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Updated: 2 hours 27 min ago

Kittyhawk Su-27C Flanker Part Two-Painting and Finishing

Mon, 11/16/2020 - 15:29
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Novosad Kitty Hawk

Refer to Part One for the assembly review.

Reviews note and comments-I decided to make this a two-part due to the number of images and extensive text required to document the basic assembly phase. Although the assembly was a bit of a challenge for this model, the semi-finished model revealed a lot of nice surface detail that was appealing to me. This detail had some merit for an effort on my part to achieve a proper paint job and weathering application. If those efforts resulted in a nice-looking model the challenges faced during the assembly would make the effort worth-while.

Let's see what happens.

Painting

The instructions do note the colors required in some of the steps, with FS numbers sometimes noted, while I was unfamiliar with the exterior colors called out (no manufacturer was identified). I decided to use Vallejo Model Air Colors for the model. The Vallejo paints were thinned with Vallejo 71.261 thinner at a ratio of one-part paint and one part thinner.

The cockpit was first primed with Tamiya white fine primer.  After that had cured for 24 hours, I used a Tamiya mix to create the Air Superiority Blue called on the instructions. Details were brush painted with Vallejo Model Color paints.

I decided to paint the completed model as "Blue 74".  Earlier I traced the outlines of the plan form, the horizontal and vertical stabilizers onto tracing paper to prepare the camouflage masks. Using the color information on the fold-out pages I drew out the camouflage pattern freehand, labeling each color to avoid confusion during the painting process. I like to use paper masks for some camouflage schemes as it allows a soft edge demarcation between the various colors. Each mask would be placed on the model using narrow loops of Tamiya masking tape sticky side out.

First the model's exterior surface was washed in warm water with a touch of Dawn detergent to remove any soil and allowed to dry. The exterior surfaces of the model was primed with Alclad Black Polyfill Primer. This provided a satin, smooth and hard finish for the final colors. I allowed the primer to dry for 48 hours.

The exhaust nozzles (left loose for the time-being), afterburners and engine interiors, and the aft fuselage metal surfaces were painted with various Alclad metallic paints. The exterior metallic finishes were then protected with applications of Tamiya clear blue and clear orange which also depicted heat discoloration.  This was allowed to cure for another 48 hours before the masking was applied. The cannon blast panels and chaff dispensers were also painted with Alclad and masked.

Undersides-The underside was painted with "Underside Blue faded", 71.332.  The paint was applied in a squiggly pattern until most of the black primer was covered.  This took three application to get what I was after. Once the paint had been applied the surface detail and engraved panel lines became more evident. Kittyhawk did a really nice job in this effort.

Top Surface Camouflage-The top colors used were "Flanker Light Grey", 71.335, "Light Sea Blue", 71.089, and "Underside Blue faded", 71.332.  First, I placed the appropriate stencil onto the model and drew the outline with a soft graphite pencil. When applying the paint, I planned to over spray the pencil line to limit the risk of having the black primer show though on the color demarcation line.  This would prove to be very time-consuming.  I started with Underside Blue Faded, and after each area was painted, I set the model aside to allow the paint to thoroughly cure before moving on to the next color. This procedure progressed until the entire surface was covered with masks and painting. The inside surfaces of the vertical stabilizers were especially challenging to paint, but it got done.

When the painting was complete, I carefully removed the masks from the model. Although time-consuming as noted above, I was pleased with the resultant camouflage scheme. Some touch-up of the paint was required.

Landing Gear and Wheel Wells-The instructions call for the landing gear to be painted Medium Sea Grey FS318C/637.  I used Tamiya XF-24 lightened 10% with Tamiya XF-2 Flat White.  The paint-to-thinner ratio was 3:7. The gear was sealed with Future and a panel line wash was applied.  Again, nice detail on the landing gear.

Wheels/Tires-Wheel hubs were painted with Vallejo Model Color Russian Green, 70.894, while the tire was painted with Panzer Aces Dark Rubber, 306.

Landing Gear Doors-The interior surfaces of the gear door were first primed with Tamiya Fine White primer, then with AKAN 73058 Red.

Armament and Pylons-The missiles were primed with Alclad black primer, and then several coats of Tamiya Fine White Primer were applied. A clear gloss coat was applied and a blue-black pin wash was applied around surface details. The missiles were sealed with Model Master satin. The pylons were painted with Medium Sea Grey separate from the model, fixed to the finished missiles, then fitted to the model.

Panel Line Wash and Weathering-Once the painted had been completed the model was given three thin application of Future in preparation for decals and panel line wash and allowed to cure for 48 hours. If the modeler in inclined to highlight panel lines and rivets with a wash plan on spending several hours to complete this task. Kittyhawk has done a commendable job in replicating panel lines and rivets, and a neutral brown wash served to nicely emphasis these details.

Decals Application- The three decal sheets are packaged in a small zip-lock bag, and each sheet is protected by a clear glossy film that is removable.  Stencils locations are shown on sheets 11 and 22.  Each stencil location has a number to facilitate placement. There are easily over 200 individual stencils for this model. The first decal to be applied was the instrument panel. Because the plastic part includes raised detail I thought it best to cut the decal apart to accommodate the detail. I used warm water to release the decals from the backer sheet and placed them on the panel face, using a Q-tip to press the decal into place. I then applied a bit of MicroSol to encourage the proper amount of settlement onto the surface detail. At this point the decals should be left alone. 

Kit decals are always an unknown quality to me, and I always start with the underside of the model to determine how they will perform on exterior surfaces. After dipping each decal in tap water, they were placed on a wet sponge until they had loosened from the backer sheet, which took less than a minute. I used MicroSet to place the decals, a Q-tip to squeegee the water out from under the decals. MicroSol was used to get the decals to conform to surface details. The decals responded well to these products. There is very little film to the decals, and it appeared not to be overly thick. It took me 45 minutes to an hour to apply the decals to the undersides. This was a good indicator of how much time would be required to apply all the decals. 

I spent about five hours applying the decals. Once completed to used a piece of soft cotton dampened with warm water to wipe down the surface of the model to remove any surplus decal setting solution. Once dry I applied a clear satin finish to the model to seal the decals and unify the surface.

Bringing it all together-

The landing gear, gear doors, miscellaneous antenna, speed brake drouge chute, open canopy and missiles were all fitted in place. Done!

Conclusion

There is a lot of plastic in this kit, and it is a big model. Some sprue attachment points require creative removal methods to assure fit of parts later, and the raised ejector pin stubs can be annoying.  Good references should be considered as the instructions are sometime vague regarding placement of parts and colors are sometimes not correct.  The detail, rivets and finely scribed panel lines are superb. The plastic seemed a bit soft but caused no issues during parts removal from the sprues or cleanup. 

The use of the very tiny PE parts for antenna and so on would, in my opinion, be better served with injected plastic set in shallow recesses that can be painted separately and fixed in place upon completion of the major work.  I find the PE parts difficult to handle and fix in place, and inevitably they get lost or knocked off.

The difficult fit of the top and bottom halves horizontal join at the front fuselage requires a good deal of attention and dry-fitting to obtain a good fit if that is at all possible. The greatest challenge with this particular assembly is the size of the joint between the two main parts that must be fitted together. Some of the areas snap together, while other must be slid in place. Overall, this was the most difficult part of the assembly. The fit of the front cannot be determined until everything comes together from the rear forward, and if the parts do not fit everything must be disassembled, the adjustments made and obstructions when found eliminated, then the process is started over.  Many blind corners up front make it difficult to identify parts conflicts. Solvent should not be applied until everything fits perfectly.

The fitting of the horizontal stabilizers was another issue that should not have occurred. The mini tabs on the vertical stabilizers was another issue that must also be overcome by the builder.

The missing axels on the main landing gear??  This can be corrected, but should not have occurred. Shame.

It would have been nice if a full complement of missiles had been included in this kit.

The very fine static dischargers on the trailing edges of the wings and horizontal and vertical stabilizers are a nice touch, however they are very delicate and require care to avoid damage during the build and painting process.

Granted some of the issues encountered may have been my own doing, but I was able to overcome those challenges too. Assembly and painting took a lot more time and effort than I had anticipated.

For the most part this is a somewhat improved product from Kittyhawk, but still requires the builder to be attentive. There remains some engineering and manufacturing issues with the fit and molding of some parts, but nothing that would deter anyone from finishing the build, and being happy with the end result. The rather large gap on the underside between the rear engines and the fuselage is an unforgivable error in my opinion.  the error in the main gear well molding is also something that should not have occurred.

The cost of the kit and the problems with the various molded parts may be a deterrent to many modelers. Beware:  this kit will certainly test your modeling skills, abilities and patience. although getting through some of the assembly steps caused me some concern, I was pleased with the end result.  However, I did have to work to get there. I am happy to add this model to my collection of modern Russian aircraft despite the effort it took to finish.  Overall, this was a fun but often challenging build. I would recommend this kit to anyone who is interested in modern Russian aircraft and who is willing to put in the extra effort.

I wish to thank Kittyhawk and IPMS USA for the opportunity to build and review this kit.

 

Yugoslav Fighter Colors, 1918-1941. VOL. 1

Mon, 11/16/2020 - 15:19
Product Image Review Author:  Brian R. Baker MMP Books

History:

After World War I, the map of Eastern Europe was radically changed, with a number of ethnic groups becoming independent for the first time.  One country, Serbia, eventually became part of the Republic of Yugoslavia, which joined the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes into one country.  This, of course, forced considerable reorganization of their armed forces.  Of course, Serbia has virtually no aircraft manufacturing industry, so the Yugoslavs were compelled to acquire airplanes of foreign manufacture, mainly those built in Germany, Austria-Hungary, France, Italy, and England.  German and Austrian aircraft were usually acquired as reparations due to the Treaty of Versailles, while the British, French, and Italian types were purchased directly.   World War I vintage types were used throughout the twenties, but newer types were acquired in the thirties.  One event that caused some confusion was the Great Depression, which began about 1929, and this slowed down the acquisition of new aircraft for some time.

 

In the early thirties, many air forces were replacing World War I vintage aircraft with more modern types, and Yugoslavia bought a substantial number of fighters, primarily from France, but also some other countries.  This book gives an account of the types of aircraft they obtained up to the outbreak of World War II.  Although the book indicates that the main subject is color schemes, that is only partially true, as the authors also describe the operational career of the aircraft, type designations, serial numbers, markings, and camouflage schemes.  In addition, the aircraft specifications and detailed information is usually provided in tables at the end of each chapter. There is a LOT of highly useful information presented in this book.

 

The following aircraft  types are described:

Nieuport 24, 27;  Spad 7, 13; Albatros D.III, Ba. 253; Phonix D.I & D.II; Aviatik (Berg) D.I;  Ansaldo SVA 5;  Bristol F2B Fighter;  Dewoitine D.I C1; Dewoitine D9 C1; Dewoitine D.27 C1 Jockey;  Avia BH-33E; and Potez 25 A2.

 

The Book:

This book has a lot of useful information for modelers and anyone interested in aviation history.  In addition, numerous black and white photos of the aircraft in service, sometimes after heavy landings, give an excellent picture of the aircraft in service.  A thorough explanation of the markings and insignia systems is provided, and excellent full color three view drawings are provided showing markings and camouflage schemes.  The book only covers the subject up until the outbreak of World War II, but Volume 2 will probably cover at least the World War II period. I'm looking forward to that one.  If you are interested in this period of history, this book is definitely worth getting.  Don't miss out on it. 

 

Recommendations:

I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in modeling aircraft of this time period.

 

Thanks to MMP Books and Phil Peterson for the review copy.

Bf-109F-4 Single-No.20

Mon, 11/16/2020 - 09:39
Product Image Review Author:  Floyd S. Werner Jr. MMP Books

These little single books by MMP Books are quite interesting.  They focus on a single subject that is covered very well.  The only text is the captions which are written in English.  They do an adequate job. 

These books are designed with the modeler in mind.  As such they have scale drawings in 1/72nd and 1/48th scale.  I couldn't find fault with these.  They look very accurate to me.  After the drawings there are some historical photos and pictures from the parts manual of the aircraft. Intertwined with those photos are plenty of detail photos that should satisfy most modelers.  The detail photos are of the F-4 in the Canadian Museum.  There are four color pages and one aircraft of Hermann Graf is presented in a three view profile. 

Overall these books are very concise and to the point.  They are perfect for a modeler who is on a budget but needs the information.  At a little over $11.00 they are a bargain. 

These books are a nice addition to any library and because many of the systems were used on later models of 109s don't let the title limit you.  Most of the information presented can be used from the F-2 through the G-4 and beyond. 

Highly recommended

Thanks to MMP Books and IPMS/USA for the review copy.  You can obtain yours by contacting them directly at www.mmpbooks.com or at a well stocked book dealer, hobby shop or online retailer in the US.

 

Battle of Berlin (April 1945) T-34-85, King Tiger Kit

Mon, 11/16/2020 - 09:32
Product Image Review Author:  Will Kuhrt ICM

Thank you to Phil and to Bill for all the work that you do!

First Impression

This ICM offering is a bundle of two of previous releases:  the T-34-85 Soviet Medium Tank kit No. 35367 issued March, 2018  and the Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.B. King Tiger with Henschel Turret kit No. 35363 released July, 2016. The kits are separately packaged. The King Tiger has eight light-gray crisply molded sprues and a set of vinyl tracks. The T-34-85 consists of five dark-green sprues, one clear sprue, a set of vinyl tracks and individually packaged body halves. Two decal sheets are provided. The King Tiger versions are:  PzKpfw.IV Ausf.B s.Pz.Abt. Feldhernhalle, Hungary, March 1945; PzKpfw.IV Ausf.B s.Pz.Abt.

 503, Danzig, March 1945;  PzKpfw.IV Ausf.B s.Pz.Abt. 501, Ardennes, December 1944; and PzKpfw.IV Ausf.B Stab/s.Pz.Abt. 501, Ardennes, December 1944. The T-34-85 decals include: 7th Guard Tank Corps, Germany, Spring 1945; 7th Guard Mechanized Corps, Germany, Spring 1945; 4th Guard Tank Army, Germany, Spring 1945; and simply Germany, Spring 1945.  The decals are appropriately thin, have excellent color register and transfer to the models easily.

Pz.Kpfw.IV Aufs.B

The 24-page guide is easy to follow. Part and color call-outs are clearly identified as are parts that are not used during assembly. The last two pages have full-color painting guides.

Although this kit is overall truly excellent, there are a few drawbacks. There is option to display open hatches, there is little interior detail, and the wheels get 'locked' into a fixed position. For review purposes, I followed the painting steps for the interior--red-brown for the hull and white for the turret interior. Since the tank is not intended to show off the interior, painting could be omitted.

The main gun is two separate pieces, but this is a reasonable tradeoff considering the price of this kit compared to high-end kits. With careful sanding, you will barely tell the difference between it and a solid (brass) gun barrel.

Assembling the wheel axles is tricky. Per the instructions you first glue all 18 axles to the hull's right-hand side.  Next, you join all 18 to opposite side and then all of this to hull bottom. I took a different approach. I first joined the right side to the bottom. Next, I temporarily taped the left side rear corner in place, added the axles and used a tweezer to guide each into position. When completed, I cemented the left- hand side into place. I completed this step in only a few minutes. This is also a step that could be omitted since all of this is hidden from view when the model is finished.

The hull's exterior and detail pieces build up very quickly. I changed one of the steps, however. I did not attach the front or rear fenders at this stage. Rather, I waited until the end after I had added the tracks. Tracks, especially vinyl ones, can be very hard to pull through confined spaces. Leaving the fenders off gave me much more room to work with, and I encourage you to try this as well.

Before gluing, painting or weathering the tracks, I strongly recommend you wash them with mild detergent to remove any mold release. This will help to ensure that your CA glue takes and bonds.

Painting and Finishing

I primed everything with Vallejo gray primer. The painting guide provides color numbers for Revell and Tamiya brands. I chose to use Mission Models paints RAL 6003 Olivgrun and RAL 7028 Dunkelgelb as well as Rotbraun. The interior is a custom mix. German tank interiors were not painted pure white but rather a creamy (not quite beige) white. I weathered using a variety of Vallejo washes, pigments and MIG products to show it as a King Tiger that has fought hard defending Berlin against the Russians.

T-34-85

This kit contains a 20-page with two full-color painting guides. It  goes together very quickly--more quickly than the King Tiger--and the parts required very little clean-up.  As with the Kiger Tiger model, it is not intended to show off its interior. Therefore, several steps could be omitted with no affect to the final outcome.

The top and bottom hull halves build up very nicely, however when you join them, there is a visible seem that runs across the front. You'll want to address this since the real tank has to visible seam in this area. Unfortunately, there is another seam to deal with between the top and bottom turret halves. The gap is visible but not large. I consulted many reference photos of WWII T-34-85 tanks to see how the turret looked. Most of the turrets showed a significant weld line. Therefore,  I did not eliminate the seam but rather I 'treated' it. I used Tamiya Thin Cement to soften the plastic slightly and then used the edge of a No. 11 blade to roughen up the seam. This worked quite well. It removed the gap and gave a fairly decent look of a weld line.

The whole interior is to be painted white. Since the model is not intended to be displayed with open hatches and you will not see the seats or rest of the interior, this could be omitted.

As with the King Tiger kit, the wheels are fixed into position. The vinyl tracks were pretty difficult to use. I fed them through the wheel tops and when attempting to bring them together without pulling too hard, they were at least a half to three quarters of an inch short. To deal with this, I removed the tracks and then gently stretched each repeatedly to make them 'grow.'  Even after doing this, it was still very hard to glue them together. The possibility exists to make the whole track first and then loop it over all of the wheels. I attempted this and the tension was still such that the tracks came apart.

Painting and Finishing

After priming the entire model with Vallejo gray primer, I used Mission Models Russian Dark Olive Faded. I applied Vallejo washes, added a few scratch marks and a bit of dust.

Summary

All in all, this is an excellent kit and an outstanding bargain!  I've built many Tiger tanks. Although this one does not have all the bells and whistles such as photo etches parts, solid brass gun barrel and individual track links, the quality is absolutely on par with other costly kits.

I highly recommend this kit!  You get two excellent kits at a fantastic price. Although each has a few drawbacks (and what model kit doesn't), the quality of each really does measure up to more costly kits on the market.

Thank you to ICM for providing this kit and for the honor to review it, and thank you to IPMS for the opportunity!

B-29/B-50 Superfortress, Vol. 2: Post–World War II and Korea

Mon, 11/16/2020 - 09:13
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus David Doyle Books

David Doyle's book on the B-29/B-50 Superfortress is one of the latest entries in the 'Legends of Warfare' series with entries in Ground, Naval, and Aviation. The is Volume 2 that follows David Doyle's earlier work, B-29 Superfortress, Vol. 1: Boeing XB-29 through B-29B in World War II, that was released on April 20, 2020.  The Legends of Warfare series has expanded rapidly since its 2017 debut in the market with now over 50 titles released.  This hard cover series covers a wide variety of monographs at a good price point.

After many years of being published in enthusiast publications focused on military vehicle restorations, David Doyle 'graduated' to full-fledged books in 2003. His first book was a hefty 512 page history of US military vehicles. He has now had more than 100 books published in military vehicles, aviation and naval topics. David and his wife Denise have amassed a collection of ten Vietnam era military vehicles that still displays at shows. In June 2015, was honored with the Military Vehicle Preservation Association's Bart Vanderveen Award, given in recognition of "...the individual who has contributed the most to the historic preservation of military vehicles worldwide." Be sure to check out David's website at www.DavidDoyleBooks.com where you can see and buy at a discounted price off of MSRP, all his books that are still available.

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing and flown primarily by the United States during World War II and the Korean War. Named in allusion to its predecessor, the B-17 Flying Fortress, the Superfortress was designed for high-altitude strategic bombing but also excelled in low-altitude night incendiary bombing and in dropping naval mines to blockade Japan. B-29s also dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and became the only aircraft that ever used nuclear weapons in combat.  The B-29 program exceeded the cost of the Manhattan Project of $1.9 billion, being developed for only $3 billion and was the most expensive program of the war.  Production ended on 28-May-1946 with 3,970 units built.  The B-29 was used in the Korean War for daylight strategic bombing until the MiG-15 appeared.  After the loss of 28 aircraft, the B-29 would be restricted to night time only.  The B-50 Superfortress (originally B-29D) achieved its first flight on 25-June-1947.  The production line was open until 1953 with 370 aircraft built.  The B-50 was in service from 1948 through 1965 and replaced the troublesome Wright R-3350 Cylcones with the more powerful Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major.  A larger vertical tail and many other changes were made to distinguish the B-50, but the most important change was the change from B-29D to the B-50 to help justify its Congressional appropriations.

The front cover features a color photograph of a Boeing B-29A-30-BN Superfortress (sn 42-94106), probably on a long range mission in 1945 [an enlargement of a photo found on page 6].  The rear cover features a black and white photograph of the first of two atomic tests in Operation Crossroads on 01-July-1946.  "Dave's Dream", a B-29-40-MO, had just dropped a Fat Man atomic bomb over Bikini Atoll.  You get 128 glossy pages graced by clear, well captioned, photographs.  I counted 221 photographs; 72 in color and 149 in black and white. Many of the selected photographs are being published for the first time.

 

Table of Contents:

 

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: B-29, B-29A, and B-29B: From VJ-Day Through Korea
  • B-29 Specifications [Table]
  • B-29 and B-29A Serial Numbers [Table]
  • B-29B Serial Numbers [Table]
  • Chapter 2: The Photo Birds: F-13/RB-29
  • Chapter 3: Rescue Aircraft: SB-29
  • Chapter 4: Tankers: KB-29
  • Chapter 5: Weather Aircraft WB-29
  • Chapter 6: "Aircraft Carriers" and Other Unusual Variants
  • Chapter 7: XB-44/B-50
  • B-50 Specifications [Table]
  • Chapter 8: RB-50 Reconnaissance
  • Chapter 9: EB-50
  • Chapter 10: Weather Aircraft
  • Chapter 11: B-50-Based Aerial Refuelers

 

 

David Doyle does a great job of covering the Superfortress after WWII through well-captioned photographs. Most chapters begin with about a page of text describing the Superfortress variant, followed by period photographs, many in color. You can see from the Chapter titles many of the variants that are discussed.  This book is an easy read, with the majority of the text being in the photo captions.

One point that I was surprised at was that the Superfortress served in the US Navy.  I was aware of one of these served as the mothership for the Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket.  I was surprised to learn that two of these aircraft would be re-designated P2B-2S and were used as anti-submarine aircraft.  Another role that was interesting is shown on Page 117 (see attached page).  Eighteen B-50Ds were modified for testing, being coded with the prefix 'E' to indicate they were exempt from compliance Technical Orders (except for Urgent Action Time Compliance TOs).  Two of these EB-50Ds were converted to carrier director aircraft for use in the RASCAL (Bell XGAM-63) testing program.  The first powered RASCAL would be launched form the EB-50D on 30-September-1952 at White Sands Missile Range.  Bell's RASCAL was intended to be the USAF's first air-launched nuclear standoff weapon.  The supersonic RASCAL became operational in 1957 with the B-47, but was cancelled in September 1958 in favor of the AGM-28 Hound Dog.

This is a gorgeous hardbound book and is well worth the money at the MSRP of $19.95. Primarily a photo-essay, David Doyle provides plenty of detailed photographs with detailed captions. This is an excellent reference book solely for the pictures.  I am definitely looking for more monographs in this affordable series of books from Schiffer.

My thanks to David Doyle Books (www.DavidDoyleBooks.com) and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

Ammo Figures Set – British WWII Uniforms

Mon, 11/16/2020 - 09:03
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery AMMO by Mig Jimenez

The AMMO website listing for this set of AMMO paints includes this description; "The AMMO range of acrylic paints for figures has been designed to make your painting sessions a more enjoyable experience thanks to the speed and simplicity of use. This set includes 4 colours for painting the infantry uniforms widely used by British troops during WWII. The colours have been selected through rigorous research of period uniforms, allowing you to accurately paint the base tones of uniforms, add highlights, and enhance details."

The four colors included in this set are AMMO F-504 Yellow Green, F-545 British Brown, F-546 Ochre Brown, and F-547 Pale Earth.

Use the link provided in this review to visit the web page for this product. That url is: https://www.migjimenez.com/en/acrylic-colors/3287-british-uniforms-wwii-set-8432074070337.html).

Scroll down until you see the Quick Tips Logo and click on it. An image of that logo accompanies this review. A pdf will open and can be downloaded. This pdf provides detailed "Tips", in English and Spanish, to employ a combination of airbrushing and hand-painting to achieve the desired result.

While on the AMMO web site, click on the "Downloads" button on the home page. There are many downloadable "Quick Tip" documents, 46 at my count. This "online library" of Quick Tips is a veritable gold mine of painting techniques and helpful hints. As a neophyte figure painter, I found that these documents have expanded my understanding of some of the basic figure painting techniques that I have seen when viewing Figures at the various modeling events that I attend.

Applying AMMO

My modeling interests focus mainly on 1/48th scale aircraft, Real Space, and Sci-Fi Space. My paint cabinet did not contain any AMMO paints, but I have been reading posts that praised AMMO. Thinking that a review of this product would be a great introduction to AMMO paints, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and take on an "armor" project, that being a 1/48th Valentine Mk. III. As a bonus, the kit contains four figures, and two of those figures were selected to be the test bed for the AMMO paints included in the AMMO paint set.

I am very much a novice when it comes to painting figures. I have been fortunate in that I've been able to attend a couple of figure painting seminars by two Master Painters, so I have in my possession some of the tools that figure painters usually have on hand. I set up my wet pallet, pulled out my Windsor & Newton brushes, and set up my workspace I anticipation of starting the review process.

I was pleasantly surprised when I visited the AMMO website, finding the Quick Tips section specific to the product being reviewed. The tips provided (in English and Spanish) on that PDF set out the steps involved in priming, highlighting, and shadowing. The paints to be used (those four paints included in the product package) were identified with tips on thinning or blending colors to be used in each step.

It was an easy process, to read the tips provided; then study the figures to make sure I understood where each color or mixture was to be applied, and then to apply the paint as suggested. I found that the paint thinned nicely using AMMO thinner (not included in this product package) or distilled water. And, of course, when the tips suggested that two colors be mixed, I found that it was an easy process, that the colors blended nicely, and no difficulties were experienced.

Some color was applied with an airbrush, as recommended in the Hints PDF, and some was applied with my Windsor and Newton brushes. I found that the paint, properly thinned, worked without issues via the airbrush. Another plus that I found was that each container of paint contains a "rattle ball". I do not know what it looks like or from what it is made, but it makes shaking the paint up rather easy and quick.

Being a neophyte figure painter I hold no illusions that the two figures I used as a test bed are spectacular, but I can say that I am thoroughly impressed with the AMMO approach to paint products and providing PDF Hints that I found very useful.

This product is highly recommended for its reasonable pricing, sturdy packaging, quality of the paint, and the immensely helpful Hints PDF on the AMMO website. Thanks to AMMO for providing this product to IPMS/USA for review.

Cessna O-2A Skymaster

Sun, 11/15/2020 - 23:36
Product Image Review Author:  David Horn ICM

Aircraft and history:

The O-2A Skymaster, known as "Oscar Deuce" is a small twin engine aircraft used primarily as a Forward air controller (FAC) and psychological operations (PSYOPS). The USAF starting using the O-2 in 1967 in the Vietnam War as a replacement for the O-1 Bird Dog. With just a few years service, the O-2 was intended to be replaced by the OV-10 Bronco but the O-2 remained in service, primarily for night operations.

The USAF requested Cessna to make a military version of its 337 Super Skymaster with "hardpoints" under the wings, additional windows for observers and new cabin arrangement. A unique feature of the Skymaster is the engine arrangement. Unlike traditional twin-engine aircraft with engines on each wing, the Skymaster has one in the nose and another on the rear fuselage. This arrangement allows centerline thrust so if one engine loses power, aircraft control (in yaw) is minimal if any at all which is a significant safety advantage.

Kit:

Packaged in a thick sturdy box that is separate than the cover (which is really nice) are just three sprues. Panel lines are engraved and not too fine and not overly deep or wide. I did not see any flash on the sprues on this sample. The instructions (written in Russian and English) contain 20 pages with full color portions for painting & decals and the remaining instructions black & white. Paint brands listed are for Revell and Tamiya. The instructions clearly indicate how parts are assembled but with most builds, you may need to skip a few steps and go back to install items to make assembly easier. 

Build:

Starting off with the cabin, the first item to assemble is the electronics area in the aft cabin. There are 15 steps to assemble this area and the instructions logically break down each area. Since this review contains two other review items, one of them being Scale Aircraft Conversions (SAC) landing gear, there is a slight deviation in the cabin assembly from what the kit provides. If your build will use the kit, the nose landing gear bay is made up of four parts then the nose gear itself added to that. With the SAC gear, the landing gear top and side walls is a one-piece cast metal part and the landing gear cast metal as well. One advantage of the SAC landing gear is it adds to the necessary nose weight of 10 grams. While in search of nose weights, I stumbled across a product I have never seen before, Tungsten putty. The putty can be found where pinewood derby items are sold. The putty makes it easy to add weight in odd shaped pockets and other voids in the kit where traditional weights will not fit.

ICM did a great job of adding plenty of detail where it is seen, and they did not put detail where it will not be seen or in areas that would be difficult to see. The engine is a great example of this approach where you can only see the top of the engine through the air inlet so ICM provides what you can see in the small openings. With this approach, it frees up room to add the necessary nose weights. Moving back in the cabin and cockpit, the instrument panel is simple yet very detailed. Instrument dials are provided on the decal sheet, for which I used a small hole punch set to use just the dial sections. Seats and yokes are next to be made and installed, and detail is decent on these. There is one group of items that is not included, a small photo etch set that would have throttle/propeller levers and seat belts, that I would like to see from ICM in the future. Another nice detail in the cabin is a pair of M16 rifles that attach to the left side wall.

A couple of areas I skipped the build order specified in the instructions was installation of the main gear and wing installation. The reason I delayed installing the main gear was the risk of damage while I was cleaning up seams and general assembly. For the wing, I wanted to clean the seams on the leading edge without having to struggle around the fuselage. I did not have any issues assembling the wing halves before installing on the fuselage. Please note that you will need to drill holes on the lower wing halves for the hard points as indicated. There is one issue I had installing the wing to the fuselage as I did not set the aft bulkhead in far enough. Since everything was glued in, I was unable to lower the bulkhead enough and it pushed the aft portion of the wing too high leaving a gap. I trimmed some material from the top of the bulkhead and the wing rested where it should.

The remaining assembly of the kit is straight forward. A stated earlier, steps that were skipped and saved until after painting and decals were adding antennas, front engine exhaust pipes, and wheels.

Painting and Decals:

Overall, the O-2 is light gray, FS36473 with flat black anti-glare portion on top of the engine cowling per USAF TO 1-1-4. After the O-2 was sent to Vietnam, the upper surface of the wing was painted white to help give contrast over the jungle. Reference photos of decent quality are hard to find on which area the white and gray separate. As indicated in the kit's instruction sheet, the white does not start until about 2 feet (on real aircraft) behind the wings leading edge. The warbirds flying today in the gray scheme are painted as indicated in the kit's instructions. Since I painted this kit before I received the AOA decals, I painted the kit per ICM instructions. AOA decals recommends painting the entire upper wing white which is supported by a photo on an O-2 taken while on a mission in Vietnam. My recommendation is to first check your references before you decide on where to paint the white areas.

Although the kit does not have traditional masks for the clear parts, the instructions offer a set of templates you can use to mask the windows. Two portions show where to mask the three small openable windows, one on the pilot side of the windscreen, and the other two aft side windows. If you use the AOA decals, that decal set offers decals for the two aft openable windows. You should use those decals instead of masking those window frames. You will still need to mask the pilot windscreen window. When painting the propellers, check your references on color. Most propellers had the forward face gray or natural metal and the aft portion facing the pilot painted flat black. When referencing the aft propeller, from the pilot's point of view, the propeller face would be black. Propeller tips will be yellow, however check your references.

Just a few of the kit's decals were used in this build. Only the instrument dials and weapons decals from the kit were used. The remaining decals are from AOA decals which has a very comprehensive decal sheet. Please see that review on the IPMS web site reviews. Once painted and decals applied, all the small items were added which included a set of wire antennas and weapons electrical connections from stretched sprue. A final coat of matt finish was added than a few touches of weathering and time to call it completed.

Conclusion:

Overall, the ICM O-2A is the best Skymaster in any scale in my opinion and was a joy to build. With just the right amount of detail and ease of assembly, this will be a joy to build. Many thanks to ICM plastic model kits for providing this kit to IPMS for review.

O-2A Skymaster landing gear (ICM)

Sun, 11/15/2020 - 22:48
Product Image Review Author:  David Horn Scale Aircraft Conversions

Scale Aircraft Conversions (SAC) manufactures white metal landing gear that is a direct replacement for a kit's plastic landing gear. The metal landing gear offer greater strength over the kit parts as well as having most of the mold lines removed. At times the metal will be bent out of shape but that is easily corrected by bending it back to the correct shape.

This set includes four parts; main gear, nose gear, oleo strut for nose gear, and nose gear bay. SAC gear does require some clean-up for the rare cases there are still seam lines. You many also sand and prime the struts to remove some of the rough texture that appears in some areas. Installing the new gear requires CA glue or non-traditional modeling adhesives. SAC recommends that the gear is for experienced modelers that are used to working with metal gear.

This set is a direct replacement for the ICM kit gear. The nose gear bay is a single cast piece that replaces a three-part assembly from the kit. The cast gear bay also adds a little weight to the nose area for which ICM recommends 10 grams weight. To install the nose gear, you will need to spread the gear bay apart to add the gear then bend it back. The soft material is great in cases like the nose gear but rigid enough to support the model's weight. The nose gear will need to be installed before the fuselage is assembled. The main gear is a single part just as the kit part is. When I removed it from the packaging, it did not have the complete bends compared to the kits gear but that can be corrected late in the kits build. Installing the main gear is the same as the kit part other than the type of glue required to attach it. I skipped a few steps and fully assembled the fuselage and booms before attaching the main gear.

After the model was complete, I did take advantage of inherent adjustability of soft metal which allows you to level the model. When you need strong landing gear that will not let your model down, SAC has you covered. I would like to thank Scale Aircraft Conversions for this review sample.

O-2 Skymaster FAC & BS Bomber Oscar Deuces Decals

Sun, 11/15/2020 - 22:32
Product Image Review Author:  David Horn AOA Decals

AOA Decals is a relatively new aviation decal with an impressive variety in 1/32, 1/35, 1/48, 1/72 and 1/144 scale. Their product line primary focus is Vietnam era aircraft. Although a relatively young company, their quality and attention to detail rivals all other decal companies on the market. The decal set comes with one large decal sheet and a six-page, full color instructions. 

This decal set for the Cessna O-2 Skymaster, also known as the "Oscar Deuce" is designed for the 1/48 scale ICM kit. There are fifteen different subjects that can be made and three different paint schemes (Gray, Black and Southeast Asia) to choose from in this set. Three of the paint schemes are for the O-2B which AOA provides a brief history, as well a statement that an O-2B is not released. AOA is ahead of the game for when ICM or another model manufacturer releases a B model Skymaster. 

Paint colors are all specified in Federal standard numbers which can easily be translated to most paint manufacturers. Depending on what subjects you select, there are enough decals to make at least two aircraft per decal set. The six-page instruction sheet has one page dedicated to stencils and standard markings. This page also covers general painting notes including painting of the propellers. One of the highlights on the stencil instruction page is data and descriptions on ordinance (including useful loads), antennas, wheels, and pylons. These notes give relative timeframes on what data is relative to that time frame. The remaining sheets show and describe each subject. The subject I decided to build has a small Kangaroo on the tail which first caught my attention. Then the sheet states that that aircraft was lost and the pilot was killed in action, and that solidified my decision. These short stories on the instruction sheets really put a personal spin on a subject which is a driving feature when selecting a decal set.

This is one of the most comprehensive decal sheets I have seen. Very fine work from AOA and I plan on going to AOA decals first on future builds. It is nice to see a company covering the Vietnam era subjects with this much dedication. AOA will be producing decals for more aircraft in the future and I cannot wait to see what is next. I would like to thank AOA Decals for this review sample.

B-26 C-50 Korean War 'Glass Nose'

Sun, 11/15/2020 - 12:22
Product Image Review Author:  Ben Morton ICM

In what appears to be a never ending stream, ICM Holdings offers the modeling public another variant of the B-26 Invader, Medium Bomber. This latest novelty is the 1/48th scale B-26 C-50 with markings for  three separate U.S. aircraft employed during the Korean War.

This plethora of variations of the 1/48th scale B-26 that ICM Holdings is releasing is most welcome as it gives all the opportunity to build the Invader of our choice. I for one hope they continue and a 1/48th scale B-26 K Counter Invader is in our future.

Marking options included with this release are:

  • B-26C- 45DL, 8th BS, 3rd BG, Korea,1953 ( Night Invader /Overall Black)
  • B-26C- 55DL, 729th BS, 452nd BG, Korea, 1951 (natural metal finish)
  • B-26C- 45DT, 728th BS, 452nd BG, Korea, 1951 (natural metal finish)

 

ICM Holdings also includes a template with the assembly instructions for masking the clear bits. These are templates only so you'll need to make you own masks. Those clear bits are wonderfully molded and crystal clear. I choose to highlight the framing with a black Sharpie.

[Shameless Plug: It should be noted that there are a number of after-market guys that can hook you up with all manner of extra details: Eduard (seat belts, interior/exterior detail, masks) Quickboost (resin gun barrels, gun turret, propellers, engines, exhausts), Montex (wheel/canopy masks), Paragon Designs (flaps), and Aerocraft Models (brass landing gear) and Metallic Details (complete detail set).] [Really Shameless Plug: There is s separate review of some of the Quickboost after-market accessories available for you reading enjoyment.] Click here: https://web.ipmsusa3.org/content/26-invader-propellers-propeller-reducti...

ICM Holdings does have a collection (three different sets) of after-market decals should you be looking for some alternative markings. Of note is the set for Latin American Invaders (Brazil, Columbia, Cuba).

The kit supplied decals are crispy printed and are almost devoid of any extra carrier film.  Extra cool points for ICM.

As with all aircraft models, construction begins with the cockpit. The pilot's station is composed of fourteen parts and includes forward and side instrument consoles with a decal for the instruments. Do be careful when ducking them in water, the decals are printed on a thin carrier film and some of those instrument faces might just 'break away' from that film and wind up as individual decals.

It should be noted that I experienced a few problems with the decals folding over on themselves due to that thin carrier film. This is also a good time to mention that there are color call-outs throughout the instructions and your gonna want to paint as you go. Color references are keyed to either Revell or Tamiya paints.

Construction proceeds with completing the interior detail on the fuselage. Wing spars are added to which bomb racks and bombs are affixed. There are also some side consoles that get added during this step. Additional detail (side consoles) is provided for the bombardiers station as well as the aiming station for the remote controlled top and bottom gun turrets.

One aspect of the engineering for this kit is the make-up of the wheel well interior detail and the gear doors. That detail and the gear doors are molded as one piece.  This makes for ease of assembly but also gives you an opportunity to snap them off as you proceed with putting the rest of the kit together. Some may find this off-putting but if you go slow, exercise some patience all will be right with the world, and your model.

The bomb aimer position is next with lots of fiddly bits that meld into a great looking station. It may be prudent to hide some weight in this section as the model is a bit of a tail sitter without. The assembly instructions do have you add some weight behind the engines in the wing nacelles but a tad more weight in this forward area couldn't hurt. 

Next up are the main wings. The first order of business is to decide which of the under wing stores ( bombs, fuel tank, rockets) you plan to use as specific mounting holes will need to be drilled out for the appropriate ordnance. Although wing guns are not called for with this variant there are spent shells ejector ports that can be opened from the wings or you can use the supplied decals. It is worth noting that all control surfaces on this kit are provided as nicely detailed individual parts and as such are somewhat pose able.

The left and right wings fit onto previously installed wing spars that insure a nice, tight fit. Both horizontal stabilizers are engineered such that just adding them to the model ensures the dihedral   of those stabilizers that was unique to the Invader.

There isn't a lot of detail for the top and bottom gun turrets but as these were remotely controlled there wasn't much visible detail to begin with. The opposite is true for the gunner's station. ICM provides the main pedestal, gunner seat, consoles, and the periscope aiming devices for this very nicely detailed area of the Invader. For a detailed account of the remotely controlled gun turrets, I refer you to the following link:  http://napoleon130.tripod.com/id869.html

ICM provides some wonderfully detailed  Pratt & Whitney R 2800-27, 18 cylinder, radial engines. Along with both banks of cylinders, there are push rods, an exhaust collection ring, and the reduction gear casing with magnetos. I used the Quickboost replacement set. About the only thing that goes wanting are the ignition wires themselves.

ICM does provided a handy positioning guide for the intricate exhaust layout. I attached it with some craft glue for easier removal. The exhausts are molded without any outlet detail and should you may decide to drill out those openings a daunting task awaits as there a number of exhausts (nine per engine). I left the positioning guide attached while I finished that step. This is also the step where some added weight should definitely be installed (as noted in the instructions) behind the forward section of the engine nacelles in or4de to avoid the dreaded 'tail sitter'. 

The robust landings gear has nice detail with a number of individual parts (scissors, etc.) that enhance the molded parts. The tires, with excellent diamond tread pattern, are cast in halves which might present a seam problem. But those tires are molded with only one sprue attachment point so they can be positioned with that 'burr' on the ground. On the plus side, the wheel hubs are molded separately, easing painting for them as well as the tires.  

Nearing the end of the build, the completed engines get 'dobbed' onto the nacelles, adding the cowlings and upper and lower cowl flaps is next as well as bomb bay doors. [Technical Note: 'dobbed' is an aircraft industry term meaning attached or placed.] The bomb bay doors can be shown opened or closed. The cool bit, should you choose to close up the bomb bay, is that that part is one piece. That will save you the tedium of lining up two, separate pieces.

With the placement of a few antennas and previously selected, under wing ordnance the model is completed.  Well, mostly complete. There is still painting to do and applying decals to do and whatever amount of weathering that might suit to do. After that, you will be done. One word of caution about the decal placement guide...if you go with the Night Invader scheme. There are a series of dash lines surrounding the canopy, glass nose, and turret gunners position. These were 'cut here for emergency escape placards'. The placement guide does list those decals (#15) that connect those listed in the right and left hand profiles. Don't forget the lovely Hamilton Standard props. I replaced the kit parts with those from Quickboost.

As can be seen from the completed images, I went with an overall black Invader. I used  Touch 'n tone's  all purpose black primer and over sprayed that with a light coat of Tamiya's clear gloss just to seal the primer. And happy accident, that wound up giving me a semi-gloss finish. 

This 1/48th scale B-26 C 50 from ICM Holdings is a superb model kit. The molded detail (petite engraved panel lines), ease of fit and lovely molded details. The only areas that required any filler were those areas surrounding the engine nacelles to wing joins.

The overall appearance, ease of fit, and fidelity of the completed model sets a high bar for other contemporary manufacturers to follow. Some might quibble about the lack of canopy masks, unweighted tires, etc. but if things like that really bug you, the after-market crowd (as noted earlier) has you covered. My only quibble might be the minor areas that required a small amount of filler but that could have just been my fault. Overall I was pleasantly surprised at how remarkable easy it is to assemble this model.

Another pleasant surprise, should a glass nosed Invader really not be your cup of tea, is the number of extra parts (eight-gun nose, under wing gun pods, wing mounted guns, and either a flat or the bulged canopy.) included that one can avail themselves of to build different variants of the Invader. There is even a plate to cover the lower fuselage gun turret which was removed on certain variations of the Invader.

Really there isn't a good excuse not to have this excellent kit in your stash. And as this is the fifth iteration of the B-26 from ICM Holdings, there has got to be ONE of them that fills the bill. Well, except for the B-26 K. :) Hopefully that version will be coming to a hobby shop near you soon.

My appreciation and thanks to ICM Holdings and IPMS/USA for the review copy.

Berlin Wall

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 23:13
Product Image Review Author:  Phil Peterson AFV Club

Those of us of a certain age remember well the Berlin Wall and what it stood for and probably still remember when it was torn down in 1989.  Those of you who are younger may never heard of it.  If not, it is worth an internet search.

The kit has already been reviewed here and a very nice job was done so I went for a less weathered look, partly to be different and partly because I haven't decided how I want to display it yet.  It yearns for a vignette or diorama setting.

The build is pretty simple.  There are 3 sections of wall each made up of 3 parts.  There are also 3 pieces to place on top of the wall though only 2 are needed for the 3-piece section.

When completed the section is just over 4 inches long, 4 inches high and almost 2 and a half inches wide.

The parts fill together well and no putty was needed.  A quick spray with some rattle can grey and a gloss coat and you are ready for the decals.  There are a lot of decals.

The wall was well decorated on the Western side and AFV Club provides a large decal sheet with multiple graffiti and written statements to decorate your wall as you see fit.  I Googled for pics of the wall to get an idea for decal placement but the only decal I found in a picture was the blue guy who was part of an artist's job after the wall came down.  Since I couldn't find anything else that seemed to match up, I just went with a small assortment.  I can always add more later when I get to the display part.

Besides the historical significance of this model the other fun factor is the numerous display options you can do with it.  Use whatever decals you want or if you are proficient with an airbrush, make your own.  You can combine multiple kits together to get a longer stretch of wall and use it as a backdrop for a vehicle.  If you are skilled enough you can also use it as a basis for the wall being torn down.

I really enjoyed this and am now on the lookout for a couple teens with spray cans as depicted in the box artwork.

Thanks to AFV Club and IPMS/USA for the review kit.

AMMO Dio Drybrush Paint Light Olive Green, Light Brick, Dark Sand

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 22:46
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery AMMO by Mig Jimenez

AMMO has an extensive line of paints and a selection of "How To" publications that are familiar to modelers. IPMS/USA recently received for review three of AMMO's "DIO Drybrush Paint" products. The review samples include A.MIG-0608 Light Olive Green, A. MIG-0626 Light Brick, and A.MIG-0620 Dark Sand. These three items are a part of AMMO's line of Dio Drybrush Paints. There are 27 paints in this series. Each sell for about $3.50. 

There does not seem to be a single "set" that includes all 27 colors, but it is not difficult to submit a purchase order on the AMMO website to purchase each of the 27 colors as a "group" purchase. Note that the "Direct Link to Product" associated with this review opens a page which shows all 27 of the colors grouped together. Hopefully, that will make your "search" for these products less time consuming.

The images that accompany this review include 4 images of paints arranged in rows. Three of these images show seven paint bottles, and one image shows the final six paint selections available in this series of paints.

The MIG information flyer states that, 

"Dio Dry Bruch colour line consists of a range of lighter tones in order to impart a worn look on your models, as well as darker shades including metallic, rust, and chipping tones to create a range of dynamic effects. We present a wide range of 27 colors, providing many options to suit the needs of your projects."

The application instructions are simple. (This information is taken from the MIG Information Flyer that accompanied the three sample paint bottles.)  

Step 1 - Dab the brush directly into the jar and load with a moderate amount of paint. 

Step 2 - Remove the excess paint onto an absorbent surface. 

Step 3 - Gently rub the brush over the surface details of the model to highlight them and enhance the volume.

The most significant content of a review of products such as these AMMO paints is the reporting of the application of the product to a model. As a test subject I selected a Mk. III Valentine in 48th scale that had been completed in 1978. The Valentine had a coating of light sand paint, the base coat color that would serve to reveal the changes made when the AMMO paints were applied. I followed the instructions (above) provided by AMMO. 

I first chose to apply Light Brick 0626 to a section of the Valentine's turret.  There are two images provided that show the "before" and "after" appearance. It is recommended that a small amount of paint be loaded to your brush, and that you use a scrap piece of sheet styrene to gain some quick experience with application of the paint. The AMMO suggestions state "a moderate" load of paint will be sufficient. I found that I needed little of the AMMO paint in order to make a definite change in the appearance of the area being painted. I quickly fell into a routine in which I loaded the tip of the paint brush with a small amount of AMMO paint, and then I applied that paint to a strip of sheet styrene. This application showed me that the load of AMMO paint was exactly right for application, or if the load was too much or too little. After a very quick learning curve indicated to me how much was "just right" I began to apply the AMMO paint to the test area. On the turret, it is easy to see that the AMMO DIO paint provided a contrast to the original paint, covered the decals in a manner that gave the marking a dusty, worn appearance.  I cleaned my brush with water and then selected a 2nd paint to test.

I chose a "fender" as the test area for the 2nd bottle supplied by AMMO for review.  The "Before" picture is labeled as" 002 a Before Live Green 0608". The "After" picture is labeled as "002 b After Olive Green 0608". The result was rather impressive. The AMMO paint, when properly applied, resulted in some areas that appeared to be darkened from footwear, and weathered. 

The 3rd AMMO paint to be tested was Dark Sand 0620. The "Before" picture is labeled as "003 as Before Dark Sand 0620" and the "After" picture is labeled as "003 as After Dark Sand 0620". This application caused the affected area to take on a weathered appearance that adds reality to the paint job of the Valentine, which it previously lacked.

I did not thin the paint before or during application, but I did remove excess paint onto that styrene sheet which was previously mentioned, and by the application of the 3rd color I seemed to have found the "happy spot"......just enough paint to dry-brush, but not too much. 

For those who are relatively inexperienced with dry brushing techniques (I'm raising my right hand) I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I was able to identify and control the amount of AMMO paint that gave a realistic and lifelike appearance. For those who have already mastered the technique I am sure that the range of colors provided by AMMO will be of interest and of use.

This series of paints is highly recommended. These three sample paints provided by AMMO are highly recommended for the Novice as well as the Master painter. The drying time is advertised as 24 hours, but the applications I made were dry to the touch after 5 or 6 hours. The pricing is reasonable, especially considering the high quality of the paint. Application is actually quite easy ,and I see a definite "step up" in the quality of my future "builds".

Thanks to AMMO for making these paints available for review by IPMS/USA.

Quickboost British Phantom FG.1/FGR.2 Radar Warning Receiver

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 20:59
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Novosad Hasegawa

Background

The United Kingdom bought versions based on the U.S. Navy's F-4J for use with the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. The UK was the only country outside the United States to operate the Phantom at sea, launching them from HMS Ark Royal. The main differences were the use of the British Rolls-Royce Spey engines and of British-made avionics. The RN and RAF versions were given the designation F-4K and F-4M respectively, and entered service with the British military aircraft designations Phantom FG.1 (fighter/ground attack) and Phantom FGR.2 (fighter/ground attack/reconnaissance).

Contents Description

This aftermarket set has three antennae cast onto a single resin block. Included is the retrofit fairing for the Marconi ARI 18228 Radar Warning Receiver which required the white navigation light to be relocated to the drag chute door (not included with this set). Also included are two wing antennae to be mounted on opposite sides of the vertical stabilizer.

The Hasegawa kit includes two drag chute doors, one with the requisite navigation light. 

The resin parts offer finer detail than the kit parts and are direct replacements as no cutting or modifications to the kit parts being required. This set is designed for either the Hasegawa or Revell kits. The casting block also notes "R" and "L" designations for the two-wing antenna. These two parts are much thinner in section than the kit plastic parts.

Instructions

There are no instructions provided.  Referring to the kit instructions will suffice for placement.

Construction

It took me less than five minutes to prepare the resin parts for placement on the kit. The Hasegawa kit has two square openings on the top of the vertical stabilizer that receive the two pegs on the kit part, and the two blade antennae require the drilling of small openings on opposite sides of the vertical stabilizer for placing the two antennae. The resin parts have flat mounting surfaces with no locator pegs provided. The antenna on the top of the stabilizer should be fitted first, then the side antenna next depending on the paint scheme and markings. The attached images show the resin parts temporarily fitted in place with white glue.

When I am ready to build the Hasegawa kit, I plan to drill openings in the bottom of the top fairing that match the openings on the top of the fin and insert short lengths of brass tubing for a secure attachment to the top of the stabilizer. It appears than some filler may be required between the resin and plastic to fill any gaps that may result from the fit. The two-blade antenna can be attached to the sides of the vertical stabilizer covering the openings required to mount the kit parts.

Conclusion

This resin set offers finer detail than included in the kit parts and is recommended for an upgrade to the Hasegawa or Revell kit. These parts represent a small enhancement of the kit, but are well worth the cost and effort.

I wish to thank Quickboost and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this set.

Also, my thanks to Wikipedia for their help with the background information as well as The Phantom Phacts website (https://phantomphacts.blogspot.com/2014/05/differences-between-phantom-fg1-and-fgr2.html). The latter source offers some outstanding images and information for this topic.

 

 

AH-64A ANG "South Carolina"

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 20:41
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Academy Models

The AH-64 Apache helicopter is very recognizable from its unique shape and visibility from both Gulf wars. First flown in 1975, over 2400 have been produced. Academy has released a kit of the AH-64A Apache in large 1/35th scale. Based on the instructions, this a rerelease of the Kangnam kit as the instructions are very similar. That's not a bad thing either as all new decals for the South Carolina ANG are included in an overall gray scheme.

 

Inside the box, there are five flash free gray sprues with nicely engraved or embossed detail. The rivet detail is especially nice. There is one clear sprue, a rubber fret with the tires on it, decals and a complete set of masks. Markings are included for:

 

AH-64A, South Carolina ANG, Iraq, 2005

AH-64A, 151st ATKHB, South Carolina ANG, Arizona, 2007

 

The kit features a high detailed cockpit with pilot and co-pilot seats, M261 rocket pods, AGM-114 and a detailed 30mm chain gun. Instructions are straightforward it was time to dive in starting with the cockpit.

 

The cockpit consists of 16 pieces and the detail is good especially with closed canopy which is the only option. Sticks and seats with molded in seat belts are included along with instrument panels.  This is also an opportunity for the detailer to add more and open the canopy as the base is solid. There is a clear screen between the pilot and rear and this has a mask for it. The masks need cut out but work very well. Once built and painted, it was time for the tail rotor and main hub. These both assembled well with no issues. The instructions would have you attach the tail rotor but ease of painting, it was left off. I also assembled the main rotors and they also attached with minimal fit and sanding.

 

Once this was done, it was time to close the fuselage. The cockpit is trapped in place along with the main rotor base (which is part of the cockpit). Part C25 needs fit in the front of the fuselage and I had to work it several times to get a good fit. Once ready, I got out the clamps and glued the fuselage shut and left it sit and get dry.

 

The two side sponsons were added and both needed putty to fair them into the fuselage. Takes care of all the lovely raised rivets- it is easy to go overboard and sand them off. I added the horizontal tail but in hind site, I should have left it off for later. It is supported by one part and with masking and sanding, it can get wobbly. Plus, it fits really well and it would be easier to paint without it installed at this point. The main struts for the wheel; are added next. Make sure they are aligned. The pods for the engine are built and glued on and the fit is good with minimal filler. Same with the "wings". I built the wings and pylons and added them and they required a bit of putty. Lots of hand holds and steps are included but they are left off for the moment.

 

The canopy was masked and fit well. Make sure to get it over the cockpit parts and glue in place slowly and only a little putty is required. Lastly is the bottom plate and when I tried to add it, It did not fit well. I found one reason is that I had pinched the sponsons in trying to get a better fuselage seam which made the opening too small. So sand and fill and fit test and repeat and eventually, it was in place. In hindsight, test the bottom plate at the same time as the sponsons and all will fit.

 

Once all the seam games were done, I added the hand holds and steps and all the "fiddly bits" and was ready for paint. I chose the Iraq version\. The two schemes were the same with the primary color being Dark Ghost Gray, FS35320 with the top being Gray Blue, FS35237. The paint diagrams were excellent and based on photos; these also bleached quickly so that you could go to town and weather them. Color details were picked out like the nose being black as well as stripes on the horizontal tail, the main rotors, and the jet exhausts being steel. All this dried and then got a gloss coat.

 

The decals are excellent and went on with Microsol and after a couple applications, they settled over everything. I added a little wash here and there to highlight details and then gave several flat coats. I added (without gluing) the top rotor and the wing tip lights and done

 

As I look at the kit, it is impressively large and the detail is good for this scale. I will say that with the fit issues which may be self induced, having a few kits practice before tackling this would be a good idea so it is recommended with that small reservation. I will say that it will be a show piece due to its size and distinctive look

 

My thanks to all the excellent people at Academy and MCR for the opportunity to review this kit.

Academy Panzer III Aust. J “North Africa”

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 20:32
Product Image Review Author:  Tim Wilding Academy Models

The Panzer III was a medium tank developed in the 1930s by Germany and used extensively in World War II. It was intended to fight other armored fighting vehicles. However, as the Germans faced the T-34, more powerful anti-tank guns were needed. Therefore, the Panzer III effectively swapped roles with the Panzer IV and was used primarily for infantry support.

The kit can be built with standard Panzer III Aust J version with or without the spaced armor. The large, sturdy box holds six bags containing two sprues each, a small photo etched sheet and decals for five different versions of this tank. The instruction booklet is 20 pages long with 23 assembly steps and five color painting/decaling placement pages. You must decide before building which version you want, since you have to drill holes in eight pieces to start with. There is no hole size indicated, so I used a 1mm drill bit, but had to enlarge a few later. The instructions show you in red where to apply the glue which is very handy. They also have some photos of completed kits to show exactly where the photo etched parts go. This is a great idea. I decided to build version 2 with the spaced armor, but I added the larger gun barrel from version 5 just because I think it look cooler.

The lower hull is the first construction steps. This hull is made from flat panels, not a bathtub type hull. These parts fit together great and have internal supports to help line everything up correctly. The suspension arms fit perfectly and lock into place. This helps the roadwheels to line up great and all sit flat on the tracks. The roadwheels do not have that pesky seam down the middle like most other kits, so this makes clean up a lot easier. The wheels fit snuggly onto the suspension arms and can be put on and removed easily. The tracks consist of a long bottom run, short runs for the sides and individual links for the top and over the sprocket and idler wheel. The instructions call for 54-55 link, but I used 56 to get a nice sag on the top. The instructions show a tab on the fenders that the front fenders connect to, but this tab is not there. The front fenders still fit fine and glue to the hull for a secure fit.

The upper hull is in about six pieces and not one single pieces like most kits. You build the upper hull onto the lower hull piece by piece. These pieces fit great together, and I like this way of construction. The headlights are a solid piece of plastic and not a clear piece. The tools have their clamps molded onto them, but they look great and the correct types of clamps. The photo etch screens on the rear air intakes are totally hidden after putting on the rear plate. I left them off and put in my spare parts bin. The top mounted screens are very visible and fit and look great. The tow cable is molded in plastic with its mounting clamps but looks fine. I left it off the engine deck until after painting.

The only fit problem I had was with the lower turret and upper turret fit. The lower has armor plates that come up in the front and they left a gap where they meet the upper armor. I applied lots of glue and squeezed them together to fill this gap. The side armor plates on the turret are separate parts and need mounting markers removed. This along with some spare parts signals that other versions of this tank will be released by Academy later. The hatches all have interior details, so they can be mounted open. There are no interior turret details except a very basic gun breach. The commander's copula can have its armored vision ports open or closed. The turret clips onto the hull and will not come back off. I found this out by accident when I test fitted a half-assembled turret and could not removed it.

The decals are thin and have very like clear film around the edges. I used a couple applications of setting solution and they snugged down great. There are quite a few decals to choose from, so there will be a lot of leftovers. I applied mine over a coat of gloss. I sealed with a satin coat and had no problems with the weathering affecting them.

I would like to thank MRC and IPMS for the opportunity to build and review this enjoyably fun kit.

Dio Drybrush Paints, Light Grey & Panzer Grey

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 00:00
Product Image Review Author:  Bob LaBouy AMMO by Mig Jimenez

Painting

I asked for the opportunity to try this new product from the imaginative modeling studios of Mig Jimenez.  As many modelers realize, Mr. Jimenez has a vast collection of modeling paints and primers.  However, with these new Dio Drybrush paints, he has unleashed a great new line of special effects into the world of dry brushing.  This new line comes in a variety of 27 paint products which will allow most modelers the opportunity to further our dry brushing skills.

Two colors were initially sent to me to preview:  Light Grey, A.MIG-0601 and Panzer Grey, A.MIG-0604.

I quickly set up a model with three different base colors to see my initial impressions and what results I could get using DIO DRYBRUSH paints.  I should also admit being reasonably new to the world of dry brushing and recognize I have much yet to learn about this art form.

To begin with each bottle of DIO DRYBRUSH paints contains a reasonably thick paint not unlike their Ultra Glue or Liquid Mask, all of which reminds me of the old 'Heinz loses' catsup ads in the 60's.  You'll grow older waiting for this paint to 'pour' from the bottle.  These are also in the similar 40ml. bottles.  Of the two colors sampled, I quickly found the light grey to be better suited to the armor subjects I sprayed in my samples.  I found the dark Panzer grey was better suited to lighter paint finishes which I didn't really have as an immediate modeling subject.

I followed the steps outlined below in the manufactures' notes, and found they were easy to follow.  I used only paper towels to wipe down the paint.  I clean my brushes with a small tub of 'The Master's Brush Cleaner and Preserver' using only tap water and find that leaves no remaining residue visible to my eyes.

From the manufacturer's statement:

Drybrushing is an old school technique that has been used by modellers for decades. With it, we try to emphasize the three-dimensional appearance of the different textures and details of our models.  Due to its simplicity and quick application, it was used in the movie industry to paint sets and models.  For many years it was the most used technique by all modellers all around the globe.  Although other new weathering techniques appeared eventually, drybrushing is still widely used for dioramas and groundwork, buildings, science fiction and wargames, fantasy, figures, and military vehicles.  It is a versatile and easy to use technique that can produce convincing effects of volume, authentic textures, and highlight details on any model.

AMMO has designed a new paint formula specifically for drybrushing with the ideal density and specific characteristics that make it the best type of paint for this technique.  The new DIO DRYBRUSH is the perfect solution for all those modellers who love this iconic technique, arguably one of the simplest and most effective weathering techniques.  Simply use a brush of any size, load it with paint, dry it to the touch by rubbing it on a piece of paper towel or a cloth to remove the excess, and then apply it by gently rubbing onto the details of your model to create a smooth, uniform texture.

DIO DRYBRUSH colour line consists of a range of lighter tones in order to impart a worn look on your models, as well as darker shades including metallic, rust, and chipping tones to create a range of dynamic effects.

DIO DRYBRUSH jars have a very wide mouth to facilitate the introduction of all brush types and contains colour for many projects.  In addition, the paint is water-based and easy to clean, non-toxic and odourless.  These colours dry very quickly to the touch in a few minutes and are not affected by enamel and oil washes.

The application method is very simple and is comprised of only three easy steps:

  1. Dab the brush directly into the jar and load with a moderate amount of paint.
  2. Remove the excess paint onto an absorbent surface.
  3. Gently rub the brush over the surface details of the model to highlight them and enhance the volume.

Overall Evaluation

I have, as I am sure you as well, continued to weed myself away from the toxicity aspects of enamels and find myself intrigued with the many new and expanding range of acrylic finishes on the market.  I believe another great advantage of this line of DIO DRYBRUSH paints is their versatility and ease of use, as well as their non-toxic content.  In my very unscientific test, I totally removed two of my sample dry brushed sections with a damp Q-tip and within a few minutes had reapplied the dry brush paint.

I have since ordered a number of additional colors and anxiously awaiting their arrival.  These additional shades of dry brush paints should allow me to extend the contrasting paint colors when dry brushing models.

After even this brief testing, I found these dry brush paints to be a welcome addition on my modeling bench and thoroughly enjoyed using this paint. 

Thanks to Mig Products and to IPMS-USA for the opportunity to try this finishing product.

Model T 1917 LCP with ANZAC Crew Review

Wed, 11/11/2020 - 20:39
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Reeves ICM

ICM has been pumping out the WWI-era model kits as of late and I have been reveling in it. After learning this kit was available, I jumped at the chance to grab it after recently finishing their FWD Truck kit. For this moderately skilled modeler though, this one proved to be a bit more challenging and frustrating. Details on the parts were crisp and the included engine is nice as well. However there are quite a few sink marks, and not all of them are so easily hidden.

What's Inside the Box

The kit comes as the standard ICM kit does--with a colorful box top that slides off of an enclosed brown cardboard box. Parts were packaged well and details were crisp with no flash to speak of.

 

  • 2 light gray plastic sprues
  • 1 small clear sprue
  • Decal sheet featuring two schemes
  • Instruction booklet

 

Construction

Construction begins with the engine and as mentioned, the detail is quite nice. There is room to improve to be sure, but unless you have the engine cover off or partially open, it won't be shown. From there we move to adding the radiator and front end suspension, as well as fuel tank. Fit here is crucial, or you will run into the problems I did later on. The engine is supposed to fit in behind the radiator next but I must have misaligned something- I tried to straighten things up, only to snap the front end off...and fixing that proved to be pretty challenging.

From there, you must add the rear axle assembly, exhaust, and front linkages to the underside. There were sink marks all over the large body piece and the ones under the fenders had to be filled and sanded. They would have you add the four wheels next, but for ease of painting I held off. Assembly of the rear bed was next- and unfortunately more sink marks were present. They were especially bad and difficult to clean up on the rear gate where they were quite visible. After adding the seat and side canvas roll, you are to attach the bed to the main body.

The sparse cab details were next- a few control levers, ammo for the Lewis gun, the front floor and pedals. You are then to add the sides of the cab to the front, but there were no real obvious attachment points here, which further exacerbated my fit problems in the front. This assembly was then added behind the engine. The engine cover louvers were next, but they didn't fit well over the engine and behind the radiator. It took some finagling but I did get it in place, but with the earlier breakage and fit issue, it doesn't look true. Lanterns and headlights were attached next.

They would have you attach the steering wheel and column next, but there is no way you'd get the driver figure in easily, so I had him assembled and holding the wheel before I put it in place. The seat back, Lewis gun and bracket, spare tire, and tool box and fuel cans added to the sideboard completed assembly. The instructions show tread plate detail on the running boards, but there is no such detail on the actual parts. The figures assembled nicely and were pretty well detailed.

Painting and Weathering

There are two paint schemes offered in box- and the colors vary as long as you like Sand. Both schemes are for Palestine-based Model T's. I went with the one with the colorful radiator detail. For paint, I used AK Interactive AK726 British Sand Yellow paint. After a quick coat of Future, I applied the four decals with no issues. A quick coat from Testors Dullcote completed the build. I then went to attach the wheels and that "fixed" front end came apart again. This time it snapped in a way that I couldn't easily get things realigned so this one won't be winning any awards any time soon.

Conclusion

I was frustrated much more with this kit than I was with the FWD. The sink marks required quite a bit of extra effort- which for a newer kit seems a bit much for me. The underside fit was extremely fiddly and I didn't help things by hamfisting everything into literal pieces. I really wanted to like this kit- and someone with more skills and patience has probably had no similar issues and delivered a beautiful piece in the end. For me though, this kit was not that. I imagine a beginner would have similar issues. I can only recommend this kit to someone with good skills and much more patience than I had in the end. Having a few kits under the belt is recommended.

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

MK XVII Depth Charge

Wed, 11/11/2020 - 20:30
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery Brengun

Brengun is known as a prolific manufacturer of accessories and aftermarket items. Over the years I have purchased or reviewed some 15 to 20 after-market items like this product being reviewed and I have yet to find any deficiencies in any of those products. The Mk. XVII Depth Charge set lives up to the standards that I have come to expect from Brengun.

This version of the Mk XVII Depth Charge is designed to be delivered by an aircraft and can be used to enhance any number of aircraft that the modeler currently has on their workbench, both serving in the military branches for the United States and its allies. As prepared by Brengun, there are components for two Mk. XVII's included in this package.  Also included are the "bomb" racks which connect the depth charge to the aircraft.

The depth charge consists of two resin parts and four photo-etch parts. Note that Brengun has molded a deep groove on both the tail assembly and the forward part of the depth charge, just above the point at which the parts are attached to the runner.  Those grooves indicate where to place your razor saw when it is time to remove the parts from the resin runner. The larger of the resin parts forms the business end of the depth charge while the smaller resin piece forms the conical aft end of the depth charge with 4 aerodynamic fins molded onto the conical "tail".

There are four photo-etch parts which are attached to the resin sub-assembly. A long rectangular strip of P.E. needs to be formed into a circle and then attached to the tail fins of the depth charge. There are two small circular plates which are attached to the forward resin part of the depth charge, and on opposite sides of the cylinder. There are some locating "holes" for those two P.E. parts and the two P.E. disks fit very well into those locating holes. The fourth P.E. part, labeled as Part Nbr 1 on the instruction insert is the arming propeller. Assembling the depth charge and adding the four P.E. parts is the easy part. It is the assembly of the six parts that make up the "bomb" rack that requires some time and thought.

Because the components are small and must be trimmed away from the P.E. runner with some caution. It is important to remove the photoetched "gate".  It is not difficult to achieve a "clean" separation, but it is wise to approach this process with some patience.  Some time should be spent thinking through the process of bending the "bomb" rack parts and then joining those two parts correctly. A P.E. bender helps but the job of shaping the "bomb" rack components properly can be done with a thin metal ruler to be used to bend the two "bomb" rack parts into a "U" shape, as indicated on the instructions. Before assembly of the "bomb" rack be sure to study the illustrations on the instruction sheet. There is an orientation issue which, if not understood, will result in the two parts that make up the "bomb" rack being assembled incorrectly. Don't ask me how I know.

The resin depth charge is attached to the P.E. bomb rack by the two P.E. parts, labeled Nbr 5. The "arms" of these two parts are formed into an arc which helps to stabilize the depth charge while the aircraft carrying the weapons is in flight.

Brengun includes a small "sheet" of decals. The decals are of high quality and presented no issues when applied.

The detail seen on this Brengun item is superior to that which you find on similar parts provided by kit manufacturers. The components lend themselves to the level of detail that photo-etch can provide rather than injection-molded plastic. Simply put, there is a much higher level of "detail" with Brengun products than with most kit-provided accessories and details.

The depth charges, of which there are parts for two depth charges, are not time-consuming to assemble. Total construction time, including painting and decaling, came to just a few minutes over an hour.

This product is highly recommended for its reasonable price, high level of "detail", quality of the cast resin parts and excellent quality of the photo-etched parts. Thanks to Brengun for providing this item for review by IPMS/USA.

A word about the accompanying image which contains a figure standing over the depth charge. The figure is not included in the Brengun package. The figure was included in at least one image to provide some "scale", showing the size of the depth charge.

KittyHawk FJ-2 Fury

Wed, 11/11/2020 - 11:41
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Kitty Hawk

Whew, this was a strange one and I apologize up front to Kitty Hawk. They were nice enough to send us a sample and somewhere between them and us, the USPS lost the kit. Every effort to find it or get it back failed. In the end, I bought the kit as I really wanted it. More importantly, let's look at the kit!

The FJ-2 Fury was the result of an effort to convert the USAF's F-86 Sabre to a carrier-based plane. It included folding wings and a longer nose gear strut. Kitty Hawk has come out with kit KH80155. Inside the box, you will find three well-made gray sprues with recessed panel lines, a clear sprue, a small photoetch set for details and seat belts plus a decal sheet. With this initial release, Kitty Hawk also included two resin figures which are very nicely done.  Looking at the kit, the build is separated into front and back as the plane can be posed with each portion separate. I wanted a buttoned-up plane, so all the access panels and engine panels are closed off.

The start of the build is straightforward with the cockpit which is nice. The seat includes photoetch seat belts and looks good. The deck behind the cockpit is a little sparse but you can either dress it up with some strip/styrene or use the Hypersonic Models resin cockpit. I did not spend the money as I think the Kitty Hawk kit looks good. The side walls of the cockpit are also the gun bays. Make sure alignment and fit is good here especially if closing things. The intake trunk is next, and the nose gear and its wheel bay are part of it and need assembled here. Fit is good and there are not a lot of issues. Once done, the trunk and cockpit/gun bays are squeezed between the fuselage and things are closed up. Fit is excellent with no issues. I closed all the gun bays. I also added the nose too.

The wings are next, and I decided to place them in the folded position. Flaps and slats are separate, and the fit is excellent. Because I chose folded wings, I did not join the inner and outer wings yet. I also held off on the landing gear.

The rear of the plane is next and there is a nice representation of the General Electric J47-GE-2. Even if you do not want to display it, you need to build the engine as it is viewable from the rear of the aircraft and from in front. Once done, the engine is trapped in place by the rear fuselage. Do not forget the tail skid side walls also. From there, the tail assemblies are added. The fit is great.

One issue I did have was the tail hook. In dropped position, it is great but closing it up requires four small doors to be closed. This required some putty. Nothing egregious but a small amount of work,

Next, I joined the front and back fuselages and wings together. I added some extra strip styrene to help the rear fuselage align and added the wings. A little putty was required along the wing roots. The ammo mags were also closed and required a small amount of putty. I prepped the fuel tanks, canopy and the pylons and the plane and was ready for paint.

And this is when I got around to looking at the decals. The kit includes markings for the following:

  • FJ-2, VMF-122
  • FJ-2, VMF-235
  • FJ-2, VMF-312
  • FJ-2, VMF-334
  • FJ-2, VMF-451

All of these aircraft are natural metal, so I pulled the decal sheet out and looked. And it was for a helicopter. DOH. I could have gotten a new one from Kitty Hawk, but Caracal Decals announced two sheets due out in April including sea blue, a trainer and gull gray markings so I elected to wait.

And the virus hit and turned our world upside down. Caracal did come through albeit with a very much understood delay and I had decals for a trainer version form NAS Columbus, Paint was not hard but there was some masking involved between the white, orange and silver leading edges and going back and forth with touch ups.. Once done a clear coat and then the decals which were superb.

All that was left were the small fiddly bit- wing tip lights, canopy, landing gear doors and the like. Everything fit very well. I added some wash to the wheel bays and then flat coated the model. Lastly, I added the folded wings and a little more flat and done.

This is a superb kit and I look forward to another one. It is very reasonably priced, superbly detailed and fits well. Recommended to fans of naval aviation and anyone interested in the early jets.

My thanks to Kitty Hawk for the kit and the patience to see it finished!

F-14D Super Tomcat Landing Gear (AMK)

Wed, 11/11/2020 - 10:26
Product Image Review Author:  Scott Hollingshead Scale Aircraft Conversions

Scale Aircraft Conversions now has thirty years of experience supplying resin and white metal parts to model builders, and their product listing continues to expand.  This is the tenth landing gear set from SAC that I have reviewed, and once again, they have provided an excellent metal option for kit-supplied landing gear.  This set is intended for the 1/48 scale F-14D Tomcat that was recently released by AMK (kit 88007).  The purpose of this replacement set is to provide stronger landing gear that is adjustable if necessary, to obtain the proper angles.  Even with no previous experience in using white metal parts, this set will provide an upgrade that most modelers will have no issue installing.

The beauty of the white metal used by Scale Aircraft Conversions for their gear is that it will hold up to the weight of larger aircraft, and the metal is soft enough to allow for some final positioning if that is needed to square up the gear.  Scale Aircraft Conversions does not use lead in their white metal mix, so the builder does not have to be concerned with that hazard.  If you look at the company's web site, their intent is to provide stronger landing gear, not to make better-looking gear, if the kit is already accurate.

There are no directions contained within the set, you simply swap out the kit provided plastic parts with the new white metal items.  It is easy enough to find the corresponding kit parts for the items included in this set.  White metal can be cleaned like plastic with files and sanding sticks, or your abrasive of choice.  Although paint will adhere to white metal alone, it is recommended that you prime the parts first, and the parts will need to be installed with your favorite CA glue or epoxy. 

For my hits of this landing gear set, I will start by mentioning that the folks at SAC do a nice job with their level of detail, as it can be challenging to get reasonably crisp detail in white metal.  The items in this set are mostly clean (the parts will only require some mold line removal) and should not be a challenge to install into their proper places on the AMK kit.  For this review, I photographed the SAC parts next to the items that they will replace in the kit to allow the reader (and potential buyer) to see how they compare.  Typical for SAC landing gear, I did not identify any misses for this set. 

In conclusion, I would highly recommend this landing gear set from Scale Aircraft Conversions to anyone owning the new 1/48 scale AMK F-14D model kit.  The ease of installation should make the set user-friendly for nearly any model builder wanting to add landing gear with improved strength to their project.

I would like to thank the folks at Scale Aircraft Conversions for providing this detail set to the IPMS-USA for review.  I always like to recognize the folks behind the scenes at the Review Corps, who keep things running smoothly for the reviewers and those reading our work, and finally I send my appreciation to all who take the time to read my comments.