Sunday 26 December 2021

IBG Models PZL P.11 b (Romanian service) in 72nd


Ahead of the arrival of their new Fw 190 Dora kits, here are a few more pics of my recently completed PZL P.11 from IBG. IBG's family of PZL P.11 models in 72nd scale are very nicely detailed kits, well-engineered and superbly molded. For around £12 you get a huge box, three decal choices, a detailed IAR 9K engine and a photoetched fret with some tiny details such as throttle lever, seat harness, rudder pedals, gun-sight, undercarriage strengthening wires and the windscreen frame. Much of the sheet in fact is not required for this kit. Inevitably perhaps - for those of us with 'fatter' fingers and poorer eyesight - not every etch part will be used. Not every plastic part either - I have still the fit the two venturi tubes either side of the cockpit. Elsewhere the control surfaces - elevators, rudder and ailerons- are all separate parts. Fit is very good - as it has to be with so many small parts. Decals are by Techmod with options for three Romanian machines. 

I can recommend the IBG PZL P.11 fighters.  Although I haven't seen it, the Arma Hobby kit is perhaps an easier build. Just add the Karaś from Heller, P-7a from MasterCraft and PZL P-37 Łoś from Plastyk (or MasterCraft) to complete a set of Polish combat aircraft from the German attack on Poland - "September 1939".

Thursday 9 December 2021

new Revell SR-71 Blackbird in 48th


 ..super new Revell kit of the SR-71 just arrived. No I can't see myself building it to be honest but I'm collecting a few images for reference and such like and re-posting them here so that I can find them easily when required. 

Alan P build thread on BM here

At the 1974 Farnborough air show after its record-breaking New York to London flight. Posted by Mike 'Michou' 

Mildenhall, 11 September 1974 - the same aircraft being prepared for an attempt on a record east to west flight. The flight was aborted because of some problem and the record London to LA flight was made on 13 September.

"...Whenever we took an SR to an airshow (I went with a U-2 once, but we had an SR with us) they always told the local maintenance and fire dept people that if the aircraft is NOT leaking fuel, then we have a problem. Sometimes they would also throw lit matches into a puddle of fuel to show that JP-8 would just put the fire out. It is actually a chemical reaction that is used to light the fuel for engine start...Tri Eythel Bromide IIRC. Not sure on all of the spellings, but yeah, that is what got ignition going. They had a built-in starter system in the barns at Beale, but they were broke most of the time I was there, so it was mostly the Buicks to get the engines up to speed for ignition. Very distinctive sound when the Buicks started up.."    Dave

Wednesday 8 December 2021

LIDARing the Supermarine Scimitar - new DBMK Models kit due in October 2023


Will Packard of DBK Models discusses the Scimitar for a FB video filmed during the scanning of the rare Solent Sky museum example of the type at its 'secret' location in Hampshire ahead of a new kit release planned for late 2023!  

From Steve Bond's " Fleet Air Arm Boys " (Grub Street)

"..the Scimitar was a real 'hot rod' for its day ..but was quite heavy and had only small wings. It was big; the biggest single-seat aircraft operating from a carrier at that time and the last FAA machine with guns, four 30 mm cannon. It could carry four 1000 lb bombs and had a nuclear capability. Its two engines produced 23 000 Ibs of thrust which made for a very spritely acceleration....of the two types I was flying at the time, the Scimitar had the power whereas the Hunter had the manoeuvrability. But if the Scimitar was getting into trouble he could just open the throttles and disappear... we intercepted an American task force about 400 miles east of Iceland. An F-4 attempted to interfere with us, but it was no contest. Then an F-8 tried his luck but the US military was not trained in air combat manoeuvring while we were very aggressive..."

below; Supermarine Scimitar - XD 236 seen during early June 1968. This machine was lost the same month on June 26, 1968 flying into high ground in cloud on St Catherines Down, Isle of Wight killing the pilot, Naval Airman 1st class Tony Patton. Patton's radio altimeter failed in bad weather. He was flying a sortie as a target for HMS Corrunna. Adrian Balch photo

Also on this blog; 

Tuesday 9 November 2021

Building the Airfix 72nd Swordfish with NO filler ! - finished


"some modelling skills required.."    This kit is not an especially difficult build but it does require care and patience - in fact it is a kit that once finished you can take a certain amount of pride in. I think it looks every inch a Swordfish and its pretty nicely detailed too. But I also know better modellers than me that have not managed to complete it - a bit tricky, too fiddly, impossibly large sprue gates making removal of the smallest parts rather awkward and short-shot struts for the wing centre section around which the entire wing assembly hinges. Plus not reading stage 44 of the instructions correctly - gear leg assembly!  Probably not a good idea either to do what I did and start rigging before having completed the assembly - tends to pull the wings out of alignment. And careful not to apply too much pressure on the wings during assembly otherwise you'll snap the struts!

..and for anyone trying to research colours for a 'Channel Dash' Swordfish, well, no one knows for sure, as there are no known photos. The Airfix box artwork features a machine finished in black distemper. All the photos I've ever seen show the distemper applied only to the undersurfaces of the Swordfish and Sky-Grey areas of the fuselage (or in this case Sky as they were Blackburn built). Note that nearly all profiles and kit artwork get the depiction of the codes wrong on both 825 Bismarck and 825 Channel Dash Swordfish. Codes were carried on the fin 1941-1942, not on the fuselage. The colour of the single letter codes was either black or dark red (it's not possible to be certain on the basis of available photos). The colour scheme as featured on the Xtradecal sheet is there or thereabouts, more or less...

Wednesday 3 November 2021

Building ( & rigging) the Airfix Swordfish in 72nd scale (3)


..several disasters along the way - including snapping the outboard struts when cementing the wings as I squeezed them together. At that point the model nearly ended up in the bin. Too distraught to take a pic. But with a touch of super glue, repairs were quickly made. And so the Swordfish is nearly finished. 


I'm gradually getting the hang of this in 72nd scale - my third rigged biplane on this blog (in 11 years of posting) so I'm now feeling confident enough to provide a quick guide;

- drill locating holes with pin drill or similar in the wings/cowl/tailplane pre-assembly

- using a pin (drill) or similar apply viscous super glue to the hole and using pointed tweezers hold a length of nylon thread until the glue 'grabs' it.  Apply 'accelerator' with a thin brush to the area to speed up this part of the process. Ideally the model should be held in a clamp or similar, but I've always managed without one of these.

- if there's one tip to pass on here, it is always glue 'down'  - inverting the model for the top wings, or better, 'rigging' the lower half of the top wing during construction. The thread then hangs down towards the lower wing, so you are not competing with 'gravity' when glueing. Similarly, don't cut the thread too short - too much 'tension' and the thread won't grip as easily of course....

Tuesday 2 November 2021

Building the Airfix Swordfish in 72nd scale with NO filler - build review (2)


Moving quickly along. The characteristic large bracing struts have gone in and the fit here is very good, they just click into place. The cowling assembles easily enough too and the engine fits neatly inside it and pushes into the front of the fuselage. 

But just when you think the build is going swimmingly you hit the landing gear struts. The pins on these appear not to fit all the way into the locating holes in the wing stubs. This may be intentional as they represent the undercarriage bars which are covered in a fairing, the fairing is not flush with the fuselage and the round bars are visible. Also at first sight they appear to be the only support for the lower wings so getting this bit right is going to be important. Note too that the frame part of the inner struts locates into the wing stub parts - when and if you've drilled/cut out the slot! 

Here I've drilled out those locating holes and inserted the leg strut which locates very poorly into the twin strut supporting the wheel and left everything to dry. 

Things are starting to go awry! I know I've located the strut incorrectly because I can no longer fit the inner strut frame into the wing stub! I tried to pull it out - but of course I'd used superglue. In the end I've cut through the bottom of the strut frame. And probably got a better supporting join for the lower wing outer section. Here's hoping!

As for the rigging, Airfix give no information which is a shame. A kind soul over on the BM  forum posted the rigging diagram provided by SBS in their etch rigging set - or some of it at least. Could be useful..

Monday 25 October 2021

How to build the Airfix Swordfish in 72nd scale with NO filler ! - build review (1)

..Was going to write 'new-tool' ..but this kit was released in 2012! Now, one of the (largely unstated) aims of this blog is to build as many of the 'new' Airfix tools as possible and I really should have attempted this one before now. As it happens our club is embarking on a 'Channel Dash' diorama for next year's 80th anniversary so now is as good a time as any. 

First query - interior colours.

 The instructions say the cockpit should be H61 'flesh' - I guess that means varnished wood. Not quite. Interior visible fabric should be dark reddish-brown, " the colour of tautening dope.." according to friend Bob who had a long career as ground crew in the RAF. The flash has somewhat 'lightened' the reddish colour in the shot below. Not much is visible anyway.

Having read a number of other build reviews out there it seems that joining the fuselage halves might be a little tricky. I noticed a similar issue and a possible solution on the recent Spitfire Vc - glue the fuselage halves together first and insert the cockpit from underneath when you get to this stage. For the best join of the fuselage halves I glued the forward fuselage first, inserting the cockpit from below when dry, prior to sealing up the rear of the fuselage. This worked filler required on the fuselage anywhere, unlike just about every other build out there on the net..

Given that  I always make a mess of the paint finish when rigging, I decided to rig as much as possible prior to painting. This is relatively straight forward for the tail feathers. Note that the rear fuselage machine gun trough section required no filler - unlike most other builds I've seen. The trough part fits into a u shaped slot in the rear bulkhead of the interior framework, but thanks to my method of joining the fuselage halves, there were no gaps! Note clear parts masked off on the lower forward fuselage  -before fitting wing struts as you won't easily be able to access them.

Some other points I've noted.. the fit for the wing 'stubs' is tricky. You need to push hard, but they do go into the small slot. In stage 14 you have to cut out a locating slot in parts 9C and 10C for wings deployed mode - for locating the struts in stage 44 ! ...which I failed to do. My fuselage centre section struts, parts 1B and 2B were 'short shots' making stage 19 particularly difficult! The insert section didn't fit into the upper wing centre section anyway! Part 7A locates into the front of the windscreen for stages 47 and 48. Looks obvious... after its been pointed out! Finally - for now - the support struts for the horizontal stabiliser attach via a unit which inserts beneath the tail. The fit here is poor and will need filling as do the gaps at the front of the fin on the top of the stabiliser, visible in the image below.

Sunday 24 October 2021

Airfix video - new tool De Havilland Vampire F.3 in 48th scale


A single click to view a presentation of the superb new-tool Vampire from Airfix

Thursday 21 October 2021

Easy 'seascape'

courtesy of 'vintage modeller' on twitter

Tuesday 19 October 2021

AZ Bf 109 G-6 'White 15' of 1./JG 300 - wilde Sau Limited Edition


Recently finished another 72nd AZ Gustav in the markings of 'White 15' of 1./JG 300 flown by Otto Leisner out of Bonn Hangelar during the summer of 1944 in the 'defence of the Reich'.

Tuesday 14 September 2021

new tool 1:72 nd Airfix Spitfire Mk. Vc build review (2) -finished


Shark-mouthed Spitfire Mk. Vc MX*P (ER180) of the 307th FS/31st FG, La Senia, Algeria, November 1942. In Dennis Kucera's 'In a Now Forgotten Sky', there is a photo of MX-P with Capt Arthur P. Holloway Jr of the 307th FS standing on the wing of this machine. 

According to Tony O'Toole's notes prepared when building the 48th Revell kit, it appears that this machine may still have had an RAF roundel on the lower surfaces...

Monday 23 August 2021

Buccaneer S Mk.2 B XV 352 cockpit

..John Hume, owner of XV 352, working on the Buccaneer cockpit electrics today at the RAF Manston history museum. Here John has just finished installing a 'new' Tag Heuer stopwatch on the right-hand side of the coaming - quite an expensive little item, but typical of the fantastic attention to detail in what John says is the 'best and most detailed' Buccaneer cockpit in the UK. A little 'reference' for builders of the new-tool Airfix Buccaneer including a closer view of the ejection seat..

All hands on deck to get the display exhibits ready for Saturday's RAF Manston history museum post-Covid re-opening...

More on Desert Storm veteran XV 352 on my 'Jet & Prop' blog here

Sunday 1 August 2021

The worst model kits available .. a Top 10 run-down


Martin Slovak posted an interesting overview of a range of model kit companies and their worst kits as a comment to the Champion Scale Modelling youtube site video (see bottom)..I've reposted it here and added my own comments and remarks. 

In fact I've built a few of these, from the hopeless Fokker Dr. 1 (Smer) to the ancient Airfix 'classic', the DH 88 Comet. Probably the worst kit I've ever built is one that many will know - the Italeri P-51 in 72nd scale. Or is it the Academy Fw 190 in 72nd scale. Or even the Hobbycraft Me 109 D in 48th scale. I guess if built out-of-the-box it's not too bad, but try correcting it! More below...

- Smer
The last kit this company really tooled is from the early 90s. When taken in perspective to the age when these kits were created, they are not bad (can be compared to present short-run kits and with some work are adequate). These kits are for those who want to get back to their modelling beginnings or want a specific thing (Su-25 1/48 and some more). See their 1/44 Fokker Dr 1 elsewhere on this blog

- MisterCraft
This company have never tooled their own kits - all their 'range' are re-boxes of old Smer/KP/Frog/other eastern Europe kits from 80s/90s (and the molds are not maintained properly so there is loads of flash).

- Amodel
This is a specific company...for me their kits were a miss. According to Martin you are 'best off getting a lump of wood and carving the plane from it than from their kits..'

- Trumpeter / Hobby Boss
Mostly high quality and very buildable. However some new-tools are really inaccurate shapewise and/or overly complicated with details that cannot be seen. See their Fw 190 V-18 elsewhere on this blog.

- Airfix
the 'favourite' kit brand of this blog, especially since the division to "Classic line" (old kits) and standard new kits. See their very ancient DH 88 Comet elsewhere on this blog - issued in 1957, it was pretty poor then one imagines, complete with solid cockpit with pilot heads. The new kits are generally brilliant - see the 48th scale Sea Vixen elsewhere on this blog. However certain of their new tools - even the brand-new Vulcan - have been found to suffer from certain quality control issues, including but not limited to short-shot parts! This must improve..

- Zvezda
Anything before 2008 is hit or miss, anything newer is quite good and represents good value for money. See their 'snap-together' Fw 190 and Bf 109 in 72nd scale elsewhere on this blog.

- Italeri
Interesting subjects, usually not so good in the fit department, especially their 72nd scale P-51, possibly one of the worst kits I've ever tried to assemble (but some kits have cartograph decals so...). Their Bf 109 G-6 in 72 nd scale is an absolutely awful kit too - tyres like tractors' and an undercarriage that is far too wide. Here's one I finished as a 'wilde Sau' nightfighter of JG 300. Dreadful. I also built their Apache in 72nd scale - I spent some six years on and off filing and filling and sanding that one!


a 72nd Fw 190 A that looks absolutely nothing like a Focke Wulf - the ailerons are over-sized, the tail too small and the front cowl an abomination! Academy's Dora-9 on the other hand is not too bad at all

The Revell & Academy Fw 190s side by side in the colours of Heinz Bär's 'Red 13' (JG 1) and Staffelführer JG 11 Erich Hondt. Note how horrible the Academy kit is (on the right!) with its barn-door type wing & hopelessly oversized ailerons. The rudder and engine cowl are also under-sized. In fact the front end bears no relation to the actual aircraft - easily Academy's worst 72nd scale kit.