Saturday, 15 February 2020

The Hurricane in Finnish service - Airfix 72nd

The Hurricane had a surprisingly brief career in the Finnish air arm. Twelve machines were purchased at the end of the Winter War early in 1940 from RAF stocks although two failed to arrive in Finland. The ten that did arrive in Finland touched down after the Finnish defeat in mid-March. By the time of Barbarossa the Hurricanes - in service with LLv 30 - were deployed to defend south-east Finland and first saw combat on July 2, 1941, shooting down two Polikarpov Chaikas. A DB-3 bomber was downed the next day followed by two more Soviet types the day after that. In both instances the Hurricanes had to break off combat after engine problems and starved of spares the Hurricanes were subsequently grounded for long periods. Even items such as spark plugs had to be retrieved from shot-down Soviet Hurricanes. Indeed the Soviets had specifically asked Britain not to supply the Finns- ultimately Britain declared war on Finland towards the end of the year. During 1942 the Hurricanes flew with LeLv 26 based in Helsinki-Malmi and were primarily used to prepare pilots to fly the Fiat G.50.

My model is another build of the new-tool Airfix Mk I, decals from Xtradecal representing Hurricane HC-451.

 During 2014 a Canadian-built Hurricane II was restored and repainted in temporary Finnish Air Force livery as HC-465, an aircraft originally captured from the Soviets after putting down on a frozen lake after running short of fuel during February 1942. It was the only Mk II that the Finns flew. HC-465 flew the last mission by a Finnish Hurricane on May 31, 1944. The restored Hurricane was registered G-CBOE in the UK. Owner Philip Lawton lived in Finland and displayed the aircraft there. The aircraft returned to the UK after a display season in Finland where there was great interest in the type..

I have to say that I think the Airfix new-tool Mk I looks less like a Hurricane than ever when not in RAF markings. There is something in the shape of this kit that does not quite look 'right' - some have suggested the height of the canopy is over done and that translates into a 'shortened' fuselage. The only view that looks more or less correct is that seen from above as below. However the details are nice - cockpit, undercarriage, wheel wells, exhausts - and this is a big improvement on the 'old-tool' of course. I have still to build my Arma Hobby kit. Perhaps soon.

Finnish Hawker Hurricane

Friday, 14 February 2020

..good day for the stash!

..a good day for the stash.....wandering into my local curios and collectables shop I spotted a couple of rare kits on the shelves... only £15 - a 48th Airfix Buccaneer and Hi-Grade F-4 from Hasegawa with metal parts and etch fret. For some reason there are four metal ejection seats in the Hasegawa F-4 box..

" ...That's a lucky haul and then some! I've had both in my stash for some time now though had to pay (relatively) daft prices by comparison. The Phantom had been on my radar since seeing it as a kid in 1987 (Hasegawa like Tamiya kits were 'waaaaaay' outside my pocket money or even Christmas budget) and I went a little 'wild' when I returned to the hobby in 2011 and discovered eBay. Main problem for me with the Bucc kits has been whether to pull the trigger and put the effort in or wait to see if the Tanmodel kit pans out. Best of luck with the kits!.."  'Nocoolname' on BM

..and an example built for display currently for sale on ebay

Friday, 7 February 2020

Have a break....

KitKat's latest ad campaign takes the brand's "have a break" tagline to 'innovative new levels', pairing up with kit company Airfix who created a special edition of their new Spitfire XIV. The kits were sent to a number of model-making YouTubers who, upon opening the packaging, discovered a KitKat incorporated in the kits mounted on its own 3D-printed plastic sprue. The KitKat itself comes into play at step 38 of the model-making process, under the instruction "have a break".

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Airfix Sea Fury FB 11 48th - build review finished

Second completion already in 2020.....

The new -tool Airfix Sea Fury is finally finished -what a lovely kit this is. Despite one or two small issues, especially around the cowl I can't be anything but pleased with the way this turned out. I used the Aeromaster Sea Fury sheet to do an example sporting stripes - FB 11 VX 726 aboard HMAS Sydney during 1952. Shame Airfix's decal options were so 'dull'. The Aeromaster sheet was of course designed for the Hobbycraft kit - so the stripes don't wrap around the fuselage all that well. They are in fact about one whole centimeter too short! The gaps were masked and painted as were the wing stripes ....

A long documentary from the video-tape era posted on youtube. The Korean carrier footage is at around the thirty-minute mark, well worth watching. A single click to view here..


More pics of the build in progress and the real machine

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Lidl Airfix Christmas special - Jet Provost T.4

In the UK over the Christmas period the supermarket chain Lidl once again had a stack of Airfix kits on their shelves at something approaching 40% off RRP. These are starter sets with paints, glue and brush for just £4.99 instead of at least £7.99 retail.These make great stocking 'fillers' for just about anybody (well, perhaps not the mother-in-law...) and I made sure that people knew about them - in the end I received the Spitfire, P-51 and Jet Provost kits.The Jet Provost is a bargain at this price and is a very nice little kit. A breeze to build - apart from one or two detail omissions and a curious fit issue around the forward fuselage - which I note that Mike Grant also encountered in his AMW build review..(ie the two fuselages halves never actually meet around the front end. There's not much in it, but still...)

Here's a few images of the build and the finished model in the overall red of the Red Pelicans display team, Central Flying School, RAF Little Rissington, Gloucestershire, England, 1966. Detail views of the real machine at the RAF Manston history museum, including a close-up of the 'missing' fuselage on the images to view larger..

Below; note the canopy 'brace' is an internal feature - there is no external frame as portrayed by Airfix on the kit part - replicated with a piece of decal strip and sanded and polished back. Note the instrument panel coaming needs cutting back in the kit.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Three months since my last post what's been going on ?

To paraphrase "Scale model soup " - blimey, I can’t believe it’s been more than three months since my last post! Time sure flies, especially as you get older. Suffice to say, I’m still here. So what’s been going on? On the basis that you might be vaguely goes..

 Since my last post here..I've written two books ! And a publisher is interested! Here's a mock up of the cover of the first one - doesn't take a great deal of effort to work out what the second title might be either. Of course these titles weren't compiled overnight - they are the synthesis of about ten years work on various projects..

Ok so you're thinking same old, same old..but both titles are jam-packed with great photos from a number of Luftwaffe alumini and artworks by Vincent Dhorne. And no-where do I say that Hartmann was credited with 352 kills or that Walther Dahl managed 128 victories including 36 heavy bombers...

In the same series I collaborated with Jean-Louis Roba on this next title earlier in the year and it is now available from the usual sources!

Features first person accounts, artworks, 200 photos, nice thick glossy paper and glossy card cover.

Elsewhere Eduard's new Bf 109 G-6/AS is released - one of the five markings options is for F-K Müller's 'red 2', the 1./NJGr 10 Moskito hunter flown by the ace during July-August 1944. I'd already written about this machine on my Luftwaffe blog and was invited to submit a lengthier appraisal for the latest Eduard INFO.

My 'history' feature on Müller's aircraft and night fighter career complete with rare photos and first person accounts is available to read in the free 76-page November issue of Eduard Info - download it here to get some modelling done..

Friday, 26 July 2019

48th scale Merlin-engined P-51 Mustangs

The count down to the US Nationals and the release of the 'kit of the year 2019' is on. I'm referring of course to the Eduard P-51. So how many are you looking to add to the stash? If any ? Surely any modeller worth his salt already has a large number of P-51s to build?  Here's a look at some of the 48th scale Mustangs in my stash.

The most recent is the new-tool Airfix P-51D and it certainly appears to build up into a fine model. Here's my friend Bob's build (East Kent Scale modellers)

The P-51 B/C kits by Accurate Miniatures, Tamiya, and Pro-Modeler (Monogram/Revell) are apparently very similar, although the Pro-Modeler one is the most accurate out of the box according to Detail and Scale Mustang vol.1, which covers Mustang variants from prototype to P-51 C. Nowadays, this is probably also the hardest one to find. Of course the Tamiya is reputed to have the best fit of all the kits - indeed it's probably one of the best fitting kits ever. For the P-51 D, the Tamiya and Hasegawa kits are also supposed to be very comparable.

Above; the Hasegawa 'D' looks great in the box with a super level of detail in the cockpit and in the selection of underwing stores. The Tamiya kit has one major advantage over the Hasegawa kit - the separate flaps, which are usually seen 'dropped' on shut-down. Their B/C kit also has separate flaps, unlike the Pro-Modeler and AM kits. However the cockpit floor of the Tamiya P-51 B is probably inaccurate, all Merlin engined P-51's had a flat plywood floor, not metal as in the Tamiya kit.The ICM versions look as good as the Tamiya kits that they may have been 'developed' from, with perhaps not quite such a good fit of parts.

Below; Patrick Chung's beautiful Tamiya 'B'

As I guess is well-known, all the kits of the P-51B/C/D/K in 1/48 scale have their wheel wells boxed in, whereas Merlin-engined P-51s featured no well as such -  the wing spar running straight through the wing essentially comprised the well, so in this regard all 48th scale kits are incorrect, but to be honest this is not the sort of thing that worries me as modeller. Although I do have a resin Aires 'bay' in the stash (below) The Hasegawa P-51D/K has very shallow wheel wells (this can be hidden by modelling the aircraft with the undercarriage doors closed).

Also in the pic above; a long out-of-print Jaguar P-51 B detail set, Ultracast propeller and spinner, Aires corrected undercarriage bay and Ultracast corrected flaps and wheels..

Although it is often said that the Tamiya P-51D is an easy build, the assembly of the canopy can be tricky consisting of a frame to which the glazing is attached. I use either a spare Hasegawa canopy or a Squadron vac form canopy (the Hasegawa canopy is slightly wide when compared to the Tamiya fuselage).

Although the flaps and inner wheel well doors fell as the hydraulic system lost pressure I would not get too hung up (excuse the pun) as your model could represent the aircraft just after shut down.  It is easy to find photo's of Merlin P-51's with the wheel well doors just cracked open and the flaps up.

Bearing in mind that I don't have the Fujimi, Meng or Academy or even the Accurate Miniatures kits, my recommendations for an OOB build would probably be the new Airfix tool - I'm starting one of mine as soon as - and the Hasegawa P-51 D. The Hasegawa D contains more under wing stores than the Tamiya kit and appears - in my opinion- to feature better detail.


".. when Revell re released the old ICM kit (we all know that this is rather similar to other 1/48th P-51 B kits!) with the markings for AK-A I just had to buy it and here it is.."

Tony O'Toole