Saturday 26 May 2012

new tool Airfix 1:72 Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4 - first one finished - (edit 06 June..)

 My first one finished (although I must add some trim tabs..) - in an 8./JG 54 scheme (pilot Lt. Erwin Leykauf, five vics on the rudder mid-1940) from the Aeromaster 'Green Hearts' sheet with the 'Piepmatz' cheeky sparrow cowl emblem. I'm pretty pleased with the kit, less so my hamfisted attempts to touch up the canopy framing where my masking went awry. Aerial mast from sprue, as I've broken two trying to get them off the sprue runners - same thing with the aileron balances. I've added a horizontal splitter plate in the chin radiator from plastic card and brake lines from 5 amp wire. As pointed out elsewhere (thanks Mikey)  if you are doing a model with the flaps down don't forget that the ailerons were linked to the flaps and would both droop to 10 degrees. This is so easy to do on the Airfix kit the way the wing is laid out. Just a couple of scribes along the front of the aileron front inside edge and you can then carefully bend them down the required amount. Having pulled a Tamiya Emil kit out of the stash for  a quick comparison, the similarities between the two kits are striking - although the Airfix kit has the better detail options and a three-piece canopy. Can't be beaten for the price - about 50% less than the Tamiya kit in the UK, if not more....and despite what some Airfix detractors have posted on britmodeller and elsewhere there are no particular problems with wing dihedral or the tailplanes on this kit - far from it. The faults that are present are really just minor niggles... 

 Here's something I read over on recently. (again thanks Mikey - I'd never really considered this particular 'theory' before...)  Why did some Luftwaffe fighters have white I.D. wing tips and engine panels and some yellow ? One theory has it that when in August 1940 Goering demanded that the fighters stay close to the bombers, nose and wing tips and in some cases even the horizontal stabiliser tips were to be painted Yellow. Of course yellow is a bad colour for coverage even with modern paints  and it is difficult to imagine that they were any better in war-time in the field?  Perhaps, just perhaps, the white we sometimes see on Luftwaffe Battle of Britain fighters is the undercoat for the yellow topcoat yet to be applied. 

Personally I've always thought that the white cowls and rudders seen on Battle of Britain Emils were those flown by Kommandeure and/or Staffelkapitaene, pilots like Wick, to take just one example of an Emil ace whose aircraft featured a white cowl for a period. And another point against this argument is where we see - as here - rudder victory Balken painted on..a white rudder ....

By way of comparison, a view of Airfix 1970's mould Bf 109 Emil in the Battle of Britain colours of III./JG 26 reissued during 2009/10 (IIRC) - not a bad kit either really, once all the raised panel lines are sanding off..although the canopy doesn't fit very well unfortunately..

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Masking and painting the new Airfix 1:72nd scale Bf 109 Emil

It's been a while since I managed to finish two kits in one week - and needless to say I haven't managed to do it here either with the nice new Airfix Bf 109 E-4. Still, we are well into the masking and painting stage with  both kits. This is probably for my money one of the best of Airfix's new tools especially in 1:72 scale - it compares very favourably with the Tamiya Emil which I have pulled out of the stash for a quick comparison. The Eduard mask used here was produced for the Tamiya kit and fits the Airfix kit more or less perfectly. The Airfix Emil of course features 'poseable' flaps and an engine - which you don't get in the Tamiya kit. Tricky parts - like the stabiliser braces - fit well

Tuesday 15 May 2012

new Airfix Bf 109 Emil in 1:72 scale is here ! - updated 18 May

My first two have arrived. What's it like ? - I think I can sum it up in two words - very nice! Brilliant box artwork, general presentation, panel lines, separate flaps etc etc ...there's even a flat on the tail-wheel and a detailed interior including a set of rudder pedals, although no trim wheels or oxygen unit. However the 'engine' appears to be a much better representation than the 1:48th version was - with the supercharger and the ignition leads moulded, although to be honest I think I'd rather have had that extra cockpit detail...  Getting some of the parts off the sprue will be a little awkward, especially the aileron balances. I can see what some might moan about - eg the rather clunky tread detail on the tyres - aside from the fact that there are no Trop/Jabo parts in this boxing and only one canopy and Battle of Britain decal option  (Franz von Werra - ' The one who got away' ), but apart from that this is top notch- and all for less than the price of a packet of cigarettes! I need to get a few done before the Spitfire Mk 22 and the new P-51 arrive !

..this page had nearly 600 views yesterday...  so here are my first two examples under way! I plan on finishing these as JG 54 and JG 52 machines  - two 'famous' Eastern Front Geschwader that participated in the Battle of Britain. The cockpits are adequately detailed for this scale. The two decals provided for the instrument panel are hopelessly over-sized, so the 'instruments' have been cut off the sheet individually. The seat looks nice and the moulded-on belt detail okay so I'm not going to bother with tape/etch. For my third example I'm going to throw a Verlinden etch/resin detail set at the cockpit and do von Werra's crash-landed WNr. 10598 with the hood off. At the moment though I'm struggling to get the fuselage halves together - can't identify the problem - having trimmed back the cockpit, instrument panel and cut off all the locating plugs I'm still going to need a touch of filler!

Wings on and a couple of shots to give you an impression of the finesse of this kit's panel lines - very nicely rendered indeed. Again though the fit was slightly compromised by the locating plug/holes, which I've had to remove to avoid a gap at the wing-roots. Note the two 'cut-outs' on the cockpit sill - these correspond to two tiny plugs on the canopy which will provide a bit of strength on the join when posing the folding part of the hood  open. There's a nasty sink mark on the top of the cockpit 'shelf' behind the seat and two on the cockpit floor...

 More views of the finished model and comment on the kit here

Saturday 5 May 2012

Airfix 1:350 HMS Daring Type 45 Destroyer reference "Remember the Falklands" - Portsmouth Dockyard Walkaround Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon

below, photographed on 24 May 2012- HMS Diamond (D34) on the Solent - HMS Diamond is the third ship of the Type 45 or 'D' class of air defence destroyer built for the RN. She was launched in 2007, completed her contractor's sea trials in July 2010 and arrived at her base port on 22 September 2010. Diamond was commissioned in a traditional ceremony on 6 May 2011, and formally entered service on 12 July 2011

Some reference for builders of the imminent Airfix Type 45 Destroyer HMS Daring kit in 1:350 scale.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the Royal Navy, with the support of BAE Systems hosted a weekend of free events in early  May 2012 to commemorate the Naval and local contribution to the Falkland Island conflict 30 years ago, with displays and the opportunity to visit HMS Dragon and HMS York.

Type 45 destroyer, HMS Dragon and Type 42 destroyer HMS York were open to visitors from 10-4 both days of the weekend. HMS Dragon is the fourth of the Navy’s six £1bn Type 45 destroyers. HMS York is Britain’s youngest Type 42 destroyer – and also the fastest (over 34 knots to be precise – just short of 40mph).

Son no.2 who lives in Portsmouth visited HMS Dragon and HMS York (Type 42 destroyer ) and took a few photos. Click on the images for a 'full-size' view..