we have an earlier version of the reconnaissance nose with side panels and rear ECM pod. The detail again is consistent with the rest of the kit which doesn’t always happen with add on sprues so it’s good to see. Sprue D This is the sprue that has the famous twin tails; the fins are moulded in two pieces with the inner faces separate and the outer fins are moulded with the rear fuselage side and ventral fins in one piece, again if the tooling is accurate I see no reason why this should cause any problems. The ventral strakes have the inner faces moulded separately also. Anti-static probes are moulded onto the fins as are some of the nav lights. Rivet detail and panel lines on here really bring home the strength and weight of the aircraft. Having seen this, you could be forgiven for thinking is that it? For the tailplanes, they really do seem too small for the rest of the aircraft and I for one am glad I’m not in it should it depart at speed because I don’t think you would have much chance. The moulding however is nice and the tailplanes plug in with just a little pin to locate them. Rudder parts and some flaps are on here also. We then have the wheels; a twin noeswheel and these are moulded in one piece with nice tread detail and mould lines down the sides of the tires. The mainwheels are moulded in two pieces with just lovely wheel and brake detail, some of the best I’ve probably seen. Also on here we have the cockpit side panels and floor. The side panels are nicely moulded and like the instrument panel will benefit from careful painting as will the floor. Finally there are two more parts for the massive burner cans looking a lot like compressor faces. But these go in the back so not the case. Sprue E Landing gear wheel bays are on here as well as the landing gear legs; the nose gear leg is in one piece. Detail is nice with some fragile bits moulded to it. The main gear is moulded in two halves with nice other bits to fix to it. Other parts are the top of the intake ramp as well as the other half of the intake trunking (the first parts are on sprue A). the detail on the roof of the intake ramps is really nice with fine perforations moulded in. Two more flaps are here too as well as some more burner ring parts. The fact that various bits from the same stage means you will have to be careful on the instructions here but I do understand why it’s done. Finally we have a HUGE fuel tank that isn’t used on this kit but oh my what a talking point this would be. Sprue F Firstly we have more intake parts both inner and outer faces and a bulkhead for the intake trunking. Again we have lovely restrained panel lines with weld and fastener detail. Then there is the ejector seat. This is a 6 piece affair and again nicely moulded, all that would be needed is a nice set of seatbelts, bear in mind that the cockpit on this is small compared to the size of the aircraft and not a lot will be seen in here. There is a pair of rudder pedals and side consoles for the inside of the cockpit as well as a control column. There are some intakes here too and then we have the inner burner cans; these are moulded in two halves with detail moulded on the inside and again it’s here that you realise how big these engines are. Sprue G The clear parts, on here there is the lens section for the instrument panel and lenses for the recon pod. There are two lenses for the landing lights and then the canopy the canopy framing is nice and well defined with good rivet detail and I honestly think you can get away without buying Canopy masks here. Clarity is what I have come to expect from ICM lately and the clear parts are really crystal clear. Sprue H1 and 2 x2 Bombs; eight bombs moulded conventionally in two halves with a separate fin, detail is nice with raised ribs running round the circumference of the bombs on the other sprue there are the rings to go round the fins and the bomb racks; these have separate shackles for the racks again detail looks nice and crisp. It’s nice to see modern (or relatively) with weapons included. Especially as this is a recon as well as bomber. Instructions This is a 24 page A4 booklet with the cover section printed on glossy paper. A sprue map on the first 4 pages, and then there are 113 construction stages drawn CAD style. Construction starts with cockpit sidewall which goes onto the Nose wheel bay. Now you have to put the Nose wheel leg in place. Then the rest of the cockpit is put in place. The rest of the construction is then modular and rather than having two halves of fuselage the assembly is then boxed in around bulkheads. After that construction is pretty conventional and if the moulding is accurate (and there is no reason to suspect it’s not). It should go together a treat. Colour call outs are for Revell and Tamiya, but a word of warning they call out cockpit blue green as XF71, This is IJN cockpit green so check references before spraying. A huge amount of stencils has a separate amount map in the instructions and then we have the colour options 1 MiG 25 RB 145 Independent Air detachment Soviet Airforce Cairo may 1974 2 MiG 23 RB Soviet Airforce late 1970’s 3 MiG 25 RB 63rd Independent Air Detachment United Arab Republic 1971-72 4 MiG25 RB late Production Iraqi Airforce 1980 Decals There are two Decal sheets both of which are relatively small but containing everything you need. The first sheet contains national insignia which are printed nice and sharp. Register is good and the markings are nice and glossy and relatively thin. I have used ICM’s decals before I can confirm that they work well and pull down nicely with a bit of Microsol and Set. The second sheet contains stencils and while there aren’t Phantom or other western cold war jet levels of stencils there are enough to keep you busy (I counted well over 100). The Stencils are well printed and colour density is good. Summary I have been waiting for a MiG 25 for ages I’m not disappointed in this one detail looks spot on and is generally nicely restrained. I haven’t seen one built (yet) but I have no doubt that going on some of the more recent ICM kits there is no reason to suspect that this won’t build well, just test fit and test fit due to the modular nature of the fuselage (my advice tape it first and look for any potential problems) I would say that this kit is within the realms of most modellers regardless of experience. Verdict. If like me you are interested in Russian Jet aircraft, then this has to be a must buy. I can only recommend it My thanks to ICM for the review sample
  22. History Though it is perhaps not the most well-known Soviet aircraft, the Polikarpov I-153 Chaika (seagull) was one of the pillars of the VVS’ arsenal in the late 1930s/early 1940s. Seeing extensive action against the Japanese at the Battle of Khalkhin-Gol in 1939, the Chaika proved to be obsolete by June of 1941 at the time of the German invasion. Nevertheless, until the Soviet aviation industry could be evacuated to locations far from the frontline and more advanced fighters and bombers could be produced, outdated aircraft such as the I-153 Chaika, the I-16, and LaGG-3 were tasked with both providing close air support for the Red Army and engaging the Luftwaffe, which had at its disposal some of the best aircraft in the world at the time, including the notorious Messerschmitt Bf-109. Though the Chaika biplanes were no match for the sleek German fighter, the I-153, serving in a multitude of roles, was able to contribute to the slowing of the massive German advance, buying enough time for the VVS to both receive more advanced aircraft from the UK and US via the lend-lease program and to receive the latest La-5s, Yak-9s, and Il-2’s from Soviet factories. The Polikarpov I-153 was an improved design of the I-15 biplane, which had first flown in 1933. Soviet pilots typically gave critical reviews of the I-15, with some complaining that the gulled top wing obscured the field of vision and did not provide sufficient stability. Though Polikarpov himself was a proponent of the gull-wing design, he was told to remove the feature and install an improved M-25 engine. The new aircraft was designated the I-15bis, and went into serial production in 1937. Polikarpov, however, was displeased with the lack of maneuverability in the I-15bis, and set about designing yet another derivative of the I-15. Reverting back to the gull-wings of which he was a proponent, the aircraft designer listened closely to the suggestions provided by Soviet pilots who were flying his aircraft on the frontline in Spain. Hearing complaints of the low rate of fire of the PV-1 machine guns on the I-15bis, Polikarpov’s team affixed new ShKAS onto the prototype, increasing the rate of fire from 750 rounds per minute to 1,800. The team also sought to improve the speed and performance of the aircraft by installing a retractable landing gear. Making its inaugural flight in August 1938, the new aircraft, with the designation I-153, performed much better than its predecessor, the I-15bis, and was put into production the following year, in time to get its first taste of combat at the Battle of Khalkhin Gol on the Mongolian-Manchurian border. According to reconnaissance pilot Iosef Birenberg, “These aircraft featured great maneuverability due to landing gear, and had four ShKAS machine guns ShKAS, which provided a huge density of fire, more than eight thousand rounds per minute. This aircraft could also carry four bombs, up to 200 kilograms.”In the first two months of the border war, known as Khalkhin Gol in Russia and the Nomonhan Incident in Japan, the Soviet Air Force sent their I-15bis and I-16 to go up against the Japanese Nakajima Ki-27s, with the Soviet side realizing that their two fighters were inferior to their Japanese counterpart. In early July, the first Chaikas arrived at the Tamsag-Bulak airfield, fresh from the factory. Over the next two months, the I-153’s performance, maneuverability, and four ShKAS machine guns helped the VVS turn the tide against the Japanese Ki-27s. Japanese pilots quickly adopted different tactics to use while attacking the Chaikas, attempting to take advantage of the Soviet pilots’ poor forward visibility resulting from the gulled-wings. Soviet pilots, in turn, developed tactics to lure the Ki-27s in to attack, after which the pilots would use the I-153’s superior maneuverability to overtake the Japanese aircrafts. By flying with their landing gear down, the I-153 pilots would make it appear as though their aircraft were actually the inferior I-15 or I-15bis, inviting the Japanese to attack. Once the Ki-27s would get within range of the Chaikas, the latter would raise their landing gears, apply full throttle, and engage the oncoming Japanese aircraft. Though the Red Army was victorious at Khalkhin Gol, the Soviet Union’s next combat operation, the Winter War with Finland, which began on November 30, 1939, was not nearly as successful. Despite being significantly outmanned and outgunned, the Finnish military was repeatedly able to repel the Red Army until the Soviets eventually broke through in March of 1940. The VVS, which deployed 2,500 aircraft (mostly ANT-40 bombers) at the outset of the war, enjoyed air superiority for most of the conflict. Nevertheless, the Finnish Air Force, which had only 114 combat aircraft fit for duty at the end of 1939, inflicted severe damage against the VVS, shooting down 200 Soviet aircraft during the war and losing only 62 of their own. However, the losses suffered by the VVS were indicative of a larger problem within the Soviet military in general (decimation of military leadership during the purges), and were not reflective of the aircraft flown by Soviet pilots. Indeed, the primary Finnish fighter, the Fokker D.XXI, was roughly equivalent to the Japanese Ki-27. In June of 1941, however, the I-153 would go up against some of the finest aircraft ever built in the finest air force ever assembled up to that point: the Luftwaffe. At the time of the German invasion, the Soviet Union’s fighter squadrons were comprised primarily of I-16s, LaGG-3s, Yak-1s, and I-153s, aircraft that were obsolete compared to the German aircraft that were causing mass destruction along the 1,200 mile front. Nevertheless, since the Soviet aviation industry would not be able to begin producing new designs until 1942 due to the evacuation of the factories to the far east the VVS’ aircraft of the 1930s were tasked with halting the seemingly unstoppable German onslaught from the air. Needless to say, this was a tall order to fill, but Chaika pilots, though flying against a far superior adversary, bravely went toe to toe with the seasoned Luftwaffe pilots. A fighter pilot with the 929 IAP, Evgeniy Pryanichnikov, recalled that in the early months of the war, “our regiment flew the 153 Chaikas, a renowned machine, which distinguished itself at the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, but by now was hopelessly outdated, much inferior in tactics and technical data to German aircraft.” Fighter pilot and Hero of the Soviet Union, Fedor Arkhipenko, noted that until 1943, Soviet fighters were simply not powerful enough to intercept German bombers. “At the beginning I-16s and I-153s could not catch up with the bombers even in a straight line,” Arkhipenko stated. In these early months of the war, lacking an aircraft that could provide close air support, VVS leadership decided to use Chaikas as ground attack aircraft, despite the fact that the I-153s had little to no armor and were vulnerable to small arms fire from the ground (unlike the legendary Soviet ground attack aircraft that was introduced the following year, the Ilyushin Il-2). Anti-aircraft gunner Dmitry Poltavets described receiving close air support from I-15bis and I-153s during the defense of Odessa in the summer of 1941.During the battle, I-153s, “were assigned to help the infantry repel enemy attacks… One fighter would swoop down, and the second would immediately begin to dive at the enemy… in order to protect the first plane coming out of the dive from rifle fire and machine guns, because I-15bis and I-153 were poorly protected even by rifle fire.” Despite being outmatched by the Luftwaffe both in terms of quality and numbers, I-153s did find some success as ground attack aircraft (while also suffering terrible losses), though their achievements would be overshadowed later in the war by more advanced aircraft, such as the Ilyushin Il-2. Documents submitted by the commander of the 267th IAP, Major Orlov, for example, outlined the achievements of one I-153 pilot, Junior Lieutenant Nikolai Loginov, while flying ground attack missions in the Caucasus in the late summer of 1942. Submitting a recommendation to award Loginov the Order of Lenin, Orlov wrote that from August 2nd to September 11th, the Junior Lieutenant, “flew 42 combat sorties against enemy troops for a total of 48 hours 37 minutes. In his group of ground attack aircraft he managed to destroy: automobiles = 54, carts and wagons = 6, field guns on a trailer = 1, anti-aircraft guns = 3, autobuses = 2, soldiers and officers up to 200 people.” Loginov was shot down and killed by German ace Walter Krupinski (who finished the war with 197 aerial victories) shortly thereafter. Nevertheless, his success shows that even against superior machines, the I-153, despite its shortcomings, was capable of getting the job done. Beginning in late 1942, however, the Chaikas were gradually replaced by lend-lease aircraft such as the P-39 Airacobra and Soviet-built aircraft such as the LA-5, Yak-9, and Il-2. With its ever expanding arsenal of aircraft that were equal to if not superior to the German airplanes over the Eastern Front, the VVS eventually managed to obtain and maintain air superiority, which enabled the Red Army to advance West all the way to Berlin. Though aircraft such as the I-153 did not make major contributions to the victory on the Eastern Front, they played the crucial role of helping the Soviet Union avoid a complete collapse from the German invasion in 1941. Chaika pilots certainly did not tally up kills against their German adversaries, but they did hold the Luftwaffe at bay well enough to buy time for the aerial icons of the Eastern Front, such as the Lavochkins and Yakovlevs, to roll off the assembly line and defeat the Luftwaffe. History by Patrick Kinville The Kit This kit has been on my radar for some time as I do have a thing for Russian aircraft of all ages and there’s something about this and the I-16 that appeal in the fact that these were the aircraft that tried to hold the line when Germany invaded in 1941. The kit comes in what I consider to be some of the best packaging of any manufacturer at the moment. A glossy cardboard lid with a corrugated flip top lid box which means that despite the best efforts of the world’s worst courier companies your kit will arrive in perfect condition. The box art itself is lovely with an aluminium coloured aircraft sitting in the snows of Russia. Inside the box we have five grey sprues and one clear sprue, an a4 instruction sheet and a small decal sheet. The sprues are packed in one plastic bag with the clear sprue in a separate bag to prevent scratching. The plastic is relatively hard but crisply moulded and there’s absolutely no flash or sink marks in evidence. Sprue A1 This contains one side of the fuselage, access hatches, undercarriage legs and various other small parts. Panel lines are nice, restrained and will look excellent under a coat of paint and now is a good time to look at the surface detail. Fabric detail is restrained and longeron detail is subtle underneath. The metal sections are nicely done and the fastener detail is just sublime. Strut holes for the tailplanes are nice and positive. There is interior detail on the sidewalls of the cockpit which will be added to with extra parts to be added. Undercarriage legs are crisp and very well defined and only just softer than resin in my opinion. Sprue A2 On here we have the wings, tail planes and various cockpit parts. There are also engine parts and struts. There are also wheels that will not be used on the winter version kit. The wing detail is like the fuselage with lovely restrained fabric and reinforcing plates for the struts and bomb racks. Undercarriage bays are moulded into the lower wing structure with the cockpit floor making up the rest. The engine is made up of four parts with the bank of cylinders, exhaust manifold and pushrods on separate pieces. What’s there will be more than adequate for a closed cowl version. To be honest if you wanted the cowls open you could due to the somewhat agricultural nature of Russian aircraft of the time lots of pipes and wires won’t be in abundance here. The cowls are like the fuselage with nice refined detail and the characteristic front shuttered cowl is here also, with very nice detail. There is a nicely moulded prop and spinner. The prop also has two hooks to be fixed to it with lobes for a Hucks starter. The strut detail is nice with a moulded on pitot tube. The cockpit floor is on here as is the seat pan, control column, rudder pedals, and internal what looks to be oxygen bottles. Detail is sparse but this is to be expected with an aircraft of this type. There is a nicely moulded instrument panel. With decals for the dials but the dials look nicely printed to me. Finally there are the undercarriage doors which are again nicely moulded with good interior detail which is crisp and well defined Sprue A3 On here we have the other fuselage half, seat back and tail plane struts. The fin is moulded onto this side again with fantastic fabric detail. The consistency of the fabric detail great as is the interior detail (admittedly not much of this can be seen). The seat back has the head rest moulded on. The seat and cockpit and the only thing that is needed really is a set of belts, (I’m sure that if they aren’t already a set will be forthcoming from Eduard) There is also on A1 and A3 the end pieces for the interior framing, the side parts are on A2 and all are really fine I would recommend really careful removal from the sprues here. Sprue B On here we have various sets of bombs and Rockets? As well as racks the bombs and rockets are well defined with separate fins for the rockets, it’s nice to have a choice of ordinance. I would have liked thinner fins but they are generally consistent with the state of the art for Injection moulding. The racks look really nice with clean crisp detail moulded on. Sprue C On here we have just one part, the windscreen. But I don’t know who or where ICM get their clear tooling done and what plastic they use but every ICM kit I have built over the last few years the clear parts have been just perfect. The framing is crisp, the clarity is fantastic, and completely blemish free. Well done ICM on this. Sprue D Skis! Both skis are in nicely moulded and are made up of five separate pieces which link to the standard undercarriage legs. There are also blanking plates for the undercarriage bays and replacement gear doors (keep an eye on the instructions) finally there are separate linkages for pulling the skis up inline into the fuselage. There is a replacement tail ski to replace the tailwheel, this too is nicely moulded. Decals ICM I believe print their own decals, and believe me this isn’t a problem having used them before. The finish is glossy and print is in perfect register. There are four options here as well as individual decals for the instrument panel; this is my favoured way when using decals even if it is a bit fiddly. Options here are: · 2 different aircraft from the Red Airforce in 1940. Both are finished in doped aluminium with red stars on the wings one with a red spinner/Prop boss and a red No.20 on the fin · Finnish Airforce 1940. Finished in dark green over light blue. · Finnish Airforce 1942. Finished in two tone dark green over light blue with yellow cowl, Fuselage stripe and lower wing tips The Finnish final option is a really colourful choice and would go well with Brewster Buffalo’s and early Hurricanes. Instructions An A4 sheet is supplied here with 31 steps to the instructions which are CAD drawn but are very clear and concise. Construction starts as usual with the cockpit which is then placed on the lower wing. The sidewalls are built up on the fuselage then and this then sits on top of the wing. The top wing is then fitted with the struts and tail planes, I can see a potential issue with painting here and this could be troublesome with the way the top wing fits but if the fit is good I can’t see it being an issue so test fit first. After this the engine is put together with all the separate exhausts then the engine goes in with the cowls and prop last (you’ll probably want to leave the prop off until after painting).then it’s time for the undercarriage, underwing stores and you’re done. There is a sprue map on the first two pages and the colour call outs are in Tamiya and Revell Paint (maybe as part of their tie up recently). The only thing missing is a rigging guide so you will need to find your own but it is a relatively simple rigging job on this aircraft. Conclusion, This is a lovely kit and has been designed and bought out with a real passion for the aircraft (or that’s what it looks like) ICM over the last couple of years have progressed into one of the leading eastern European manufacturers and this kit is no exception, with crisp detail, nice engineering, cracking fabric rendition and finally 4 really nice colour schemes. If Finnish aircraft or Russian aircraft are your thing you need this kit in your stash. A kit for everyone regardless of ability and it will certainly be a talking point when built and when I do this one it will certainly be going to shows with me. My Verdict Very Highly recommended My thanks to ICM for the review sample.
  23. The new Zoukei Mura 1/48 scale F-4C Phantom II is now in stock. The kit was released in late September and is the first USAF version that ZM have produced. It has been a very popular kit with 2/3rds of my initial batch sold to pre-orders so to avoid disappointment head over to the BlackMike Models website and order your one now. https://www.blackmikemodels.co.uk/products/zoukei-mura-sws4806-1-48-mcdonnell-douglas-f-4c-phantom-ii Duncan B
  24. Lonesome Polecat has always had a spot in my heart. Growing up, I got a book from my grandparents, "Fighter Command" that featured color photos of the ETO during World War 2. The Polecat was one of the planes with numerous photos and I decided then that I would build her someday. Then Eduard came out with their offering of the Mk. VIII and Eagle Strike released a set of markings for the 31st Fighter Group and my dream became a reality. My color selections are questionable, but when color correcting the old photos, the US Sand seemed to be a better match, IMO, than the Middle Stone. So that's what I went with. Colors were from the Mr. Paint line. The rest of the completed and WIP photos can be found here.
  25. Focke wulf FW190A-4 ProfiPACK edition. Part no. 82142 History Another one of those aircraft that needs no introduction. The Focke Wulf 190 , designed by the legendary Kurt Tank, caused quite a stir when it appeared over France in 1942. Most stirred of all were the RAF whose Spitfire Mk.V’s were totally outclassed when the type appeared. Strangely It was a fighter that nearly didn’t appear as the first prototypes had all kinds of problems in 1939/40. It was only down to the opinions of the testers at Rechlin that the type wasn’t scrapped. It was only with the introduction of the A-3 in June 1942 with the BMW 801D engine that the type came into its own. The Luftwaffe finally had a heavy fighter that had four cannon and two machine guns with a wing that could handle the weight of the guns without any drop in performance that the BF 109 suffered when fitted with wing guns. In July 1942 the A-4 appeared which was very similar to the A-3 but with strengthened ailerons and a radio mast on the tail . It was at this point in Russia that JG 51 and JG 54 took delivery of the FW 190 and with that the air to air victories started to climb. Pilots with mediocre performance on the BF109F started showing a real improvement due to the fantastic low level performance of the BMW 801 engine. Pilots like Walter Nowotny’s kill count was soon in the hundreds against admittedly not so well trained Russian pilots. In Western Europe the USAAF four engine bombers started encroaching into Germany and the FW 190 started showing as the ideal bomber interceptor to take the fight to the B17’s and B24’s due to the large air cooled radial engine acting as a shield to the pilot. The one problem that still hadn’t been engineered out was the propensity for the type to overheat. To combat this more space was added around the engine was added and the fuselage was lengthened which was designated as the A-5. After that the type was developed with heavier armament and more powerful engines culminating with the A-9. The kit This is a new tool release from Eduard and should not be confused with the previous FW190 A/F series kits that were produced a few years back. This welcome because Eduard could have done what other manufacturers have done and rested on their laurels as I certainly consider that they have already produced the best of the later series 190’s on the market. This kit is a big improvement on the original kit. So does this new kit address the issues of the previous kit? Let’s have a look. The current standard bearer for the A3-A4 series are either the Tamiya or Hasegawa offerings both of which are getting harder to find and in the case of the Hasegawa kit quite expensive, both are now getting a bit long in the tooth. I have a spare Hasegawa fuselage and a spare Eduard A8 fuselage to compare dimensions with a set of overtrees I bought at Telford, to use up the fantastic decal options for this kit. Sprue A, This sprue points heavily to a new approach from Eduard for the 190 in using the same sprues for many marks of the aircraft, your spares box is going to a bit more swollen after building this we have on here the cockpit tub which is far better detailed than the previous cockpits and there are two them, one with a different rear deck moulded in for the later marks. There is also a wing spar, two undercarriage legs, two props, three propeller fan assemblies , three undercarriage bays, a seat and an engine. The engine is far more simplified than the previous kit but this will probably prove easier build (if you want to build an aircraft with a full engine the Brassin range has taken care of this for you.) (more of this to come). The bottom cowl has some lovely detailed rivets and fasteners. There is also a nicely moulded early seat pad which will look lovely when painted. Also on this sprue is the cockpit coaming which looks to be a better fit than the previous kits (as they were slightly too small). Finally we have ammo feeds and inner undercarriage doors. Sprue B, On here we have two sets control surfaces, two different drop tanks, three different upper cowls, cannon blisters for wings on later kits and three different undercarriage doors. There is also a 500Kg bomb this again points to lots of different versions in the pipeline. The detail is great with rivet and fastener detail coming to the fore. I take issue here with the instructions that call to fit the ailerons with less rib detail on them. All the references I have point to the later ailerons having lots of ribs being used on the A-4 but that said this is a minor point as they are on the sprue. Sprue C, The majority of small parts are on this sprue. Again lots of parts for the spares box are in here, detail for the wing spar , undercarriage cockpit and cannons/machine guns. Two sets of wheels and tires are included with different tread patterns. I can’t fault the inclusion of all of these parts because you can build just about any configuration you choose, just check against your references so that you use the right parts. There is a D/F loop on this sprue and the way that this is moulded is a huge improvement on previous kits as I always managed to break the previous version as it was fixed to the sprue in three places! There are also parts included for a night- fighter which may be in future versions and these are really crisply moulded. Sprue D, So onto the wings, and what wings! Nicely engraved panel lines (other manufacturers take note, I know that to scale we wouldn’t see panel lines but I don’t want to see panel lines I would lose my hand in in real life!) there is raised detail where appropriate with great fastener detail but to me the real talking point is the rivet detail, usually I’m not a fan of rivet detail but this is just lovely detail restrained and different sizes where needed. Other nice touches include end stops for the outer cannon barrels and a proper location for the main spar. Gun bays are now closed which will help the clean lines of the aircraft. There is an insert for the front underside of the wing to be fitted. For aftermarket flaps the cut lines have already been marked so you know you are cutting in the right place. Sprue Q, The fuselage, again the sublime detail continues (sorry if this sounds like I’m gushing but it is that good). Location points on the inside are really positive for things like exhausts and cockpit tub so you can’t get them in the wrong place. The radio compartment again is marked so if you want to cut this and put an aftermarket one in you can. Now to the tail issue that previous kits had, I can say this has now been corrected and then some. It certainly looks more in keeping than the previous tail ever did. As you can see below, from left to right: new Eduard, old Eduard, Hasegawa. As can be seen this is much thinner than both of the others. Sprue N, Clear parts, At first look I thought this was exactly the same sprue as the previous kits but I do think it is different due to the rivet detail. Eduard were the first (and to my knowledge the only) company to supply different canopies for both open and closed (the canopy squeezes inwards when opened) clarity here is fantastic as is the detail. Two styles of windscreen are included as well as is the later blown canopy for A8/A9 190’s an early and late gunsight is also included. Photo etch, It wouldn’t be an Eduard kit without a PE fret and this is no exception, I could not paint the instrument panel or seatbelts as well as Eduard produce theirs. The majority of parts are for the cockpit and this includes side consoles, top and bottom instrument panels , rudder pedals, seat belts and other various parts. The painting is great and looks really crisp. A new thing (for me anyway) is the inclusion of weathering and shading on the brass parts as well as the steel seat belts, this makes a huge difference to the look of the finished kit. Decals, Decals are provided for five different aircraft across three theatres. The decals are printed by Eduard and are matt (I don’t know if this may give some silvering issues, time will tell) but they are in perfect register and have good colour density with swastikas provided (they may not be in the whole of Europe, but multi part ones are also on the sheet). Marking options are: A W.Nr. 746 9/JG2, Oblt.Schnell. January 1943 B CO’s Aircraft JG54, Leningrad front Maj. Trautloft early 1943 C W.Nr 749 6/JG2, Oblt. Rudorffer. December 1942 D W.Nr 760 8/JG2 Fw.Eisele January 1943 E CO’s Aircraft 1/JG54 Leningrad front Oblt. Nowotny March 1943 Colour call outs are for Gunze paints , all apart from the last scheme are in standard Luftwaffe colours that are available just about everywhere. Instructions. This is standard Eduard fare, and to be honest if it isn’t broken don’t try to fix it. They are clear and paint call outs are both in Gunze as well as RLM colours (a nice touch) perfectly clear and I have yet to see an error in Eduard instructions as to part numbers etc . Conclusion This is the kit I have been waiting for since Eduard first bought out their A-5 to A-9 series. The difficulty of the previous kit may have put a lot of people off. This kit looks like it’s going to be a lot simpler with closed panels and no separate engine. Detail really is sublime being restrained and high quality. The sheer amount of spare parts may catch people out so please double check that you have the right part before committing to glue. That said the amount of parts that go into the model is a lot more restrained than the previous 190’s without sacrificing the detail outwardly. This is at a price that won’t break the bank. You need nothing else to build a fantastic model of an early FW.190. Certain other manufacturers could take note here as this kit has all you want (photo etch isn’t compulsory) with loads of choices for less than £30.00. It remains to be seen if others would produce something of this quality for this price. Modern Eduard kits are a watchword in ‘buildability ’ and just about anyone could build this kit from a beginner to an accomplished modeller. My verdict: I think you have already guessed I highly recommend this kit to everyone regardless of experience or ability. My thanks to Eduard for the review sample. That’s not all! For those who want more detail there are 8 add on sets for this kit which will be reviewed shortly, including; · Wing gun bays, · Fuselage guns, · Cockpit · Engine · Landing Flaps · Exterior · Steel seat belts
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