Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Hobbyboss Fw 190 V-18 build in box review (4)

Some pics of my completed Hobbyboss Fw 190 V-18 CF+OY - this high altitude fighter prototype was a rebuilt Fw 190 A powered by a DB 603 turbo-charged engine. The turbocharger was fed by exhaust gases ducted through over-wing piping. Note the broad chord tail fin and the pressurized cockpit..

Monday, 19 February 2018

new-tool Airfix Phantom FG. 1 - here at last. FG.1 XT863 G 111 Sq special scheme IAT 1983

Here at last...but of course you know that. Far from rushing out to buy one or several I must admit to having had my potential enthusiasm for this kit somewhat 'dampened' by the first initial appraisals that appeared on various forum sites. Basically this new-tool Airfix has been compared a little unfavourably with the relatively ancient but good Fujimi kit.

However I shouldn't have worried. This new-tool Airfix FG.1 looks spectacular in the box - loads of options - radome, radar, refueling probe, wing folds etc etc and the biggest decal sheet possibly ever on a 72nd scale jet.

FG.1s served with two RAF squadrons, 43 and 111. XT 863 G of 111 Sq as seen at IAT 1983 is a subject on one of the first Xtradecal sheets. Pic below in my collection

And via the F-4 SIG leader;  " Most of the available info suggests XT863 had a single colour grey overall, which looks to me to be Light Aircraft Grey. This includes the colour of the missiles. As is usual with photos, the only true reference is the guy who painted it. I have heard a story this was an experimental scheme, though the stonger evidence is that it was one of 111's many special schemes.."

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Hobbyboss Fw 190 V-18 build in box review (3)

Despite my gross 'hamfistedness' in a number of areas my Hobbyboss Fw 190 V-18 is almost at the decaling stage...nice kit, albeit somewhat inaccurate in a number of areas, especially the cockpit which appears to be a little over-size and rather toy-like..

..and Gary 'old Sarge' - if you're reading this, thanks very much for the comments, really appreciate you dropping in here regularly. I'm writing this here since I don't seem to be able to comment on your excellent blog posts on your blog. Unfortunately I don't know why, but rest assured I always drop in and would suggest anyone else reading this and not familiar with Gary's 'old sarges aircraft' go straight over to his bit of the internet here

Monday, 12 February 2018

Hobbyboss Fw 190 V-18 build in box review (2), stash additions Tamiya Bf 109 G-6, Eduard Royal Class Fw 190 early versions - 48th

Still not really convinced by the Hobbyboss V-18, but it has assembled easily enough and finishing is underway. First coat of Humbrol's 'new' RLM 02 - very thin poor coverage, needs a second coat. And while I had the RLM 66 in the airbrush I started painting the cockpit parts of two fantastic new additions to the stash - the Eduard Royal Class Fw 190 'early versions' and the Tamiya Bf 109 G-6.

 Yes, the new Tamiya Bf 109 G-6 was about twice the price of an Eduard 48th 109, but then the pound sterling isn't worth much against any of these currencies nowadays! Worth getting though - it really does appear to be on another level in terms of plastic kit 'engineering' as you can see from the youtube build below (via 'Andy's hobby Shop')

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Airifx Valiant BK Mk.1 in 1:72 scale

Yes that bid is mine, so if I fail to win the above auction and you have one to dispose of please do get it touch! But seriously, have you noticed how scarce this kit has suddenly become ? I guess that always happens just when you want one. For a relatively recent new tool I was surprised to not see it in the latest Airfix catalogue and as a result ebay prices are going through the roof, averaging anywhere between £80 to £90. Even 'partially' built examples (more like 90% completed..) are going for large sums - I bid £34 on the example below ..and still didn't win. Of course circumstances like this  more than justify the large stash. Just a shame I hadn't added one of these to it!

Monday, 29 January 2018

Hobbyboss Focke Wulf Fw 190 V18 - 48th

So Hobbyboss have produced an 1:18th scale Fw 190. It looks terrible, very toy-like. Not much better is this one which landed on my bench early last year. I've picked it up again recently. The Focke Wulf Fw 190 V-18 was an attempt to produce a high altitude fighter prototype using the DB 603 in-line bomber engine which featured an enormous Hirth exhaust-driven turbocharger located under the fuselage - ultimately an example of failed rather than innovative German engineering! While it could manage 400+ mph at 31,000 ft, it could only do it intermittently. The V-18/U1 was fitted with the broad Ta 152 tail-fin and the supercharged DB 603 drove a large four-bladed prop - makes for an 'exotic' looking machine and I guess we should be glad that a reasonable replica is available in kit form and not just as some short-run resin.

The problem with this kit is that it doesn't know which variant it really wants to be. It doesn't help that the box-art is rather more detailed than the kit itself, which lacks the Hirth turbocharger exhaust fairings on the fuselage and upper wing. There's only one or two builds of this kit out on the net. One 'John Miller' has a very nice build on a few sites. I've borrowed his pic of the cockpit (looks decidedly oversized) and supercharger engine detail alongside as I didn't take a picture of mine before hiding it away.

John reckons the biggest issue is the nose cowl with its two large intakes that weren't present on the V18 (easily filled in and faired over). That said I notice that the Fw 190 V15 prototype which trialed the exhaust pipes had these intakes and did not have the fairings, so perhaps the Hobbyboss kit designers got their variants mixed up. There are more curious omissions and inclusions on the kit. But there is no armoured head-rest on the real machine above, John. That was introduced later in development. One tip I've picked up from John's build is the area of heavy riveting underneath the cockpit. The exhaust-driven turbocharger unit is included but can only be seen through the rather bare and open wheel well. The large open rear cockpit decking will be covered with some Eduard etch. Still the grau/alu finish looks quite striking, just remains to be seen if it builds into a reasonable replica.

Box and sprue views here

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Fujimi RAF 'Silver Jubilee' RN F-4 Phantom FG.1 in 1:72

The 're-designed' and Rolls-Royce Spey-engined F-4s used by the RAF and the Royal Navy during the 1970s must count - at least as far as UK enthusiasts are concerned - as some of the most 'exotic' and 'charismatic' of all F-4 variants. The modifications necessary to fit the larger British engines imbued British Phantoms with an additional air of menace! Those cavernous intakes fed huge quantities of air into huge downwards-angled engines spewing tons of flame and thrust earthward during take-off. Difficult to believe now that we had some 150 F-4s, with one squadron of the Spey-engined aircraft flying off HMS Ark Royal for a number of years! Shame they had gone by 1982 - they'd have come in handy down in the South Atlantic!  As it was, post-Falklands, the F-4s moved south, opening a new phase of RAF F-4 operations when the powers-that-be realised we needed more of them - even if they were only second-hand Js. No wonder the Russians never gave us any grief! But that's another model. And the FGR. 2 soldiered on with 56 and 74 Squadrons until 1992 - but again, that's another model, probably a Hasegawa 48th scale F-4.

Although delayed, the new-tool Airfix  F-4 FG.1 is still eagerly awaited. Back in May I started a Fujimi FG.1 in 72nd ahead of the release of the Airfix  F-4 and this was as far as I managed to get before putting it to one side.

More of the build phase on this blog here.  I have now managed to complete it before the end of the year (well, not quite..) and prior to the release of the new Airfix kit. The 1977 'Silver Jubilee' scheme is also a markings option in the new kit  - as it was back in the 1980s when Fujimi released their model. See the link below for more on the differences between these various markings options.

Above; my completed model and, below, a few shots of the decals and undercarriage going on.

 Although nicely detailed the kit is really starting to show its age now - and despite what you can read elsewhere you have to work hard to get bits to fit - the intakes especially. The decals are pretty poor too and all the stencils silvered badly. The new Airfix kit promises to blow this one out of the water but I see there are already rumblings about 'missing' details - bleed air louvres above and below the intakes most notably, which Fujimi managed to incorporate into their kit all those years ago.

Below; some decent detail views for modellers of the new Airfix FG. 1 including a super view of the lower surfaces. XT 859 at Farnborough 1968 700 NAS with everything out for a low dirty pass. Note the underwing codes overlap the gear doors/flaps. Mark Taylor photo.

Above  FG. 1 XT 866 seen during 1977 sold for £56.55 here
Below; another neat view of FG. 1 XT 866 seen in August 1977 again recently sold for £56 on ebay here!

Phantom FG1 XT870 of 892 NAS at RNAS Culdrose in July,1976

Many more pics of RN Phantoms on this blog