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Updated: 5 hours 45 min ago

F-16C/D Block 40/50 GE F110 Engine Nozzle

Mon, 08/03/2020 - 18:19
Product Image Review Author:  Floyd S. Werner Jr. Brengun

The new engine was added to the F-16 beginning with the Block 30.  This engine was the General Electric F110-GE engine.  Two versions were used on the F-16, the GE-100 on the Block 30 and 40.  The Block 50 fitted the GE-129 model.  They are virtually identical externally.  This is set for the Tamiya F-16 kit, in particular the Aggressor and CJ kit,

Packaged in a sturdy cardboard box are three high quality grey resin pieces which in themselves are packaged in a resealable plastic bag.  There is a small instruction sheet that tells you what you need to replace.  There are no blemishes anywhere on any of the resin pieces.  The detail is phenomenal throughout. 

Starting at the back, the exhaust itself which is the most visible part of the set, has flawless detail for the petals and the connecting ring.  The detail on the inside is even nicer.  Compared to the kit part, which has no detail, the resin piece is beautiful.  One thing I noticed was that the resin exhaust appears slightly longer than the kit part.  I do not know which one is correct. 

The afterburner portion of the kit is a single piece that keys into the exhaust.  There is minute detail along the inside that the kit part does not even attempt to show.

The final piece is a beautifully rendered afterburner flame ring.  There is detail that is not included on the kit parts that is quite noticeable even though it is pretty far in there.  The kit part just hints at some detail, while the resin piece looks like a miniature flame ring. 

Removing the parts from the casting blocks is easy enough.  The cut lines are very well shown.  The instructions show where to cut.  The three parts are keyed to each other to ensure the proper orientation.  All this set needs is careful painting to make it work perfectly. 

Test fitting of the parts indicated perfect fit. 

Exquisitie detail that is significantly better than the kit parts make this set worth buying.  I'm impressed with the detail throughout the set.  Adding this will add significant detail to your model. 

Highly recommended

Thanks to Brengun and IPMS/USA for the review copy.  You can obtain yours directly at www.brengun.cz or your local hobby shop or online retailer. 

F-16C/D Block 42/52 PW F100 Engine Nozzle

Mon, 08/03/2020 - 18:09
Product Image Review Author:  Floyd S. Werner Jr. Brengun

The Tamiya F-16 series of kits are phenomenal renditions of the real airplane.  There are multiple  boxings.  This particular set is designed to replicate the exhaust of the Pratt and Whitney F-100 Exhaust used on the Block 42 and Block 52 aircraft.  They are externally very similar.  The Block 42 has the -200 version and the Block 52 uses the -229.

Packaged in a sturdy cardboard box are two pieces of light grey resin inside of a resealable plastic sleeve.  The two parts are perfectly cast with no blemishes anywhere.  The detail on both pieces is remarkable. 

The exhaust nozzle is a gem.  It includes beautiful detail inside and out.  Compared to the kit parts which only hints at the detail, the resin exhaust is perfect.  There are beautiful exhaust petals and actuators. 

The other piece is the afterburner liner.  The kit liner is nothing more than a smooth surface.  The real thing and the resin one has exquisite detail. 

I screwed up slightly when I removed the afterburner liner from the casting block and damaged the cone shape middle piece.  I will have to replace that.  So just take care removing the piece from the casting block.  It was totally my fault.

The pieces are keyed to each other so you can't mess up.  Just careful painting is all that is needed to bring this set to life. 

Beautiful detail inside and out, which is a significant improvement over the kit parts, makes this set an essential upgrade.  The difference will be quite noticeable. 

Highly recommended

Thanks to Brengun and IPMS/USA for the review copy.  You can obtain yours directly at www.brengun.cz or your local hobby shop or online retailer. 

DH.98 Mosquito Two Stage Merlin

Mon, 08/03/2020 - 18:00
Product Image Review Author:  Floyd S. Werner Jr. Brengun

The Tamiya Mosquito is a beautiful kit but it does have one drawback, it can't be built into a two-stage version.  The Airfix kit is the only way to get a two-stage Mosquito out of the box, but they are hard to find and not as easy to build as the Tamiya kit.  A few other conversions have been done but they are long out of production.  So if you want the build one of the high altitude variants, such as the FB Mk. IX, Mk. XVI, NF XV, or PR Mk.34 or any of the later variants you'll need this resin set.

Packaged in a sturdy cardboard box with eight resin pieces, two upper engine nacelles, two lower nacelles and four exhaust stacks.  Also included is a fret of photo etch to make the intake screens.  The parts are protected in a resealable bag.  The resin is light grey and absolutely flawless.  Test fitting the resin upper and lower cowling proved that the fit was perfect.  And that is without even removing the pour blocks.

A single fret of brass allows you to build the tropical variant by adding the intake and side vents. 

This is a relatively easy conversion.  The engines are handed so don't get them confused.  You simply need to remove the kit cowlings and then mate the new nacelles in their place.  All the cuts are on panel lines for easy removal.

This conversion is easy, perfectly molded, and allows you to do new variants of the Mossie.  The ease of the conversion and ease of building the Tamiya kit makes this a winner.  The best part is the price is relatively inexpensive as well.  If you want to do a late variant, this is the easiest way to do it.  Another great conversion from Brengun.     

Highly recommended

Thanks to Brengun and IPMS/USA for the review copy.  You can obtain yours directly at www.brengun.cz or your local hobby shop or online retailer. 

Armies of the Great Northern War 1700-1720

Sun, 08/02/2020 - 16:18
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Osprey Publishing

Osprey is renowned for their concise histories of the rarer conflicts around the globe. This edition covering "Armies of the Great northern War:1700-1720) is just such an edition, covering the Great Northern War which was fought in the Baltic region and ranged all the way from Norway to southern Ukraine. In the end, it led to the destruction of the Swedish Empire acquisitions in the war of 1618-48 as well as transformation of Russia under Peter the Great. The book is 48 pages in the standard Osprey size and is illustrated with color plates, maps and text describing all the combatants and battles.

Chapters included are:

  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • The Russian Army
  • The Swedish Army
  • The Saxon Army
  • The Polish and Lithuanian Armies
  • The Danish and Norwegian Armies
  • The Hanoverian Armies
  • The Prussian Army
  • The Holstein Army
  • Cossack, Tatars and Danubian Principalities
  • Select Bibliography
  • Plate Comments
  • Index

From a history perspective the chronology, with a map from 1700 to 1720, details the skirmishes of the conflict as well as highlighted historical points and people. The remainder of the book covers each individual army, the number of combatants, their composition, and other details.

For example, looking at the section on the Hanoverian Army, it starts with a discussion of the history of the duchies involved and their combining to the Duchy of Hanover. It follows with a breakdown of the regiments and battalions supplied and type of troops they were such as Dragoons, line infantry etc. to give the reader a feel for the size of the fighting force. This general format is repeated for each army.

Each group is represented in smaller pictures but also in wonderful full color plates with a commentary section in the back describing each soldier and his uniform. The soldiers are numbered by plat to avoid confusion. I included four of these plates as examples. The artwork is stunning and great reference for figure painters. 

Whether you are history buff, figure painter or just looking for a good read, this book has you covered and is most definitely recommended. 

My thanks to Osprey Publishing for the opportunity to review it!

SAC USMC AH-1Z Landing Skids (Academy)

Sun, 08/02/2020 - 15:54
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:  Any 1/35 Academy AH-1Z

Reviewer's Comments:

This landing skid set from SAC is a direct replacement for the kit parts. The white metal casting is superb as is usual for SAC.  The kit consists of five parts:  two main skids, one tail skid, and two skid braces.

Instructions are not provided, but they are not required since the parts are intended to be direct replacements for the kit parts. The parts are very nicely detailed, and clean. There are no mold seams visible, and no sanding or filing was required.  

Prior to painting it is recommended to wash the parts with a mild detergent solution to remove any remaining mold release. I would recommend using a gel-type of CA adhesive to bond the parts together. 

 This landing gear set is highly recommended for its excellent quality and simple installation. It will absolutely provide a more robust base for your AH-1Z model. 

Thank you for SAC for the honor to review the fantastic accessory and thank you to IPMS for the opportunity.

Q-Men F-35B Lightning II

Sun, 08/02/2020 - 14:59
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Kitty Hawk

QMEN is part of the Kitty Hawk Panda family and specializes in egg planes - planes shaped like an egg. These have been around from many manufacturers and are simplified versions of the real plane. In this case the plane is 19 parts and the pilot is an additional 13 plus a resin head. And the pilot is a kitty cat! There is even a tail and ears sticking out of a nice rendition of the F-35's special helmet. The kit is meant to be snap fit and the tolerances are pretty tight so it all works. More on that later. The parts are well molded with no flash. Great color instructions and painting guide come with it and there is a sheet of water slide decals. 

Construction starts by adding the intake inserts to the bottom of the lower fuselage. I snapped these in and glued. Fit was excellent. I glued the top of the plane to the bottom and then the two tails. No putty and a tight fit. I separated the landing gear doors and the struts and was pretty much ready for paint. One of the options was for a Blue Angels version of the F-35 so that's what I chose. I painted the blue using Xtracolor then let dry overnight and started work on the pilot.

The pilot is built in sections from 10 parts. Several were left off as I wanted the pilot seated. The color scheme for the pilot is standard flight suit but I wanted Blue Angels so blue jump suit and yellow helmet. The seated pilot has the bottoms of the boots and the tail left off (the ears still stick out of the helmet though!)

I masked the plane and shot the cockpit gray and wheel wells white and exhaust Tamiya gloss silver. Time for decals. The decals on the flat surfaces conformed well but the larger ones were a little difficult. Also, if the yellow overlapped like the nose and behind the canopy you could see the line. The instrument panel and cockpit also get decals. The pilot gets 13 decals alone giving the suit have seams and pockets. Many disappeared over the blue.

The pilot was added and cockpit flat-coated. The canopy was masked and added. I didn't like the decal overlap and density, so I painted on all the top yellow and gloss coated it. In hindsight, I should have masked and sprayed almost all of it. I added the gear doors and struts and then the wheels and it was done. While definitely a beginner kit, it was a lot of fun. Plus, cats flying airplanes, cool! A couple summary notes, once the parts were painted, the fit was tight in some areas like the instrument panel and landing gear doors. Nothing a modeler can't handle but just a note to be prepared if working with kids.

Highly recommended to all those who want to have fun modeling. My thanks to QMEN and Kitty Hawk for such a fun kit and to IPMS/USA for the chance to build it.

SMS Seydlitz 1/350 Barrels

Sun, 08/02/2020 - 13:22
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Master Model

SMS Seydlitz was a battlecruiser of the German Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy), built in Hamburg.  She was ordered in 1910 and commissioned in May 1913, the fourth battlecruiser built for the High Seas Fleet. She was named after Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz, a Prussian general during the reign of King Frederick the Great and the Seven Years' War. Seydlitz represented the culmination of the first generation of German battlecruisers, which had started with the Von der Tann in 1906 and continued with the pair of Moltke-class battlecruisers ordered in 1907 and 1908. Seydlitz featured several incremental improvements over the preceding designs, including a redesigned propulsion system and an improved armor layout. As with the rest of the German battlecruisers that survived the war, the ship was interned in Scapa Flow in 1918. The ship, along with the rest of the High Seas Fleet, was scuttled in June 1919, to prevent her seizure by the British Royal Navy. She was raised on 2 November 1928 and scrapped by 1930 in Rosyth.  SMS Seydlitz armament included ten 28cm (~11") SK L/50 guns, twelve 15cm (~5.9") SK L/45 guns, twelve 88mm (~3.5") guns, and four submerged 50cm (~19.7") torpedo tubes. The torpedo tubes are not included. Two of the 88mm guns were removed in 1916 and replaced with high-angle 88mm Flak L/45 anti-aircraft guns.

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.  This Master Model set provides a huge leap over any of the injected molded parts available on any 1/350 kit.  Most ship gun barrels are over-scale due to the limits of injection modeling, not to mention successfully removing the sprue attachment points and sanding down the mold seams.  [Please note that the green background photos are courtesy Master Model].  If you look close you can also see that the barrel tip flare is reproduced on the 88mm barrels.

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 these parts due to their small size, making them an easy sacrifice to the carpet monster.  Another caveat is that the smaller gun barrels are really thin and can be accidently bent.  I've had this happen before in 1/350 scale, but not to worry, it can be fixed.  Placing the gun barrel in between a smooth flat set of tweezers will straighten out the tip.  Just be extremely gentle so you don't break it when you gently roll it so that it is straight once again.

This Master Model set provides you with 30 turned aluminum and brass barrels, two metal paired barrel and ten resin parts.  The ten 28cm SK L/50 guns are in aluminum with the remaining barrels in brass.

The ten 28cm SK L/50 guns will require you to be able to drill a 1.0mm (0.0394", a #60 carbide drill bit is 0.0400", a #61 carbide drill bit is 0.0390") hole through the resin parts.  The metal barrels themselves fit a bit loose in the resin parts, so you will need to be careful on making sure the completed assembly is straight.  The resin parts are a direct replacement for Hobby Boss Part J4.  I would note that clean-up of the resin parts is really not necessary since they will be hidden inside of the turrets.  The twelve 15cm SK L/45 barrels are a direct replacement for Hobby Boss Part J20.  Six of the 88mm SK L/45 barrels are a direct replacement for Hobby Boss Part K29.

The two deck-mounted 88mm Anti-Aircraft barrels will require careful following of the instructions.   You will need to cut off the barrels of Hobby Boss Part J19 as shown in the instructions.  I would use a photoetch razor saw to cut off the plastic barrels.  You will also need to be able to drill a 0.4mm (0.0157"; a #78 carbide drill bit is 0.0160", a 1/64" carbide drill bit is 0.0156", and a #79 is 0.0145" carbide drill bit) hole to accept the machined brass barrels.  I would recommend using a smaller drill bit than required and then move to the next larger size if needed.  This will help ensure a tight fit.  It is also critical to make sure the drill bit is properly centered in all three axes.  Just follow the instructions and each gun barrel will only take 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 parts.  These machined aluminum and brass barrels eliminate the need to deal with mold seams and sprue connections.  They also present a more accurate barrel tip.  This set would also probably enhance the resin Combrig and Iron Shipwrights 1/350 kits of the SMS Seydlitz.   This excellent set will easily enhance your 1/350 SMS Seydlitz battlecruiser.

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

HMS Lord Nelson 1/350 Barrels

Sun, 08/02/2020 - 00:13
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Master Model

HMS Lord Nelson was a pre-dreadnought battleship launched 04-September-1906 and completed in 1908. Her sister ship in the class was HMS Agamemnon also launched 23-June-1906 and completed in 1908. The delays between launching and completion of both ships was due to the diversion of their 12" guns to the completion of HMS Dreadnought.  She was the Royal Navy's last pre-dreadnought. The ship was flagship of the Channel Fleet when the First World War began in 1914. Lord Nelson was transferred to the Mediterranean Sea in early 1915 to participate in the Dardanelles Campaign. She remained there, becoming flagship of the Eastern Mediterranean Squadron, which was later re-designated the Aegean Squadron. After the Ottoman surrender in 1918 the ship moved to the Black Sea where she remained as flagship before returning to the United Kingdom in May 1919. Lord Nelson was placed into reserve upon her arrival and sold for scrap in June 1920.  HMS Lord Nelson armament included four 12" Mk X guns, ten 9.2" Mk XI guns, twenty-four QF 12-pounder 18 cwt guns, two 3-pounder guns, and five 18" torpedo tubes. The torpedo tubes are not included.

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.  This Master Model set provides a huge leap over any of the injected molded parts available on any 1/350 kit.  Most ship gun barrels are over-scale due to the limits of injection modeling, not to mention successfully removing the sprue attachment points and sanding down the mold seams.  You can see this in the pictures below [Please note that the green background photos are courtesy Master Model].  If you close you can also see that the barrel tip flare is reproduced.

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 these parts due to their small size, making them an easy sacrifice to the carpet monster.  Another caveat is that the smaller gun barrels are really thin and can be accidently bent.  I've had this happen before in 1/350 scale, but not to worry, it can be fixed.  Placing the gun barrel in between a smooth flat set of tweezers will straighten out the tip.  Just be extremely gentle so you don't break it when you gently roll it so that it is straight once again.

This Master Model set provides you with 46 turned aluminum and brass barrels, two metal paired barrel connector pins, and fourteen resin parts.  You do get eight 3-pounder barrels in this set which corresponds to the Hobby Boss instructions that call out for sixteen QF 12-pounders and eight 3-pounders.  The eight 3-Pounders are depicted in the instructions as being installed on each of the eight gun turrets.

As shown in the instructions, you will need to cut off the barrels of the twenty-four QF 12-pounder 18 cwt guns, two 3-pounder guns.  I would use a photo-etch razor saw to cut of the plastic barrels.  In the end, both guns should be ~11.4mm long.  You will also need to be able to drill a 0.4mm (0.0157"; a #78 carbide drill bit is 0.0160", a 1/64" carbide drill bit is 0.0156", and a #79 is 0.0145" carbide drill bit) hole for the QF 12-pounders and the 3-pounders.  In both cases, I would recommend using a smaller drill bit than required and then move to the next larger size if needed.  This will help ensure a tight fit.  It is also critical to make sure the drill bit is properly centered in all three axes.  Just follow the instructions and each gun barrel will only take a few minutes to complete. 

The four 12" Mk X guns, ten 9.2" Mk XI guns will require you to be able to drill a 1.0mm (0.0394", a #60 carbide drill bit is 0.0400", a #61 carbide drill bit is 0.0390") hole through the resin parts.  The metal barrels themselves fit a bit loose in the resin parts, so you will need to be careful on making sure the completed assembly is straight.  I would note that clean-up of the resin parts is really not necessary since they will be hidden inside of the turrets.

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 parts.  These machined aluminum and brass barrels eliminate the need to deal with mold seams and sprue connections.  They also present a more accurate barrel tip.  I must say that in past review of Master Model barrels compared to injected kits, that the injected parts were grossly oversize and 'blobby'. I do have to credit to Hobby Boss that their injected barrels do look better than any I have seen before.  While I don't have the Hobby Boss 1/350 HMS Agamemnon kit, I'm sure this barrel set will work well on that kit as well.  This set would also probably enhance the resin Combrig 1/350 kits of the HMS Lord Nelson and HMS Agamemnon.   This excellent set will easily enhance your 1/350 HMS Lord Nelson battleship.

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

Focke-Wulf Fw-190 A, F, S, G

Sat, 08/01/2020 - 13:46
Product Image Review Author:  Floyd S. Werner Jr. Kagero Publishing

Kagero has released books of various aircraft in the past.  This is their 12th edition of the Mongraph Specials and focuses on the FW-190 short nosed variants.  The beautifully hard bound book has over 250 pages of high quality paper.  It has all the hallmarks of Kagero's other books. 


There are plenty of clear, large pictures throughout the book.  There are also some exquisite color profiles that are an inspiration to any would be modeler or historian.   On top of that there are some first rate line drawings in the book as well as separate 1/48 and 1/32nd scale fold out drawings for the FW-190A5 and A-8 that are absolutely gorgeous.  There are 1/72nd scale drawings included in the book.  Now that all sounds great, so lets see if the contents match the highlights.


We start off with the production and history of the type.  Some really good photos of the prototypes are included.  Every variant is covered well from the A-0 to the last one.  Some great crystal clear detail shots are included of the early variants.  Every variant is discussed and each unique change is discussed and often illustrated.  The A series is discussed, then the F which was built off of the Anton, and then the G, which was the dedicated long range ground attack variant.  The final version discussed is the Fw-190S, or trainer version.


Following the discussion on the variants, painting and markings are discussed and shown.  This includes a section on exterior and interior colors. Some photos of the various unique markings are included.  One that I've always loved is the 'jawed' A-2 used by JG-1 for pilot training.  It is a simple mouth that even makes the FW-190 seem toy-like.  There are some other unique and peculiar markings shown, some which defy regulations. 


Operations in Western Europe are the next chapter.  Here is where the combat career of the fighter is discussed, from its initial surprise to the Brits over the channel to the end of the war.  Units shown   in photos here are JG1, JG2, JG11 and JG26.  North Africa is the next theater discussed.  One aircraft that stood out to me here is the A-5 of Major Herman Graf.  There are other aircraft of the unit shown as well.  No discussion would be complete without the Ostfront.  Again there are plenty of great photos in this section. 


The end of the war produced some great color schemes and they are shown in photos. 


This portion of the book is rounded out with nine pages of some gorgeous color profiles.  There is plenty of inspiration for the modeler here. 


That is just the first 100 pages, not even halfway through the book.  Truly a great reference piece, but let's see what's left.


Then there are some production shots and up-close detail shots that will prove invaluable to modelers, especially the landing gear area.  Then we start getting more operational aircraft and this is where the book becomes even more valuable.  All the armament options are shown, as well as, markings from all fronts.  You'd be hard pressed not to find inspiration in here.  Somehow a few pics of some D-9s slipped into this section as well. 


More engine detail photos that will be extremely helpful for a modeler doing up an exposed engine are another highlight.  One interesting pic that I didn't know about was that the engine cowling on the A-0 was completely different shape at the front to the production machines.  Some details photos from the Fw-190S are interesting and will prove useful to the modeler.  I've never noticed the grab handle on the cockpit sill before.


The rest of the book is a potpourri of excellent period shots and text that highlight the various fronts.  This includes Wilde Sau operations, as well as, fighter bomber and photo recon aircraft. The Mistel and torpedo projects are also highlighted.


An appendix with all the serial numbers is included which will prove helpful to the historian.

Following that are drawings out of the Luftwaffe pilot and mechanic manuals.  This is really helpful in understanding the aircraft.


Now a section for a modeler, are complete 1/48th scale line drawings off all the variants from the A-1 to the A-9. F-3 to F-8 aren't forgotten either.  Every weapons system is shown installed.  These drawings will definitely be a boon to the modeler.  1/72nd scale drawings are included as well.  What is nice about these is that it highlights the differences between each variant as well as the accurate drawings.  The FW-190S is also shown in 1/48th scale.


Some absolutely beautiful full color profiles are the final chapter of this book.  These are some gorgeous renderings that will be extremely motivational. 

In the back of the book are separate scale drawings in 1/32nd and 1/48th scale of the major variants.  The 1/32nd shows the Fw-190A-5 and A-8 series on two separate sheets.  The 1/48th scale drawings covers the A-3 and A-8/R8 Rammjager.  These are in addition to the drawings in the book itself. 


Overall this is an excellent one place source of information on the aircraft, its pilots, and its operational deployment.  The drawings and color profiles will prove invaluable to the modeler.  It is hard to find any disparaging comments on the book.  I loved if from the beginning to the end.  It is not just a rehash of old photos, there are plenty of new material in there to keep most happy.  Again, I loved the book. 


Highly recommended


Thanks to Casemate and IPMS/USA for the review copy.  You can obtain your copy by contacting them at https://www.casematepublishers.com/ or your connected book dealer.

Images of War The Destruction of 6th Army at Stalingrad

Sat, 08/01/2020 - 13:35
Product Image Review Author:  Will Kuhrt Pen & Sword

Thank you Bill & Phil for all you do for the Reviewers and for the opportunity to review this publication.


Pen & Sword has released another outstanding book belonging to the Images of War series. As with other Images of War publications, it is a photographic essay detailing the pathway of General Paulus' 6th Army annihilation at Stalingrad.


The Read

The book begins with a prelude which provides important information about the movements of the three German Army groups in Russia during 1941, and how and why the command chain changed allowing Friedrich Paulus to be appointed command of the 6th Army. Through four chapters, the reader is taken via photographs and text through the struggles of the 6th Army in their quest to fulfill Hitler's misguided dream of conquering Stalingrad and ultimately Russia.


Chapter One The Road to Hell is set in spring 1942. It gives a thorough overview of how Hitler was in complete command of the army, his determination to obliterate the Soviet army and the relatively quick, easy successes the German army has having in eastern Russia. It is interesting (and important) to observe in this fine collection of photographs how the German soldiers look relatively clean, have nice equipment, plenty of ammunition, radios and food. As Chapter One leads into Chapter Two, the photographs begin to change considerably.


Chapter Two The Siege of Stalingrad begins in August, 1942 when General Hoth's 4th Panzer Army launched an attack against the Russian 64th and 62nd Armies. As this chapter guides the reader through the events of August, September & October, the sense of impending failure is felt as this chapter explains the high cost of human life, the strong resistance the Germans were encountering, and how the Germans were worried about the onset of winter. The accompanying photographs show much more action, and the reader visualizes the rough conditions-the smoke, mud, exhaustion- the Germans encountered.


Chapter Three Encircled sets the stage for the end. The XLVII Panzer Corp was quickly dispatched only to find that most of the panzers which had been sitting idle from months had their electrical wiring eaten by mice. Of 104 panzers, 39 were operational, but 34 of those quickly developed electrical problems and were unusable. From this disparaging beginning, the reader is brought to November when the Russian forces mounted an enormous counteroffensive against the Germans called Operation Uranus. This operation ultimately allowed Paulus' troops to become cut off and surrounded. The series of photographs here are all from winter and show haggard, worn-out and splintered German troops. Gone are the images of long columns of marching soldiers and mechanized equipment. Rather, the reader sees small groups of soldiers desperate to hold on with what they have.


Chapter Four Destruction of the 6th Army tells the reader how General Paulus was pleading with Hitler that his army was on the brink of destruction. The 6th Army was starving to death, yet Hitler believed they could hold out until Spring. On the morning of January 8, 1943, Russian representatives delivered an ultimatum to Paulus, who submitted it to Hitler, again pleading to be relieved of the situation. Hitler refused. Many important events are laid out in sequence so that the reader understands how the 6th Army finally collapsed, and the horrible aftermath which was to follow.




As other reviewers have pointed out, the modeling world has an abundant supply of books about German tanks, uniforms, and weapons. These books are indeed valuable references which help model builders create historically accurate models. But the Pen & Sword books, especially the books belonging to the Images of War series, help model builders understand the history behind the models they create.


The advantage the Images of War books have, as evident in this latest publication The Destruction of the 6th Army at Stalingrad, is that the reader is able to gain a very complete understanding of history from a combination of quick reads and never-before-seen photographs. I very highly recommend this book.



Thank you to Pen & Sword for publishing such a fine book, and thank you to IPMS for the opportunity.

CH-53 Seats Upgrade Set

Mon, 07/27/2020 - 21:05
Product Image Review Author:  Paul R. Brown Reskit

This set provides a pair of replacement seats for the pilot and co-pilot of a CH-53 or MH-53 Super Stallion/Sea Stallion and includes seatbelts/harnesses, the tubular frame the seat is mounted on and what appears to be add-on side armor plates for each seat.

The seats and mounting frames are cast in light grey resin.  The castings are very detailed and delicate, a little too delicate as I will discuss below.  The seats include a lot of details on the seat backs that could be visible if you leave the main cabin door open.  I compared the seats and the mounting frames to photos I found online and ResKit did their homework as it looks accurate and in scale.  The casting includes a very tiny slot at the top of the seat that the upper section of the shoulder harness passes through, but be very gentle as the resin around the slot is very thin and it is very easy to break off the headrest section - trust me!

The set includes photo-etched brass seat belts and harnesses for each seat.  The brass is a bit thicker and stiffer than some other photo-etch brass I have worked with, so be sure to anneal it before trying to bend or fold it.

The side frames are easily removed from the casting block with a sharp razor saw.  All four of side frames in my set had a bit of flash which closed up the triangular opening at the base of each side frame and as the attachment points between sections of the side frame are very fragile, the frame broke into its three separate pieces when I tried to remove the flash in this triangle with new Xacto blade.  It may work better to chain drill out the flash and clean up the side frame with an exceptionally fine file.  Unfortunately, it appears that a couple of the resin trees got lost in the mail at some point as I discovered I did not have the two cross braces needed to connect the two side frames together.  Based on the online photos I found of CH-53 seats, the braces under the seat is round, but the one behind the seat appears to have a square or rectangular cross section, so while I think I can replicate the lower brace from stretched sprue, I may need to track down some square Evergreen styrene for the back brace.

The set also includes what appears to be a set of side armor panels for each seat, however, I was unable to find any photographs of the seats with these installed.  My assumption is these are bolt on additions that can be added if deemed appropriate for the mission.  I left them off the seats for now.

Looking at photos online, the seats appear to be either a very dark grey such as gunship grey or black with dark green or medium grey harnesses/belts.  I opted for NATO Black seats with a dark greyish green for the harness and steel for the buckles.

This is a very nice set and is earmarked for installation on the MH-53J Pave Low III kit in my stash.  Recommended.

Thank you to RESKIT for the review sample and to IPMS-USA for letting me review it.

Messerschmitt Me 209 main wheels

Mon, 07/27/2020 - 20:55
Product Image Review Author:  Paul R. Brown CMK

This set provides a set of resin replacement main wheels for Special Hobby's recent Me 209 kit.  As expected from CMK, the wheels are very nicely cast with good detail including the bolts on the wheel hubs. The tread pattern on the tires is also very sharp and distinct.

The tires are easily separated from the pour stubs and the pour stub and any flash are easily removed and cleaned up as show in the attached photos. 

I painted the wheels Tamiya NATO Black and the hubs Tamiya Black as I do other Luftwaffe aircraft wheels, but I will need to do some drybrushing to bring out the hub details as they sort of disappear under the black paint.

This is a nice set and presumably the wheels are drop on replacements for the kit wheels (I still need to pick up a Me 209 kit to use them on!).


Our Route Has Been Changed

Mon, 07/27/2020 - 20:50
Product Image Review Author:  Ben Morton Master Box Ltd

"Master Box Ltd. has a couple nice sets of plastic figures coming out. One of which is a pair of 1/24th scale modern infantry soldiers. Typical of Master Box, their figures are normally packaged in a setting. This one is called "Our route has been changed" and has two soldiers consulting a wrist mounted GPS/map pouch. One soldier is a female, which is nice to see for a modern look to the pair, and both are armed and wearing modern gear." Or, so says Mike Lamm from Austin Scale Modelers Society in Austin, Texas. (from the Austin club's newsletter, The Sprue Examiner). Not that he is wrong....

This release is the first in Master Box's Modern War Series and as mentioned depicts two modern U.S. soldiers in full battle regalia. Both soldiers (Corporal Jessica Johnson and Sergeant James Haberson) are equipped with the latest in U.S. Army issue with weapons, helmets, ammo pouches, radios, and even microphones molded as individual parts. There are some extra bits on the sprues that go unidentified, chief among them is an individual ballistic shield. 

Master Box doesn't provide any material for the weapon straps or the view port on the shield but your spares box should have something suitable to the task. Maybe some foil from a wine bottle (straps) or a piece of clear acetate (view port) will do?  The box art does have a facsimile of the gray toned pix elated camo uniform pattern for your use. Or you may consult your own resources for a pattern that suits.   

These 1/24th scale figures are divided into left and right legs, front and back torso, separate heads and arms. While the arms are separate parts there is a welcome exception. The arm(s) that hold the main weapon of each figure have an individual part for the fingers on that arm. This will help immensely with getting a realistic, proper grasp around said weapon.

There are three helmets on the sprues. One is an enhanced combat helmet (ECH) while the other two are the more common advance combat helmet (ACH). [Fun Fact: The ACH is being phased out in favor of the ECH.]

Individual weapons include a M4 carbine and a  B&T APC 9 (compact sub-machine gun) and three types of sidearms: an M9 Beretta (holstered and unholstered), what looks like a Glock 19 ( holstered and unholstered), and an empty combat holster.  The weapons suite seems to be lifted directly from Master Box Ltd. 'heist series'.  http://www.mbltd.info/figures/1-24-scale.html

All of the plastic parts from Master Box exhibit lots of excellent, crisp detail. If you choose, you will need to source insignia and unit markings from the aftermarket crowd as there is nothing in the box that fulfills that need. [Shameless Plug # 97: Archer Fine Transfers or Authentic Decals may be of service?]

Assembly begins with the torso and legs, to which you attach the arms. Some figure modelers will paint the head of their figures separately before placing them on the body. My training (expert tutelage from Bob Bethea) has been different and everything gets attached to the figure. After dealing with any fit issues and mold seams the figure is primed and then the painting can begin. 

I use acrylics to paint figures and there use almost requires that you securely attached the completed figure to a some sort of handle (working base). Otherwise the acrylics will just wear/rub off as you handle the figure during painting. I drill a hole in the foot of each figure, attached a metal, mounting pin and glue that pin into the working base. [Technical Note: working base is just a 2x2 piece of wood to which the figure is temporarily glued with a craft glue. I use Sobo.]

The legs on these modern military figures go together with barely a seam but the torso bits did present one that needed to be filled.  Nothing major. I added the arms next and carefully glued the separate fingers to the right arms so that they gripped the individual weapons properly.  With assembly completed all that is left to do is add some paint for the desired look. I did add an online image to the sergeants "Garmin"  to fill in that void.  I think that this pair only needs to ' turn left at Albuquerque' to get back on track.  [Fun Fact: If you get that joke, give yourself an extra point.]

These modern soldiers look great and have lovely sculpting and rather easy assembly. Master Box Ltd.'s inclusion of a female war fighter is a welcome addition to the scale figure market place. If there is a complaint it would be that they are in 1/24th scale and not 1/35th but that is just a quibble.

My thanks to Master Box Ltd. And IPMS/USA for the review copy

The Dark Age of Tanks – Britain’s Lost Armour 1945-1970

Mon, 07/27/2020 - 07:45
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Casemate Publishers

When I heard of this book, I really wanted to get it as so little is available on this post war period of British tank development. The title is a little misleading as it really refers to the fact that there is very little remaining documentation or prototypes remaining from this period. As the author points out much of the development during this period has been lost as documents and other records have been lost, destroyed or stowed away out of sight.


I have always been intrigued by the time in British tank development as so little can be found . This book opens up a lot of this hidden history for us to read and enjoy. This is a fascinating read and I learnt a lot of from it.

The book covers Heavy armor, Light armor, Infantry armor and Rockets attached to armor. The author must have spent a long time amassing so much data to be able to compile this book. I found the chapter on project Prodigal to be the most interesting. Also some of the more unusual ideas and developments like the P35 and GSOR 3038 very great to see and think about scratch building them.

I was impressed at the amount of information and history found in the pages of this extremely enjoyable book. The pictures along are worth the cost of the book. I will find this book an indispensable part of my library of reference books.

I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in British armor and modeling armor. I very much look forward to other releases in this series.

Thanks go to Casemate Publishing for providing this book to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them

S-100 CamCopter

Mon, 07/27/2020 - 07:35
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Hauler Brengun



Hauler/Brengun was founded in 1999 and produces scale plastic kits, resin kits and accessories, photo-etched details for kits and other accessories.  This kit of the Scheibel S-100 Camcopter is offered in three different scales: 1/72, 1/48, and 1/32.


The Schiebel Camcopter S-100 is an Austrian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) using a rotorcraft design.  The S-100 is also produced in partnership with Boeing.  Powered by a 55-hp Diamond engine, the S-100 can carry a wide variety of sensors such as electro-optics, infrared, moving target indication, and synthetic aperture radar.  An alternate engine that can use JP-5, Jet A-1, or JP-8 fuels instead of gasoline is also available.  The S-100 has a maximum speed of 130 kn and a ceiling of 18,000 feet.  Orders to date exceed 200 units.


The Kit


The Brengun 1/32 S-100 Camcopter consists of 12 pieces of gray resin and a photoetch fret with 19 pieces.  There are several options, so not all parts will be used.  A quick scan of the internet will display many more options that are available as it appears the basic platform is easy to modify. At first glance the resin looks well done and displays very nice detail, with only a few tiny bubbles on the belly of the airframe. There are decals for five Camcopters: Australian Navy; French Navy, Italian Navy, Canadian Coast Guard, and MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station that supports illegal aliens).




Your first task will be to identify which version you want to make.  Although the Red and White Canadian box-top variant featured on the box top was quite attractive, I selected the Australian Navy variant.  Make sure that you bathe the resin parts in soap and water for at least 20 seconds to meet CDC standards.  This effort will be important the make sure the resin is free of any mold-release (ask me how I know).  I also would recommend carefully using some painter's poly-fiber scouring pads to clean up the photo-etch, especially the rotor blades.   I used Scotch-Brite Light Duty Cleansing Pads (White) and they worked perfectly.


I used a fine tooth razor saw to separate the front and rear fuselage from their pour blocks.  I then carefully sanded to obtain an optimum fit.  Brengun did an excellent job here as the front and rear mated easily with a supportive lip.  What you will need to correct is that the rear fuselage is deeper than the front fuselage.  Judicious sanding with a Flexi-File tape brought it back into shape.  The sanding revealed a few air bubbles, but they were easily solved with baking powder and super glue.  Sanding again before the super glue hardened made these small bubbles disappear.  I used a series of carbide drills to drill the exhaust a bit deeper.


Next up was inserting the main landing struts.  If you place these in their respective slots, you will find that they stand out more than they should, so again some careful sanding got them to look just right.  You want to sand and test fit often to make sure you get just the right fit.  Once you have the landing struts properly aligned, superglue the horizontal stabilizer to the vertical tail. I used Lego blocks to assure that everything was square with the fuselage. 


I deviated from the instruction and mounted part of the rotor assembly (R7) directly to the top of the fuselage.  I then used several successive carbide drill bits to open up the center of R7 to allow easy fitting of the upper rotor head (R6) and blade assembly.  Both the main rotor and tail rotor needed the opening for the photo-etched blades widened and here I used my trusty fine tooth razor saw until I could fully insert the rotor blades.

Assembling the intake photo-etch was up next. It is important to make sure that the sides of any of the horizontal photo-etch parts have no burrs on them as the fit is tight.  I grabbed some Blu-Tack (see photo below) and aligned the two vertical photo-etch parts (PE13).  I then carefully inserted the top and bottom horizontal parts (PE7 and PE12), made sure everything was square, and then added the remaining horizontal photo-etch parts.  I test fitted the assembly into the main fuselage and it fit perfectly.  Perhaps, to perfectly. I wasn't able to get it back out thinking I was going to damage it and so it stayed.  In the future, I will paint it first and then insert it after I've painted the intake screen an aluminum color.  I did assemble the intake shield (PE4) and secure it to the fuselage, but in the end, I just liked the kit without it and I did find photo evidence of a black airframe without it.  I did find that this intake shield does fit well to the curve of the fuselage and is really not to difficult o fold properly.


You get a choice of two different sensors or a flat plate for no sensor.  I selected part R11 to go with the Australian version.  I used a razor saw to remove it from the resin sprue and then carefully sanded it down till the base was flat.  It fit very well into the fuselage receptacle (I even thought about not gluing it in, but in the end I did).  The final parts to add were all photoetch, the two pitot tubes (PE5), the dorsal tail antenna (PE2), and the three ventral antennas (PE3 and two PE14).


Painting & Decals


I primed the rotor blades while still on the photoetch fret with Tamiya Fine Surface Primer and set aside to dry.  I primed the main airframe assembly with Tamiya Gloss Black.   Even though the internet photographs depict the airframe as a shiny black, on the model, it just didn't look right.  I tested a few different blacks and in the end, I went with a Vallejo Rubber Black.  The rotor blades and tail antennae were painted Vallejo Off-White.  The rotor hubs and pitot tubes, were painted various Vallejo Metal Colors to get different shades.  I painted the sensor lenses Vallejo Metal Color White Aluminum and once dry with Vallejo Transparent Green.  Once the Transparent Green was dry, I put several layers of Future on the lenses.  I followed up with a series of Vallejo washes and Tamiya Panel Line Accent Colors.  I used Tamiya's Light Gray accent color on the rotor blades and was quite pleased.  I used some artistic license and washed the exhaust with Vallejo Game Wash 73-204, Flesh Wash.  The real thing is still shiny black, but I think it looks better with a brownish tint.


Decaling was up next.  I brushed on Future everywhere where decals were going to go and let dry for two days. I was impressed with the decal quality. You can easily read all of the stencil text and it's not miss-spelled.  My only issue was putting on the Kangaroo decal on the starboard side.  I used Solvaset too soon and the decal moved before I caught it. I used Vallejo Off-White to touch up the decal, but it's still rotated, which I left alone.  It was then that the pitot tubes left the building.  I had used superglue to secure them, but now that they are gone, I would suggest using the photo-etch sprue attachment point to enhance its attachment to the resin fuselage.  One can easily drill a small hole to accept the sprue and probably lessen the pitot tubes from vanishing.  Good thing I took pictures before they vanished for proof!



Overall Evaluation


Even at under 5" in length, this is a nice multi-media kit. I would recommend that one be sure to have the appropriate tools on hand. This would include a razor saw and small tweezers.  I'm planning on buying this kit out of my own pocket to do it again, in Canadian markings.  While this may not be a kit for the novice due to the small photoetch parts, it would be fine for those with any experience under the belt. I mentioned earlier that this kit is also available in 1/72 and 1/48 if you  need, but 1/32 seems to be just about right, size-wise.  I've included a 54mm (~1/32) "Zombie Hunter" figure to give you an idea of the size of this kit. 


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


Highly Recommended !


Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035

Pacific Adversaries Volume 2: Imperial Japanese Navy vs The Allies

Mon, 07/27/2020 - 07:20
Product Image Review Author:  Bill Kluge Avonmore Books

In this second installment of John Claringbould's accounts of aerial combat between Japanese and Allied air forces, here he presents Japanese Naval Air Force operations in the Solomons and New Guinea from 1942 to 1944 (Vol. 1 covers Imperial Japanese Army Air Force engagements in New Guinea during the same period). The author takes a unique approach in presenting these accounts, providing insight for individual encounters through the eyes of each protagonist based on thorough research of each side's official records, eyewitness testimony, personal narratives and diaries, and on some occasions evidence obtained from wreckage discovered years after the events depicted.


Instead of being an overview of the Solomons and New Guinea campaigns, each of the 15 chapters covers a particular engagement where good documentary evidence is available from both sides. While some of the stories cover well known events, such as the heavy 5th Air Force raid on Rabaul on November 2, 1943, many of the stories describe lesser known engagements, such as the first nighttime interception of RAAF Catalinas over Rabaul by Claudes and Zeros in February, 1942, or an unusual combat four months later between two reconnaissance aircraft - an RAAF Hudson and a Japanese four engine Mavis flying boat. His research often debunks the overzealous "kill" claims of each side by comparing the official mission records of each participating unit. Several of the stories provide follow up information highlighting the participants postwar lives, shed light on cases of disappeared aircraft or airmen, or efforts to retrieve and return remains to families.


Each chapter is accompanied by several profile illustrations of the aircraft involved. Altogether nearly 50 individual aircraft are shown, most with a single left side view, but several with three views (front/top/side). The book is lavishly illustrated with period photos, some in color, as well as several from more recent expeditions to find and/or recover aircraft relics in the swamps and jungles of the New Guinea and the Solomon Island battlefields. Also included are a number of illustrations depicting the events described in the narrative.


Michael Claringbould is a well known Australian writer and historian, having grown up in Papua New Guinea near Port Moresby. He has assisted MIA recovery teams from the US and Japan, and has provided research assistance and accompanied aircraft wreck discovery teams in New Guinea and the Solomons. He is also an exceptionally competent digital illustrator, providing all the illustrations and profiles in this book.


This small volume provides an excellent cross section of visual and written information describing  combat between the Japanese Naval Air Force and Australian and American Navy and Army Air Force units in the South Seas area during the first two years of the Pacific War. Thanks to Casemate Publishing and IPMS for the opportunity to review this excellent book.


Mon, 07/27/2020 - 07:13
Product Image Review Author:  Brian R. Baker Pen and Sword Books Ltd


This book is the second in a series on jet fighter development.  Their first book dealt with jet fighter development in the U.S., Britain, Germany, and Italy through the end of World War II.  The text explained the backgrounds and conditions resulting in the emerging of the various designs, and the subsequent postwar developments of these aircraft.

This second volume deals with the aircraft not covered in depth in Volume 1, including Germany, the Soviet Union, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Switzerland, Argentina, and Japan.  Of course, much of the jet development in Eastern Europe came about as a result of German engineering progress, while many German designers left Germany after the war to work in other countries, including the U.S., the Soviet Union, and Argentina. It is interesting to note that the French designer Dewoitine, due to his work with German controlled firms in France during the war, had to escape to South America where he continued in aviation long after the end of the war. Kurt Tank also worked in Argentina.

Before I started reading this book, I thought I knew a lot about wartime and early postwar jet fighters. Wrong!  The author not only describes and discusses the better known production models, but all of the prototypes developed by various companies either for production aircraft or aerodynamic research vehicles, and provides good pictures of them.   Another factor is the coverage of European types that used British jet engines, especially the Russians, who started out using German engines but wound up buying engines from the British, probably due to kinship felt between the British Socialist Labour (sic) Party, which was then in control after VE Day, and the Russian Communists.  Of course, the British later woke up, and allied themselves with NATO against the Russians.  But that is another story.

One particularly important feature of this book is the large number of good photographs included in the book. At least one, and usually two or more, good photos are provided for each aircraft, most of which would be useful for anyone wishing to build a model of any of these aircraft.  There is no color included, but the black and white photos are very impressive. Even the photos of the Russian planes are reproduced well, even though the author quotes one historian as stating that, according to the photos,  the Russians only built "blurry" airplanes.

The author goes into a lot of detail showing the development of the various nations' fighter development, devoting no less than 48 pages to Soviet aircraft and 31 pages to French types. Even neutral countries, like Sweden and Switzerland, are covered in detail.

Probably the most impressive thing about this book is the coverage of the large number of prototypes and "also rans" which are not included in most aviation history books.  When I received this book, I immediately began reading it, and couldn't put it down until I was finished.  It was great and informative reading, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in early jet fighter development.  Don't miss out on this one.

Thanks to Pen and sword and the IPMS gang for the review copy.  


Cent'anni di Aviazione Navale (Italian Naval Aviation: The first 100 years 1913-2013 )

Mon, 07/27/2020 - 00:21
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Aviation Collectibles

Aviation Collectables Company is an Italian publishers specializing in Italian aviation titles.  Titles include Il Thunderjet in Italia, G/80/G/82, Tornado IDS/ECR, SB2C-5 Helldiver, C-130J Super Hercules, T-33A/RT-33A Shooting Star, G.222, F-86K Sabre Jet, and AMX Ghibli.  This volume, Cent'anni di Aviazione Navale, was produced for the Centenary Celebration of the Italian Navy in cooperation with the Command of the Air Forces of the Navy.


Unlike Aviation Collectables other monograph titles, this volume celebrates the 100th Anniversary of Italian Naval Aviation.  This is a square back soft cover that includes 128 gloss paper pages.  The text is in two columns, one in Italian and one in English.  All picture captions are also bi-lingual.  I counted 165 color pictures and 23 black and white photographs. You will also find 169 color patches and insignia.  There are also ten aviation color side profiles by Mauro Cini.


Stefano Reduzzi kicks this history off with early pioneer Mario Calderara who became Italy's first licensed pilot. Mario Calderara built the first Italian Naval aircraft, achieving flight on June 8, 1912.  Admiral Thaon Revel officially instituted the Royal Navy Aviation Service Regia Marina on August 25, 1913.  Subsequent chapters lead the reader from World War I all the way up to the 2013.  This includes a preview of the future (as of 2013) inclusion of the Lockheed F-35B Lightning II.  The bulk of this volume is focused on the Italian Navy's rotary wing aircraft and their unit histories and there is nice healthy section on their current fixed with component of Harriers.  The Navy's goal is to replace the aging AV-8B+ Harrier II but political battles between the Italian Air Force and the Italian Navy are ongoing.  The two Appendixes cover the 2013 Italian Naval aircraft and ship specifications in service.  The sections include:



One Hundred Years of Naval Aviation: The Origins [Page 9]

The Postwar Years

The Rotary Wing

The Fixed Wing

Recent Years: The COMFORAER

The Future [Page 29]

Structure and Central Organization The 6th Aircraft Division (AER) of Navy's HQ


Tasks and Current Organization

CINCAV's Air Forces Comand (COMFORAER)


Tasks and Current Structure

COMFORAER Heli-Assault

Operational Information Bureau

Peripheral Organization and Structure

Luni Naval Air Station

1st Helicopters Groups [Page 53]

5th Helicopters Groups

Catania Naval Air Station

Deployable Operating Base (D.O.B.) Pantelleria

2nd Helicopters Groups [Page 71]

3rd Helicopters Groups

Grottaglie Naval Air Station

4th Helicopters Groups

4th Helicopters Groups Heli-Assault Department

Carrier Aircraft Group [Page 103]

Air Section P.180

Aircraft Operational Task Summary [Table]

Appendix 1 - Aircrafts

Appendix 2 - Ships




I found many sections of this story very interesting, but one stood out. This section was on Air Section P.180 as the Italian Navy acquired three twin turboprop Piaggio P.180 Avantis for reconnaissance, maritime patrol, ambulance, cargo, and VIP support.  The three aircraft have been set up to be able to change missions as quickly as two hours.


I was able to read this book over several nights, with a lot of time studying the photographs.  Both the contemporary and modern color photographs are clear and well printed and support the text well. This volume certainly gives the reader a good perspective of the first one hundred years Italian Navy Aviation.  Models are available for most of the fixed wing aircraft covered from the Macchi M.5 seaplane, to the Curiss SB2C Helldiver, up to the AV-8V+ / TAV-8B Harrier II.  Rotor-Heads are also able to participate with Augusta-Bell AB.212s, Augusta -Westland EH-101s, and Sikorsky SH-3 Sea Kings.  Caracal Models, CTA Models, and Tauro Model decals are available for Italian Navy markings.


My thanks to Aviation Collectables Company, Casemate Publishing, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.


Highly recommended!


Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035


AMX Ghibli

Mon, 07/27/2020 - 00:11
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Novosad Aviation Collectibles

Introduction-From Wikipedia
The AMX International AMX is a ground attack aircraft jointly developed by Brazil and Italy. The AMX is designated A-11 Ghibli by the Italian Air Force and A-1 by the Brazilian Air Force. The Italian name, "Ghibli", is taken from the hot dry wind of the Libyan desert. 

During the early 1970s, Italian manufacturer Aermacchi conducted a design study on a prospective light ground attack aircraft, which was given the designation of MB-340. During early 1977, the Italian Air Force issued a requirement for 187 new-build strike fighters, which were to replace its existing Aeritalia G.91 in the close air supportt. During 1980, the Brazilian government announced that they intended to participate in the program in order to provide a replacement for the Aermacchi MMB-326. As a result of a memorandum between Italy and Brazil for the type's joint development in 1981, AMX International, an Italian-Brazilian joint venture, was formed to develop, manufacture, and market the aircraft. 

The text is in Italian and English.  Almost all the pages include color images of Italian Air Force AMX in flight or on the tarmac. There are two pages of color profiles of the standard camouflage scheme, for both single- and two-seat versions.

Introduction-This is a brief discussion on the history and philosophy behind the need for the AMX multi-purpose aircraft.

Origin and Development-In the mid-70's the Italian Air Force began its planning for a multi-purpose aircraft to replace its aging fleet of G.91's and F-104G's and to supplement the Panavia Tornado. Several then current aircraft were evaluated, however none met the criteria required. During the defination phase of the design planning there were contacts between the Italian Air Force and the Royal Swedish Air Force. In late 1979 the Swedes abandoned their involvment to focus their efforts on what would later become the JAS-39 Gripen. Almost the same time the Swedes were leaving the project Brazil expressed interest as a co-venture partner.

AMX ACOL-This section covers the various upgrades of the aircraft. Weapons and avionics are detailed.

In service with Italian Air Force-This is the major portion of this publication and covers the acceptance, training, air bases and crashes.  Along with the crashes were the inevitable grounding of the aircraft to resolve engine issues that had lead to the accidents. 

AMX at war-The AMX particpated in the air wars over Bosnia, Afganistan and Libya. In all theaters the AMX accounted itself well and delivered various ordinance on targets.

Modeler's notes-At the time of the publication there was only a single model kit available: the Polish-made Warrior Model kit in 1/72nd scale. I checked the publication date and found this edition was first published in 2012.  Since that time several main stream kit manufacturers have made kits available. The Warrior kit is a resin kit. This chapter deals with the assembly and painting of that kit. An image of the completed model is shown on page 60.

Modeler's details-Two pages of up close images of various exterior details that will prove beneficial to scale modeles.
Technical Data, weaponry and serials-we have a single page of three schedules that address technical data, armament and sensors, and aircraft serial numbers. The armament and sensors data should prove informative for those who wish to model an Italian AMX Ghibli.
Acknowledgements and Bibliography-These are primarily Italian sources from 2012.

Reviewer's Comments
Hobby Boss and Kinetic both now offer 1/48th scale kits of the AMX in single-  and two-seat configurations. Kits are available as ground attack or trainer versions with plenty of underwing stores. I built the Kinetic single seat version kit number 48026 several years ago. If I had this publication on hand I would have added more detail to the build. The photos contained within this publication offer a wealth of detail that modelers will appreciate. 

I found the various color images very informative for details and special colors that would be of interest to the scale modeler. The addition of various underwing stores is also a valued resource for the scale modeler. This publication is a great reference for those interested in adding an AMX Ghibli to their collection. Very highly recommended.

My thanks to Casemate Publications and IPMS USA for the opportuunity to review and add this publication to my reference library.

Meatballs and Dead Birds; A Photo Gallery of Destroyed Japanese Aircraft in World War II.

Sun, 07/26/2020 - 00:34
Product Image Review Author:  Brian R. Baker Stackpole Books


The author of this book,  James P. Gallagher, was Communications Officer with the 49th Fighter Group, U.S. Army Air Forces, which operated in the Philippines towards the end of the war, and later relocated to mainland Japan with the occupation forces.  Gallagher had been a prize winning photographer when he was in college, and managed to carry a camera with him throughout his military career. One problem was that he was aboard an Australian bomber flying in the Philippines when the plane went down, and he lost his camera.  Fortunately, he was able to write home, and his brother located another camera and sent it to him, so he could continue his work.  All of his work was done with a 120 camera.

Anyone who was associated with a combat aviation unit at that time period would have had access to a substantial number of wrecked or captured Japanese aircraft. Having an officer's rank, Gallagher pretty much had the free run of anywhere he was, and had the opportunity to photograph any airplane he saw.

Not many men had this situation and Gallagher exploited it to the max.  He was, of course, familiar with the aircraft and with what we knew about them, having access to all of the manuals, then restricted, so he knew what to look for.  He photographed each type thoroughly, taking overall and detail photos of the planes as they sat abandoned at their former airfields, awaiting their bulldozer's fate. I'd like to see his entire collection of photos.

He goes through each aircraft type, sometimes even providing a photo of the manufacturer's plate, which being in Japanese, isn't too useful.  He did run across a couple of captured aircraft, a Curtiss P-40E and an RAF Douglas DB-7B, while touring an airbase in Japan, and wondered about how they got there.  One thing that is particularly useful in the book is his description of the paint scheme and markings on the aircraft, and especially the weathering of the Japanese paints.

Types he covers in detail include the Zero, Betty, Val, Nell, Dinah, Tony, Lily, Ann, Sonia, Kate, Ki-100 (Tony II), Suicide Planes, Irving, Myrt, Francis, Frank, Nakajima Ki-87, Peggy, and Jack.   In addition, he includes a lot of photos of groups of aircraft stored in various conditions.  Of course, one of the first things that happened to enemy aircraft when our people took control is that the planes were rendered inoperable, and this usually meant the removal of the propellers, although there are some photos of planes with the props still attached.

One particularly interesting plane shown is a Japanese-built "wooden B-29" decoy, propped up and painted to look like a downed aircraft.  They apparently had it surrounded with  anti-aircraft guns, so that if a fighter pilot spotted it, and came down to destroy it, the sneaky SOB's would try to shoot him down. He didn't notice any bomb craters nearby, so apparently it didn't work. But it makes an interesting story. 

One excellent feature of this book is the explanations that go along with each aircraft or group of aircraft.  He tells how the fighter pilots in his unit felt about each aircraft, and how they stacked up against a P-38.  I think he had a lot of love for the P-38, but that is understandable.  A good P-38 pilot could take on any Japanese plane and expect to come out best.

In short, this is a book that anyone interested in World War II aviation should definitely have.  It is interesting reading, and the photos are definitely useful in model building.  That is not to mention dioramas, which every photo in the book depicts. 

There are two editions of this book.  The first was a hardback book which came out in 1972.  I bought one about that time.  Then, in 2004, a second edition came out, which repeated most of the material from the first edition, but also added some combat pictures taken by attack bombers or fighters showing enemy airfields. I have both, and will keep both, as they are a definite asset to my library.  

I would highly recommend this book, as it is not the usual type airplane book, and I have found it very useful in modeling over the years.  Highly recommended.