Friday, 31 July 2020

British Phantom XV 497 arrives at the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation museum

XV 497 was moved to a new home this week arriving at the Flixton museum from the former RAF Bentwaters on Tuesday 28 July and being assembled for display...this video documents the arrival and reassembly in moving and still pictures. A single click to view here..


Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Modelling nostalgia with the vintage FROG Focke Wulf Ta 152 H

I guess for those of us 'oldies' quite a lot of what we do in modelling nowadays is driven by 'nostalgia'. It has become something of trend on forums everywhere to revisit some of those golden oldies from the 1970s and 1980s; ‘a kit you built as a kid’ group build was running a while back on Britmodeller. I more or less remember tackling all of those kits in their day. Mainly because there wasn’t any internet and whatever the local newsagents or Woolworths had in stock was what you built back then. Although I always remember 'Airfix Magazine' arriving through the letterbox on Saturday morning each month and devoured Alan Hall's and Bryan Philpott's model builds - especially those Ju 88 nightfighter and Bf 109 conversions from Bryan Philpott. Of course parents and relatives were always ready to buy you a model kit since no doubt they saw it as a constructive way for a child to spent his time, same with books. No doubt one of the reasons why I've ended up with a huge collection of books ..and unbuilt models. I well recall building the Airfix 24 scale Harrier in about a fortnight aged twelve years old. I doubt if I could do anything like that today!

Still living the nostalgia. I saw a lovely thread elsewhere on BM where the modeller stated that what he liked doing was simply building what was in the box. No additions or new parts or vacuform canopy or after-market of any description - you just build what is in the box. Just to remind yourself how much fun it is not worrying about washes, detailing and all the other things we now tend to have to have these days in our modelling lives, living in an era of 'super' kits and hi-grade aftermarket.

But Airfix was the staple of those days and in the last couple of years before other interests took me away from the hobby around 1978/79 my passion was building Luftwaffe kits. This coincided with the discovery in the local library of William Green's massive "Warplanes of the Third Reich" book. It was a book full of exotic machines and far too valuable to be loaned out of the library - you were allowed to study it in a special room and I still recall spending at least one set of summer holidays taking copious notes from it into a small notepad - aged about 11 or 12. Well-known author and Classic Publications founder Robert Forsyth told me that his interest in the Luftwaffe was stimulated in similar fashion - but he actually got his mum to buy him a copy of 'Warplanes..' ! Who knew then that this huge tome would be so decried nowadays by the Experten.

Frog models featured a lot in my youth - their Blackburn Shark and Barracuda kits I remember well. One of the vintage kits I built back then was the 1970-release of the FROG Ta 152. I would have been around 10 or 11 when I first built this kit. Of course this original FROG kit has been re-boxed by Revell and is still easily available. I built mine a while ago but having a box of Eduard Fw 190 spare bits to hand I have been 'inspired' to do up my old FROG model.

This is the finished model. I've tried to update it a little. The engine cowl has had plastic card gill's added and a etch grille in the top section. The otherwise completely smooth nose and upper fuselage parts have been scribed and the canopy/late war head armour and wheels are Eduard left-overs. A gear bay has been built and gear retraction jacks added. along with foot-step and a FuG aerial. There is even a half-decent cockpit tub with side panels, instrument panel and control column in there. The armament has been replaced with metal rod. Aerial wire from GS-Hypo Cement - a new tube so very fine, barely visible. Decals from the Kagero "JG 301" Air Miniatures book - 'green 4' is the Stab./JG 301 machine supposedly flown by Walter Loos in the last few weeks of the war. Paints are Xtracolor and Colourcoats enamels - reading my reference it would appear that there is no known camouflage 'plan' for the Ta 152, but mine is taken from the Eagle Monarch book on the type, who incidentally don't feature Loos' 'green 4' but do illustrate an all-red machine, which in my view was probably an 'invention' of the vets for a little 'fun' at some-one's expense ...

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Eduard wilde Sau Limited Edition

.... Eduard asked me to put together some text/markings schemes for a wilde Sau Limited Edition Dual Combo kit.  While they didn’t go with all my choices, it was nice to be asked and at least have a hand in choosing the markings options ( ten in the box). A separate decal sheet is being released in August too. Kit just arrived;

The current issue of Eduard Info - a free download from - features some text and images that I compiled for this release....Episode One means that there will be another box of Bf 109 JG 300 schemes at a later date along with a box of Wilde Sau FW 190s...

Thursday, 11 June 2020

More British RAF and Royal Navy F-4 Phantoms

ROYAL NAVY F-4 K PHANTOM FG 1 - publicity photo by Peter R March as a 'news item' covering the embarkation of 892 NAS aboard HMS Ark Royal for the first time. The color shot of the Royal Navy's first F-4 K is dated 22 June 1966.

The colour shots below depict machines of 767 Sqdn, the shore-based Royal Navy training unit for their carrier based Phantoms. Naval Air Squadron 767 was established to train FG. 1 pilots between 1969 and 1972. The 'yellow bird' emblem became the 'ten-ton budgie'..

"153" seen landing on June 14, 1969 at Upper Heyford was  XT868 and marked like this between Jan 1969 and July 1972. XT 868 was subsequently operated by 892 Sqdn until it crashed on May12, 1978 at Leuchars at the beginning of a practise display routine. "Flypast" magazine published this image in 1976.

Decals for early British Phantoms are available via Xtradecal and (the now presumably defunct) RAM Models sheets reviewed on this blog here

Sunday, 7 June 2020

AZ Bf 109 G-6/AS in 1:72 scale

Bf 109 G-6/AS from the AZ 72nd series of Bf 109s - seen here awaiting some final touches, like the pitot tube and the FuG 16 aerial. One reason for taking photos of your models - you immediately realize what you’ve missed! Decals are remnants from various sheets, except for the ‘Mickey Maus ’ from the old Encore models Gustav.

As a far better modeler than me put it recently, " I keep going back to the AZ Bf 109s ...and then reality hits home.." Now - based on just one build so far - I decided that I quite like AZ Model's Bf 109 G-6 series - 'Model of the Year 2015' in the small scale category in the German 'Modellfan' magazine. I've just added a couple of G-6/AS variants to the stash and bought both the 'Limited Edition' JG 300 boxes.

The G-6/AS were conceived as ‘fast’ high altitude interceptors with a refined ‘bulge-free’ cowling and forward fuselage, the DB 605A(S) engine (‘S’ for Sonder or ‘special’) and a bigger supercharger, issued in overall light blue-gray finish from early 1944 to units operating in the defense of the Reich, such as I./JG 5. This is the ’Mickey Maus’ machine flown by the Kommandeur, Horst Carganico...

I'd forgotten how tricky these AZ kits are - not much fits well unfortunately. Especially where the cockpit is concerned - a huge chunk of that need sanding down to get it between the fuselage halves.

To build a G-6/AS as depicted in this box the chin bulges will need to be sanded off - AZ don't tell you this anywhere.

I’ve just started another of these and somehow the fit of the cockpit is much better ! The other problem area is the fit of the empennage which seems too thick for the lower half of the fuselage, which could usefully use a ‘shim’ of plastic card to widen it out. And many modelers have complained about the nose shape on these kits but to be honest it doesn’t bother me too much at all...

Friday, 29 May 2020

ICM Bf 109 Friedrich 1:48 - build review finished

Finished in the markings of Kommodore Balthasar of JG 2 as seen in late May 1941 in the three greys, but being an early F-2, there’s a chance it could have been finished in BoB Emil 71/02/65. Decals assembled from various remnants, including the rudder ‘kill’ markings. Balthasar was one of the leadingLuftwaffe aces during the campaign in the West and the Battle of Britain. He was killed in his new Friedrich during July 1941.

I am currently considering whether or not to repaint the port wing, as the pattern is not consistent with the splinter pattern vaguely discernable on the photo of this machine (he says now!)... overall I like the kit. I found it a little tricky in parts -especially the cowl - but the detail is reasonably good..

Saturday, 23 May 2020

ICM Bf 109 Friedrich 48 scale - build review (1)

 I had the idea to do a comparative build of 48th scale Bf 109s but having already built the Eduard and Hasegawa Gustavs and paid a small fortune for the 'new' Tamiya kit I quickly went off the idea as being a little pointless. How come ? ...well it occurred to me that I had paid four times as much for the Tamiya kit (around £32.... ) as I had for any of the ICM Bf 109s in the stash ( around £8.99 ..) Yes, 4x. I can't imagine that the Tamiya kit is four times as good or is four times as easy to build for example ..or is it? Now the ICM Bf 109s seem to be nicely detailed kits - you get a reasonable engine and cockpit - but I've read a few horror stories about fit and so on so here is my attempt to assemble one as neatly as possible.

The ICM Bf 109 kits feature a nice representation of the DB engine, so why not build this with the cowl open?  However adding the engine to the cockpit firewall before inserting into the fuselage seems to be asking or trouble. Best perhaps to assemble the cockpit and close up the fuselage in the normal way. Once that's done add the engine to the firewall ..

When fitting the engine to the firewall you will need to test fit the various cowl parts at the same time - you may find that the locating holes for the engine mounts will need drilling out. Once glued in, the the whole engine assembly is pretty solid. You should find that the two banks of cylinders just rest on the forward part of the fuselage. These are angled  so that when the exhaust stacks are fitted they sit level to the rest of the assembly. Some more detail parts still to add to the engine here  - eg the coolant tank and valve and a bit of wiring to 'busy' the space up a little...Plenty (!!) of test-fitting of the multi-part cowl is required throughout..

Elsewhere the locating tabs on the flaps will need to be cut down to enable these parts to be positioned other than at neutral. Unfortunately the rounded wing-tip parts do not fit well and much sanding and filing is necessary. Recessed panel lines are well done. The plastic has a nice 'feel' to it.

Painting underway using Humbrol and Xtracolor enamels over a coat of (Halfords) grey acrylic primer. I always have 'trouble' painting exhausts - this time I went with a metallic silver base coat - after all these things are made of metal - and then went over this with an acrylic brown, drybrushed so that the 'metal' just shows through.

The kit decals by the way look incredibly matte on the sheet - I've decided not to use them.
More soon.....