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Mil Mi-8/17/171 Hip

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 15:46
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus MMP Books

MMP was founded in 1996 by Roger Wallsgrove, to publish "Mushroom Model Magazine". This quarterly modelling magazine was developed from "Mushroom Monthly", a club newsletter which ran from 1985 to 1995, achieving a world-wide reputation for quality articles, fearless and honest reviews, and a great sense of humor.  From 1997 the magazine was produced in collaboration with Robert Peczkowski and Artur Juszczak (Stratus), which meant a big leap in print quality and design.  MMP expanded into book publication in 1999, and since then they have built up a list of books on aircraft and aviation, naval, military vehicles, and military history. MMP Books are distributed in North America by Casemate Publications. 


The Mil Mi-8/17/171 Hip is a series of medium twin-turbine helicopters produced in Russia. Although the primary role is as a transport helicopter, the Mi-8 is also used as an airborne command post, armed gunship, and reconnaissance platform. The first flight was achieved on July 7, 1961.  The Soviet military originally had no interest in what would become the Mi-8, but the American Huey changed that perspective in the Vietnam War.  The Mil Hip is among the world's most-produced helicopters with over 17,000 manufactured with production still active.  The Mil Hip has served with more than 80 countries and is the third most common operational military aircraft in the world.


This booklet is one of the latest in Mushroom Models' series, Scale Plans. This series format consists of a 4-view black and white scale plans; in this case the Mil Mi-8/17/171 Hip.  Since this series is meant to support a much more detailed Mushroom Models monograph, you won't find an introduction or background summary, as this series dives straight into the scale drawings.  In this case, what you get is detailed scale plans on four A3 size for a total of eight fold-out pages.  This book is a supplement to the 240 page MMP book: Mil Mi-8/17/171 Hip by Jakub Fojtik that was released on October 12, 2019. The 1/72 scale drawings cover top, bottom, front, port, and starboard profiles.  These drawings depict variations in between selected variants as listed below.  You will also find fuselage sections along with detailed scrap views of the armament that could be carried.  The drawings includes the following variants:


Mi-8T [Page 01]


Mi-8TV [Page 04]



Mi-8AMTSZ (Mi-171)


MMP Books' Mil Mi-8/17/171 Hip Scale Plans provides a quick reference for modelers.  Although only 1/72 scale drawings are provided, they are valuable in supporting available kits in 1/144, 1/48, 1/35, as well as the multitude of releases in 1/72.  There are many aftermarket options available in decals, photo-etch, and resin for any kit you desire..


My thanks to Casemate Publications, Mushroom Model Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.


Highly recommended!

Caudron-Renault CR.714 Cyclone

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 15:37
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus MMP Books

MMP was founded in 1996 by Roger Wallsgrove, to publish "Mushroom Model Magazine". This quarterly modelling magazine was developed from "Mushroom Monthly", a club newsletter which ran from 1985 to 1995, achieving a world-wide reputation for quality articles, fearless and honest reviews, and a great sense of humor.  From 1997 the magazine was produced in collaboration with Robert Peczkowski and Artur Juszczak (Stratus), which meant a big leap in print quality and design.  MMP expanded into book publication in 1999, and since then they have built up a list of books on aircraft and aviation, naval, military vehicles, and military history. MMP Books are distributed in North America by Casemate Publications. 


The Caudron-Renault CR.714 Cyclone was part of a series of light fighter aircraft developed for the French Air Force prior to the outbreak of World War II.  Based on earlier Caudron-Renault racing aircraft, the C.710 prototype first flew on July 18, 1936.  Development continued with the C.711 and C.712 outfitted with stronger supercharged V-12 engines, leading into the C.713 that introduced retractable landing gear. The prototype C.714 achieved its first flight in April 1938 with an updated engine capable of inverted flight.  Production was limited to around 90 aircraft (a source variable number) out of planned orders of 200.  Some sources indicate that as many as 80 aircraft were eventually sent to Finland, but the actual number was probably substantially lower.. Although the CR.714 was lightweight and fast, its wooden airframe ultimately limited future engine enhancements.  After Poland fell to Germany, many Polish pilots flew the CR.714 against the Germans in the Polish Warsaw Squadron I/145.  Despite being no match for the Messerschmitt Bf.109, the Poles managed to achieve 12 confirmed victories (plus 3 unconfirmed).


This booklet is one of the latest in Mushroom Models' series, Scale Plans. This series format consists of a 4-view black and white scale plans; in this case the Caudron-Renault CR.714 Cyclone.  Since this series is meant to support a much more detailed Mushroom Models monograph, you won't find an introduction or background summary, as this series dives straight into the scale drawings.  In this case, what you get is detailed scale plans on six A3 size for a total of twelve fold-out pages.  This book is a supplement to the monster 456-9age MMP book: Caudron-Renault CR.714 Cyclone. The Ultimate Story by Bartlomiej Belcarz, Kari Stenman, Marek Rys, Franciszek Strzelczyk that was released on September 20, 2019. The drawings in each scale cover top, bottom, front, port, and starboard profiles.  These drawings depict variations in landing gear, trim tabs, machine gun ejection ports, and canopy positions.  You will also find fuselage and wing sections along with detailed scrap views of the exhaust ports and propeller.


The contents includes the following sections:


1/72 Drawings [Page 01]

1/48 Drawings    

1/32 Drawings [Page 12]


MMP Books' Caudron-Renault CR.714 Cyclone Scale Plans provides a quick reference for modelers.  The drawings in 1/72, 1/48, and 1/32 support the wide range of model kits available.  I have always liked the 'racer' style of the CR.714, even if it was not the most successful fighter it was hoped to be.  New releases of the Cr.714 are available in all three scales from Special Hobby (1/32), RS Models (1/48 and 1/72).  I already have the CR.714 in all three scales in the form of Special Hobby (1/32), JGMT resin (1/48), and the venerable Heller kit in 1/72.  There are many aftermarket options available in decals, photo-etch, resin, and masking.


My thanks to Casemate Publications, Mushroom Model Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.


Highly recommended!

Mission Models Pearl Paint Colors

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 15:25
Review Author:  Bill O'Malley Mission Models

Mission Models Paints Pearl Colors


Mission Model Paints has released some beautiful new Pearl colors to their excellent line of acrylic paints. The Pearl colors have a translucent pearl-like depth and luster. MMP has also issued iridescent color paints that seem to change color when seen from different angles.


The Pearl paints are like Mission Models other water-based acrylics that are odorless, fast drying, don't clog airbrush tips, and produce a smooth, durable finish. Information on Mission Model Paints is available on their website. Click here for a full IPMS review of Mission Model Paints.


Colors included with this review sample:

  • MMP-145 Pearl Solid Gold
  • MMP-146 Pearl Deep Charcoal
  • MMP-147Pearl Deep Blue
  • MMP-149 Pearl Copper
  • MMP-150 Pearl Deep Black
  • MMP-152 Pearl Wild Berry
  • MMP-153 Pearl Kiwi Lime
  • MMP-154 Pearl Root Beer Brown


Paint Application

The Pearl colors mix just like MMP's other colors. I used a mix of 1 part MMP thinner to 5 parts paint for the review samples. I applied the paints in four thin, wet coats. The paints were applied over Mission Model's Gloss White Base MMGWB-002, Gloss Black Base MMGBB-001, or Chrome Paint MMC-001. MMP's Polyurethane Additive was used over the chrome base at a ratio of 3/2/10 thinner/poly/paint. The paint was also applied to the black caps of the MMP bottles which obviously made the color appear much darker.


I let the paint dry for a few minutes between coats until the wet sheen disappeared. All of these paint samples are metallic and have a sheen which is more apparent in the lighter colors. The pigment grain on all of the colors is very fine and will look nice as scale automotive finishes. The paint dries to a satin sheen even when used without the poly additive.


I applied Mission Model's Gloss Clear Coat MMA-006 on some of the paint samples. The Clear Coat further emphasized the Pearl colors.


Paint Colors

MMP-145 Pearl Solid Gold & MMP-149 Pearl Copper

The Solid Gold is a yellow gold with a very fine grain. Pearl Copper has a slight reddish tint, but looks to be more brass than a true copper color.


MMP-146 Pearl Deep Charcoal & MMP-150 Pearl Deep Black

These two blacks are both metallic colors. Charcoal Black has a silver pigment component that is visible when mixing, and the dried paint has a cool silver tint. The Pearl Deep Black has a gold pigment that is apparent when mixing and has a very slight warm gold tint when dry. Both of these are beautiful colors, with Charcoal just slightly lighter than Deep Black.


MMP-152 Pearl Wild Berry & MMP-153 Pearl Kiwi Lime

These are both bright almost florescent colors with a deep sheen due to the pearl finish.


MMP-147 Pearl Deep Blue & MMP-154 Pearl Root Beer Brown

Deep Blue and Root Beer Brown are rich colors. The Blue is a cool royal blue and the warm Root Beer Brown varies from light to dark depending on the angle viewed.



These are some excellent new colors that produce beautiful pearl-like deep finishes. The paints are easy to use and produce a very fine grain in the metallic finishes. Model car builders can use these paints to produce deep colors with very fine grain. Gloss finishes with the acrylic paints are easier to produce as the paints are quick drying to reduce exposure to surface contaminates.


Thanks to Mission Models for making these paints and supplying review samples to IPMS.

Gloster Gladiator Mk. 1 in Foreign Services

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 11:29
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra ICM

Recently I had the pleasure of tackling ICM's new Gloster Gladiator aircraft kit in 1/32nd scale.  As is, the kit comes with a couple of British Air Service options for early World War 2 campaigns, but if you want something a bit more exotic, ICM has answered the call with a new decal sheet offering markings for four different nations which also used the Mk. 1 - China, Greece, Belgium and the Netherlands.

All of the decal combinations offered are essentially fairly basic, with national markings and a few letters and numbers as well.  Of these, only the Norwegian markings require some preparation, as the red of the marking bands needs to be painted on before decaling.  The simplicity of this decal set permits you to easily add aircraft- specific details either from your spare decal stock or paintbrush if you have another particular vehicle in mind.  In addition, the national markings are useful for a number of aircraft in this scale - I'll be using the Greek and Belgian markings on a couple of Hurricanes I've been meaning to make, for instance.

Based on my application of the decals which came with the Gladiator kit and which were made by the same manufacture, these decals will prove to be thin, with very little film and excellent color registration.  Application is easy with excellent conformance to uneven surfaces.  They really are excellent decals in all respects.

Overall, this decal set is extremely useful for conversion of the Gladiator Mk. 1 kit or for any of a number of other WW1-era aircraft in this scale and can result in some really distinctive models.  I can't recommend them enough.  Kudos to ICM for adding a little more spice to the Gladiator pot.  My thanks to ICM for offering this exciting sheet and to IPMS/USA for a chance to play with them.

1/35 Scale Repalcement Road Wheels for T-64

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 11:14
Product Image Review Author:  Peter Bucher OKB Grigorov

The kit comes packaged in a small zip lock bag with a paper header that has the OKB logo the part number and the scale as well as a description of what is in the bag.  In this case a complete set of road wheels for the T-64 type-1.  The wheels are very well molded and are free from bubbles and the molding is very crisp.  The detail on the wheels is outstanding and looks great.

The resin wheels are a bit more detailed than the road wheels in a trumpeter kit that I compared them to and I will be putting them on the kit.  Unfortunately, I do not own a Skif T-64 kit and would like to compare the wheels to that kit as well. But based on the level of detail and molding in the OKB I cannot help but feel they are more than likely better.

The wheels are molded in sets of inner and outer and are on a thin carrier that is easily removed. I simply used a hobby blade and used the back side to score around the wheel until it easily separated.  A little clean up with a 1000 grit sanding stick and they were good to go.  The two wheels fit together nicely. A test fit on a trumpeter axel was very tight and I was more satisfied with the fit after enlarging it a tiny bit using a #46 drill bit in a pin vise.

I am very satisfied with this product and would recommend it to any one wanting to back date their T064 wheels to type-1 or even just wanting to replace existing wheels for some with better detailer and crisper moldings.

My thanks to OKB Grigorov for the opportunity to review this excellent set

The Weathering Magazine Green #29

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 10:59
Product Image Review Author:  Peter Bucher AMMO by Mig Jimenez

This issue of the weathering magazine is devoted to the color green.  I found this extremely interesting because so many military vehicles are green as well as many other interesting subjects to model.  The problem I have always noticed with models that are green or any other single color for that matter is they can be very monochromatic or otherwise kind of boring.  But with the technics in this magazine you can transform your monochromatic subject into an interest and spectacular build to look at that will be anything but boring.

There are several different types of articles in the book from various authors showing there weathering technics on green vehicles and are as follows:


  • Smashing Through the Green a 1/72 scale Mig Ammo T-54
  • Green Samurai a 1/48 scale Tamiya Zeke
  • Green Hell a 1/35 scale Tamiya Sheridan M551 Vietnam Diorama/Vignette
  • Killing Verdure a Bandai Gundam Mecha Warrior Kit
  • Spring in the Forrest A small Diorama feature nature and two bears
  • White Bears at Berlin 1/48 scale Tamiya IS-2


The magazine articles take you step by step through each builds allowing you to learn the various technics and get a grip on how the effects on the models were created so that you can take your weathering to the next level and try out the different weathering techniques.

There is also a section in the back of the magazine with reference photos of all types of military vehicles that are of course green

I really enjoyed this magazine and will be looking to try out some of these techniques in the future I highly recommend anyone wanting to improve their weathering techniques to invest in these magazine which to me are more like the quality of a softbound book that you can keep and enjoy for a very long time.

My thanks to MIG AMMO for the opportunity to review this great magazine

Mig Ammo Desert and Arid Battlefields Super Pack

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 10:45
Product Image Review Author:  Peter Bucher AMMO by Mig Jimenez

This kit is a super pack containing all the needed items to weather a vehicle of any type in a Desert or Arid battlefield. The box is small and packs a lot of items in such a small space. When I opened the box, I was very please at all the items I found inside here is a comprehensive list of what's included inside the box.

  • A.MIG-0105 WASHABLE DUST (RAL 8000)
  • A.MIG-0106 WASHABLE SAND (RAL 8020)
  • A.MIG-1750 DRY EARTH
  • A.MIG-3012 SAND

With all these Mig products that are included, you can create any type of desert weathering effect you want. Many effects can be added to your model including dust, earth, sand, rain marks, dry mud, splashes, all kind of dust effects and spots, there is even sand colored paint to apply that is washable and can be partially removed to produce all kinds of interesting worn effects.

I especially like the inclusion of the four bottles of Heavy Mud and Splashes that are geared toward creating the mud effects commonly found under tanks and plan to use these on many kits that I build in the future. I also plan on using this product on a future review build and will again mention it in that review The best part is the entire system comes in one box for a very fair price.

I would like to thank Mig AMMO and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this product.

Gloster Meteor Pitot Tube

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 07:19
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Master Model

This Master Model set provides a huge leap over any of the injected molded parts available on any 1/32 kit. The older kits, being vacuform kits, didn't even include a pitot tube. The modern injection kit that does offer a pitot tube is clearly not on par due to the limits of injection modeling.

Notable is the thin re-sealable pouches that Master Model uses that makes the parts easy to review and then stuff back into the re-sealable package securely. You will want to be careful handling this brass part due to its small size, it makes it an easy sacrifice to the carpet monster. Another caveat is that the point is really thin and can be accidently bent. I've had this happen on one pitot in 1/144 scale, but not to worry, it can be fixed. Placing the pitot tube in between a smooth flat set of tweezers will straighten out the tip. Just be extremely gentle so you don't break off the tip when you gently roll it so that it is straight once again.

This Master Model set provides you with a wing mounted pitot tube. There is no assembly, but you will need to drill a 1.2mm (~56 carbide drill bit) hole into the assembled wing and insert the pitot tube up to a marking line on the base of the part. Just follow the instructions and its only a few minutes to complete.

Be sure to use your favorite thin CA (super glue) or epoxy, as the normal plastic glues or solvents will not react with the resin or brass. Due to the size of the parts, this is one set where you don't want to use a gel, or thicker super glue. You will also want to be careful painting the parts to retain their sleek nature.

Highly recommended! This set is a super upgrade over the injected kit part, especially if your kit doesn't have them to begin with. This excellent set will easily enhance any 1/32 Gloster Meteor that you choose to build.

Thanks to Master Model and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this set.

Master Model is a scale model metal detailing parts manufacturer located in Poland. Their lines include exquisitely detailed photo-etched and white metal replacement parts for aircraft and ships in the most commonly produced scales.

British Rifleman vs French Skirmisher- Peninsular War and Waterloo 1808-1815

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 07:12
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Osprey Publishing

The book is set up to introduce the groups involved- British Light Infantry versus French Light Infantry (Skirmishers). Each group has the specifics from recruitment, formation of the group and morale discussed along with very well detailed drawings of each soldier showing their weapons, dress and equipment. One thing detailed early on was the use of muskets versus rifles. The British used Baker riffles with smaller rounds, rifled barrels and an increased range. He French used a Charleville Dragoon Musket with larger caliber rounds and no rifling. There are specific sections on the training of each group, its weapons and their command and control strategy.

The table of contents looks like this:

  • Introduction
  • Chapter One - The Opposing Sides
  • Chapter Two - Rolica - Aug. 17, 1808
  • Chapter Three - Barba Del Puerco - March 20, 1810
  • Chapter Four - La Haye Sainte - 18 June 1815
  • Chapter Five - Analysis
  • Chapter 6 - Aftermath
  • Unit Organizations
  • Bibliography
  • Index

The next three sections cover three battles over the course of seven years. The first, the Battle of Rolica in and around August 17, 1808 and located in Portugal. The Portuguese supported the English, and both defeated an undermanned French force. This section covers the build up to the engagement and the movement of the troops along with a map showing the movements of the combatants that day. This is also well illustrated with period pictures of the area and uniforms.

The Battle of Barba del Puerco is next and occurred on 20 March 1810. Lastly, the Battle of La Haye Sainte is addressed. The last two receive the same treatment as the first two with coverage, maps and illustrations. It shows the movement north of the battle from Portugal to Belgium.

Chapter 6, The Aftermath covers the disbandment of the groups and their subsequent histories. The unit organizations are also broken down at this stage.

This is a wonderful historical reference of some critical but lesser know battles to many. Lavishly illustrated with maps, pictures and illustrations, it is a very interesting read. From a modelers perspective, the book has great reference drawings for uniforms and equipment from this time period. Highly recommended to all interested in the history or soldiers of the area.

My thanks to Osprey for the opportunity to review this excellent book and to IPMS/USA for the change to tell people about the book.

Vought Sikorsky VS-300

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 07:00
Product Image Review Author:  Brian R. Baker Brengun The Kit and Assembly

The kit consists of 23 gray resin parts, 3 injection molded plastic rotor blades, and two sheets of photo etch metal, altogether containing approximately 50 parts, of varying size and complexity. None of the parts is named, but most are identifiable. One thing to remember is that this is not a kit designed for beginners, and wondered while I was assembling the kit whether it was really intended for experienced modelers. There are a LOT of parts to this kit, especially considering its size, and you will have to be very careful cutting the PE parts off of the sheet, as they will do their best to escape. Some are so small that if some reason they should become lost, they will be gone forever. Use of a magnifying glass is highly recommended, both for assembly and for looking for parts on the floor.

The main fuselage and engine assembly are the first sections to go together, and the rear fuselage is particularly critical because it is basically a photoetch structure forming half the length of the fuselage. When folded over and superglue, it is surprisingly strong, although the inner aluminum sheet is a little dicey to install. The engine has a lot of parts, and it is almost a model in itself.

The main rotor blades are quite complicated in their assembly, as they are a combination of injection molded plastic, resin, and PE parts. The instructions in this part are pretty good, and the drawings are very useful. Once the main rotors are assembled, the structure on top of the rotors is rather confusing, as it is apparently the mechanism used to control the rotor pitch. The drawings are not too clear.

The landing gear instructional drawings are quite well done, and, of course, and wheeled installation is simplest. The floats required some serious sawing and sanding to remove the resin mounts, but this merely takes time. The float mounting struts should be mounted directly to the floats to get them perfectly square, and then the whole unit can be mounted directly onto the bottom of the fuselage. There are resin struts that are used to brace the struts, and there are some small rigging wires that brace the floats. Then, alongside the floats, there are some metal structures of some kind, type undetermined, which need to be superglued to the sides of the pontoons. They are probably some kind of protective device, but I'm not sure exactly what. It would have been useful for the kit producers to have explained what they were. I suspect that they sent someone to the Ford Museum to research the model, and that would have been easy to do.

Painting and Finishing

Painting this model was one of the easiest steps. The major resin components can be airbrushed individually before assembly. The rear structural members should be painted black after they have been bent to shape and glued. Then the small parts which should be silver can be painted and superglued to the structure.

I brush painted many of the struts silver, and glued everything together. Probably the most intricate assembly was the upper portion of the rotor blades, which involved a lot of little parts. Seeing as how the rotor blades were silver, the small parts could be attached and then the whole structure airbrushed silver again. There are some very small wires on the PE sheet that need to be silver. If the kit manufacturer had made these of silver rather than brass color metal, things would have been a lot easier. But I painted them and they look all right.

I painted the floats yellow, although I'm not really sure if this is the correct color. The " brown/yellow" color reference is very confusing, so I used regular lemon yellow. It is colorful. The little metal guards on the sides of the floats were painted silver.

One issue that I solved right at the end was how to attach the rotor blades to the crankshaft. The small hub in the kit had no attachment point, so I drilled out a small hole, which was very slightly larger than the shaft. I then filled it with white glue, and set it in place, allowing it to dry. It seems solid enough, and if it comes loose, it will be easier to repair than if I had used superglue.

Conclusions and Recommendations

To my knowledge, this is the first kit ever issued of the VS-300 helicopter, which to me is rather unusual since the aircraft is historically very significant. It is a very complicated kit to build, but with patience, a skilled modeler should have no trouble building it. You could build two, one with wheels and one with floats. If this is your area of interest, it is certainly worth getting at least one. You might invent some new expletives during the building process, but that will only show your creativity. The completed model will look impressive on your display shelf. Just be careful when handling it, as the completed model is VERY fragile. Recommended.


The kit instructions consist of one 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet, folded in half, providing four main instruction sheets. Page one has a good historical sketch, a photo of the aircraft, and sprue diagrams of the 14 resin parts, and the 3 rotor blades, which are injection molded plastic. There is no mention of the two photoetch metal sheets which contain the largest number of parts for this kit. Page 2 contains a color guide and four exploded assembly drawings, showing how to assemble the forward fuselage and cockpit, the PE tail section, the engine, and the rotor blades. Page 3 has four assembly drawings showing more details of the rotor assembly, the fuselage, and the engine after it is installed in the fuselage. Page 4 has an assembly drawing showing how to attach the floats, and also has two side elevation drawings showing the final assembly of the wheeled and float version. Some painting instructions are given, and even a small decal of the experimental NX28996 n umber, which was painted on the side panels underneath the rear fuselage structure. There is a photo of the completed model on the boxtop, although it doesn't completely conform to the instruction sheet. For example, the floats are listed as being "brown-yellow", whatever color that is supposed to be, while on the boxtop photo, the floats are gray. It would have helped to have access to a photo showing the exact colors.


Rotary winged aircraft have been around since just after World war I, but they were mainly autogyros, which had an engine for forward propulsion, and a free swinging rotary wing system to provide lift, as long as the aircraft was moving forward. The system allowed for some pretty spectacular takeoff and landing performance, but the aircraft flew like a regular airplane, and could not take off vertically like a helicopter. Autogyros were not particularly complicated, as they did have adjustments for blade angle, and they also had gear drives to start the blades rotating before takeoff . But once in the air, the blades swung freely, and merely allowed some very steep descents. The helicopter, however, had the direct drive from the engine to the rotor blades, and these served to provide both lift and thrust in whatever direction the pilot wanted to go. A number of autogyros were built up from existing aircraft, such as Avro 504's and FW-56's.

Numerous autogyros were built during the twenties and thirties, but although they were popular, they never really did the job. In 1937, Focke Wulf developed the twin rotor FW-61V1 helicopter, which was the world's first successful true helicopter. In 1938, United Aircraft directed its branch, Vought Sikorsky, to develop a true helicopter, and Igor Sikorsky, a refugee from Communist Russia, was given the job. It was a single rotor, single engine aircraft with a stabilizing tail rotor for directional control. The original aircraft had two mainwheels and a tail skid, and later, it was equipped with a pair of pontoon floats. The pilot sat in a single open cockpit in the nose, and the purpose of the type was to develop the technology for the development of more advanced helicopters. Sikorsky first flew the VS-300 in 1939, and continued flying it for several years, making the first landing of a helicopter on water on 17 April 1941. Test flying continued until 1943, when Sikorsky finally donated the aircraft to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, where it still resides.


There is not a lot of reference material available on the VS-300, although there is quite a bit of material on line. Actually the kit instructions have a pretty good historical summary of the aircraft's historical importance, along with an actual photo of the airplane in its landplane form.

Mil Mi-8/17/171 Hip

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 06:41
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Mushroom Model Publications

MMP was founded in 1996 by Roger Wallsgrove, to publish "Mushroom Model Magazine". This quarterly modelling magazine was developed from "Mushroom Monthly", a club newsletter which ran from 1985 to 1995, achieving a world-wide reputation for quality articles, fearless and honest reviews, and a great sense of humor. From 1997 the magazine was produced in collaboration with Robert Peczkowski and Artur Juszczak (Stratus), which meant a big leap in print quality and design. MMP expanded into book publication in 1999, and since then they have built up a list of books on aircraft and aviation, naval, military vehicles, and military history. MMP Books are distributed in North America by Casemate Publications.

Jakub Fojtik attended the Police Academy of the Czech Republic in Prague, achieving his Bachelor degree in Management of Security Forces, Security, and Law Studies. He followed up with a Master Degree in Management of Security Forces and a Master of Laws (LLM) in International Business Law. To top it off he achieved a Doctorate (JUDr.) in Security studies at the Academy of the Slovak Police in Bratislava and a Ph.D. in Management of Security Forces from the Police Academy of the Czech Republic in Prague. Jakub Fojtik is currently a University Lecturer at the Police Academy of the Czech Republic, the Vice President of Military Sales for Aero Vodochody Aerospace a.s. (Aero L-39, L-159, etc.) and an independent aviation journalist who is regularly published in aviation related journals and aviation magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Defence Helicopter, Fly Past, Flying Revue, Hobby Historie, Letectvi a Kosmonautika, 4 Rotors, and many others. He is the author of over twenty aviation books, primarily rotary wing military aircraft monographs like: Mi-8/17 Mi-8 Multipurpose Helicopter (Jakab, 2009); Mi-4: Mi-4 Multi-Purpose Helicopter (Jakab, 2011); Latest Hips [Mi-171 & Mi-17V-5 and its Subvariants] In Detail (W&WP, 2014); Albatros: Aero L39, L59, L139 (Magnet Press, 2016); Ka-50 Ka-52: Werewolf, Black Shark, Erdogan, Alligator and the Others (Kagero, 2017); Mi-28: Night Hunter and the Others (Kagero, 2017). You can find him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jakub-fojt%C3%ADk-0122ab91/ .

Dariusz Karnas is a skilled modeler and amateur aviation historian. He lives in Przemysl, Poland. He has authored or contributed color plates and / or scale drawings for over one hundred publications. These include MMP's Polish Wings, Scale Plans, and Inside series as well as books in the MMP Yellow series: Fieseler 156 Storch 1938-1945 (2012) and Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-15 (2004). You can find Dariusz Karnas on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/people/Dariusz-Karnas/100008987326348 .

This latest monograph by Jakub Fojtik covers the Mil Mi-8 and its export versions, the Mi-17 and Mi-171. The Mi-8, with the NATO reporting name of 'Hip', is a medium multi-purpose helicopter. The Mi-8's first flight was achieved June 24, 1961, and it remains in production with over 17,000 manufactured to date with service in some eighty countries. Originally envisioned as the successor to the Mil Mi-4, the military displayed zero interest. It wasn't until Nikita Khrushchev's US visit and ride in the US President's Marine One UH-34 that Mil got the go ahead to develop the Mi-8. The original orders were for a troop transport version, Mi-8T, and a 28 passenger version, Mi-8P.

Jakub Fojtik continues with the numerous variants and one-off specials that were produced over the next 55 years. The chapters focus on the major variants, each containing the variant development and service accompanied by plenty of detailed photographs and line drawings. Jakob Fojtik follows with upgrades and variants developed by eighteen non-Russian countries as well. The detailed tables comprehensively cover export production Hips. Jakob Fojtik concludes with a detailed technical description supported by a plethora of walk-around photographs.

The cover color photograph shows off a Polish Mi-17-IV that is used for special operations support. I counted 12 black and white photographs along with a whopping 472 color pictures. There were 17 color profiles and 18 black and white drawings in 1/72. You will also find seven tables. The Table of Contents includes the following sections:

  • Photo Credits
  • Author's Note
  • Acknowledgement
  • Introduction
  • Helicopter Air Mobility in the USSR
  • Brand New Design
  • First Flight [Page 11]
  • Evergreen Production
  • Flying Infantry Vehicle
  • Special Tasks
  • Any Mission
  • For National Economy [Page 40]
  • Mi-8T 1/72 Drawings
  • Mi-8PS 1/72 Drawings
  • Mi-8TV 1/72 Drawings
  • Mi-8PPA 1/72 Drawings
  • With A New Power Plant
  • Most Promising Family Member
  • With New Power Again
  • Special Models
  • Mi-17 1/72 Drawings
  • In Difficult Times
  • Kazan Variants Spree [Page 74]
  • New Kazan Standard
  • Ulan Ude Parallel Line
  • Mi-171 1/72 Drawings
  • The Legend Continues
    • Unsuccessful Attempt
  • (R)evolution of the Type
  • Global Ambitions
  • Recent War Experience
  • Upgrade Spree
  • Minor Modifications
  • Re-arming
  • Avionics Focus
  • Sensors and Capabilities
  • Czech Upgrades
  • Slovak Upgrades
  • Baltic Hips
  • Polish Hips In Hurry
  • Without Supervision
  • Israeli Projects
  • Behind Great Wall
  • Global Footprint
  • List of Mi-8/17 Exports and Domestic Mi-8/8MT Deliveries Till 1991 (Table)
  • List of Mi-8/17/171 Exports and Domestic Mi-8/8MT/AMT Deliveries Since 1992 (Table)
  • List of Mi-8/17/171 Helicopters Re-exports, Defections, and Captures (Table)
  • Mi-8/17/171 Technical Description
  • The Fuselage
  • Undercarriage
  • Engines, Transmission, and Rotors
  • Control System
  • Hydraulic System
  • Fuel System
  • Pneumatic System
  • Air-Conditioning System
  • De-Icing System
  • Electrical System
  • Fire Suppression System
  • Oxygen System
  • Lighting System
  • Rescue System
  • Avionics
  • Defense Suite
  • Targeting System
  • Ground Covers
  • Mi-8/17/171 Technical Data (Table)
  • Machine Gun and Grenade Launcher Data (Table)
  • Unguided Rockets (Table)
  • Guided Missiles (Table) [Page 223]
  • Color Profiles [Page 232]
  • Bibliography
  • Abbreviations

This is truly an impressive tome, on par with Jakub Fojtik's earlier monograph on the Mil Mi-24 Hind (See IPMS USA Reviews). I shouldn't have been surprised given the Hip's huge number of helicopters manufactured, but many countries got into the business of doing their own upgrades of the Hip. Notable was Israel's IAI's upgrades that made their way to the Le Bourget air shows. IAI wasn't the only Israeli company upgrading Mil Hips either, as Elbit has been involved as well.

While this monograph is not the first on the Mi-8/17/171 Hip, and may not be the last, it certainly is the most complete that I have seen. Jakub Fojtik has delivered a great history on the Mil Hip that not only covers the development and operational aspects, but provides a good basis for the modeler with nice detail shots of all the aircraft components. Mushroom Model Publications' has provided a page by page preview at: http://mmpbooks.biz/ksiazki/416 accompanied with some interesting music.

My thanks to Casemate Publications, Mushroom Model Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

Roman Centurion (1st Century)

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 10:28
Product Image Review Author:  Will Kuhrt ICM First Impression

ICM Holding, a Ukrainian-based company known for outstanding quality, has produced excellent figure kit with this brand-new tooling release of a Roman Centurion from the 1st Century. The box contains one bag containing two gray sprues and a separate black sprue (and bag) for the base. The kit contains a total of 49 parts. The parts are crisply molded and engraved; the detail is outstanding and all parts are flash free. The double-sided assembly guide combines the assembly and painting guidelines.

One very impressive aspect of this kit is that fact that the arms and legs are solid molds and you will not have to worry about filling lots of seems as is typical with many plastic figure kits. In my view, this kit is so close in quality to resin figure models that I believe many in the figure modeling community will really enjoy this model kit.

A very nice bonus is a full-color frameable art print (matching the box art).

Quick Tips
  • Do not add the helmet crest until the very end.
  • Do not add the helmet side pieces until you have attached the head
  • Do not add the hands until after you have attached the sword and shield
Reviewer's Comments

I built the base first. It is comprised of three pieces of black styrene. The base is so nicely molded and textured that no painting is really necessary. Of course, you could add some ground effects (grass, dirt, foliage) to the top of the base for a little touch of realism. But the base is perfect as it is out of the box!

One you have the main body constructed (the torso, arms and legs) be sure that you do not attach the hand pieces immediately. You will need to first attach the sword (right hand) and the shield (left hand) before closing the hands with the parts provided. Please see the photos for reference.

The kit contains three weapons: a short sword and two longer ones. The short sword is attached to the right side of the body. One of the long swords is unsheathed and this is attached to the right hand. The trick for the other long sword is to cut off the top of it and use the sheath to attach to the left side of the body. Please see the photos for reference.

After you attach the head to the torso, then you attach the helmet and then add the left and right side plates to the helmet. As a final step, add the crest to the top of the helmet.

This is a really wonderful figure kit. The engineering is superb, requires virtually no seam work, and builds quickly. The detail is really on par with many resin kits. This model is another really excellent release by ICM and makes me excited to see what other figure kits they will be producing in the future!

Thank you to ICM for the honor of reviewing this very nice kit, and thank you to IPMS for the opportunity!

Ammo by Mig Shaders Assortment

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 10:20
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Koukol AMMO by Mig Jimenez


For the 10-15 years, modelers have been enjoying the "golden age of weathering products."  Be it in the form of pre-mixed washes, filters, effects such as mud, dust, grime, streaking, etc., or pigments in all shades, it's never been so convenient or easy to come up with convincing weathering effects on our models.  One of the leading innovators in this field has been Mig Jimenez, who has brought us many of these off-the-shelf, ready-to-use products.  Ammo by Mig Shaders are the latest addition to this growing product line.

The Product

Mig's website touts Shaders as "acrylic based paint specially formulated to apply shadows with the airbrush," which are packaged in handy little 10mL dropper bottles.  This review looks at the following Shader colors:

  • Light Rust AMIG0851
  • Ash Black AMIG0858
  • Dirt AMIG0853
  • Grime AMIG0854
  • Starship Filth AMIG0855
  • Earth AMIG0852
  • Light Clay AMIG0869

In order to get a visualization of how these products differentiated themselves from other products, namely filters and modulated color series, I chose to apply them all to test coupons of 4 colors most familiar and common to my predominant modeling genre of aircraft, armor, and space sci-fi.  Those base color coupons were Flat White (enamel), Gray Primer (enamel), US WWII Olive Drab (acrylic), and Modern US Desert Sand (acrylic).  Each color was applied to each coupon in immediate succession with airbrush pressure ranging from 10-20 PSI.  Variation in airbrush pressure will be explained shortly.

After creating the sample coupons with the 4 base colors and allowing 3 days' cure time, each was masked off to preserve the base color on half the coupon, and to allow the first 4 colors to be applied to alternating sections (sections 1, 3, 5, and 7 starting from the left) of the exposed half, while preventing overspray on adjacent sections.

First 4 colors up were Light Rust, Dirt, Starship Filth, and Light Clay.  Shooting somewhere between 15-20 PSI, all 4 went down on the enamel White and Gray Primer very nicely, showing good transparent shading properties.  Application over the Vallejo acrylic OD and Sand was a different story.  Again, in the same continuous airbrush session following the application over enamels, performance of the Shaders over acrylics was markedly different, as shown in the photos.  At first, it appeared droplets of Shader formed on top of the acrylic colors, which quickly started to aggregate into puddles.  Some Shader colors were more prone to do this than others, but all exhibited that behavior to some extent. 

Determined to find out if it was an "acrylic thing" or a "Vallejo formulation thing," the coupons were allowed to dry for a couple days, then the coupons were masked to facilitate application of the final 3 colors - Ash Black, Grime, and Earth.  Before applying the Shaders this time, a barrier coat of Model Master Acryl Flat was applied over the OD and Sand sample areas and allowed to cure.  One again, the Shaders laid down nicely over the enamels, but still continued to puddle over the acrylics, this time on Model Master Acryls.

Although the testing could have evolved into application over other acrylics such as Ammo by Mig, Tamiya, Life Color, Gunze, and others, I chose to take the 3 data points and call it a day, as the application of a seemingly simple product was becoming increasingly time consuming and complex.


Another innovative finishing effect series for the modeler's bag of tricks, Shaders offer potential to add convenient elements of realism to models of all genre.  However, given their inconsistent behavior with different finishing systems, care must be taken by the modeler to sufficiently test compatibility with their preferred paints and topcoats before putting a project at risk.  Therefore, I recommend Shaders for advanced modelers looking to achieve effects beyond those from traditional color modulation and filters, and who have the time and patience to experiment with product compatibility before application to their "live" projects.


Thanks to Mig Jimenez for the review samples and to IPMS-USA for the opportunity to share this review


Wed, 05/06/2020 - 10:17
Product Image Review Author:  Brian R. Baker MMP Books


This book provides a lot of information on the P-38L-5-LO.  This variant was only marginally different in detail from other P-38's in the "L" series, so it would probably be useful for anyone wanting detail information on any of the later P-38's.  The book consists entirely of scale drawings in 1/72  and 1/48 scale, a series of captioned color and black and white photos of entire airplanes and details, and a set of color drawings in back.  It would serve as a very good reference for anyone wanting to build a model in either of those scales.  The detail photos are from existing warbirds or from actual maintenance manuals, and there are even some interior views of the cockpit and engine compartments.



If you are doing a late model P-38 in either of those scales, this book is the one to get.  Highly recommended.

Top Drawings M16 Half-Track

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 10:11
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Koukol Kagero Publishing


A variant of the iconic M3 series of half-track vehicles originally fielded in World War II, the M16 was fitted with 4 each .50 caliber machine guns in an electrically-drive rotating turret adapted from aircraft use.  Used primarily as an anti-aircraft platform, the M16 also held great utility in suppressing enemy infantry.  First seeing service in 1944, replacing the twin-gunned M13, the M16 proved a valuable asset for the remainder of the war and following, namely in service with US and South Korean forces during the Korean War.

The Publication

This softbound volume sports 24 pages consisting of a brief 1-page introduction, with the remainder of the book devoted to black-and-white line drawings with descriptive captions in English and Polish and 3 loose, large, folded sheets with vehicle and detail drawings in 1/72, 1/48, 1/35, 1/16 scales.

From a modeler's perspective, the book provides a significant reference value beyond the traditional photo-based resources to which we've grown accustomed.  The thoroughness and detail of the drawings is superb, featuring perspective drawings of the overall vehicle and smaller components, driver's compartment, weapons compartment, turret and gun, chassis, powerplant, drivetrain, suspension, 1/48 and 1/72 orthogonal projections of the same, completed by large loose-leaf inserts of 1/35 and 1/16 scale orthogonal and perspective drawings.


This publication certainly finds a unique place in the market, a welcome complement to "in action" and "walk-around" type books.  Although not a "rivet counter" in my modeling, I do appreciate fine detail reference and have always been fascinated by technical drawings - especially of military hardware - and I know many fellow modelers share the same appreciation.  Top Drawings M16 Half-Track fills this niche nicely.  I highly recommend this publication for any modeler wanting to count rivets on their M16 project and any other fellow armor modelers who just really appreciate great technical drawings of military vehicles.

Thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review sample and to IPMS-USA for the opportunity to share this review.

Mission Models Iridescent Paints

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 10:09
Product Image Review Author:  Bill O'Malley Mission Models

Mission Model Paints Iridescent Colors

Mission Model Paints has added some beautiful iridescent colors to their excellent line of acrylic paints. These luminous paints seem to change color when seen from different angles. The iridescent paints have a silver base and produce a display of lustrous, prismatic, rainbow-like colors. MMP has also issued Pearl paint colors. The Pearl colors have a translucent pearl-like depth, either in color or luster.

These iridescent paints are like Mission Models other water-based acrylics that are odorless, fast drying, don't clog airbrush tips, and produce a smooth, durable finish. Information on Mission Model Paints is available on their website. Click here for a full IPMS review of Mission Model Paints.

Colors included with this review sample:

  • MMP-156 Iridescent Blue
  • MMP-157 Iridescent Plum Purple
  • MMP-158 Iridescent Candy Red
  • MMP-160 Iridescent Duck Teal
  • MMP-161 Iridescent Turquoise

Paint Application

The iridescent colors mix just like MMP's other colors. I used a mix of one part MMP thinner to 5 parts paint for the review samples, and no poly used. I applied the paints in four thin, wet coats. All of the paints were applied over Mission Model's Gloss White Base MMGWB-002. The paint was also applied to the black caps of the MMP bottles which obviously made the color appear much darker. MMP also suggests applying the iridescent paints over a silver or chrome base.

I let the paint dry for a few minutes between coats until the wet sheen disappeared. All of these paint samples are metallic and have a sheen which is more apparent in the lighter colors. The pigment grain on all of the colors is very fine and will look nice on scale automotive finishes. The paint dries to a satin sheen when used without the poly additive. Using MMP's Polyurethane Mix Additive will produce an eggshell finish.

I applied Mission Model's Gloss Clear Coat MMA-006 on some of the paint samples. The Clear Coat further emphasized the shifting iridescent colors.

Paint Colors

Iridescent Candy Red

This color definitely has both red and blue pigments which revealed themselves when the paint sample is viewed at different angles. Straight on the color appears more reddish and has a blue tinge when viewed at an angle. The color changes beautifully from red to red/blue as the sample is rotated.

Iridescent blue

This color also has some red pigment so the paint has a slight reddish or purple cast when viewed at an angle.

Iridescent Plum Purple

This is a beautiful deep color has a reddish tint when viewed at an angle.

Iridescent Duck Teal and Turquoise

These are lighter colors that change to a silver tint when viewed at an angle.


These are some excellent new paints that produce beautiful iridescent finishes that change colors when viewed at different angles. The paints are easy to use and produce a very fine grain to the metallic finishes. Model car builders can use these paints to produce bright iridescent colors with very fine grain. Gloss finishes are easier to produce as the paints are quick drying to reduce exposure to surface contaminates.

Thanks to Mission Models for making these paints and supplying review samples to IPMS.

Starfighters in Combat

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 10:04
Product Image Review Author:  Doug Hamilton Iliad Design

Iliad Decals is a firm based in Canada that produces decals for many subjects in both 1/48 and 1/72 scales. Printing is nicely done with all colors in register and true. They're traditional water slide configuration, are thin and look good.

The sheet carries markings for seven F-104s. All aircraft depicted are combat aircraft.. There are a variety of schemes worn by these warriors, so there is a nice selection of colors and nationalities present. There are three USAF birds, two of which that were flown in the Southeast Asia scheme that were based at Udorn Thailand in 1966-67 during the Viet Nam war and escorted F-105s into action. The third one is a sleek looking bird in white over ADC gray that has an interesting back story, with the pilot being held as a POW in China for about 8 years!!

Foreign 104's includes two Pakistani birds, one obtained from Jordan, One being victorious and the other going down in defeat. A Canadian built G model in Republic of China markings is an interesting inclusion, and finally a Turkish G model flown during the Greek Turkish Cyprus confrontation in 1974.

This is a very nice sheet with some wonderful markings not normally seen that will enhance any Starfighter collection, or fill a niche of some smaller air forces .A base kit isn't listed that those marking fit, and with the nature of the markings it's my guess they'll fit any 1/48 scale 104 kit. The color drawings accurately show the paint schemes associated with these markings, and I can say the SEA schemes are correct. I highly recommend this sheet to anyone contemplating building a Starfighter, anyone interested in an unusual air force or small air force.

My thanks to Iliad Decals and IPMS/USA for proving this sample for review.

F-35B Lightning II Landing Gear (Italeri)

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 09:56
Product Image Review Author:  Will Kuhrt Scale Aircraft Conversions

Thank you to Phil and Bill for all that you do managing and providing review opportunities!

Recommended kit:  1/72 F-35B Lightning II STOVAL (1425) from Italeri

Reviewer's Comments:

This landing gear set from SAC is a direct replacement for the kit parts. The only exception being is that you will add some plastic kits parts to the nose landing gear. The white metal casting is superb as is usual for SAC.  The kit consists of seven parts:  a replacement cockpit tub and six landing gear parts.

Instructions are not provided, but they are not required as they are intended to be direct replacements for the kit parts. Only three pieces need to be removed from the pour runners, and these came off easily with a nipper.

The parts were adhered to the model using CA and they fit perfectly. No adjustments were required with the stubs or the holes in the model. Before painting, I primed the parts and then after painting they were clear coated.



This landing gear set is highly recommended not only for its excellent quality and simple installation, but it really improves the weight of the 1/72 Italeri Lightning II base kit and greatly improves the strength of the landing gear.


Thank you for SAC for the honor of review and adding this kit to the base model kit, and thank you to IPMS for the opportunity.

Kawasaki Ki-45 Kai Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) Finishing the Build- Part 3

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 09:41
Product Image Review Author:  James Binder Zoukei-Mura

Part 3 of the 1/32 Nick build is the wings, painting, and final assembly

Construction of the wings began at the very beginning when the full span spar was added but now we'll flesh them out. The first steps are adding the landing gear well walls and then the fuel tanks and aileron linkage rods.  Then attach the lower wing panels. Make sure you drill out the holes in the bottom of each wing before doing so.

Next comes the somewhat complex landing gear parts. I used the kit parts here instead of aftermarket. Make sure you take your time with these assemblies and make sure each part is firmly glued in before moving on. Also, I recommend you paint them first before attaching since some of the parts would be hard to reach after being assembled. Most everything in the gear bays gets painted Khaki Grey. I chose the Vallejo paint line for this build and had purchased it along with the PE set directly from ZM. Once you are satisfied the landing gear is ready go ahead and attach the engine firewalls. The upper wing and wing root fillets are next I highly recommend double and triple checking that they all fit correctly before gluing. The directions also recommend this as well. And as a bonus no need to putty the wing roots! The lower wing fillets are next and like with the uppers check and double check. Set the plane aside and let the wings solidify. While all that was drying, I built the horizontal and vertical stabilizers and rudder. These went together with no real trouble. I do recommend leaving off parts c-6 of the rudder until after paint and decaling though as it will facilitate an easier time for each. The next step would be to add the main wheels and brake lines, but I chose to skip that until the end as well.

The nacelles are next. Double check the fit of each but both sides should snap in with very little issue. This is also where the engines from part one of the build are attached. If you remember each one was keyed to a side of the airplane. Make sure you attach each to the proper side. The mounting points on the engine mounts attach inside the firewalls. I had no issues with fit on mine but double check before attaching with glue to make sure everything is squared up and that the engines are oriented correctly. The directions give many diagrams to help you with this. Next up are the cowlings and cowl flaps. Steps 3-4 V-Y are some of the trickier parts of the build, but slow and steady will win the race there. First comes the forward cowl and wing cowling parts. Those went on with no issue. Then comes the cowl flaps, I chose to have these open and these went on with little fuss. Now here is where it gets tricky. The upper forward cowlings sit ok (the upper cowling will have a gap at its rear edge. This is correct! Do not fill that in or think something is wrong.) but the next six parts do not have a gap. You attach all 3 side and lower forward cowl panels; they are all slightly different and attach in a specific spot. I tried to attach them all at once on one engine and found they wanted to shift constantly causing gaps, so I started with part G5, attached it and let it dry and went around counterclockwise to make sure I could minimize all gaps. Its time consuming but works.

The last part of the build is to add the nose cone. Option A has two machine cannons that need to be attached before this. These look great right out of the box, ZM sells metal barrels but I chose to skip them. The nose light was also attached. (option A has it in the nose, option B has it in the wing) if you choose option A there is a cover that gets attached to the wing where the wing light would be. You also have a choice of nose. Make sure you pick the proper one for your option. The nose went on with little fuss and very little putty needed. I also kept the gun covers off so you could see the inner workings of the machine cannons. Once all this was done it was time to work on the canopies. All glass parts were dipped in future first then masked using the kit supplied masks. I chose to go with open canopies for the front and rear. I also kept the center section top glass out as well (I kept the center top removable to see the fuel tank detail. Main landing gear door arms were added next and the flaps were put in the raised position. They can be positioned either up or down but down has a fair amount of sink marks that need to be filled. I added the ailerons to the build, and it was time for paint and decaling.

In preparation for painting I first masked off all openings and areas I didn't want to get paint on them. Then the aircraft was sprayed over all with Tamiya grey primer. Then the white wing and fuselage stripes were painted with Tamiya xf-2 flat white.  Once dry these were masked and an overall coat of Vallejo "cement gray" was added. Once dry some of the masking was removed and the canopies tacked on, white tac was used to mask off the "alligator pattern" as shown for option A and Vallejo yellow olive 3j was sprayed over the top. The white tac masks were removed and the plane was given an overall coat of Tamiya gloss clear spray to prepare the surfaces for decaling.

To say the decals that ZM uses are outstanding would be an understatement. The decals for this plane are large and in colors that might worry some about bleed though, but they're in perfect register and opacity. I used all of them, the yellow leading edges hide the camouflage underneath and the red roundels are red, they don't turn pink on the white background. I did use some micro set and sol but not much was needed. When ready all was sealed with Tamiya semi-gloss clear and it was on to final assembly

Final assembly involved building, painting, and decaling the propellers and then attaching them to the plane. The rear machine gun was built and attached. I used the last of the PE parts for the gun sights for the machine gun. Then the clear windows, canopies, wing lights, and nose gear light cover were attached with PVA glue. The pitot tube and pilot steps were added. The plane was then placed upside down and the fuel coolers and auxiliary fuel tanks were built, painted and added. The plane was flipped right side up, the canopy masks were removed, canopies officially attached, and the center section top was placed on completing the build.

It has been a truly wonderful build of an amazing kit. Zoukei Mura's kits have been showstoppers from the beginning, but it seems with each new kit they bring to market they continue to get better. If there was a level beyond "highly recommended" this kit would have that designation.

My most sincere appreciation to Zoukei-Mura and to IPMS for giving me this opportunity to review this amazing 1/32 Ki-45 Toryu "Early Type" kit.

T-34 “Tyagach” Model 1944 Soviet Recovery Machine

Wed, 05/06/2020 - 01:02
Product Image Review Author:  Tim Hortman ICM

The WWII Soviet T-34 is one of the most recognizable tanks out there. There is nothing about the T-34 that I can tell you that you probably don't already know. 

ICM's newest release is something that you don't see too often, and to my knowledge is the first time this variant has appeared in kit form. The ICM #35371 1/35 T-34 "Tyagach" Model 1944 Soviet Recovery Machine. This kit represents the 'tractor' version of the T-34 - made by replacing the turret of a damaged tank with a welded plug/hatch. These vehicles were used for towing and recovery operations during the World War II. 

The kit comes in a nice study inner box with a hinged lid. The colorful box top comes off from that and has the typical printed information. Inside, this kit has six trees plus the upper and lower hull molded in green, one clear tree, four vinyl track parts, and two vinyl tow cables. 

Kit parts come in a plastic bag, with the two "C" sprues with the smaller parts wrapped in their own protective padding. The clear tree is in its own bag, as are the vinyl parts. 

The two "E" wheel sprues and the two "C" sprues are from their earlier T-34 kit #35365 while the turret sprue is from kit #35366 (yes you have all the parts you need to make a tank with the turret in this boxing.) New to this kit is tree "H" which contains the turret plug and a single hatch handle. 

There are no markings shown and thus - no decals are included with this kit. 

There are a fair number of extra parts in this kit which will be nice for your spare parts box. 

The instruction booklet is also very well done with a glossy cover and sturdy inner pages. Diagrams and parts callouts are very well done throughout. Tamiya paints are referenced. 

Assembly starts with the upper hull for a change. The plastic feels soft compared to what I am used to working with, but it posed no issues. I used Tamiya's Extra-Thin cement for the build, and it worked fine. Exterior detail is very nice throughout the kit, but there are minimal interior parts included (two seats and controls, as well as some hatch detail). So, unless you like to scratch-build or have lots of spare parts already - most will likely build this closed up. 

I did notice one thing in this kit which I don't see too much any more: There is some minor flash on some parts. Very minimal mind you, but there were a few spots I had to work with a little. The lower hull has a small plug in the center which needs some attention, and there was an injector mark on the driver's hatch that I needed to fix. Assembly is very straightforward, and the fit was very good throughout the build. As you can see from the photos, there were no major issues I encountered. The left hull joint is my fault as I took off the pressure before the glue had fully dried and it separated just enough that I felt some correction was in order.

The kit was painted with Tamiya XF-58 as called out in the instructions. 

In my opinion, by far the worst part of this kit are the tracks and vinyl tow cables. Each side has two track links that must be glued together. The diagram on the directions show two different sized track sets, but all four included with this kit are the same size. There is a good amount of 'flash' on all these vinyl parts as well. I cut as much off as I could with an X-Acto and tried to sand the rest with a course sanding stick. The two tow cables had the worst amount of this flashing, but were slightly easier to sand. There is no mention in the directions on how the builder should cement these track link parts. Tamiya Extra Thin Cement had no effect on them. Weld-On 3 also did not work. I used some superglue and that offered at least a little hope - but the joint pulled apart with ease. The only thing I found which would grip the two halves together and offer some strength was the tube of G-S Hypo-Tube Cement (Watch Crystal glue) which I normally use for aircraft canopies. I assembled the road wheels and tried to attach the tracks over them -they pulled apart each time. After several attempts at trying different ways and a few other glue combinations - I finally gave up and simply put a staple through the two track sections to hold them together. 

The tracks are well detailed and look nice once completed, however. If I were to build another one of these kits, I would look elsewhere for tracks and tow cables to avoid the heartburn. 

The finished kit was weathered with several shades of Tamiya's Panel Line Accent Color, which left a semi-gloss sheen, and then a minimal amount of dry brushing was done to bring out the details. 

I certainly recommend this kit to anyone interested in the subject. The kit offers some great detail and assembles with ease. I'm not a T-34 expert, so I cannot speak to the shapes and variations being accurate - but this was a fun and enjoyable build. Pick one up and add something a little different to your display case. 

Thank you to ICM for the review sample and to IPMS/USA for the chance to build the kit.