Friday, 24 March 2017

72nd RS Models Me 309 - first look in-box build review

Thought I'd be starting my MB 5 by now but I went instead for another new release late-war piston-engined prototype - the RS Models Messerschmitt Me 309. Neat model, finely engraved panel lines a big advance on the Huma kit but short-run fit problems rearing their head before I've got the fuselage halves together. Here I have cut out the rudder and horizontal stabilisers. Kit comes with alternative tails and wingtips. Looks like a 'pregnant' P-51...

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Hobbyboss Fw 190 V18 - first look, in box build review

Hobbyboss Fw 190 V18...and foil baking tray! Once again I've been taken in by the nice box and a machine I've always wanted to build but for some reason there's a major omission - a total lack of fuselage fairings for the turbocharger pipework which are quite clearly evident on the box art. I'm thinking I can 'scratch' something with the tin foil tray perhaps..

Friday, 10 February 2017

Academy Bf 109 G-14 in 72nd scale (2)

 Academy Bf 109 Gustav in 72nd scale. Boxed as a G-14 with tall tail and Erla Haube, but just as possibly a late G-6. In the markings of the Luftwaffe's leading ace Hartmann as JG 53 Gruppenkommandeur during February 1945, another image of the real machine at bottom, print in my collection. I'm pretty sure I can see a battery box cover on the rear cockpit wall but not a detail I've attempted to replicate. Nor have I simulated the heavy overspray on the prop blades!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Academy Bf 109 G-14 in 72nd scale

This is the quite neat (miles better than their 'Emil') Academy Bf 109 Gustav in 72nd scale. In the markings of the Luftwaffe's leading ace Hartmann as JG 53 Gruppenkommandeur during February 1945. There are a couple of images that show some sort of 'grey' overspray around the cockpit and wing area which if it covers the entire airframe would resemble this 'spider's web' finish, although most modellers don't bother portraying it.

Below; BPK archive shot of the real machine, dated 20 February 1945. There's some sort of over-sprayed pattern there, note the wing area - but do a google image search and there's not a single modeller out there (even of the Fujimi kit) who has attempted to reproduce it! No antenna mast either (AFAIK), the aerial attaches to the fuselage directly behind the canopy..

Friday, 3 February 2017

Special Hobby Junkers Ju 88 C-4 - first look in box review

just arrived! ICM re-boxing with a nice packet of detail resin parts, including wheels, tailwheel and exhaust flame dampers. Also provided by Special Hobby is a new plastic sprue featuring a new solid  nose, Bola and MGs. Also new clear parts..impressed! Decals by Cartograf feature 3 different marking options including those of 16-victory ace Ofw. Hermann Sommer of 2./NJG 2. A quick look in the box..

Sunday, 29 January 2017

British RAF F-4 Phantoms - new F-4 Phantom decals for the forthcoming Airfix FG.1/FGR.2 RAM Models

Above; just acquired two lovely new British F-4 Phantom decal sheets from RAM Models.

First in a series of blog posts to cover RAF and Fleet Air Arm Phantoms. Having also just acquired a very nice photo album comprising some 200 top images, expect plenty more on British Phantoms in the lead up to the release of the forthcoming Airfix 1:72 scale kit later this year.  Below; as seen at the Nuremberg toy fair..

via the 72aircraft news blog

First some gen, starting at the beginning.

In the late 1960's  the UK was the first overseas customer to buy the F-4 Phantom from the United States, purchased for the Royal Navy as an all-weather. long-range, carrier-borne fighter for Fleet defence to replace the Sea Vixen. An RAF variant was developed. The Fleet Air Arm F-4 K Phantom FG 1 and the RAF F-4 M Phantom FGR 2 were derived from the F-4 J, but featured the Westinghouse AN/AWG-11/12 Pulse doppler radar, Rolls Royce Spey 202/203 turbofan engines producing 20,515 lbs of thrust each (12,250 lbs each in static dry power - non-reheat - 17,500 in flight) and significantly different British avionics including a Ferranti Inertial Navigation and Attack System or INAS in the case of the FGR 2. Replacing the original General Electric J79 engines with the slightly fatter and longer Rolls Royce Speys necessitated changes to the inlets due to the larger air requirement and a re-design of the lower rear fuselage. The installation of the Speys gave an increase of 10% in operational range, 15% increase in ferry range and better low-level acceleration, however the increased drag of the engine installation rather upset the aerodynamic qualities of the airframe, resulting in slightly reduced performance at high altitude.The AN/AWG-11 fire control system was installed in the F-4 K and the AN/AWG-12 in the FGR 2 in place of the AN/AWG-10 of the F-4 J. The AWG-11 differed from the AWG-10 mainly in having a radar dish that folded sideways with the nose cone (radome) to reduce the aircraft's length to 54 feet so that it could fit on the smaller deck lifts of British aircraft carriers. Fifty F-4 K Phantom FG.MK 1s were built and 116 F-4 M Phantom FGR. Mk 2s (plus two prototypes of each) ..

British F-4 undergoing sea trials on HMS Eagle - Joe Wilkinson in the foreground on the tractor. According to Joe this is probably the aircraft currently on display in the FAA museum.  (pic via Joe Wilkinson)

(Above) FG. 1 XT 867 (152/VL) with 767 NAS, probably during the early 70s - note the 'yellow bird' emblem on the tail fin, otherwise known as the 'ten ton budgie'.. The Naval Air Squadron 767 was established to train FG. 1 pilots between 1969 and 1972. Note the extended nose oleo of 152/ VL on approach.

 "..the undercarriage just sags under its own weight until it touches down, then compresses. Hooks weren't routinely used for airfield landing unless the 'chute candled and they dumped it for a go-around.." (Charlie Brown)

Below; Royal Navy McDonnell F-4K Phantom FG.1, XT861 of 767 Sqn. Royal Navy seen landing at RNAS Yeovilton, UK on 5 September 1970. Currently on offer here

FG.1 XT876 of 767 NAS at Yeovilton in 1969. Note black code and stencils. Mark Taylor photo. Mark posted on FB;  " This is the a/c that was lost 10th January 1972 with the sad loss of Cmdr Simon Idiens following a double 'flame-out' RIP. The observer Lt. 'Rod' O'Connor ejected safely and was recovered by the Culdrose SAR.."

Below; also serving with 767 NAS was XV 579 "157"/VL in two-tone RAF camo.

(unknown photographers, photo print above and below in my collection - you can click on the image to view it large)

Also available on the 'Early British Phantoms' decal sheet from RAM Models

Below; Royal Navy Phantom FG.1 XT 859, at Yeovilton, March 1969  (in my collection via Darryl Wickham). Another notable feature of FAA F-4s was the extensible nose wheel leg to reduce the 'wind over deck' requirement for safe launches from the smaller British flight decks/catapults.

" Everything drops when the weight is off the wheels. For carrier ops the nose wheel extended to give better angle of attack on launch. 1/2 flap for take off and full flap for landing. The leading edge flaps came down for both..On the FGR2 we didn't have the extending nosewheel although it might have been useful on a QRA launch from Stanley! We also landed into the cable. It was a 600 foot pull out not too dissimilar to The Ark. The oleos extended under gravity. so what you see on landing is normal. I think the early FG1s had the extending nose wheel. A few of the Navy mods were retained such as the slotted stabilator but most were slowly phased out."

Friday, 20 January 2017

Airfix 48th Sea Vixen FAW 2 (Fighter All Weather). First completion for 2017

Airfix 48th Sea Vixen FAW. 2 (Fighter All Weather). First completion for 2017. British carrier-borne fighter in service between 1964-1972.

This is really a superlative kit, and also very large and a little complex, probably the biggest kit I've built since I completed the Airfix 24th scale Harrier when I was 12 years old back in 1972. Although the only really tricky area of this Sea Vixen are the flaps that lay across the booms- I still don't know exactly how they fit. You will need two pairs of hands to get the wing hinges on while the holding the wing in place - if doing the folded wing option. Just applying the decals took about a week of evenings and even now I still have a few to put on. The carrier film is rather matte on the huge decal sheet supplied but with plenty of 'Klear' they did not 'silver' at all.

Airfix did a brilliant job on the underwing stores. Here I have fitted the SNEB rocket pods and the drop tanks but have still to build  the Red Top air-to-air missiles also in the box. 'XS 577' is an aircraft of 899 Naval Air Squadron and served on board the carrier HMS Eagle during 1975. This was entirely OOB, although I replaced the wing-mounted pitot tubes with sowing needles as they were very fragile. Flaps, airbrake and arrestor hook are down, cockpit canopy and 'coal-hole' open. I made some belts from foil with etch buckles.

More pictures of the completed model follow.