Dora Wings is a relatively new company with a number of low-pressure injection mold releases. I contacted them and we were fortunate to receive two new kits - a P-63E King Cobra (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and the iconic Gee Bee R2 racer. There's plenty of history to be found regarding this little bumblebee of an airplane - maximum sized engine stuffed into the smallest possible airframe - so let's get right to the build.
Kit contents include a very nicely detailed P&W Wasp radial, a very complete cockpit section (most of which becomes invisible under the tiny canopy) and a sheet of crisp p/e detail. A single sheet, 4 sided color instruction sheet includes a painting guide, and a sheet of masking media is included to allow you to recreate the scalloped paint scheme.
David Doyle is a well-known author of over 100 books published since 2003, covering a wide range of military subjects. Adding aircraft and warship subjects to his already lengthy list of published books covering military vehicles, Doyle's portfolio of publications continues to expand rapidly, while maintaining the highest degree of quality, accuracy, and depth of coverage.
Thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review copy!
Kagero Publishing has produced a large number of WW2 warship books from their Super Drawings in 3D series, focusing on a single ship at a particular point in time (appearance). 16058 illustrates the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) Maya in its final 1944 so-called Anti-Aircraft (AA) fit. Maya was one of the four Takao class heavy cruisers important to IJN naval efforts in WW2. Damage from a bomb hit from US carrier planes while at Rabaul in 1943 led to Maya becoming the first AA conversion of IJN five-turret heavy cruisers. The C turret (closest to the bridge) was replaced by two of the ubiquitous 127mm/40 Type 89 twin open antiaircraft mounts, along with additional 25mm mounts (triple and single) throughout the ship. Maya shipped six twin 127mm AA mounts instead of the usual four carried by larger Japanese heavy cruisers This gave Maya a unique and distinctive difference from her sister ships and other cruiser classes, and a favorite modeling subject. Maya was sunk by US submarines on the way to the Battle of Leyte Gulf in November 1944 and did not get to utilize her recently enhanced AA capacity.
David Doyle is a well-known author of over 100 books since 2003, covering a wide range of military subjects. Adding aircraft and warship subjects to his already lengthy list of published books covering military vehicles, Doyle's portfolio of publications continues to expand rapidly, while maintaining the highest degree of quality, accuracy, and depth of coverage.
From Masterpiece Models Web Site, the back story is:
XP-1937 Coastal Reconnaissance - In 2115 World War IV broke out over the last natural resources. The Earth was divided into three major Confederations: The United Alliance of the Americas, the Euro/Siberian Alliance, and the Middle Asian/African Consortium.
2121 marked a turning point in the War when shoreline installations across the globe, both military and civilian, fell under an onslaught of terrifying proportions. From out of the sea came machines so unearthly in their aspect that even the brightest scientists could only guess that they must be extraterrestrial in origin. They were wrong. The XP-1937 Naval CRABS were the front runners of a New Faction that would bring the Confederations to their knees.
XP-1937 Coastal Reconnaissance, Attack and Battery, Scout Specifications
The AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) is manufactured by Raytheon Company and gives a precision strike, launch and leave capability. The JSOW has a stand-off range of around 12 miles when launched at low altitude and around 70 miles when launched at altitude. The weapon weighs around 1,000 lbs. and has different payloads depending on which variant it is. The AGM-154A carries 145 BLU-97 sub-munitions and is used to attack fixed and moveable soft targets such as parked aircraft, trucks, APCs and surface to air missile sites. The AGM-154C is equipped with a 500 lb. blast/fragmentation/penetrator warhead and is used to attack fixed point targets such as buildings and hardened tactical targets. The JSOW uses a global position/inertial navigation system for guidance and the C model has a terminal IR seeker. Over 400 JSOWs have been used in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq since it entered service in 1999. (US Navy Fact File)
This set is designed to replace the underwing radiator fairings on Eduard's 1/72 scale Spitfires. The set consists of two single piece fairings with separate exhaust flaps and a small photo-etch fret of actuators. The kit supplied fairings are constructed from three pieces, two sides and a top (bottom?) which actually fit together very nicely thanks to Eduard's outstanding engineering. This set provides the entire fairing cast as a single unit and thus is a drop in replacement for the kit's three part arrangement. As the left and right fairings are different, Eduard has thoughtfully cast "L" and "R' on the insides of the fairings to assist the builder in keeping them straight when it is time to attach them. Now to just figure out if the L/R applies when the wing is upside down or when it is right side up?
For the last several years, Airfix has transformed itself. They have been releasing a plethora of new kits that are heads and tails above the kits that we all put together as kids and young adults. The Avro Shackleton under review is further evidence of Airfix moving forward into the 21st Century. In 2015, Airfix released the Avro Shackleton MR.2. In 2017, Airfix released the Avro Shackelton AEW.2. This kit continues their current trend of crafting exquisite kits with modern molding technology and engineering. The plane had a long service life and pedigree according to the blurb on the instructions, "Developed from the Lincoln bomber and sharing with it the DNA of the famous Lancaster [bomber], the Avro Shackleton enjoyed a long career with the RAF, first as a maritime patrol craft and then as the RAF's primary AEW (Airborne Early Warning) aircraft . . . . the AEW.2 version remained in service until 1991, the MR.2 was phased out in favor of the Nimrod in the 1970s."
The Zlin Z-50 is an aerobatic aircraft developed in the Czech Republic in 1975. Designed to withstand plus 9 and minus 6 G's and running a 300 HP engine, this aircraft is a real contender in the competitive aerobatic world and has won a couple of championships. Of course, the plane is only as good as the pilot. For a number of years now I've had the pleasure-as have many others-to see Rob Harrison aka "The Tumbling Bear", perform his brand of low level high energy aerobatics in his bright yellow Zlin. My favorite part of his routine is the passes so low you can see Rob working the controls! Rob has been a stable on the Southern California airshow circuit for years. In spite of a terrible crash in Modesto CA in 2009, Rob supervised the build of his replacement Zlin from his wheelchair and returned to the air. You can see Rob in action on his website. My kids always remembered the Tumbling Bear (he's a big guy) because he would go down the show line after the show and hand out goodies for the kids. When I saw the marking options for this model, I knew I had to build it.
Alan Ranger was educated mostly in the UK, He started his carrier in the Royal Engineer's Regiment of the British Army. Since then specializing in turbines from the early 1980's on he has been involved in various engineering projects around the world for a number of major global companies.
He has had a number of books and articles published over the years mostly industry related but has also has been published before in this field with books published by Model Art of Japan. He is a collector of World War II Militaria and has also accumulated a large collection of original period photographs on this subject matter. His interests are centered around World War II history in general, specializing in the vehicles both soft skin and armoured as used by the German and Japanese armed forces during the conflict.
As he now approaches retirement employed as a Project Development Manager by Europe's major Turbine manufacturer he looks forward to devoting more time to his interests including writing many more books based upon this subject matter.
If you build models you are probably very familiar with Micro-Mark. Not only do they carry a wide range of modeling tools but also offer several kits in different media.
When starting a model getting the parts off the sprue cleanly helps lower the amount of clean up you need to do so finding a good sprue cutter is a great start. This product is manufactured by Fujiya out of Japan.
I tried it out on a kit I am working on for a review and it did a great job. The 25-degree angle gives good control to get up next to the part no matter the placement on the sprue. The cut was clean, but you need to make sure you are even with the part edge or you will live a bit of the connection.
They also advertise that this is a great tool for cutting soft wire but I didn't have any available to test it on. My only concern from other products is once you cut metal it may not work as well on plastic later on. I will be looking forward to seeing how well it holds it edge over time.
The handle is coated with a rubber like material that is comfortable to the touch and adds a good grip to help keep the tool from slipping in your hand.
Coastal Kits is based in Lancashire, UK, and began marketing their own range of display bases at the end of 2012. Since that time, their business has grown and concentrates almost exclusively on printed display bases for just about any type of model you ever wanted to build in just about any scale. Looking thru the offerings on their website is almost overwhelming there are so many choices, and they will even custom-make bases.
The display bases are manufactured from 3mm Foamex board, which feels like a rigid mousepad. The material is basically a waterproof plastic, with a printed display on one side. The pre-printed image is a high-quality image on a laminated, wipeable matt vinyl surface which, unlike paper products, will not raise or bubble.
The one thing all Japanese fighters in WWII had in common was a radial engine, except for one plane, the Ki-61 Hien which the allies named Tony. This was powered by a licensed built version of the Daimler-Benz DB601 and not only faced the allied fighters of the day but also had the performance to get to the B-29s altitude.
Tamiya released a new tool of the Tony in 1/48th scale back in 2016 and now has finally shrunk it down to my preferred scale of 1/72nd and a beauty of a model it is. The 45 grey and 3 clear parts are beautifully molded with fine scribed details. The low parts count leads to a quick build. A lovely cockpit is included and the wheel wells look nice. Markings are included for 3 airframes. One from the 19th Air Group in Luzon, Philippines, 1945 and two from the 244th Air Group based in Japan. More on these in a minute.
Neil Stokes is a noted Soviet armor enthusiast and this is at least his third photobook in this series, with prior books covering the Su-76; KV; along with the Su-85 and Su-100 on the Battlefield. He has also authored KV: Technical History & Variants; a 560 page beast published in 2010 by Airconnection. Neil is an active member of AMPS (Armor Modeling & Preservation Society) and you can find him on www.amps-armor.org .
Coastal Kits was founded in 2011 and is based in Blackpool, Lancashire, UK. It is a family run business that originally retailed model kits and their associated supplies. Coastal Kits began marketing their own range of display bases at the end of 2012 after their bases were well received at Telford's Scale Model World. The Business soon decided to concentrate solely on their display base product line. The range currently exceeds 220 bases in multiple scales and subjects. They also provide custom bases upon request.
The display bases are manufactured from 3mm Foamex board which is a rigid, waterproof plastic. Laminated matt vinyl is used to print the subject with the latest odorless latex ink providing a permanent and waterproof finish. The benefit over alternatives like paper based products is that the display will not fade, lift, or bubble.
The GBU-12 is an American laser guided bomb consisting of a 500 lb. Mk. 82 bomb combined with a laser tracker and fins for guidance. First entering service in 1976, it was used extensively in Operation Desert Storm by US F-111's, F-15E's and A-6E's. F-111's used it to great effect in hunting down and destroying Iraqi armor (tank plinking). After Desert Storm it has been used extensively in Afghanistan and other conflicts.
The set consists of four resin bomb bodies with the tail fins and nose guidance sections molded as single pieces except for the seeker head and photo-etch nose and aft guidance fins. Two options are provided for the seeker head, one with the seeker head exposed and the other with the plastic ground cover in place. I choice to use the heads with the cover installed as I plan on displaying the bombs on a parked, but armed aircraft.
This is actually my second build and review of this kit (See review posted October 24th, 2015). This time around it's the same great kit with some really striking markings. My research says Aircraft # 92-8906 was specially painted for an airshow that was cancelled due to a typhoon. You do get a second marking option without the cool artwork but I can't imagine building this kit as such.
I'm not going to go into the history of the Eagle as it is well documented many other places. Unlike the first build where I used a nice photoetch set, this Eagle was built out of the box with the exception of some seat harnesses from the spares drawer.
Masterpiece Models manufactures and sells resin assembly kits at their Vancouver, Washington fabrication and casting shop. Their kits include Dinosaurs, WWII, Vietnam, Scifi, and aircraft bases. Each kit is cast to order.
Background on the Hellcat
From Masterpiece Models website: The Mark 49 Hellcat Armored Walker was developed after the 3rd World War in 2046 as a forward attack and reconnaissance Vehicle. The need for walkers after the War was due to the amount of rubble strewn thru the landscape, tracked vehicles tended to bog down in the rubble making maintenance and mobility an issue. The first Walkers developed in 2099 were quite ungainly and had limited range and power. Later on in 2112 after advanced fusion drives were developed and fitted to the walkers did they become a more practical weapons system with more power and almost unlimited range.
Thank you, Osprey Publishing, for providing a review copy of another of excellent World War I history volume. This book is a welcome and well-timed addition as the 100th anniversary of the end of the "Great War" approaches later this year. I hope reader of this book will gain an important appreciation and understanding of the raw, brutal nature of combat, often controversial decisions, poor battlefield judgments, and most of all the grit and persistence of the America Doughboys of the American Expeditionary Forces.
As always, I truly appreciate all those in the IPMS Reviewer Corps, whose work is critical to sharing new and exciting modeling and historical products with the world. Thank you for allowing me to read and review this book.