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Updated: 4 hours 20 min ago

F-100 Super Sabre in Detail and Scale (Apple iBooks Digital edition)

Fri, 01/01/2021 - 23:17
Product Image Review Author:  Robert Head Detail & Scale, Inc.

Company Intro

For those of us who have been in the game a while, Bert and Rock need no introduction. Detail & Scale has been pumping out great references and books longer than I have been alive (I'm 35 btw). I have a few physical copies of their publications, but this was the first foray in the digital content they provide. 

This book was already reviewed in its physical form so I will keep it short, sweet and to the point not stealing anyone else's thunder or sound repetitive 

The book is broken down in the following sequence:

  • Cover
  • intro
  • About the Author's
  • Chapter 1: Super Sabre History
  • Chapter 2: Super Sabre Variant's
  • Chapter 3: Foreign Operators
  • Chapter 4: Super Sabre Pilots Report
  • Chapter 5: The Super Sabre in Southeast Asia
  • Chapter 6: Super Sabre Details
  • Chapter 7: Modelers Section
  • Index

Brief Intro into the F-100 Super Sabre:

The North American F-100 Super Sabre is an American supersonic jet fighter aircraft that served with the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1954 to 1971, and with the Air National Guard (ANG) until 1979. The first of the Century Series of USAF jet fighters, it was the first USAF fighter capable of supersonic speed in level flight. The F-100 was designed by North American Aviation as a higher performance follow-on to the F-86 Sabre air superiority fighter.[5]

Adapted as a fighter-bomber, the F-100 was superseded by the high-speed F-105 Thunderchief for strike missions over North Vietnam. The F-100 flew extensively over South Vietnam as the air force's primary close air support jet until being replaced by the more efficient subsonic LTV A-7 Corsair II. The F-100 also served in other NATO air forces and with other U.S. allies. In its later life, it was often referred to as the Hun, a shortened version of "one hundred"

 

The Digital Part:

This was a fantastic addition to my digital library. While clearly meant for an iPad it still looked great on my iPhone and I really liked the iBook format. First, ensure you have the iBook app. The Kindle or no other form of reading apps will work with this particular version, (if you need a different version i.e., Kindle, Nook, Android they have those formats available). 

The Book is 208 total pages and takes up 159 MB  of storage although storage should not be a concern. This was truly a great book and very informative.

Bert and Rock do an amazing job covering the Hun, anything about anything you could think of in regard to all models and variants are covered and have many black & white or colorful pictures, scale diagrams for the corresponding A-F series, and so on.

The model section is an absolute gem, and to be honest very informative. I agree that we could definitely use more modern, accurate, century series kits especially of the F-100. I saw kits in this section I never even heard of or thought existed ....again the attention to detail and effort placed in these publications is outstanding. 

 I see there are a few more Detail & Scale books available on the iBook store. The finger squeeze/pinch to zoom in helps if you need to see more of the details in a larger form, I would recommend using the iPad or Mac as the preferred device but again an iPhone works just fine.

Conclusion:

We live in an age now where people are not getting out more than they used to. Online shopping, work, and even hobbies are becoming the new norm. I have honestly started to downsize my physical book space for more space to have other things... you know more kits we all claim we have no room for. Switching to a digital footprint is an easy way to accomplish that. It's cheaper on your wallet and the most important thing of all, it allows us to still support our hobby and industry leaders such like Bert and Rock who bring us quality products.

I want to first and foremost send my thanks to IPMS, and Bert & Rock at Detail & Scale, This is my first review item in 2 1/2 years due to my military service and what a way to be re-introduced to the review corps again! Thank you everyone!

F-4EJ KAI Phantom II Phantom Forever 2020

Thu, 12/31/2020 - 23:58
Product Image Review Author:  Dan Brown Zoukei-Mura

The F-4 Phantom II is a two-seat, twin engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet fighter.  The airframe was originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonald Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the Navy and was later adapted for use as a land-based aircraft.  In 1968 the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), elected to replace the F-86F with a modified version of the F-4E.  This new designation became the F-4EJ and became the main fighter of the JASDF until it was replaced with the F-15J.  The last squadron to fly the F-4EJ Kai was the 7th Air Wing based in Ibaraki Prefecture.  This new special edition kit from Zoukei-Mura depicts an aircraft in the commemorative markings for "Phantom Forever 2020", this squadron's final flight of this venerable aircraft. 

This kit is a special edition available for pre-order at the link above.  My sample is a pre-production version of the kit and some minor things may be subject to change prior to release.  Primarily, I have not seen a final version of the box and the instructions with my version are the pre-production version. 

Inside the box is the guts of the last F-4E version of this kit with a few new special parts to update this into the F-4EJ Kai.  There are 14 sprues of light grey plastic, 1 clear sprue, and two huge decal sheets.  Everything is perfectly molded as is typical on Zoukei-Mura kits.  I had no issues with missing/broken parts or any issues with the moldings themselves.  The parts have beautiful surface detail and flawless moldings.  As stated above, I don't have the final version of the decal guide or instructions, but the pre-production instructions are up to ZM's usual standards.  There are a couple minor issues with the that I will highlight later.  

The build starts in the usual location with the interior of the cockpit.  I felt that the detail here was very good with one noticeable exception.  There are no molded in seat belts nor decals to recreate them.  These are pretty prominent on this aircraft and while Zoukei-Mura does produce an interior PE set to add detail to the interior it is unclear if this set includes PE seat belts.  The fit of all the parts in the cockpit section are great and I had no real issues while building the cockpit.  

Zoukei-Mura does something interesting with the cockpit tub and front wheel well assembly that I haven't seen on another 1/48 scale kit.  Both structures are a part of the same subassembly, with most of the parts serving as a part of both structures.  I feel that this lends a lot of strength to the main fuselage section as a sort of anchor for the build.  The only other thing I will note here is that for the painting of the interior details.  I relied pretty heavily on the build from Zoukei-Mura's master builder for some of the detail painting.  The link is here.  I found the still shots very helpful to augment the painting directions from the instructions.  

In steps 4 and 5, you are supposed to add the instrument decals.  At the time that I was building the cockpit I had not received the decals for review, so I can't fully comment on their use.  I did add them in at the end of the build and the addition to the detail was great.  I did however have some issues with them settling down over the molded details, but this could be due to the fact that I couldn't use MicroSol and MicroSet as I normally would due to the surfaces being vertical.  Other than this minor issue I had no issues with the rest of the cockpit assembly, everything went very smooth.  

In steps 6 and 7, there are some tiny levers added for the manual canopy release.  These are very nice added details, but I did leave them off until the end, as they would likely be easily broken during painting/masking.  Moving on to step 7, this step completes the assembly of the center section of the fuselage around the cockpit tub.  The fit here is a little fiddly and tight but if you get the tub centered the fit is excellent.  There was almost no need to deal with any seams on the top part of the fuselage.  This is partly due to Zoukei-Mura designing the spine of the aircraft as a separate part.  This meant there was limited need to fill and sand the spine of the fuselage.  Part R1 is the part that covers the spine, this part fits a little loosely into it's slot, but I used Mr. Surfacer 1000 to fill any gaps with no need for sanding.  Also, I left Part P2 and M16 off until final assembly to avoid breaking them.

The next three steps use parts that are specific to the F-4EJ Kai.  The Parts are P15, P1 and P4 and I had no real issues with these parts.  They are all well molded and the detail is good.  I did have to fill around Part P1 with Mr. Surfacer 1000 to hide some minor gaps.  Also, I did leave all the clear parts off until final assembly and the subassembly for M33/M34, as this would be Flat Black.  

Next up are the engines and intakes.  As is typical of Zoukei-Mura, this kit contains two full engines and a display rack for one of them.  This allows you to either use them in the kit or display one outside the airframe.  The engines are decent but will require some clean up before painting.  On the inside of the aft portion of the engines, there are two large ejection pin marks that are deep inside the engine.  They are deep enough that you may decide to ignore them, but I found that they were very noticeable under the metallic paint.  A little light sanding was all that was needed to remove the pin marks.  I also changed up the paints that were used for the engines.  All metallic paints I used were from the Model Master Metalizer paint range. Here is a list of the paints I used with the number from the instructions that they replaced: 5 = Steel 1420, 6 = Tamiya X-18 Gunmetal, 7 = Testors Chrome Silver Enamel.  

Skipping ahead to step 13 for the intake trunks.  This kit has two-part intake trunks molded out of thin plastic.  Overall, they are decent but there are some minor ejection pin marks on the inside of the parts that will need to be removed.  Also, the parts are butt jointed as is typical of two-part intakes.  They will need some sanding and filling to hide the seam but nothing too serious. They were actually surprisingly easy to work with.  The interior of the intakes was painted Tamiya Flat White and once dry they fit well into the keyed holes in Parts I15/G3.  In step 12, you will need to drill holes for any underwing stores that you will be using.  The instructions here are very clear on which holes are required for each option. 

Mounting the engines is next and again the fit is good into the keyed holes.  The fit of both engines at the same time is a little fiddly but this is partly due to the tight fit into Part I15.  Once these are installed it is time to add the interior walls of the wheel wells and the top parts of the wings.  The instructions contain a big bold note to be careful here and to not swap the internal parts for the wheel wells.  The design and the fit here is once again extraordinary.  I had no issues with the wheel well parts and the upper wing surfaces fit extremely well.  The leading and rear edges of the wings required almost no filler to hide the seams.  The last thing I want to highlight before moving on is in step 17.  This step has you install Part I17 for the front gear door support.  I would recommend leaving this part out until adding the landing gear later as there is a support arm for the gear door that is extremely easy to break while handling.  

Once the intakes and engines are in it is time to attach the wings to fuselage.  This is handled in step 18 and the instructions have a number of different views to help with alinement.  The fit here is great, with the only issue being the lower part of the front fuselage.  The area around the gear bay needed a little sanding to smooth everything out.  The wing roots were pretty straightforward and required only a little Mr. Surfacer to disappear.  The center fuselage goes down well past the upper wing surface which makes matching the surfaces much easier and the joint stronger.  

Next up is exterior parts of the air intakes in step 19.  The assembly here is pretty straightforward with no major issues.  I did leave the pitot tubes, Part M22, off until final assembly as they are fiddly and easily broken.  Take care to not miss the decals shown in the bottom right of the page, these need to be added after painting, but the note is easy to miss and forget about.  Lastly, the fit of the intake subassemblies to the fuselage is a bit fiddly.  They do fit pretty well overall, but it is easy to get something slightly misaligned or end up with a gap at the rear of both parts.  I would recommend dry fitting a lot and using a slow fitting glue with some clamps here.  There is a lot of surface detail in this area and any sanding will be noticeable.  

I skipped steps 20 and 21 until after the first round of painting as I chose to do the metallic painting last after the main paint scheme was complete.  In step 22, the instructions cover the installation of the flaps and ailerons.  There are two options here for raised or lowered flaps.  They use the same parts but both options require you to remove select tabs that are highlighted in the instructions.  I chose to use the flaps and ailerons in the raised position and I found the mounting points fairly strong.  I did note that the trailing edges of these parts did require a tiny amount of sanding/filling to hide a minor seam.  Also, if you do choose to display the flaps and ailerons lowered, you will likely need to cut the wing decals to fit.  

Step 23 covers the build out and attachment of the outer wings.  There are two options here for the leading edge flaps and the instructions have extensive notes here to help you decide which option to use.  The leading edge flaps are very finely molded but be careful when removing the sprue attachment points, it is easy to damage these parts.  For attaching the outer wings to the main wings the instructions have a very helpful diagram to show exactly at what angle to set the dihedral.  The parts are molded in such a way that setting this dihedral is easy, but it is nice to have the diagram for reference.  I did find that I had to fill some minor gaps around the leading edge flaps and around the joint between the inner and outer wings.  A little Mr. Surfacer filled in the gaps without requiring any sanding.

I skipped over step 24 until final assembly and moved on to step 25.  This step contains options on how to display the stabilators.  There are three options for different angles: 0 degrees, -15 degrees and +7.5 degrees.  I chose the level 0 degree option but I did leave the stabilators off until after final painting.  Very similar to the outer wing sections, the stabilators are molded in such a way that the setting the anhedral angle is very easy.  The instructions also contain a graphic of how to set the angle.  Once the stabilators were ready, I set the fuselage aside until the rest of the parts were ready for painting.  

Steps 26 through 33 cover the various parts and assemblies associated with the landing gear and gear doors.  The engineering of these parts is great, and I had no real issues with any of the parts.  The landing gear attach to the fuselage with a unique tab system where they slot into holes in the wheel wells.  The fit is extremely tight and the angle of the wheels is easy to set.  This also leads to a very strong join with the rest of the airframe.  The engineering of the gear bay doors is similar, they all slot into specific openings in the fuselage that make alignment easy and the joins strong.  All of these parts were set aside for painting with the interior of the wheel wells painted Tamiya Flat White.  

In step 32, I left part M23 off until after final painting.  Step 33 covers the addition of the air brakes and engine hatches.  Both can be posed open or closed and the instructions are clear on how to carry this out with multiple views of both sets of parts.  I chose to model both open and had no issues with the installation of the parts.  Parts M37 and M38 fit a little tight into their openings, but the design is interesting.  They have a molded-on tab that fits into a slot in the fuselage, this sets them at the proper angle easily.  

Steps 34 through 36 deal with the finishing touches to the cockpit.  There are two options of the canopy glass, open or closed.  The clear parts for the canopy are really well molded and crystal clear.  The molding is very fine, to the point that I had a little trouble finding the edges of the glass while masking.  I chose to build the canopies raised and decided to use the closed version as an easy paint mask for the cockpit.  I did leave these parts from these steps off until final assembly.  

Next up are the underwing stores.  The stores used in this kit are three drop tanks, one center line and two under wing drop tanks.  There are also two wing pylons but no weapons are hung from the pylons.  As stated above all of these underwing stores are completely optional. I chose to use them all for this review.  The tanks are well molded and I had no fit issues.  The pylons are also well molded but I had a couple of minor issues.  First there are no painting guides for the detail painting of the pylons.  I found the pictures from the master builder extremely helpful in determining what to paint them.  The video is linked above.  Also I would recommend leaving the launchers and R23/R22/R18/R19 parts off until after the pylons are painted and decaled.  There are some decals that are impossible to place on the pylons with these parts installed. 

With the completion of the underwing stores it was time to move on to the painting of the overall scheme.  I chose to use the Model Master enamel versions of the FS numbers listed in the instructions rather than the listed Vallejo colors.  All of the Model Master paints are titled by FS number so they are easy to reference.  The scheme is extremely simple but I do wish that there was a separate painting guide for showing exactly where to mask.  The only exterior painting information provided is on the decal guides, which can be a little tough to get detail from, as there are so many decal callouts.  I was able to get a decent idea of where to mask by tracing the outline of all the major decals on to printer paper and using those to trace the outlines on to the model.  Even using this method, I actually made a small error with the nose cone - drawing the line for where the black started one panel line too far to the aft.  This shifted all of the major decals back a bit and I feel that with clearer painting guides I would have had a better idea of where to mask.

After the paint had cured and a gloss coat of Pledge Floor Gloss had cured it was time to mask for the metallic tail.  As stated above I swapped out all of the metallic paints in the instructions for Model Master Metalizer paints.  The burner cans and arresting hook were painted Stainless Steel, the main tail plates were painted as a base coat of Aluminum Plate, and every other panel was highlighted free hand with Magnesium.  Everything got a thin overspray of Jet Exhaust, also sprayed free hand.  The stabilators got a base coat of Aluminum Plate with the center section painted Titanium.  Parts A6 and A7 were painted Silver Chrome Plate.  

Once this had a chance to cure it was time to coat everything with a few light coats of Pledge Floor Gloss (PFG).  After this was dry it was time to decal.  Be prepared to spend plenty of time here, there are decals labeled up into the 400s.  I spent about 9 hours total spread over 4 days to complete the decals including all of the tiny stencils.  The decals are stunningly printed and the register is perfect.  The metallic blue on the decals is an exact match for the Metallic Blue paint required for the drop tanks.  The decals also performed flawlessly over the gloss coat.  I did tend to apply them over a small puddle of Pledge and roll a Q-tip over the decal until the air and Pledge were squeezed out.  I had no issues with slivering using this method, even with the larger wing decals. 

After the decals had set it was time to overcoat several times with PFG to seal the decals.  Once this was dry it was time to install all of the tiny parts that I left off during the build.  I had no issues with the fit of these parts.  The fit is excellent for the most part but fiddly for a few really tiny pieces.  Once the landing gear had dried and the canopies were installed the build was complete.  

Much has been said about the previous releases of this kit and I tend to agree with the other reviews.  This is by far and away the best F-4 in 1/48 scale.  The engineering and production value of this kit is awesome.  The decals printed by Cartograf are stunning and the finished aircraft really stands out.  My only real gripe is the lack of the painting guides. I do believe that a special edition kit like this needs a separate painting guide to provide better detail, especially with the huge number of tiny decal callouts on the provided guides.  At the time of review this kit is available for pre-order with some special bonuses but I doubt that the pre-orders will last.  Highly recommend to anyone with an interest in modern jet aircraft or someone that wants a large aircraft that will stand out on your shelf.

Many thanks to Zoukei-Mura for the review sample and thank you to IPMS USA for the chance to review it.

Polish Regiment Representative Officer

Thu, 12/31/2020 - 00:19
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery ICM

ICM is offering an injection-molded kit of a Polish Regiment Representative Officer in 1/16th scale. The figure is well dressed and well-armed, with a sword and scabbard in hand, and a pistol strapped to the waist belt on the back side of the figure. 

The figure consists of 26 parts on two runners. The larger runner holds 20 parts, all of which will assemble into the figure and weapons. The smaller runner holds 6 parts making up an impressive base. In its final form, the base will consist of only 3 of those 6 parts. The base "frame" is a rectangular part that gives the base its height as well as a flat, untextured surface upon which 1 of 3 textured "walking surfaces" can be affixed. The first option resembles a textured surface of bricks, in the traditional staggered, straight row pattern. The second option is, again, a pattern of bricks, this selection featuring the bricks laid out in curved rows. Lastly a surface of large steppingstones is provided.

As shown on the Box Art and on the broadside sheet provided inside the box, the figure is holding a sword scabbard in his left hand and the sword in his right hand. Note that the part numbers are shown in black font and the color-callouts are shown with a red letter shown inside a small square.

There are no decals and there is no "step-by-step" instruction sheet, but then the images provided on the box art broadside sheet and on the color-callout artwork are sufficient instruction when studied carefully. The color-callout lists 12 colors to be used and includes the I.D. numbers for Revell and Tamiya paints to be applied.  The plastic is rather soft. I found that a micro-saw carefully applied to the gates did not leave marks on the parts. In the few instances in which some sanding was required, a medium or fine grit sanding stick did the job quickly.

I was somewhat puzzled by some lines on the pants and boots. I was not sure if the lines were mold seams or if they were "detail", intended to represent seams on the fabric and on the leggings of the boots. I decided to remove those lines by gently scrapping off the "seam" with an X-acto blade. I found that I did not need to apply putty to any surface on the figure. In some cases, a gentle scraping and application of liquid glue did the trick. 

When assembling the figure, it is reasonable to consider the legs as a sub-assembly, and to consider the torso (the jacket) as a sub-assembly. It is logical to begin by assembling these two sub-assemblies. I did not glue the two sub-assemblies together until I had applied a primer coat to all the parts. Note that the jacket has 5 parts, with Part C19 being placed along the "spine" of the jacket in the gap that you will notice when test-fitting Parts C8 and C12 around the waistline.

You will notice that the fingers are separate from the hands. This is a clever tool used by ICM to help the builder get the proper "fit" of the scabbard and sword into the hands of the figure. The positioning looks quite natural and realistic. You will also note that the figure has "locked" his knees into an "attention" position, giving the figure a life-like posture and position.

I am not an experienced figure painter, but I found that the detail molded into the figure's face and the various patches and medals on his uniform were immensely helpful. The uniform cap consists of two parts, Part C2 and C3. I found that the way ICM chose to mold the cap made painting the cap much easier than had it been a single piece.

I found this kit to be of high quality as evidenced by the excellent "fit" of the parts. The lack of step-by-step instructions was not an issue in the least. The artwork showing the placement of the various colors not only served as a guide for painting the figure, but also as a logical and reasonable approach for assembly. 

Well Done ICM! Thanks to ICM for providing this review sample to IPMS/USA. 

Tornado GR.1 Cockpit Set (REV kit)

Tue, 12/22/2020 - 09:15
Product Image Review Author:  Jarrod Booth Aires Hobby Models

The Revell 1/32 Panavia Tornado has been around since the mid 1980's and represented all variants from the GR.1, F2, IDS and ERC models. Both the RAF and German Airforce have been offered throughout Revell's production runs. It is currently available as an RAF GR.1 in Gulf War colors. This aircraft has several nicknames: the "Fin" due to its enormous tail, and "Tonka Truck" due to its rugged, tough design. The RAF, German Air Force and the Saudi Air Force have operated the Tornado.

Aires Hobby produces 1/32 scale resin replacement cockpits, speed brakes and exhausts for both the Gr.1 and the IDS versions. The subject of this review was the GR.1 cockpit. It was packaged in a compact cardboard box that was very strong and protect the contents quite well. Most of the resin parts were contained in one zip-lock bag and I found some delicate parts were broken. The photo etch parts (PE) and acetate instrument dials were neatly protected within their own plastic sleeve with a stiff cardboard backing. The heavy, main resin cockpit "tub" was loose in the box and I suspect this may have helped contribute to the damaged parts. However, two foam pads were there to help protect the contents.

The instruction sheets were simple and relatively easy to follow, but it took me some time to figure out how and which seat harness to feed through which buckle on the shoulder harness. After looking closely at the plan view and following each belt, I worked it out.

The quality of the resin and the detail presented was simply stunning and certainly up to Aires usual high standards. I did a comparison of the Revell cockpit to the Aires cockpit and Revell should also be commended as the detail in their cockpit, in my opinion, was quite acceptable and appeared accurate. However, Aires did take their cockpit to the next level in terms of detail and finesse.

The instructions showed a shaded area on resin parts where excess resin and pour stubs needed to be removed. The "tub" fitted quite well between the forward kit fuselage halves, but, I had to do some trimming and further cutting to get a good fit of the kit nose wheel bay under the cockpit floor. See the pictures for more information.

The forward resin instrument panel included the coaming. A small part had broken off and I could not find it. I repaired the broken coaming with Evergreen plastic sheet which worked perfectly. The kit plastic coaming comes as part of each fuselage side and needs to be removed. While it was not difficult to work out, there is no mention of this in the instruction sheet. I first cut just the plastic coaming halves from each side, then taped the fuselage sides together trapping the Aires cockpit tub inside. I placed the instrument panel/coaming in the aperture that I just cut and carefully measured how much more of the horizontal plastic area that still needed removing. I also checked my progress, temporary fitting the windscreen, to make sure everything was going to fit perfectly. Quite easy, just take your time. The rear instrument panel was a simple drop in fit.

Both front and rear instrument panels were a combination of resin and PE/acetate parts. The PE represented the analogue instrument panels, while the acetate plastic sheets represented the instrument faces. These were sandwiched between the PE and resin.  I painted the back of these sheets white to bring out the brilliant dial details, which could actually be read under close magnification. Everything fit nicely and looks convincing under paint and a wash. While the instructions didn't suggest any paint colors, there were plenty of good references online.

PE rubber pedals are provided for both cockpits. The instructions show the need for plastic rod to attach the pedals below each instrument panel. There are indents where the rod fits, however, I drilled deeper holes and inserted brass rods. The pedals were then super glued to the rods. Metal may have been overkill, but, those pedals are not going anywhere!

The Martin Baker Mk 10 ejection seats are a work of art and superior to the kit parts. Each seat is furnished with all the seat and parachute harnesses in PE. As mentioned, it took me a while to figure out the layout of belt part numbers one and two on the shoulder straps. I referenced pictures online as to how to paint each belt and found several different representations of belt colors. I settled on the most prevalent (green and brown) and used my best judgement. In the end, they look great to my eyes. The seats were painted and the belts assembled and attached. The ejection handles were some of the resin parts that broke and somehow I managed to lose these. I replaced them with the plastic kit parts. I painted the ejection handles yellow and then wound 3M (blue) painter's tape, which I cut into thin strips, around the handles. These were painted black while still stuck to a scrap piece of glass. I find this method to far more effective and easier that trying to paint the black stripes. Two "rubber" hoses were attached to each head rest side as per the instructions.

I painted the entire cockpit Tamiya XF-19, Sky Grey, which looked close to pictures online. I picked out switches and knobs with black, white, red, yellow and grey. A medium grey wash followed to bring out the lovely detail.

The cockpit was finished with the additions of the side walls and canopy rails. These rails were glued to the fuselage cockpit sides and not the cockpit assembly to get achieve a better fit. The Acetate head up display glass and the six PE rear vision mirrors were not added at this point. With the cockpit completed, I installed the nose wheel well, made sure the cockpit was seated properly in its place and glued the kit forward fuselage halves together.

The end result looks fantastic! I couldn't resist beginning assembly of the rest of the Tornado parts. The 35 year old Revell molds are certainly showing their age, but this "Tonka Truck"/"Fin" plus Aries cockpit will be a great addition to my model shelves.

I would like to thank Aires Hobby and the IPMS for the opportunity to review and build this great cockpit.

Spotlight On Battle Of Britain Defenders

Tue, 12/22/2020 - 08:59
Product Image Review Author:  Brian R. Baker MMP Books

This issue of the Spotlight On series deals with the three major types of fighter used by the Royal Air Force against the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.  The book is aimed primarily towards modelers who are interested in modeling the three major types used in that conflict, the Hurricane, Spitfire, and Defiant.  The author begins with a one page summary of the battle, telling who was involved, and the types of aircraft used.  The British, Canadians, New Zealanders, Australians, and South Africans are mentioned, along with the Poles, Czechs, and Belgians.  Oddly, the Americans are not mentioned. 

The major feature of the book is the selection of color drawings of specific aircraft, including  20 Hurricanes, 12 Spitfires, and 2 Defiants in representative color schemes.  Side views are provided, along with two Hurricane and one Spitfire top view to illustrate camouflage patterns.  Since the camouflage patterns were largely similar during this time period, the coverage is adequate, although there is no top view for the single camouflaged Defiant, the second example being an all-black night fighter.  In addition, detailed drawings are provided for the instrument panels of the Hurricanes and Spitfires, with identification of the instruments for those not familiar with airplane cockpits.  Finally, a one page listing of 20 aces whose airplanes are illustrated tells a little about the pilots, the squadrons they flew with, and how many victories they achieved during the battle. 

Any modeler who intends to build models of any of these types will find that the book will provide much useful information, although sources of decals would have been helpful.  I know that I have modeled many RAF fighters from this period, and will find the book extremely useful in future modeling.  I would highly recommend it to serious modelers of RAF aircraft.

Thanks to Casemate and IPMS-USA for the review copy and the opportunity to review it.

U.S. Army Ambulances & Medical Vehicles in World War II

Mon, 12/21/2020 - 19:13
Product Image Review Author:  Bill O'Malley Casemate Publishers

U.S. Army Ambulances & Medical Vehicles in World War II

Introduction

This book covers the search for and the development of all types of ambulances, medic jeeps, medical trucks, and litter carriers used by the US Army during World War II. The book details many modifications made in-theater to vehicles, and other missions for medical vehicles including use by the American Red Cross and American Field Service.

US Army Ambulances & Medical Vehicles in World War II is part of Casemate's Illustrated Special Series that uses hundreds of B&W photographs, color illustrations, and diagrams to provide a wealth of information for the historian, modeler, or researcher.

Author Didier is passionate about military history, in particular American vehicles of World War II. He has accumulated an impressive collection of technical documents and photographs on the subject, which he has shared through his writing, both books and magazines, over the last two decades.

The book is divided into 16 chapters describing medical vehicle types and missions during World War II:

1. Introduction

Describes the Army efforts to convert civilian vehicles for ambulance use prior to World War II

2. Metropolitan ambulances

In 1940 the Quartermaster Corps attempted to use 1/2 ton civilian ambulances, which were insufficient. The weight requirement was increased to 3/4 ton, which could be satisfied by ambulances from Cadillac and Packard. These vehicles are described in text and B&W photos.

3. Multi-patient ambulances

The Army Medical Department wanted a mobile hospital to bring close as possible to the front. By December 1941, The Linn Coach & Truck Company developed a multi-patient ambulance that could accommodate 12 on stretchers or 16 mobile patients. An additional 25 vehicles entered service in May 1945.

4. Field litter carriers

When sufficient ambulances were not available other vehicles were put to use to transport wounded soldiers. These included 3/4 and 2 1/2-ton trucks and jeeps.

5. Front Line Ambulances

Originally there were no vehicles specifically designed as ambulances to be used at the front. A few vehicles were adopted including a Willys MT Jeep, A Holden jeep, and the M-29- C Weasel

6. Medic Jeeps

Beyond its role as a troop transport, the Jeep was a simple way to evacuate soldiers quickly. Sometimes used without modifications and other times with more sophisticated modifications, the Jeep was used for medical evacuation in many different campaigns and theaters of operation. Many examples of Jeeps used for medical or evacuation are described in text and B&W photos.

  1. Rescue Teams

Uncontrollable elements such as water, ice, or snow required the use of amphibious and other specialty vehicles. The DUKW-353, the M-28 Cargo Carrier Weasel, and the M-7 Snow Tractor were used for medical evacuations in these conditions and are described in B&W photos and text.

  1. Medical Trucks

Specialty medical trucks were developed in 1943 based on the GMC CCKW-353 truck. These included mobile dental laboratories, mobile dental prosthetic repair trucks, mobile dental clinic trucks, mobile optical repair trucks, laboratory trucks, mobile surgical trucks, field medical trucks, and blood bank trucks. These vehicles are all illustrated in various in-action settings.

  1. Reverse Lend-Lease

Several vehicles sent to Britain as part of the Lend Lease program were returned to the US as repayment. Other British medical vehicles were also returned, including the AEC 10T10 London buses, and the Austin K-2/Y Standard ambulance.

  1. Field ambulances

The first true field ambulances ordered in large quantities by the Quartermaster Corps were built on a 1/2-ton 4 x 4 chassis. This resulted in the Dodge WC versions of the field ambulance, with over 26,000 produced. These are covered in detail with text descriptions, B&W photos, and data tables.

  1. Ambulance Markings.

The three main categories of markings on field ambulances were the protection markings of the Geneva Convention, those of the Army Medical Department, and unit and usage markings. These are covered in good detail with in-field B&W and color photos, color profiles, color illustrations, and data tables.

  1. Field Ambulances on the Front

This chapter includes many B&W photographs of the Dodge WC ambulances in use on the front lines.

  1. Different Uses, Different Missions

This chapter includes photographs of WC Dodge vehicles used for non-medical purposes during and after the war.

  1. The American Red Cross

The Red Cross served an important part of the troop's mental well-being, bringing comfort and a taste of home. The Red Cross ran soldiers' lounges with a bar, rest, and reading rooms, and equipped itself with Clubmobiles - canteens on wheels. Various types of vehicles are described here in text and B&W photos.

  1. The American Field Service

Volunteers and financiers of the American Field Service purchased and provided ambulances first to France, and then to Britain

  1. Enigmas

This chapter describes ambulances with removed or modified markings that do not have an explanation or rationale.

Bibliography

Summary

This is an excellent and thorough reference work for US Army ambulances and other medical vehicles during the Second World War. The photographs, mostly black and white, are clear and good representations of the vehicles and their uses. The text is well written and provides clear descriptions of the photos and background of the ambulance vehicles.

Thanks to Casemate Publishers for producing this excellent resource and providing the review sample to IPMS.

American Civil War Union Infantry

Mon, 12/21/2020 - 19:05
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra ICM

It never rains but it pours.  The first company to release styrene figures from the Civil War was Dragon, which released a terrific set of Union soldiers in 1/32nd scale some decades back.  Unfortunately, they never followed up with the promised Confederate infantry, as they apparently didn't feel the sales merited it (hard to understand, as I literally bought a case of them for myself).

 

However, recently two different companies have suddenly released figures from that era - Masterbox and now ICM.  ICM, in my opinion, has taken the lead in this arena by releasing BOTH Union and Confederate troops.

 

This particular set of Union infantry provides four soldiers, two firing their weapons, one reloading, and one apparently just having received return fire.  Unusual for IM figure sets, this one does not include an officer figure.  However, if you happen to purchase the Confederate infantry set from ICM as well, this includes an officer figure which is extremely easy to convert - just shave the braid off the sleeves and kepi, and give him a couple of shoulder boards.

 

When I saw these kits coming from ICM, I deeply, deeply hoped that they would follow the pattern of their World War 1 figure sets and include additional equipment on a separate sprue.  In fact, they included TWO sprues of equipment, although ironically there is little information about this equipment in the instructions.  With a bit of research I believe I THINK I know what they offer.  All told, you get:

 

Weapons:

  • 6 x Model 1861 Springfield Rifles (2 with bayonets, 4 without)
  • 2 x Model 1842 Rifled Muskets
  • 2 x Henry Repeating Rifles
  • 2 x Model 1859 Sharps Carbines
  • 6 x Model 1855 Rifled Muskets (2 with bayonets, 4, without)
  • 2 x Remington Army Revolvers with 2 holsters, one open
  • 2 x Model 1860 Colt Pistols with holster
  • 4 x Infantry Swords, both with sheath and without, separate tassels
  • 8 x bayonet sheaths, 4 with bayonet, 4 without

 

Other equipment:

  • 12 x canteens in 3 different styles
  • 2 x Infantry bugles
  • 8 x cartridge boxes, 4 with plate, 4 without
  • 4 x firing cap boxes
  • 4 x drinking cups

 

I apologize for going into such detail here, but these sprues provide you with ample extra equipment, which can then be used to customize additional figures or to enhance the somewhat lacking Masterbox set. In any case, the equipment permits a LOT more choices than would otherwise have been the case, and they are very welcome indeed.

 

All four figures assemble with a minimum of fuss, although most have two-part arms due to the complexity of the positions.  A bit of putty is useful here.  The figure of the wounded soldier is easy to modify into a different pose, if you find this one a bit disturbing.  All look great and do a good job of representing the typical later-war uniform of the Union Army.

 

That being said, I'm a bit surprised that no one has yet to release a single figure in the knee-length frock coat extensively used by both sides earlier in the war.  Doing so would provide even more conversion potential for these figures, but perhaps they will be released at a later date (one can hope).

 

The figures paint up exceedingly well and really look the part when complete.  There's lots of conversion potential, and I can guarantee I will be buying extra sets to make some of the more colorful examples from that terrible war.  I cannot recommend this set highly enough for anyone interested in this remarkable period in American history.  With luck, ICM will continue along this line.  Wonderful!

 

Many thanks to ICM for taking a shot at this particular market, and to IPMS/USA for a chance to play with these lovely figures.  Happy modeling, everyone, and stay safe!

 

Chernobyl #3: Rubble Cleaners

Mon, 12/21/2020 - 18:58
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra ICM

It's a little hard after all this time for the average person (like me) to really understand the magnitude of the disaster that was the 1986 Chernobyl Reactor #4 meltdown.  Although the Russians themselves are pretty tight-lipped about the whole thing, it is roughly estimated that somewhere above 300,000 workers ( called "liquidators," ironically) were cycled through the clean-up process between 1986 and 1989, although as many as 500,000 might have been involved.  At least 40 died immediately or only shortly thereafter, and of the rest . . .  well, the stories aren't pleasant.  One worker from a team of around 30 states that he and four others are the only ones alive today, all others having succumbed to cancers of various sorts.  What the ultimate death toll was (or will be) is unknown, but it may have resulted in as many as a million premature deaths worldwide.

 

So how bad was it?  Sixty minutes exposure to 400REM is generally considered a lethal dose by international standards.  In most of the disaster area, 20,000REM was registered, and near the core it was closer to 30,000REM.  At that exposure, you're a dead man in 48 seconds.  Only about one to three percent of the workers were provided with dosimeters, so safe working time was largely guesswork.  Workers as depicted in this latest kit from ICM were typically given nine minutes to work before they had to quit - most being told to grab one shovelful of debris and run.  Radiation suits and tools had to be disposed off immediately thereafter as they were already too radioactive to re-use. 

 

ICM continues their historic depiction of this disaster with the latest in their series, Chernobyl #3.  Unlike the previous releases, this one does not include a vehicle, but instead documents five of these incredibly brave "liquidators" clearing debris from the roof of Reactor #4.  Four of these are shovel handlers, with one reviewing a Geiger counter while they work.  All are wearing lead-lined aprons with goggles and two different kinds of face masks.  According to what I've read, they would also have been issued with lead shoe pads and (the smart ones) used additional pads in the groin area although, obviously, none of this will be visible.  Otherwise, they appear to be wearing standard-issue Russian infantry uniforms from the period.   Bits of rubble are also supplied, although for the metal beams, at least, they're not all that "rubbly" looking.  However, a bit of mutilating makes them much more acceptable.  Like the previous set, the larger two rubble chunks have rather obvious pin marks that really should be filled and sanded.  Any respectable modeler should be able to add considerably to the rubble provided to make a more effective diorama using their own stock.

 

Assembly for all the figures is relatively straight-forward, due to the lack of equipment you'd find on most figures.  The Geiger counter held by the one figure required a little fiddling to fit properly, and I went ahead and added the wiring for this one.  The separate shovel heads are a bit delicate to fit and you need to take some care with those.  Each figure comes with a separate rear lead shroud, and due to the nature of these it's inevitable that you'll have to do a bit of filling and sanding.  Otherwise, there were no surprises.

 

Painting is also straight-forward, with a very limited pallet.  These are not colorful figures, as befitting the situation.  Placed on the fold-out background, you get a VERY dramatic scenario with a suitably grim look to it.  I really like these backgrounds ICM has provided for this series, as they tell the story much more effectively than the models alone.

 

I can't say enough about this series of dioramas from ICM.  They tell a continuing story of one of the greatest disasters of the modern age, with no "spin" and with startling clarity.  My admiration for ICM for their decision to release these is boundless, and the beautiful sculpting simply adds to my high regard.  I can recommend this and the other kits in the series with no reservations.  My hats off to ICM for providing this sample and to IPMS/USA for the chance to build and review it.  Stay safe, everyone, and happy modeling!

F-5F Tiger II Cockpit set

Mon, 12/21/2020 - 15:01
Product Image Review Author:  Chris Smith Aires Hobby Models

This set was incorporated into my build of the AFV F5-F ROC Aggressor (Kit#AR48S07) presented in a separate review. While the base kit is nicely done, it is lacking a few details that need to be addressed to produce a finished model. Most notably, there are no seat harnesses on an aircraft with a lot of canopy to see them through. As it turns out, there are a few options, you can get resin seats or as in this case, a complete cockpit replacement. This set consists of resin parts for the cockpit tub, seats, instrument panel pedestals and shrouds, control sticks, canopy actuators and multiple fine detail parts.

A PE fret includes: seat harnesses, instrument panels, rudder pedals and various fine details for the canopies including rear view mirrors, locks and a wet compass for the windscreen frame. A small clear sheet holds the instruments and HUD glass parts.

Separating the parts in most cases was a simple pass with a sharp knife as the resin has a pliable consistency. The cockpit tub as a block of material on the bottom to remove. I did that by wet sanding it off. Once that is removed the tub fits the kit parts beautifully. A nice feature is the rear bulkhead fills the space that the kit part would leave open. The seats are more substantial than the kit parts and include fine seat rails and a canopy breaker on the front seat. Harnesses are then installed and include a central buckle point that is built up from several parts giving it a great finished look. The instrument panels are a sandwich of resin, clear sheet and a PE panel. Very nice when done. The rudder pedals include the Northrop bird symbol and look much better than the kit part. The canopy actuators replace the kit parts and while they don't provide as positive a mounting system as the kit parts, the refined detail makes them worth the extra effort to install. AIRES molded some very fine actuating arms as separate parts several of which were broken when I opened the set. The ones that were intact, fit perfectly into slots provided as long as you had the magnification to them. The bow between the front and rear canopy also has very fine detail but I had some difficulty fitting as tightly as the kit part. There is a clear blast shield provided in the kit and I had to file it in order to install it. This set wraps up with PE mirrors for the canopies and locks that you have to fold before installation.

Overall, this set adds an incredible amount of detail to what is already a great kit. Especially impressive are the seats that have more bulk to them and refined detail of all the parts. Highly recommended if the AFV F-5 is on your build list. I picked up the tab for this set but I do thank AIRES for producing a great set and IPMS the AFV kit to install it in.

F-5F ROC Aggressor

Mon, 12/21/2020 - 14:54
Product Image Review Author:  Chris Smith AFV Club History

Built at a time when US fighter aircraft were getting more complex and expensive, the Northrop Grumman company decided to go against the grain and build a lightweight fighter based on their successful T-38 Talon design. The first F-5 Freedom Fighter flew on July 30, 1959. It proved to be a very nimble and adaptable aircraft but it was never widely adopted by the USAF. It did find willing operators in the several foreign air arms including the Republic of China (ROC) also known as Taiwan. The island nation produced their own licensed built F-5s including 66 of the two seat F5-F models. This kit presents four aircraft of the 46th Aggressor Squadron. As the name implies, this unit trains fighter pilots in air combat maneuvering by engaging in mock combats, recording the results and using those recordings to teach pilots how to prevail. In spite of the mission these aircraft are assigned, they are still fully operational fighters capable of deploying missiles and ground attack ordinance. Largely replaced by F-16s and Mirage 2000s, the ROC F5-Fs are nearing the end of their service.

The Kit

This is a reissue of a kit that's been around since 2011. The box art shows an intercept in progress and the kit includes a frameable print of the box top. Seven sprues molded in light grey plastic contain the airframe. You also get a clear fret, and photo etched fret. The instructions give a brief history in words as well as drawings showing the differences in the F-5 family. A color cross-reference guide includes Gunze, Humbrol, Revell and Lifecolor paints. The four marking options are presented in black and white. For additional reference, the box sides show color profiles. A decal sheet and some vinyl washers round out the box contents.

The Build

As is customary, the cockpit is the first subassembly. It builds up real nice but there are no seat harnesses included. I was particularly impressed by the way AFV engineered the canopy actuators if you wanted the canopies open. In short, it's impossible to mount them at the wrong angle. With careful painting the kit cockpit with the addition of some seat harnesses would be fine. For this build, I chose to use the AIRES F-5F Tiger II cockpit set #4551. That set is reviewed in a separate writeup. Surface detail and fit are very precise. So much so that if something doesn't seem to fit, you probably don't have it positioned right. Intakes are hollow but you'd have to look really hard to see in there anyway. The drop tanks include the use of vinyl gromets that allow them to be removed from the pylons. The only tricky part was the mounting braces that attach the main gear doors to the struts. It took a bit of studying the instructions and fiddling with those parts to finally get it right.

Finishing

As tempting as the camouflage schemes were, I choose the all silver "red 5385" because I thought the markings would show up better on the light background. For the airframe, I used a base coat of Tamiya semi-gloss black lacquer decanted from the spray can and run through an airbrush. For the finish coat I used Alclad RAF High Speed Silver. I then used some other shades to delineate the hot section of the tail and exhaust. The nose is Light Ghost Grey. Things were looking good as I prepared for decal application. The first sign of trouble was how long time it took for the decals to separate from the paper after the recommended 15 second dip in warm water. Once they did release, I found them very brittle and difficult to conform over curved surfaces. Once dry, the carrier film is completely visible and silvers, even on a glossy surface. I finished up the build with landing gear, speed brakes, canopies and antennas.

Conclusion

So, is this kit worth your time? I would say yes, the plastic is nicely done and fits with great precision. It would have been nice if AFV had included some seat belts on the PE fret, but you can get belts or complete seats as aftermarket items. The decal sheet is unusable. Save yourself the anguish, toss it out and find an aftermarket substitute. Except for the decals, I recommend this kit. Thank you to AFV for the sample kit and IPMS for sending it my way.

Rutan Quickie

Mon, 12/21/2020 - 14:40
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Hauler Brengun

Background

Hauler/Brengun was founded in 1999 and produces scale plastic kits, resin kits and accessories, photo-etched details for kits and other accessories.  This kit of the Rutan Quickie is offered in two different scales: 1/72 and 1/48.

 

The Rutan Quickie is a lightweight single-seat taildragger aircraft of composite construction, configured with tandem wings.  The Quickie was primarily designed by Burt Rutan in 1977 as a low-powered, highly efficient kit-plane.  After the first flights, Tom Jewett and Gene Sheehan continued development of the Quickie to market it for home-build projects.  Over 350 kits were produced between 1978 and 1980, with ultimately some 1,000 kits being sold.  The recommended engine is a Onan four-stroke piston engine delivering 18 hp, although since it was a kit plane, there was considerable variability.  Its tandem wing design has one anhedral forward wing and one slightly larger dihedral rear wing. The forward wing has full-span control surfaces and is thus similar to a canard wing, but is considerably larger. The aircraft has unusual landing gear, with the main wheels located at the tips of the forward wing.

 

The Kit

 

The Brengun 1/48 Rutan Quickie consists of 15 pieces of gray resin, a vacuform canopy, instrument panel film, and a photoetch fret with 14 pieces.  Since there was a lot of variability in home-builts, there are several options, so not all parts may be used.  A quick scan of the internet will display many more options that are available as it appears the basic platform displays different engines, exhausts, cockpits, and tailwheels. At first glance the resin looks well done and displays very nice detail, with only a few tiny bubbles on the belly of the airframe. There are decals for one aircraft, but a quick internet check will display many different schemes.  Most are primarily white, since paint does add weight to the aircraft.

 

Construction

Your first task will be to identify what machine you wish to build.  The kit provides decals for N14TC which represent Terry Crouch's 1994 Quickie (see EAA Chapter 75).  I ended up using that scheme, but with a few differences.  Make sure that you bathe the resin parts in soap and water for at least 20 seconds to meet CDC standards.  This effort will be important the make sure the resin is free of any mold-release (ask me how I know).  I also would recommend carefully using some painter's poly-fiber scouring pads to clean up the photo-etch, especially the rotor blades.   I used Scotch-Brite Light Duty Cleansing Pads (White) and they worked perfectly.

 

I used a fine tooth razor saw to separate the nose, wings and fuselage from their pour blocks.  I then carefully sanded to obtain an optimum fit.  Brengun did an excellent job here as the fuselage and wings mated easily.  What you will need to pay attention to is that the lower fuselage revealed some air bubbles when cleaning up from the pour block (see photo).  Your results may vary depending on the pour, so be careful.  I used baking soda to fill the air bubbles and then applied super glue.  I waited about five minutes before judicious sanding with a sanding stick to get the lower fuselage nice and smooth.  I used a series of carbide drills to drill the exhaust ports a bit deeper.

 

Getting the nose to fit properly was also interesting since the proper angle relative to the fuselage is rather distinctive. You want to sand and test fit often to make sure you get just the right fit.  Once I got the lower wing and nose installed, I attached the upper wings. I downloaded a 3-D view from the internet and sized it to get the correct dihedral. I then used Lego blocks to assure that everything was aligned with the fuselage and lower wing.  Next up, I brushed on Future to the vacuform canopy and set aside to dry thoroughly. 

 

I started on the cockpit next.  I will note that the instructions don't match well with the parts provided.  Step A depicts a Part 8 to be attached to the resin seat (R5), but Part 8 is not included.  From what I can tell, Part 8 was probably a photoetched part at one time, but now its detail has been incorporated into the resin seat (R5).  I painted up the resin seat and seat belts next and attached the lap belts.  I superglued the two shoulder straps together and allowed them to dry.  The next step for the cockpit is to place the photoetch rudder pedals into the forward fuselage.  Once you get ready to finish the cockpit, superglue the seat into the fuselage being careful to line up the rear of the seat with the rear of the cockpit. The rear of the straps are then superglued to the lower two ports at the back of the cockpit.  Once dried, I carefully bent the shoulder straps down to fit the contours of the seat.

 

Step B depicts the assembly of the instrument panel, comprised of the photo-etched instrument panel, instrument film, and the resin backing that depicts the rear of the instrument panel.  For those that are daring, one can place wire leads into the back of each instrument housing and bind them into a wire bundle that will snake its way under the upper forward fuselage.  This detail would be quite evident with the canopy open since the instrument panel is attached to the canopy, not the fuselage frame. (Note: the instructions depict the instrument panel attached to the fuselage frame, but I was not able to locate any photographs on the internet that depicted it this way. All pictures that I found showed the instrument panel attached to the front canopy so that when the canopy is opened, the instrument panel is out of the way.  My guess this is to ease entry into the super small cockpit.)  Another instruction issue is also apparent in Step B where two photoetch parts parts (2 and 3) are not actually on the photoetch sheet. This probably fine as this assembly is not shown elsewhere in the instructions.

 

Step C shows the tail wheel assembly.  I folded the photoetched part easily using thin flat jaw pliers as shown on the drawing.  The actual tailwheel includes a tailwheel yoke already on the tailwheel, making it easy to slide the yoke into the folded photoetch tail wheel flat spring.  There really is not an opening at the rear of the fuselage to attach this assembly so you will need to create one.  I waited till nearly the end of the build as I was afraid that the tailwheel assembly wouldn't hold the weight of the model (somewhat justified).  I used a razor saw to create a horizontal cut at the rear of the fuselage just under the vertical fin and was able to slide the tailwheel into this cut.  Those of you craving more detail, there is actually more detail that you can add. The small bulges on the rear of the fuselage depict where the tailwheel steering wires would come out to connect to a pivot on the tailwheel assembly.  Simply use a micro drill bit to open them up and insert the steering wires and connect them to the tailwheel yoke.  Above Instruction "C" are directions to fold the booster tabs.  They folded very easily, but attaching them to the lower wing ailerons was another story since the attachment points was extremely minimal.  These are apparent on photographs of N14TC, but are not present in most of the Quickie photographs I saw.  These tabs have to be set before flight and essentially act as power steering for the ailerons.

 

The next step (unlabeled) at the bottom of the page shows the location of the rudder pedals, the seat assembly, the instrument panel (see notes above in Step B about where the instrument panel actually goes.  Parts R10 appear to be the two exhausts, although as seen on the resin pour bock there is only one exhaust provided.  I decided to use a thin wall brass tubing to replicate the exhausts.  The brass exhausts were cut to length with a razor saw and inserted into the hole previously drilled out on both sides of the nose cowling.  The remaining part show in this step I presume to be a control stick, but what is depicted in the instructions does not resemble what is provided on the resin block for R9.  I used a plastic rod to replicate a control stick.  The remaining two parts on the resin block, R7 and R8, are not mentioned in the instructions, and I am not sure what they represent. Photoetch Part 9 appears to be the canopy locking mechanism.  It was superglued in with no problem, although I continued to try to knock it off at every opportunity.  Miraculously, superglue secured it well enough to stay in place.

 

The second page of the instructions depict adding the wings to the fuselage, adding the propeller, the booster tabs, the main wheels, and the tail wheel assembly.  Due to concerns over the fragility of the tail wheel assembly, I waited till the very end of the build to add it to the airframe.  This section also shows the installation of the rear frame of the canopy.  I will point out that with the canopy propped open, this is no issued, but for a closed canopy you will have to make some modifications.  The photoetched Part 7 is to wide to show the canopy closed.  I don't have a good answer for this problem, which is why I built the Quickie with the canopy open, where it is not an issue. The bottom of this page provides exterior decal placement information.  One part that is on the photoetch sheet that is not in the instructions is PE Part 6, which I took to be the canopy strut to hold the canopy open.  It worked quite well as I was finishing up before disappearing into the carpet.  I am sure I will find it at some point, but it remains on the loose.

 

Painting & Decals

Once I had assembled the basic airframe, I primed the model with Tamiya Surfacer Primer (light grey) to resolve the resin bubble issues that appeared.  Once satisfied, I sprayed the model with Vallejo Model Air White (71-001).  I used Tamiya masking tape to mask off the canopy after giving the Future a chance to dry for a week and sprayed the canopy exterior as well.  I primed the photoetch sheet and remaining resin pieces still on their pour stubs with Tamiya Surface Primer (light grey).  The pilot's seat was painted Vallejo Model Color 70-961 Sky Blue with Vallejo Metal Color 77-706 White Aluminum arm rests.  The rudder pedals and tail wheel spring were painted with Vallejo Metal Color 77-712 Steel.  The seat belts were painted Vallejo Model Air 71-271 German Red Brown accompanied with Vallejo Metal Color 77-706 White Aluminum for the buckles. The Canopy locking linkage was painted a combination of Vallejo Metal Color 77-724 Silver and 77-713 Jet Exhaust.  The exhausts were painted with Jet Exhaust and then highlighted with Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color Brown.  The tires were painted Vallejo Model Air 71-052 German Grey as was the resin instrument panel housings and the photoetch instrument panel.  I then painted the front of the resin instrument panel housing with Vallejo Metal Color 77-706 White Aluminum to highlight the instrument film that was trapped between the housing and panel.  The propeller blades were painted a combination of Vallejo Model Air 71-027 Light Brown and 71-042 Dark Brown.  I also used Vallejo Model Color 70-935 Transparent Orange, but ended up doing a Dark Brown wash afterwards as the transparent orange just gave the blades a really odd look.  They really turned out darker than I was looking for, but I'll play with that later on.

 

Decaling was up next.  I brushed on Future everywhere where decals were going to go and let dry for two days.  I mistakenly started out with the "Z stripe" before realizing that cutting as close to the decal as possible was necessary due to the clear carrier film.  The rest of the decals got cut very close to the actual decal and things worked out well.  You do get some extra decals with three "N14TC", three "NO STEP", and two data plates (two in 1/48 and two in 1/72.  The "EXPERIMENTAL" decal fit very nicely inside the cockpit.  The front cowling 'engine intakes' also comes with an extra, which came in handy when the first one disappeared while drying.  Using the spare decal I immediately secured it with a coat of Future to keep it in place.  The first "Z stripe" decal I was able to successfully sand the edges of the excess film.  Accompanied with a coat of Future, it blends in well. 

 

 

Overall Evaluation

Even at a hair over 4" in length, this is a nice multi-media kit. I've included a 12-gauge shell to give you an idea of the size of this kit.  The only real gotcha was the rear canopy photoetch frame, everything else was of my own screw-ups; and again, If you leave the canopy open its no issue.  I would recommend that one be sure to have the appropriate tools on hand. This would include a razor saw and small tweezers.  I'm planning on buying this kit out of my own pocket to do it again, in different markings.  While this may not be a kit for the novice due to the small photoetch parts, it would be fine for those with any experience under the belt. I mentioned earlier that this kit is also available in 1/72 if you want something really small. 

 

My thanks to Hauler-Brengun and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great kit.

 

Highly Recommended !

Landing Gear For Spitfire PR Mk XIV

Mon, 12/21/2020 - 11:08
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery Scale Aircraft Conversions

Scale Aircraft Conversions, located in Texas, is well known to be a source of high-quality white metal landing gear sets for aircraft. Visiting the SAC Home Page on the internet, SAC states that, " We manufacture a line of white metal landing gear for 1/18 to 1/144 scale aircraft. Some sets consist of the main gear only while others include the nose gear, tail gear and/or adjacent related components. Some inaccuracies in the original kit
gear have been corrected but the mounting points remain identical to the factory parts. With numerous sets we have not sought to duplicate non load bearing component parts where the factory plastic parts are reasonably accurate. "

SAC also notes that they have been in business since 1990, offering white metal and resin parts. The SAC website features a page that will help the "first-timer" to successfully install the white metal parts of the model. Look for the navigation link labeled, "Using White Metal".

SAC gear is my go-to product for three main reasons. First, the detail on the landing gear is exquisite, equal to or surpassing that of the gear that are found in the kit. In some cases, the SAC product will include replacement parts for all gear parts found in the kit. In other cases, where the kit part is reasonably accurate and is not load-bearing, SAC does not replace such parts.  Secondly, white metal parts are stronger than the plastic parts that come with the kit. On those occasions when my project is a large aircraft, I always replace the kit gear with SAC gear. SAC always makes sure that the mounting points on the SAC parts are identical to the mounting points on the kit parts. I have never found this key point not to be accurate. The SAC gear will extend the life of your model well beyond what the kit's plastic gear can manage. Thirdly, since the SAC gear are white metal, they can be reshaped with ease after travel-damage to model contests and events has occurred. My Wingnut Wings Fokker D.VII was being packed for transport to an IPMS show when (GASP!) I dropped it while trying to place it into its travel box. The fall was only about 4 inches, but the kit gear was destroyed. I replaced the kit gear with the SAC gear and during the next contest cycle, the Fokker went on to gather some awards. The SAC gear, quite literally, saved the Fokker.....since it can't be displayed in a "wheels-up" configuration.

Now to the current product and this "out of package" review. The SAC set is designed for the Airfix (2018 mold) Spitfire PR Mk XIV.  As with all SAC gear, this gear set is contained in a clear plastic cube which is firmly attached to a cardboard card that measures 3 1/4 "x 5". The ubiquitous Scale Aircraft Conversions logo is reminiscent of the Strategic Air Command logo. A clearly printed label at the top of the card states which aircraft kit the SAC parts are to be used upon. The reverse side of the card contains the usual admonitions about letting children play with the parts, and provides a mailing address, a phone number, and an email address, should one wish to contact SAC.

There are five parts included in this set. Both main gear struts are well-molded and feature the same mounting points as found on the kit parts, as well as mounting pins for the kit tires. There are two brackets, one to be attached to each of the gear struts. Lastly, the tail wheel is provided with the tail wheel bracket molded to the wheel, itself. There is an exceedingly small line of flash on the main gear struts. A gentle scrub with a #11 Xacto blade will remove the flash. The parts are ready for paint and attachment at that point.

Conclusion:

SAC has a long record of providing gear sets which are well molded, an excellent fit to the aircraft under construction, and will add strength and durability to your model. This gear set is highly recommended due to the high quality of molding, and the strength and durability of white metal, and a reasonable price for the product. Thanks to Scale Aircraft Conversions for provided this item to IPMS/USA for review.

Yak-3

Mon, 12/21/2020 - 11:01
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery Kagero Publishing

About the Series:

"The InCombat series is aimed for those who would like to quickly learn about fascinating history of specific vehicle, plane or ship. Every tome consists of most important information about history, versions, and service of one combat machine.

Each book has tens of pages in A4 format and consists of dozens of interesting photos, color illustrations, technical drawings, and maps. In every tome, there is a free gift in the form of masks or decals for modelers."

Table of Contents

  • Full-Scale Production                                      Page 16
  • YAK-3P Powered by the VK-105PF2 Engine          Page 22
  • YAK-3 Powered by VK-107A Engine                         Page 25
  • YAK-3T Powered by VK-105PF2 Engine                   Page 29
  • YAK-3K                                                                                 Page 30
  • YAK-3PD                                                                              Page 30
  • YAK-3RD                                                                              Page 30
  • YAK-3 Powered by the VK-108 Engine                    Page 32
  • YAK-3U Powered by the ASH-82FN Engine           Page 34
  • YAK-3 with Reversible Propeller                                                Page 35
  • YAK-3 With a Laminar Flow Wing                               Page 36
  • YAK-3M                                                                                                Page 36
  • Combat Operations                                                        Page 53
  • YAK-3 Trainer                                                                     Page 77
  • List of Abbreviations                                                       Page 80


This publication features text in Polish, as well as that text translated into English. Captions and illustration descriptions are also translated into English. The modeler will find this publication especially useful due to the extensive photographic coverage of the aircraft. There are few pages that do not feature B&W images of the YAK-3 variants, with many of those images featuring detail of the engine, landing gear and the cockpit. The color profiles provide excellent references for markings and for color schemes. And, as mentioned above, each publication in the "inCombat" series features a gift that modelers will find extremely helpful. In the case of the YAK-3 publication that gift, at least in this book, is a sheet of masks for the canopy and for the tires and rims. Both 1/48th scale and 1/72nd scale masks are provided.

Coverage of the evolution of the YAK-3, as seen by the listing of subjects in the Table of Contents is impressive. As can be seen by that listing, the effort to find a powerplant for the YAK-3 was one of the major goals of the engineers and designers. The text indicates that the configuration of the airframe, and the wings was also modified as the aircraft evolved from the original version of the YAK-3 to the final version. The text is consistent in quality of the content, and, in fact, is a fascinating and easy "read" from start to finish in a single sitting.

This publication is highly recommended due to the thorough and detailed text throughout the book, the superior translation of the Polish text, the wealth of B&W images, the superior quality of the color profiles, the excellent drawing sheets, and a reasonable price. The gift of the masks is much appreciated as well.

Thanks to Casemate/Kagero for providing a copy of "YAK-3" for review by IPMS.

“Supernatural” 1967 Chevy Impala

Mon, 12/21/2020 - 10:52
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Reeves AMT

The popular CW show "Supernatural" just ended its final episode to many viewers' chagrin. The timing of this car kit's release couldn't have been better. Nobody puts "Baby" in the corner...sorry- couldn't resist. And from what I have been reading online, many modelers who aren't fans or have never seen the show are really excited as it is the first 4-door version of this popular car model. As I will mention in the review, there is some disappointing aspects of this kit however that would've made this so much better. I'm not a highly skilled car modeler, but enjoy one now and again...so keep that in mind.

What's Inside the Box

The kit comes in a standard top opening rigid box- and there are 109 parts scattered over a dozen sprues. One of the main parts is the 4 door hardtop body- and therein lies one of the major issues of building this kit out of the box to the fan of the Supernatural show. If they are trying to tempt younger folks who adore the show to enter modeling with the iconic car, having the trunk molded as part of the top body hull and not separate is a head scratcher. Again--the skilled car modeler who is just happy and pleased to have this 4 door sample will have no issues here...but to the average or beginner, this is not ideal. There are even decals included on the sheet for the inside of the trunk lid as the show car has--but why have the truck lid molded shut and require surgery to modify it to use them? I try to keep as OOB as I can with these reviews, but this was a let-down. If I were building this on my own, I would've cut the lid apart and stowed all sorts of weapons (also not included) inside the trunk. The only other authentic "supernatural" details the box mentions include the spotlights and decals for the trunk markings and license plate decals matching the car from the show.

Construction

Construction begins with the engine (which is apparently wrong for the show's car). The three parts of step 1 include the engine assembly. This was a nice bit with no fit issues and I enjoyed this part the most. Step 2 involves assembling the chassis and attaching it to the floor pan. Steps 3 & 4 are involved in the interior assembly. There are decals for the dashboard and instrument panel. Adding in the front and rear seats, side panels, and front panel completes this step.

Step 5 is the body assembly--adding the clear parts and engine firewall to the main body. From there, this entire assembly is added to the chassis, as well as the engine and radiator assembly. I had some real fit issues here--the chassis didn't have a true attachment point to the main body that I could see and the directions were pretty sketchy. I am still not 100% sure I got everything together correctly, but I did my best. The step concludes on the next page with the addition of the front and rear bumpers, battery and heater hoses.

Steps 6 & 7 involve the exhaust system assembly and the tire/wheel assembly. The wheels fit are a bit wonky and one definitely was loose so I had to apply some glue carefully to get it to sit correctly. Step 8 is the final step for assembly- and adds the hood, wheels, wipers, mirrors, and spotlights. There is no easy way to attach the mirrors and spotlights...no holes or any way to line things up.

Painting and Weathering

There are no true details anywhere for how to paint the car. Luckily, there isn't much to it--the whole thing is gloss black, with silver trim. I used my usual Testor's Gloss Black spray paint, but despite washing the parts first and priming, I could not get a nice gloss finish on the plastic. The silver was applied with a Molotow chrome marker.

Conclusion

Car modelers who are looking for a 4 door Impala have much to rejoice about- and this kit is exactly that. The niggling issues I had with adjusting the assembly and attaching the mirrors and spotlights would be nothing to one with experience. To the fan of the "Supernatural" show who might be picking up their first model because they really dig the car and wanted to try their hand at it, this is a bit disappointing. If they take the time to do surgery on the main body to remove the truck lid so they can add the decals and some scale weapons, they might be quite happy with the results. Yet the box is misleading in the fact that it leads one to think they can model the car from the show as is in the box, and this is simply not true.

My sincere thanks to AMT and Round2 and IPMS-USA for the review sample.

Panzer 1 & 11 – Visual Modelers Guide Steel Series Vol. 4

Sun, 12/20/2020 - 15:58
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell AMMO by Mig Jimenez

This is a book from a series called Steel Series that covers armor subjects for modelers. This book covers Panzer I and II. The book's aim is to provide all the distinctive details of iconic tanks. The book has 74 pages and over 190 high quality images. The book is in English, Spanish, and French.

The Panzer I and II were the mainstay of the German army at the beginning of World War II. All the images in the book are an awesome collection that will help any modeler in building a better representation of the tanks. The book will also be a great addition for historians, and anyone interested in these iconic tanks.

Each variant is covered in great detail with extremely high-quality photos. The Profile drawings are a great bonus at the back of the book.

The detailed photos in the book are fantastic and perfect for both tank enthusiast and modelers. 

I found this book fascinating and will be building a couple of the Panzer's and this will be a fantastic reference for me to use. 

I recommend this book to everyone who likes and or builds military armor. 

Thanks go to AMMO by MIG Jimenez for providing this book to review, and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it.

German Luftwaffe Ground Personnel 1939-1945

Sun, 12/20/2020 - 15:25
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery ICM

Product Description

ICM has released a kit in /32nd scale featuring a "crew" of 3 Luftwaffe ground personnel in uniforms that would be worn from 1939 to 1945. The kit also includes a 200 liter fuel drum, a pair of smaller containers for liquids, a fuel pump to attach to the fuel drum, and a toolbox with the lid closed. Two of the figures appear to be wearing the same uniform, while the 3rd figure, standing and carrying one of the aforementioned liquid containers in his right hand, is wearing a slightly different uniform, lighter in color than his crew-mates.

Product Packaging

ICM packages this kit in a strong and durable cardboard box that has a tab that slides into a slot, keeping the box tightly closed until that tab is pulled out of the slot. Inside that box you will find the instruction sheet and the parts runners, the runners being contained in a sealed clear bag. Upon receipt, I noted that all the parts were still attached to their runners, but even if one were to come loose it would still be found, safe and sound, in that clear bag. 

The cardboard box which contains the parts bag and the instruction sheet features a box top that fits rather tightly over the cardboard box. As you would expect the box top has very impressive kit artwork featured on the top, with the usual information and smaller images printed on the 4 side panels.

Instructions

The instructions present painting and assembly instructions on one side of the sheet. The three figures are shown assembled and painted, with part numbers printed in black, and suggested paint placement with red letters. The other side has images of the two runners with the part numbers printed in an easy-to-read font, helping to locate and identify the parts being assembled. A chart shows which colors are recommended for use and lists the paint I.D. numbers for Revell and Tamiya paints.

Parts

The individual parts are molded at a high level of quality. The uniforms are molded with creases and folds in the fabric. The pockets are free of flash or imperfections. The faces of the 3 crewmen have detail that awaits the artist's touch to bring out that detail. There are some mold seam lines that are visible, but they are easily and quickly removed with a sanding stick with smaller grit. Detail will not be lost while sanding as one can use the curvature of sandpaper to match the undulations of the molded uniforms. The one issue I noted was that the cuffs of the uniforms, where the hands would be inserted into the sleeves, were not hollowed out. This same problem does not exist when attaching the head of each figure to the body. The contact point between head and body is sunken below the level of the uniform collars. 

Assembly

Assembling the legs and torso are rather easy and with some sanding, a clean and even mating surface can be created leaving little or no indication where the parts were joined. In those areas where my own clumsiness created a seam, I "stretched" part of the runner into a "thread" that would fill the seam, and then glued it into place with JV's Got Glue Styrene Weld. After 2 to 3 minutes the glue softened the "thread" of runner sufficiently so that it could be pushed into the seam with a toothpick or burnisher, and with a little pressure made to blend with the plastic of the surrounding parts. So, it can be said that no putty was needed or used.

Conclusion

In the hands of a better figure painter these mechanics will grace a diorama of any Luftwaffe aircraft in service between 1939 and 1945 and add significantly to that scene. The degree of detail in the molding is outstanding. The figures are molded in such a way that they appear natural and life-like. I can give this kit a rating of "Highly Recommended" with no reservations.  Thanks to ICM for making this product available to IPMS/USA for review.

Quickboost P-51K/Mustang Mk.IV Exhaust

Sun, 12/20/2020 - 14:44
Product Image Review Author:  Pablo Bauleo Quickboost

Review

Quickboost is a company that specializes in drop-in resin replacement parts to enhance the appearance of your models. Being "drop-in" replacements, it is very rare you need you modify the original parts, hence the "quick" name. 

In this case I am reviewing the exhaust engine for the well-known P-51D Mustang in 1/48 scale from Airfix. 

As you can see from the pictures the resin parts have hollow ends which would look much better than the plastic parts. The resin parts also have no mold part lines, as the plastic parts do. 

The resin parts are cleanly casted, free of bubbles or any other defect. They are protected by two resin "walls" on each end of the cast. I would suggest removing those walls before removing the exhausts themselves. 

This simple drop-in part would make a nice kit, into an even nicer one.

Highly recommended. 

I would like to thank Aires/Quickboost and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

 

AMMO by Mig USAF Aggressors Desert & Artic Colors Set

Sun, 12/20/2020 - 14:30
Product Image Review Author:  Pablo Bauleo AMMO by Mig Jimenez

Review

I have been using enamels for many years (decades) now. Enamel hobby paints are getting harder to find and there are the health considerations on enamels, so I have been exploring different acrylics options out there. I was excited to see I had the chance to review the AMMO products, as some of my modeling buddies had good things to say about them.

Readying the AMMO website, you learn that these paints are odorless, water soluble, and non-toxic. All of those above make these paints interesting alternatives as non-toxicity is a great thing and odorless makes the rest of the family happy.

I have to say that I did find a very faint smell on these paints. It is not strong at all and it is not offensive nor headache-inducing as enamels or lacquers.  The best I can describe the smell is 'earthly'. A bit like mud or clay, from a pottery workshop. 

The smell lingers for several days after painting, which indicates the paint is still drying/curing or at the very least degassing. I do live in Colorado, so perhaps the high altitude played a role on the lingering smell.  I was able to spray different colors -all from the same line- on top of each other w/o a problem. Still I would be careful to spray a coat of a different type of paint on top of them while they are degassing, as that might craze the other layer of paint/clear coat.

The instructions are very clear, they tell you to shake the paint well (the little ball agitator makes it easy) and to spray in very thin coats (almost like a mist), letting the coats dry a bit in between and to let the paint set for 24 hrs. before the next step.

In my tests, I followed those instructions. The only thing I changed was to actually blow some air with the airbrush between the coats. It took a bit of practice to get it right and I needed between 5 and 8 coats to get the color density you see in the pictures. I personally like the need of several thin coats to build up the color, as that allows you to do pre-shading/black basing if you want to.

Another thing I did was to test the need for a primer or not. I sprayed the front of the test wing with One-Shot grey primer from AMMO and the back of the wing was simply bare plastic.

As you can see, with 5 to 8 coats it is not possible to see any difference on the paint color, indicating that they have built up a consistent pigment density, all of that without obscuring surface detail.

I also practiced spraying the paints with and without thinner (A.Mig-2000). You can spray them without thinner, but truly the spray better with the thinner. They atomize better and it almost seems like they level better, but I'm saying that based just on an 'by eye' observation.

After giving it 24 hours of drying time, the abuse began. I burnished tape on the wing and rip it off, band-aid style. Both in the primed area and unprimed area. No paint lifting in either section. I then got a new piece of tape, burnished it down and left it in place for 3 days. Rip it off band-aid style and no damage whatsoever to the paint. 

To clean the airbrush cup I used Windex and then flushed it with water. It took about 30 sec. to do a clean up between colors. After spraying 6 different colors I took apart the airbrush and cleaned it up with a paper towel damp with Windex and then another piece of paper towel with water. Very easy to do.

These paints are designed to be either airbrushed or brush painted. In a Hellcat spare wing I did some airbrushing and the I applied some more paint with a regular brush, unthinned. I extended the green over the light wood section (darker on lighter color) and then the light wood over the dark brown (lighter on darker). 

My findings are that these paints behave nicely on a brush, they have good color density -as they cover the darker color, they level very well -you cannot see any brush strokes, and the color is virtually the same when applied with brush or airbrush. I cannot tell the difference on the green, I can barely tell the difference on the light wood. If you only have to do a minor touch up, you can do it with a brush and nobody would be able to tell. 

The paints have very little odor, are non-toxic and if you give them 24 hrs. drying time, very durable. They do seem to continue degassing for several days based on that faint smell, and that might slow down the overall pace of your modeling. 

These paints do apply in a slightly different way than other paints I have sprayed. Given that they are water-based you have to mist them and build the color density very slowly, blowing air (double action airbrush help) in between the coats as to overcome the water surface tension. It takes a bit of practice to get them to spray right, but after about 15 minutes practicing on a spare part, I got the hang on how to do it.

I have to say that I am quite pleased with these paints. I will certainly add them to my growing collection of acrylic paints and likely become a 'standard' for future builds.

Highly recommended.

I would like to thank AMMO by Mig Jimenez for the sample and opportunity for the review.

AMMO by Mig USAF Aggressors Blue Colors Set

Sun, 12/20/2020 - 13:59
Product Image Review Author:  Pablo Bauleo AMMO by Mig Jimenez

Review

I have been using enamels for many years (decades) now. Enamel hobby paints are getting harder to find and there are the health considerations on enamels, so I have been exploring different acrylic options out there. I was excited to see the chance to review the AMMO products, as some of my modeling buddies had good things to say about them.

Reading the AMMO website, you learn that these paints are odorless, water soluble and non-toxic. All of those above make these paints interesting alternatives as non-toxicity is a great thing and odorless makes the rest of the family happy.

I have to say that I did find a very faint smell on these paints. It is not strong at all and it is not offensive nor headache-inducing as enamels or lacquers.  The best I can describe the smell is 'earthly'. A bit like mud or clay, from a pottery workshop. 

The smell lingers for several days after painting, which indicates the paint is still drying/curing or at the very least degassing. I do live in Colorado, so perhaps the high altitude played a role on the lingering smell.  I was able to spray different colors -all from the same line- on top of each other w/o a problem. Still I would be careful to spray a coat of a different type of paint on top of them while they are degassing, as that might craze the other layer of paint/clear coat.

The instructions are very clear, they tell you to shake the paint well (the little ball agitator makes it easy) and to spray in very thin coats (almost like a mist), letting the coats dry a bit in between and to let the paint set for 24 hrs. before the next step.

In my tests, I followed those instructions. The only thing I changed was to actually blow some air -with the airbrush- in between the coats. It took a bit of practice to get it right and I needed between 5 and 8 coats to get the color density you see in the pictures. I personally like the need of several thin coats to build up the color, as that allows you to do pre-shading/black basing if you want to.

Another thing I did was to test the need for a primer or not. I sprayed the front of the test wing with One-Shot grey primer from AMMO and the back of the wing was simply bare plastic.

As you can see, with 5 to 8 coats it is not possible to see any difference on the paint color, indicating that they have built up a consistent pigment density, all of that without obscuring surface detail.

I also practiced spraying the paints with and without thinner (A.Mig-2000). You can spray them without thinner, but truly they spray better with the thinner. They atomize better and it almost seems like they level better, but I'm saying that based just on an 'by eye' observation.

After giving it 24 hours of drying time, the abuse began. I burnished tape on the wing and rip it off, band-aid style. Both in the primed area and unprimed area. No paint lifting in either section. I then got a new piece of tape, burnish it down and left it in place for 3 days. Rip it off band-aid style and no damage whatsoever to the paint. 

I then applied an enamel-based panel line wash. Once dry (about 30 min) I used a Q-tip just moist on Mig Thinner for Washes to remove excess from the wash. The paint was not affected by it, unless you were to rub it putting a lot of pressure and going back and forth on the same area at least 10 times, as shown in the picture. My point here is that you have to be very heavy-handed to damage the paint when removing a wash.

To clean the airbrush cup I used Windex and then flushed it with water. It took about 30 sec to do a clean up between colors. After spraying 6 different colors I took apart the airbrush and clean it up with a paper towel damp with Windex and then another piece of paper towel with water. Very easy to do.

The paints have very little odor, are non-toxic and if you give them 24 hrs drying time, very durable. They do seem to continue degassing for several days based on that faint smell, and that might slow down the overall pace of your modeling. 

These paints do apply on a slightly different way than other paints I have sprayed. Given that they are water-based you have to mist them and build the color density very slowly, blowing air (double action airbrush help) in between the coats to overcome the water surface tension. It takes a bit of practice to get them to spray right, but after about 15 minutes practicing on a spare part, I got the hang on how to do it.

I have to say that I am quite pleased with these paints. I will certainly add them to my growing collection of acrylic paints and likely become a 'standard' for future builds.

Highly recommended.

I would like to thank AMMO by Mig Jimenez for the samples and opportunity for the review.

F-14A Tomcat Masking Set

Sat, 12/19/2020 - 18:37
Product Image Review Author:  Paul R. Brown Eduard

This set is designed for Academy's new F-14A kit.  The set provides masks not only for the canopy and the windscreen, but also for the tires or wheel hubs.

There are three parts to the windscreen mask, one for each side and the central panel.  The main canopy has 4 parts for each section, two for each side.  The instructions advise you to cover the rest of the canopy area with liquid masking, but I prefer to cut small strips out of the unused parts of the masking sheet and use these strips to mask off the rest of the canopy.

After masking the canopy and tacking it over the cockpit, I painted the canopy frames with flat black as this is the interior color of the Tomcat canopy.  When this had dried, I then painted the canopy light gull grey when I painted the topside color as I was building an early Tomcat.  After painting and decaling were complete, I removed the masks from the canopy sections and discovered a perfectly painted canopy.

For the wheel masks, I first painted the tires NATO Black, then applied the masks leaving the hubs open.  I only used half of the masks for the main tires as the one side of the hubs are separate parts.  I then painted the hubs white using circle template to minimize overspray and removed the masks.

This is a great set, and I must confess I am now a convert to Eduard's masking sets as they are much easier to use and result in cleaner finish than my old method of Scotch tape!

Very highly recommended.