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Updated: 5 hours 46 min ago

: Atlantis White-Fruehauf gas truck

Tue, 07/14/2020 - 00:26
Product Image Review Author:  Rod Lees Atlantis Model Company

IPMS/USA appreciates the continued support of Atlantis Models for supporting the IPMS USA reviewer corps with another step back in time for us old guys!

Atlantis Models continues their release schedule of one more kit I did not remember being on the shelves in my younger years.  This Tractor/Trailer is advertised as a multiple use model, for both civilian and Military use.  Included in the box are bright green injection molded parts, and a decal sheet for "Dino the Dinosaur", company mascot for the Sinclair oil company. 

I found this particularly intriguing, as one of my favorite gasoline companies when I was living in Rapid City, South Dakota was Sinclair oil company with it's trademark Dino the dinosaur.  If you are familiar with the "Dinosaur park" on one of the hilltops overlooking "Bacon Park" in Rapid city, you know their largest concrete statue of the many dinosaurs memorialized from the "badlands" fossils found to the East of Rapid City is a large Brontosaur, or "Dino". 

Yes, I'm easily amused.  And used to have a large inflatable "Dino" as well.  Who would not envy such a cool toy? 


On to the kit...  The parts are extremely well detailed, accurate in fit, and produce one model.  The fuel tanker trailer is removable, and has opening doors on the side to access the fuel valves and distribution manifold.  Fuel lines are prevalent on the underside of the trailer, and the lower chassis includes forward extended trailer roller braces for assisting connection to the fifth wheel in real life, and an eight tire rolling truck with brake accumulators and leaf spring details. 

The tank fits perfectly onto the lower trailer chassis, with a ladder leading to the six upper tank maintenance covers.  The ladder for the back of the tank is a mandatory accessory for tank inspection and filling. Detail on the tail of the trailer includes brake lights and turn signal lights. 

.  The Tractor is a cab-over, and if you construct it correctly during assembly, it will hinge forward to allow access to a detailed engine, transmission, battery, and basic chassis with dual rear wheels under the fifth wheel plate.  A steering wheel, bench seats, and a couple of instrument recessions are included, although (common at the time) no clear parts are included.  Two rear view mirrors and one set of horns (which I drilled out with a #11 blade) for the cab roof are also provided


After painting the model overall with flat black spray automotive primer, I filled in a few sink marks on the fuel tank sides, and then carefully (and lightly) sprayed several light coats of yellow gloss paint over the entire model.  I had masked off the cab interior, and ended up touching up the black paint inside.  Wheels off for this part!


Let's spend a moment on the wheels and tires.  There are 14 of these boogers, and if you dislike repetitive repair as much as I do, you will be crawling the walls with these.  The wheels were single part items, with detailed wheel faces for the outer wheel and tire assemblies.  I had painted them overall yellow, and realized afterwards I should have masked the tires first, because gloss paint over flat primer without misting it on will result in (1) paint film shrinkage and (2) cracks in the gloss color coat.  Several of the tires therefore had radial cracks in the flat black applied over the tires, requiring minute but difficult touch up.   This is just an "old man who knows better by experience" afterthought for y'all for future efforts.   I had used a circle cutter for the first time to make yellow masking tape discs to mask off the wheels, and that part actually worked pretty well.  

After the vehicle chassis had dried a few days, I pressed the wheels on the axles.  In retrospect I'd HIGHLY recommend you test fit first to ensure they will press over the axle boss... I almost destroyed the trailer with the amount of pressure I applied, and this was not necessary. 

Using some clear plastic from a vacform blister container from Eduard (save these for "free" clear sheets!) ensured I had glass in the rear and side cab locations.  I left the door panel glass "rolled down" (you younger guys don't know what I am talking about, huh?) and tried to "force form" a windshield.  No go... but it's mostly there. 

You may want to do this yourself with a vacform and rudimentary balsa armature.  But maybe not.  I don't see any aftermarket showing up over this anytime soon.

I did not apply the decals, as I'm still searching for detail pictures showing this truck being used on a flight line with large aircraft.  In the interim, I have a 1/48 tanker to use for a visiting B-36 to be refueled.  My experience with Atlantis decals is they work great... but I don't need a Sinclair decal on my AGE fuel truck. 


Well done Atlantis, and please continue to bring out the older kits.   I'm preordering when possible... and the prices are particularly welcome, especially in cases such as the T-56 Turboprop... It's great fun to enjoy the hobby again with some good-'ol old time modeling. 

Q-Men JF-20 Mighty Dragon Q-Plane Series 01

Mon, 07/13/2020 - 23:58
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell Kitty Hawk

Q-Men (part of Kitty Hawk) has released an Egg plane type kit with a Lego Style figure Pilot. This of the latest Chinese 5th Gen fighter the JF-20 Mighty Dragon. The kit can be built in one of two schemes.

In the box is; 

  • 2 x Bright red and grey Sprues
  • 1 x Clear Sprue
  • 1 x Green Sprue
  • 1 x Decal sheet
  • 1 x 3D printed Pilot head
  • 1x Instruction booklet

The sprues are well molded with no flash and great surface detail. The 3D printed pilot head is a great addition to the Lego style figure included.


This is a very simple and straightforward build.

First is the construction of the fuselage and tail. The cockpit is minimal with just decals to add details. There was no color callout for the cockpit but from the internet pictures it appears to be dark grey so I painted it that way. You do need to be very careful installing parts B5/B7 and B6/B4 as they need to be aligned to ensure no visible gaps once assembled.

Next is the landing gear and underside details. Parts B9 and B10 are opposite to the way they should be installed. The front landing gear hole needs to be enlarged for installation. The Lego style figure is next to be assembled, and the only thing to do is enlarge the hole in the head to be able to install it correctly.  

The decals are next and are very good quality.

I didn't need to paint much as I wanted the Bright red version commemorating the anniversary of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army. The only painting I did was the cockpit, the bright metallic red details, and the pilot's boots 


This was a very nice, simple kit and was fun to build. I will now look for more in this series for my stash.

Thanks go to Q-Men for providing this kit to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it.

Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix Car and its Variants

Mon, 07/13/2020 - 23:23
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Pen & Sword

The origin of Pen and Sword Books is closely linked with its sister company, the Barnsley Chronicle; one of the UK's oldest provincial newspapers - established in 1858 - and one of the few weeklies still in private ownership.  The first books published by the company were in response to public demand following of a series of articles published in the newspaper:- Dark Peak Aircraft Wrecks told the story of crash sites in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park, and a further weekly feature on the history of two Kitchener battalions, known as the Barnsley Pals, aroused a thirst for more information. Following on from the success of Dark Peak Wrecks and Barnsley Pals books, a number of local history paperbacks were produced along with a series of battlefield guide books. Battleground Europe proved immediately successful and as more and more titles were produced the company made the decision to launch a book publishing arm of the group.  The company acquired the Leo Cooper military history imprint and "Pen and Sword" was born. Leo Cooper, the husband of the famous novelist Jilly, had established a strong reputation for publishing military history titles and had some famous books in his list. With the Leo Cooper imprint and its backlist, Pen and Sword became established as one of the UK's leading military history publishers.  With over 350 books published every year, Pen and Sword has established itself as a specialist book publisher.

Lance Cole is a journalist and the author of over a dozen books. He has written features and news items for many of the major automotive and aviation titles. He has also been a columnist with the Daily Telegraph, The Independent and the South China Post. A former Sir William Lyons Scholar, and national press columnist, Lance is also a trained designer, photographer and illustrator. His books include Bugatti Blue, Vickers VC10, Secrets of the Spitfire, Saab Cars, and The Classic Car Adventure. Lance has worked in car design and he has restored several classic cars. He has off-road and 4x4 driving experience in Jeeps and Land-Rovers in Africa and Australia.

Pen and Sword Books first entry in this new Car Craft series is a square back soft cover includes 64 gloss paper pages. Future volumes in this series will feature the Jaguar E-Series and the Porche 911.  The cover features color photographs of Amalgam's 1/8 Type 35 (Top), the twin filler caps of the Type 51 (Center Left), Mike Marshall's Type 35 in action (Center Middle), the wider radiator of later Bugattis (Center Right), and a color profile of Rene Dreyfus' Bugatti Type 35B that won the 1930 Monaco Grand Prix.  The rear cover features three models of the Bugatti, including the Amalgam 1/8 Type 35 
(Top), the Art Auto 1/8 Type 35 (Center), and the Airfix 1/32 Type 35B.  I counted 93 color pictures and 39 black and white photographs. There are also twelve color illustrations, primarily side profiles, by Charles Duggan.

The Bugatti Type 35 was first introduced to racing at the August 3, 1924 Grand Prix of Lyon.  An evolution of the Bugatti Type 13 Brescia, the Type 35 was by far the most successful Bugatti racer.  In its heyday, the Bugatti was winning an average of 14 races a week that led to the Bugatti winning over 1,000 races in its career.  The Bugatti Type 35 won the Targa Florio five years in a row from 1925 through 1929, an open road endurance race through the mountains of Sicily.

The sections include:


Original: The Brilliant Bugattis

A Bugatti Car 

Type 13 to Brescia

Brescia - The Precursor

Design by Detail

Body & Chassis [Page 11]







Development & Variants

Bugatti Type 35 and Derivatives / Variants 1924-1931

Type 35 2.0 litre

Type 35A 2.0 litre

Type 35C 2.0 litre Supercharged

Type 35T  2.3 litre

Type 35TC/Type B 2.3 litre Supercharged

Type 37 1.5 litre, Four Cylinder

Type 37A 1.5 litre, Four Cylinder Supercharged

Type 39 1.5 litre, Eight Cylinder

Type 39A 1.5 litre, Eight Cylinder Supercharged

Type 43 2.3 litre, Eight Cylinder Supercharged

Type 51 2.3 litre, Eight Cylinder Supercharged

Type 54

Type 59

Technical Specification Bugatti Type 35B

Motor Sport Legend

The Famous Drivers Who Drove These Cars To Success Included: [Table]

Women at the Wheel

Snapshot of Key Events in the Type 35's Motor Sport Record

'Genie' [Page 33]

Color Illustrations by Charles Duggan [Page 39]

Amalgram Collection (Bristol, UK) Bugatti Type 35 (1926) 1/8 Scale [Page 43]

Art Auto Collection (J-P Fontenelle, Vichy, France) Bugatti Type 35 (1934) 1/8 Scale

Monogram (USA) Bugatti Type 35B 1/24 Scale

Revival (Italy) Bugatti Type 35B 1/20 Scale

Modeling the Bugatti [Page 59]

Type 35 Models [Table]

Acknowledgements / References

I found it quite interesting that the Bugatti Type 35 was not an inexpensive car for its day.  Only the very well to-do could afford a Bugatti racer as they were priced at the cost of a very large home in London.  That's not to say that you couldn't get a Bugatti that looked like the Type 35 as Ettore Bugatti did not hesitate to sell a less powerful and cheaper version to those that just had to have one.

Lance Cole kicks off Pen & Sword's new Car Craft series with an excellent overview of the Bugatti Type 35.  He ably addresses the design and development of the Bugatti Type 35 followed by coverage of the Type's dominance in racing that would not be eclipsed for decades.  Cole also covers the Type 35 variations and development offshoots, some that had success, some that failed.  Those devoted to the Type 35 continue their love even today where Bugatti's are still raced despite their rarity.  Cole also covers all of the major models of the Type 35 from the expensive 1/8 scale metal kits to the Airfix and Monogram injected kits.  The combination of color and period black and white photographs provides plenty of material for the Type 35 modeler.  I was able to read this easily over three nights.  The modeler is well served as there is a good ratio of action and detail photographs of the Bugatti Type 35.

My thanks to Pen & Sword Books Ltd., Casemate Publishing, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

Enrico Toti Class Submarine

Sat, 07/11/2020 - 13:29
Product Image Review Author:  Allan Murrell OKB Grigorov

OKB Grigorov has provided yet another very submarine in this case it's the Italian Navy's in the Enrico Toti Class Submarine. These were built in the 1960's and were the first submarines designed and built in Italy since the second world war. They were designed as hunter killers and powered by a diesel-electric engine. They were very similar to the famous German type 205's. They saw service from 1965 to 1993.

Inside the box are two resin parts and one Photo Etch Sheet

The detail quality is great; The parts are very delicate and need careful removal from the resin bases. There was no instruction sheet provided, this was not a problem as it was a simple build. The Assembly is quick and easy. The photoetch stand is an awesome addition to the kit.

The final part is painting. This is has joined my some navy of these great kits and I really enjoy building these and they make a wonderful display all lined up.

Thanks go to OKB for providing this kit to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them

Portuguese Dragoons 1966-1974. The Return to Horseback

Sat, 07/11/2020 - 13:20
Product Image Review Author:  Luke R. Bucci PhD Helion & Company

Thanks to Casemate Publishing & IPMSUSA for the review copy!

John P. Cann has written nine titles on Portugal's colonial actions in Angola. This book is part of Helion & Company's Africa@War Series - #42. John Cann is a Research Fellow and retired Professor of National Security Studies at Marine Corps University (www.usmcu.edu) in Quantico, Virginia. John Cann acknowledged the generous help of Lieutenant Colonel (Cavalry) Miguel Freire and Colonel (Cavalry) Paulo Manuel Madeira de Athayde Banazol for their help. In other words, the author learned about this topic from the horses' mouths, so to speak.

What You Get

An 11 11/16 X 8 1/4 inch softcover book of 96 pages (not counting covers) with color covers and four pages (i-iv) of eight color illustrations and photos in the middle. The book is chock-full of B&W photos and illustrations (~105), with 19 maps, the first being of Africa currently so the reader can keep track of locations. A large list of abbreviations and a short Acknowledgement go right into the brief Introduction, followed by five chapters, Selected Bibliography and Notes.

As a kid growing up watching the nightly news, the Angolan conflicts were mentioned, but details were scanty and the major interest was yet another Communist intervention (including Fidel Castro) at the time of the Vietnam War. This book helps sort out what was really going on in Angola during 1966-1974, and what Portugal did to keep hold of their colony with military action, specifically unusual tactics.

A history of Portugal from prehistoric times to the 1960s proved fascinating and gave important background to understand the courses of action outlines in this book. It is a short history of horse cavalry in general and Portuguese national history. This perspective helps to understand why Portugal used cavalry instead of "modern" equipment. The history of Portugal as a small but feisty colonial nation mixing it up with bigger European countries to carve up the world into their possessions in order to secure raw materials for growth and supremacy is something seldom considered, but is at the root of each soldier's lives and deaths.

The history of Portugal taking and defending its colonial African possession is given plenty of coverage, and goes into history of cavalry actions and why Portugal decided to use horses in 1966.

This book presents and analyzes the use of cavalry by Portuguese military in Angola from 1966-1974. The politics were complicated, and the factions numerous and ever-changing, but the focus is strictly on military training and action, not geopolitics.

Successes and failures were given equal attention so that military lessons can be learned, regardless of what is transporting the troops. The term dragoon defines horse-mounted infantry, with peculiar logistical needs and advantages for certain geographies. Cost of maintaining a war was only one reason to use dragoons - staying close to the indigenous people and troop mobility denied to other modes of transportation were other reasons.

The part I found interesting was the exceptional attention to training dragoons by Portugal throughout history, culminating in relatively modern warfare usage. The human-animal bond was another large part of being a dragoon. Ultimately, the logistics of providing feed and water to horses and mules was a major limiting factor for modern application of horse cavalry in military operations. Opponents learned to target the horses instead of the mounted troops for countering dragoons.


This quick-read book is an excellent abbreviated history of cavalry use and tactics from olden times up to today. Strengths and weaknesses of horse-mounted infantry (dragoons) was thoroughly explained and determined in actual war operations. In the right setting, dragoons can make sense for limited military operations, even now. Recommended if you like obscure military topics, cavalry, asymmetric forces, colonial domination and indigenous struggles for returning control of their lands.

AFV Club M60A2 Early Type AF35238

Sat, 07/11/2020 - 12:01
Product Image Review Author:  David Dodge AFV Club

Intro The M60A2 early type by AFV Club is another one of their M60 series of vehicles including the M60A1, M60A3, M60A2Early and later and the M728 CEV as well as several Foreign subjects based on the M60 series of tanks.  The M60A2 early includes sprues from the common components of the hull and turret and running gear.  M60A2 specific components are included to model the right vehicle.  In this case the Gun barrel with the bore evacuator and the M60A2 turret and assemblies.


The ARCOVE report published in January 1958 recommended a major effort be directed toward the development by 1965 of a guided missile weapon system for future main battle tanks.  Thus set in motion the development of the Combat Vehicle Weapons System Shillelagh (CVWS) which consisted of the 152mm XM81 gun launcher. This could fire conventional projectiles or the XM13 missile.  The conventional projectiles had a completely combustible case and primer.  The XM13 Shillelagh missile was ejected from the tank and a solid rocket motor propelled the missile to the target under the infrared line of sight guidance system.  Development proceeded during the early 1960's and in July 1965 the M60A1E1 was type classified and 243 M1A1E1 turrets were procured with 1966 fiscal year funds and an additional 300 tanks were purchased with FY1967 funds.  These were later standardized as the 152mm gun Full Tracked Combat Tank M60A2. Army figures show 540 M60A2 tanks produced.  The consumable cartridge cases did not completely burn and left hot gasses and residue inside the breech, slowing the loading of subsequent rounds.  This was addressed by fitting the closed breech scavenging system (CBSS).  This was a high pressure compressed air system that injected 1000PSI air into the breech right after firing to clear the residue.  These subsequently modified tanks can be identified by a bulge at the rear of the hull behind the engine and a gun tube without a bore evacuator (straight tube) The M60A2 tank was fielded to Armor units in Europe in 1975.  Production was halted in 1975. Due to operational issues with the Missile and the fire control system the tank was phased out of service by 1980 with the rise of the deployment of High velocity Fin stabilized Sabot rounds that could be used by the M60A1 and the M60A3 tanks. 

Opening the box.

There were approximately 15 sprues molded in clear, black and olive green plus the metal barrel, decals, vinyl components and tracks.   Parts count is over 500

 The Instructions

The instructions are a 20 page booklet with a color slick front page and the color slick 4 view schema rear page for the two decal options .  There is a Sprue Tree map on page 19 and a notes and colors chart on page 2. There are 39 assembly steps. Discrepancies will be noted in the build notes.   There is a separate color box art flyer.

Things to consider before building:

  1.  You will have more parts than required to build the model since many common M60 parts aren't always used.
  2. The vinyl components(Main gun and commander machine gun shroud) can be glued with liquid cement, but be careful it will eat the plastic, work slowly and clamp or hold until parts are adhered, or use alternate cements
  3. Almost all the photo etch is used for the bustle rack bottoms and sides, you will mostly use these for strength during assembly since the tubing is styrene and delicate and difficult to arrange with the bracing.  This will be the most difficult part of the assembly process.
  4. The Searchlight is a kit just by itself, 19 parts and photo etch.  It's about the size of a sugar cube.  Slow down for this step.
  5. In step 4 it shows Part O-1 being glued onto the hull rear underneath.  Don't use this as it is for the late version and houses the CBSS air compressor, which is only needed on the late version of the kit.  The towing pintle is also attached to this part, but the regular Tow pintle parts for the M60 tank hull are included (C10, 11, 12, 13) this will have to be fudged, since no drawing is available, but there are locating lines for the pintle arms on the hull.  You will have to fill in the locator slots for part O-1.  The correct grill doors are on the "C"sprue. C87, 88

The Build

Lower Hull and Suspension

  1.  Steps 1-6 covers everything track and suspension related.  It's very straight forward.  Other bits included are the lighting and tow pintle, lifting eyes and bump stops.
  2. The shocks/snubbers and mounts(C9,D9,C17) need to be snapped together into upper, snubber lower mount first since it will be near impossible to do if you try to snap the snubber into the mounts after you glue them onto the hull and road wheel arm. 
  3. Tow pintle, See above in things to consider. 
  4. The road wheel arm has the torsion bar, which is keyed, molded on it, it will fit inside the mount holes, but the fit is tight, you may want to fit sand it so you don't break it while inserting it across the hull, Use caution.
  5. The road wheels have an O-ring sealed between them to retain on the road wheel axle.  You might want to wait until after painting as the underside of the tank is pretty busy and the road wheels block painting a lot of that.   

Upper Hull and Decks

  1.  Step 7 is the driver's compartment.  If you want that level of detail it is spread across the bottom hull, inside of the forward hull.  It is very detailed and the parts are delicate and fragile, I kept breaking thin parts, so I closed it up and moved on.
  2. The drivers hatch is attached to a torsion bar that is glued onto the bottom side of the deck, it might be able to be just glued into the hole.  The drivers vision blocks are pushed up from the inside of the deck, do this before you attach the front deck onto the hull. If you bypass the driver's compartment, this is easy to forget.
  3. In step 10 There are the grill door hinges that are on the outside of the hull at the rear (D22Rt Side D23 Lf Side) these are easy to miss so glue the grill doors on first then glue the back deck on to align everything.  Do not use the indicated O2, O3 grill doors, use C87, 88 as those are for the earlier version without the Compressor see not in before you build above? 
  4. The grill doors come in two flavors in Step 19, do not use C3, C34, C89 or K1 since those are for the M60A2 fording kit exhaust stack. I have never seen a picture of that fitted.  Use C90 and fill the hole on the right rear grill door
  5. There are 10 top deck access doors that cover the gap between the hull and the back deck.  There are triangular and "D" handles that go on the access grill covers, you just glued on.  They are small and delicate and easily broken if you don't use a sharp cutter like a God Hand to trim them from the sprues.  Tweezers will fling them everywhere if not careful as well.  They really add the detail however so the attention will be rewarded.
  6. You may have to make a decision on when to put the track on.  The instructions show them being applied before the fenders get glued on, you could leave them off if   you are careful threading them over the sprockets and connecting them underneath.  When in place, they obstruct airbrushing all the bits under the hull between the road wheels and fenders, Builder choice on when to thread the track.  The under fender clearance is tight, but workable. 

The tracks

Not much here, the two tracks are some sort of synthetic rubber but it is connected by a pin so you don't need to glue it or staple it. The section that is pinned can be torn so be careful

The Turret

  1.  The Commander's cupola is steps 22-24.  The turret build up is  step 25-27
  2. The Tow Cable mounting brackets are PE that needs to be bent into a J shape and glued to the turret side, there are locating marks, but they are very light
  3. The rest of the turret is pretty straightforward, most everything has a good locator or fits well.  Lots of bits. 
  4. The Searchlight mounting brackets are fragile, so be careful.  I somehow lost the alignment with the gun tube and it appears to point lower than the gun/launch tube.  Pay attention during gluing as there is only one glue for the mounting arm and that is where I went wrong. 
  5. The monumental struggle I had was with the bustle racks.  The PE is a requirement to assist with the assembly to give it structure.  The thin tubes are very fragile and are in one piece and have to be threaded through the mounting panels and get all the fiddley bit glued together, you need 5 hands to align and assemble it all.  I had to repair everything at least once while trying to attach everything.  I wish you all success if you take up this challenge.  It looks nice when you get it attached and painted to hide all the glue.  I recommend Bondic UV set adhesive to assist.       

Painting and Finish

Primer and Pre-Shade

I started by applying a primer consisting of Krylon Color Master with Durable ColorMax Technology rattle can (Flat Black) paint. It has great thin coverage and quick drying time. I left it to dry overnight to make sure it was fully cured.

Airbrushing Mission Models Acrylics

I had to do some soul searching regarding the gloss OD finish.  The M60 was developed and fielded during the Army's transition from Solid Olive Drab finishes.  My research showed a lot of dark shade OD solid green tanks.  As the MERDEC schemes were standardized, they were used as were some local adaptions.  Also during this time, the M60A2 series was being phased out of the inventory, its service life was relatively short.  That being said, I went with an OD scheme, I wasn't happy with the bottled Od as it appeared too green and not dark enough from what I remember of what I have seen, and what I saw in photos.  So I settled on a darker shade.  I mixed Mission Models MMP 026 US Army Olive Drab FS33070 and darkened it with MMP 035 NATO Black, which had a green tint. I mixed it 7 parts MMP-026 to 3 parts MMP-035 I then top coated it with MMP-008 Gloss Clear Coat 


.     The decals were fine; they went on easy and adhered no problems.  I got in trouble with one decal that was not split across the tow cable and it folded in on itself, so ruined, I left it off. 


I went back by hand and painted the heater exhaust pipe on the right fender, the machine gun barrel in the cupola and the end connectors and center guides on the track.   


I was restrained on the weathering as most of my experience with tanks on European roads  was mostly road wash and dust, not much mud, a little European splash mud from Vallejo and some AK  Rain marks  For NATO tanks.  I then hit it with a dusting of Vallejo Model Air 71.027 Light Brown to dust it up and cut the glossiness without covering it over. 


This early version of the M60A2 is well represented by the parts mix in this kit, but the instructions will have you build the wrong version with all the parts for the Closed Breech Scavenging System (CBSS)  AFV Club produces the later version of that kit that would use that component and is most likely included in that kit as well.  The kit parts pretty much have great fit and there are subtle locator marks for the tow cable PE and other parts.  This basic chassis is used for multiple M60 Variant kits and has made use of the basic parts with multiple sprues to cover the subtle variants.  The only really challenge I had was the bustle rack parts and assembly.  Because the plastic components were so delicate and had unusual molding, it was very hard for me to assemble without breaking some of them.    

I would like to thank AFV Club for the kit to review and IPMS for the opportunity to review this kit.  Thanks for the crew support of the reviewers.

Bucker Bu 131D with German Cadets (1939-1945)

Sat, 07/11/2020 - 11:47
Product Image Review Author:  Gino Dykstra ICM

The Bucker Bu131D "Jungmann," which means "young man" or "cadet", was developed in the 1930s as a light primary trainer for all Luftwaffe pilots.  Extremely small and agile, it was mostly steel tubing with a fabric covering, and proved so popular that over 200 are flying in private hands to this day.  I even found an entire scene in the European "Tintin" series of comics which shows this durable little aircraft in the less-than-capable hands of Thomson and Thompson, twin detectives (see the Tintin adventure "The Black Island").  This model set offers not only the aircraft itself, but a pilot and a couple of handlers to go with it.

The aircraft: like the real deal, the model of this aircraft, even in 1/32nd scale, is pretty diminutive, and makes for a relatively fast build.  However, due to the nature of the real trainer, some of the parts are exceedingly fragile and require extraordinary care when removing from the sprues.  The landing gear brace, for instance, was broken on the tree in three different places even before I attempted to remove it.

Typically, the build begins with the cockpit area.  The delicate tube framework is very well represented, although once again the parts are quite fragile.  The control panels come in clear plastic with decals, and do a nice job of representing this area when finished properly.  As with all ICM aircraft I've made so, far, no attempt has been made to represent the seat belts, so they'll either have to be found elsewhere or scratchbuilt.  Both seats also have a moderately annoying mold mark in the center which will need rubbing out.

The engine is nicely represented.  I was intending to display this with the panels open, but encountered my only real glitch in the assembly, which was at least partially my own fault.  Unbeknownst to me, ICM includes two complete sets of engine shrouds, although the unused set is not shown in the parts layout page at all, leading me to believe that the first pieces I spotted were the only choices.  Since the engine panels start at the cockpit, these erroneous parts were already completely locked into place when I discovered my mistake.  Fortunately, the kit includes both entire sets of parts, so that I could install the other set without things turning into a total disaster.  The only part I needed to fabricate was the single exhaust pipe rather than multiple exhausts intended for this version of the aircraft.  Be careful when you get to this stage and be sure to check the part numbers carefully to avoid my mistake.

Speaking of the engine panels, this section is composed of more than half a dozen parts, all of which have to be fit very carefully so as not to throw off the entire front end of the fuselage.  Even with my best efforts I needed a little putty to smooth things out appropriately.

At this point you'll be facing the rigging of this model, which can be performed in a wide variety of ways.  Personally, I found drilling holes in the appropriate locations, then feeding lines through the wings and clipping and sanding after the fact to be the simplest way to complete this.  This kit requires about as much rigging as the average World War One aircraft, so be prepared to be patient.  Because of my pre-drilling, I managed to accomplish this stage in about an hour and a half.  Unlike ICM's Gloster Gladiator model which I'd previously made, the schematics do not offer quite as good a view of the rigging locations, which made puzzling out some of the details a bit more challenging.  I referenced the box art when things got fuzzy, so I'm pretty sure I didn't miss anything.

Although there is certainly a wide range of interesting color schemes for this aircraft, I chose the comparatively bland box art depiction, as I thought it best represented the most typical appearance of these machines in their training role.  Even so, I think the final piece is interesting enough, especially with the decals adding a splash of color.  The decals laid down very well with little to no silvering, although you will need to locate a set of small swastikas for the tail, as none are included.

The figures: As mentioned before, this kit comes with a set of figures which include a cadet completing his parachute harness with the assistance of a couple of ground personnel.  All figures are in a robust 1/32nd scale and all are wearing some version of the same zippered overalls.  Because of the nature of the build, putty will be needed to smooth out the seams in the overalls.  Be aware that the part numbers on the instructions are not entirely accurate, so test fit before gluing.  The cadet pilot figure comes with a host of straps and certainly does a good job of depicting the complexity of the parachute harness.  A little patience is required to get all the strap parts in their proper positions.

Although the outfits depicted require only a limited pallet, you'll find plenty of small details to paint.  I particularly liked the challenge of the parachute harness, which gave me a LOT of detail to add on.  My pictures, alas, don't do them justice, but they really are quite nice when done.  Altogether, this set works together very well indeed and will look good in any aircraft dio of your choice.

All in all, this is an excellent reproduction of this essential trainer aircraft as well as a faithful representation of the men who worked and flew it.  Together, they are terrific value for the money and make a really nice addition to any good Luftwaffe collection.  I'm delighted with both kits and thoroughly enjoyed the build, even when I was screwing up.  My heartfelt thanks to IPMS/USA for a chance to build this set as well as to ICM for continuing to provide fascinating additions to the world of 1/32nd scale aircraft models.  Be safe, everyone, and happy modeling!

A-4F Skyhawk – Lady Jessie/Blue Tail Flies

Sat, 07/11/2020 - 11:36
Product Image Review Author:  Scott Hollingshead Platz

Platz Hobby currently produces 334 kits in 1/144 scale, and in addition to their F6F-3 release, I was fortunate enough to receive this two-plane kit for review.  In addition to the parts for two aircraft there are markings for three different planes included.  Construction was quick, and the detail is very good for this scale.  Modelers familiar with working with small parts should not have issues building this release, and I would highly recommend it.

For those not aware, the Skyhawk started life as a fighter design, but as the US Navy had other aircraft being looked at for this role, it was suggested that Douglas continue the design as an attack aircraft.  The specifications were for the plane to be able to carry 2000 pounds of weapons (including nuclear), have a combat radius of 345 miles with a top speed of 500 miles per hour, and a maximum takeoff weight of less than 30,000 pounds.  Ed Heinemann responded with an aircraft that had a flight radius of 460 miles with a top speed of 600 mph, and a gross weight of only 14,000 pounds.  The preliminary mock-up was inspected in February 1952, and Douglas rolled the first XA4D-1 out of the El Segundo, California plant in February 1954.  The Skyhawk received several nicknames during its career including, "Heinemann's Hot Rod", "Bantam Bomber", "Kiddiecar", "Scooter", and "Tinker Toy Bomber".

This release from Platz contains three light gray sprues along with one clear sprue for each plane.  The decals are made by Cartograf and provide the famous "Lady Jessie" markings worn on the number 1 plane of the VA-164 Ghost Riders in 1969 and 1972 as well as a Blue Tail Flies plane in 1969.  The "Lady Jessie" markings were first worn on squadron plane 406 flown by Commander R.C. Perry to honor his friend and former employer who sent care packages to the squadron from her casino.  After Perry died in combat (in a different plane) and 406 was lost in combat (with pilot Lt. Commander Barr), the name was carried on the squadron Commanding Officer's plane (401).

Construction is straight forward, and I did not need to use any filler on the seams of these planes.  While there is no control panel included, it would be very difficult to see once the canopy is in place and the frames are painted.  I did have to play with the fit of the canopy a little, but this was not a daunting task.  I also had to replace the forward antenna on one of the planes as I managed to break it off during construction.  My one building tip is to add some weight to the front of the plane prior to gluing the fuselage halves together (probably behind the cockpit rear wall).

I used Stynylrez White primer for the underside and control surfaces and Model Master Acryl Gloss Gull Gray for the fuselage, wings, and canopy.  The gun barrels received Scale 75 Black Metal as did the tip of the refueling probe, the landing gear door edges are Vallejo Red, the engine exhaust and refueling probe end (excluding the tip) are Vallejo Natural Steel, and the surface above the exhaust is AK True Metal Gun Metal.  Decals settled just fine with Micro Set over an Alclad Aqua Gloss finish (I still applied a coat of Micro Sol out of habit), and I sealed the planes with Alclad Light Sheen.

My hits for this release are the level of detail for the scale, the clean moldings and tight fits, and the great markings.  Even though two of the markings are for the same plane, there are clear differences between 1969 and 1972.  I liked the way that some of the decals included multiple individual markings as it would be very challenging to add each one individually in this scale.

My only real miss would be the failure to mention adding some weight up front to keep the nose of the planes down.  I should have known better, but honestly did not think of this until I was airbrushing the white primer.  I corrected this by squeezing a lead fishing weight into a shape that would fit in the back end of the plane as I left off the exhaust nozzle during painting.  While not really a miss, centerline fuel tanks and loads for the pylons would have been a nice touch.  I would also add that technically the forward slats fall forward when an A-4 is parked, so the planes represented in the kit would be in flight, but there is no option for a pilot to represent this.

On a side note, I did not catch that the Blue Tail Flies marking for the tail goes above and below the tail control surfaces.  As I painted the planes with these in place, I had to cut a slit in the decals to get them to fit correctly.  Of course the better approach would be to place the decals and then add the control surfaces afterward.

As mentioned up front, I would highly recommend this kit to modelers wanting to add a couple of A-4Fs to their 1/144 collection, especially "Lady Jessie".  Modelers with experience in working with small parts should have no issues with building this kit and adding the decals. 

I would like to thank the folks at Platz Hobby for providing this kit to the IPMS-USA Review Corps for assessment, and to Phil Peterson for leading the Review Corps, and allowing me to perform this review.  I would also send out kudos to all of the folks behind the scenes at the Review Corps who help John with his efforts, and as always, my sincere appreciation goes out to all the folks who take the time to read my comments.

Enrico Toti class submarine, modernized

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 15:55
Product Image Review Author:  Scott Hollingshead OKB Grigorov

The Enrico Toti (S506) was the lead boat in its namesake class of Italian submarines.  The keel was laid in 1965, she was launched in 1967, commissioned in 1968, and was decommissioned in 1992.  In 2005 the boat was moved by land to Milan, where she resides today in the Museum of Science and Technology "Leonardo da Vinci".  Called "pocket submarines" due to their diminutive size, the boats of this class were intended only to operate in the Mediterranean Sea, mostly to patrol the Channel of Sicily and participate in NATO exercises.  The boat is 151.6 feet long, has a 15.4 feet beam, and has a draught of 18.7 feet.  The two Fiat diesels provided power to the diesel-electric drive that would propel the boat at 14 knots surfaced, or 15 knots submerged.  The crew consisted of 4 officers and 22 sailors, and she was armed with four 21-inch torpedo tubes.


Still a fairly recent addition to the IPMS Review Corps suppliers is OKB Grigorov, which started business in 2003 in the European Union.  This kit is a simple affair consisting of a hull, six deck empennages for the modernized sub, and a cone for the propeller, all of which are cast in gray resin.  The propeller along with a four-piece display stand are photoetched brass.  Inside the box, the hull was separately wrapped in a foam sheet, and then it and the other contents were enclosed in bubble wrap. 


Construction was quick, as one would expect with the limited number of parts.  For 1/700 scale, the propeller looks close to photos I found online of the real one.  My one caution is that a modeler will need to be experienced with small parts, otherwise there will be some frustration.  I utilized Stynylrez Black for the lower hull and display stand, while Model Master Acryl Gunship Gray was used for the upper hull.  I liked the color of the photoetched propeller, so no paint was added to it, but it was sealed, along with the rest of the boat, with Alclad Klear Cote Matte after washes of Tamiya Panel Line Wash Dark Gray.


As far as my hits are concerned, this is a unique offering and the moldings are nice and crisp; the ease of construction make this something that modelers with limited experience with resin can build without too much difficulty.  The brass propeller looks convincing and it  was easy to set the blade angles to more closely match those used on the real submarine, in addition, the photoetched base is ideal for a boat of this size.


My only real miss for this release is that I would have liked a small decal sheet for the hull markings and perhaps something for the base. 


Overall, I would highly recommend this kit to modelers wanting to add this historic submarine to their 1/700 scale collection.  Most modelers will have little difficulty assembling the kit, but will need some experience with small parts. 


I would like to thank the folks at OKB Grigorov for providing this kit to the IPMS-USA Review Corps for assessment, and to Phil Peterson for leading the Review Corps, and allowing me to perform this review.  I would also send out kudos to all of the folks behind the scenes at the Review Corps who help him with his efforts, and as always, my sincere appreciation goes out to all the folks who take the time to read my comments.

BMW M6 2018 Macau GP GT3 Race Winner with BMW M6 GT3 Upgrade Set

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 15:38
Product Image Review Author:  Ben Morton Platz

NOTE:  The link to the Nu Nu Upgrade set is http://www.platz-hobby.com/products/8131.html .  The price is $30.00

Platz Models has a large and extensive line of plastic model kits: everything from small scale (1/144) aircraft to military ships. They do partner with smaller, niche manufacturers of plastic model kits. That symbiosis provides both Platz and those other kit manufacturers with market access and diversity of product.  One of those relationships is with another Japanese manufacturer: Nu Nu Model kits.

Nu Nu Model kits is principally involved with manufacturing modern 1/24th scale racing cars, notably Grand Prix GT3  cars.  For those that may be unfamiliar with sports car racing, click this Wikipedia link and you'll have more than enough information to join in any conversation  about the sport.

( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_car_racing )

One of  Platz/ NuNu Model kits recent offerings is the BMW M6, 2018 Macau GP GT3 Race Winner. This is actually a re-release of a 2017 kit of the BMW M6 that features updated decals and new parts to faithfully reproduce the 2018 Macau race winner. The updated decals provide all the badges (sponsor logos, etc.) and the color panels featured on this car.  Additionally, there is a decal for an on-car 'shout out' to long time team principal Charly Lamm.

This is a curbside model and as such has no engine but there is a complete interior with all driver controls, detailed suspension bits, and a nicely molded safety/roll cage. This kit is molded in several colors (white, gray, black, clear bits, and some chrome plated parts) and I suppose you could build this kit without painting. 

For the serious car modeler there is a companion up-grade set available, also from Platz /Nu Nu. The up-grade set has a fret of photo-etch that includes disc brake pads, mesh for some air intakes, safety netting for the roll cage, replacement uprights for the rear spoiler, replacement wind shield wipers and blades, and all the bits (buckles, latches, seat belt material) you'll need to fashion a realistic, five point safety harness.

There are also three, small sheets of carbon fiber decals for the lower chassis included with the up-grade set. There are more carbon fiber decals than are called for in the placement instructions so I just went with the obvious ones. Nevertheless, those decals go down nice 'n easy.

All of this may seem daunting to some but the provided instructions are well drawn which makes using this up-grade set simple and easy. The photo etch bits are either direct replacements for the kit part or simply overlay the existing part. 

Assemble of the "Beemer" begins with the lower chassis to which are attached the front wheel spindles, brake/rotor assemblies, and portions of the exhaust system.  Exercise some caution while assembling the front suspension as those bits are positionable. 

Again, as this is a curbside model all you get are the exhaust outlets as opposed the the whole system. A word of caution: the exhaust tips protrude a tad from the car body and might cause some fit issues when you get to mating the car body assembly with the chassis. Might be prudent to leave those exhaust stubs off until after everything is buttoned up?

Rear suspension bits go on next as do the radiator and air outlet assemblies. Assembly graduates to the driver compartment with seat,  foot pedals, and a detailed dash panel. This is the area of building where you get to put the roll/safety cage together.  The roll/safety cage is quite visible. As such this area, with minor flash, mold seams, and visible ejector pin marks, really should be removed. Nothing horrendous but it will be noticeable if you don't deal with it. It should also be noted that after cleaning all those bits, the cage parts go together easily.  I used the roll cage locating holes, located on the driver's compartment (part # B14) as a jig to aid assembly. 

The dash and instrument panel assembly gets added to the roll cage before both are attached to the driver's compartment.  Don't concern yourself with gluing it (dash panel assembly) as there are pins on either side of the dash panel that fit into slots on the driver compartment side panels. Do concern yourself with attaching the photo etched safety webbing from the upgrade set at this stage. You will need to consult some references (search BMW M6 GT3 interior) to find the proper location for that webbing as the instructions are vague on the subject. I added some spare bits to the ends of that webbing to represent the attachment buckles. 

You can elect to replace the seat belt decal with a more realistic version using the upgrade set. That set has all the metal bits and strapping material that you will need. Curiously neither the kit nor the upgrade set provide a separate manufacturer's decal for the safety harness. The 'Sabelt'  logo is printed on the decal version of the seat belt so I suppose you could do a bit of surgery and add it that way.

If you are new to after market seat belts, you will need to check references for the attachment points on the chassis for the safety harness. Those attachment points are somewhat intuitive but the assembly instructions are void of that information. I did find a short (5:14) 'How To' video on YouTube that you might helpful if you're new to aftermarket safety belts:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3xcOjW-69k  .

There are some other driver compartment pieces that may require care when installing; particularly parts # A24/#B6/#B7.  Those pieces represent portions of an air intake, cooling system on the prototype. Parts #B6 and #B7 ( connecting flanges) attach to a large pipe that mate up with air inlet detentions on the body of the BMW.  The engineering on the kit is such that that isn't a huge problem but it is something to be aware as you assembly your own BMW M6.  

The roll cage gets attached to the lower chassis/driver compartment. Additional suspension (shock absorbers, etc.) bits go on next as do the wheel/tire assemblies  The tires and wheels are separate parts which will facilitate painting. The vinyl tires are well molded but do have a pronounced taper. That taper doesn't affect the end look but seems to be an engineering 'trick' to aid sliding the tires onto the rims. Decals are provided for the tire labeling (Pirelli). The upgrade set includes fronts for the disc brakes that simply overlay the kit part.  

Details (rear view mirrors, antenna, etc.) are the next items added to the car body. This step is more about the window glazing but windshield wiper assemblies are also in the mix. Those wiper blade assemblies can be replaced with some photo etched version courtesy of the upgrade set.  I went with a hybrid approach with the wiper blades on my model. I used the plastic wiper arms and replaced the blades with the photo etched version.

Platz/NuNu provides decals for the weather stripping that surrounds the window components, saving you the need to mask and paint some difficult areas.  [Fun Fact: The sheet with the weather stripping decals are identified with numbers, the assembly/placement instructions identifies them with letters. :)  It isn't impossible (think jigsaw puzzle) to figure out which one goes where, just use the illustration (Step 14) in the instructions to identify the correct position of a particular decal.]  But in their defense, the window parts do fit just so.

Before mating the body to the chassis you attach the headlamp/taillight bezels (chrome plated bits) as well as the glass that covers same. Several screens are replicated by cutting a piece of mesh, included with the kit, or you can use the handy metal replacement part from, you guessed it, the upgrade set. I'm beginning to think it would just be foolish to build this kit without it. 

There is a feature on the real BMW M6. That is the darkened headlamp bezels. This aspect is faithfully reproduced by the kit manufacture and much appreciated.  As with any model, your own expertise will dictate how you go about assembling this kit. I would advise leaving some of the fiddly bits (exhaust tips, wiper blade assemblies, rear spoiler, etc.) off until final assembly and decaling is all said and done.  

Having mated the body to the chassis, the last step is placing all the decals on your BMW M6 GP racer. That step is made easier with the placement guide in the assembly instructions. Note that some of the larger color panels need to be placed before adding the smaller logos and such. Don't fret. Platz/ NuNu makes all this perfectly clear on the decal placement guide.

Something that I missed is that a portion of the rear car body needs to be painted black before you begin applying all those decals. It could just be a language problem (remember I don't read or speak Japanese) but that step wasn't that obvious, to me, from the assembly instructions.

It might help you to note that the artwork (decals) follow the panel lines on the car.  You might also find it helpful to view the finished model on Platz's website. This will give you a good idea how all the decals work in concert with one another on the car.  http://www.platz-hobby.com/products/9617.html

This BMW M6 GP G3 race winner from Platz/Nu Nu Model kits is a grand model.  Assembly is not much of a chore. There is more mold line clean-up than what one would expect but nothing that approaches a deal breaker when it comes to getting one of these kits for your very own.  Matting the body to the chassis can be fiddly. Begin that process at the rear and bringing the body down toward the front of the car worked best for me.  And, maybe leave the tires/wheels off  'til the last. 

This model will make a beautiful, colorful addition to your collection. Besides, having the model in your collection will help with imagining yourself in the car as you watch a short, on-board video of Augusto Farfus (a BMW team driver) taking a lap at Macau. Note the circuit map taped to the dash.

I've watched this video clip several times and it's kinda fun to try and figure out where on the course the driver is in relationship to that map. (A copy of the map is included on the decal sheet). Besides watching it is also a good way to pick up some ideas should you wish to add more detail to the driver's compartment.   Enjoy!


My thanks to Platz/NuNu and IPMS/USA for the review copy.

Japanese Armies 1868-1877: The Boshin War and Satsuma Rebellion

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 14:24
Product Image Review Author:  Patrick Brown Osprey Publishing

Bottom Line Up Front: This most recent addition to the Osprey Men-at-Arms Series does its best to make sense of a confusing subject, to the Japanese civil wars of the 1860s and 1870s period.  It is well illustrated and provides rudimentary information that is fairly easy to understand. 



  • Historical Background
  • The Boshin War, 1868-1869
  • Intermission, 1869-1877
  • The Satsuma Rebellion, 1877
  • Japanese Forces, 1840-1868
  • Armies of the Boshin War
  • Armies of the Satsuma Rebellion
  • Weapons
  • Select Bibliography
  • Plate Commentaries
  • Index

Japanese Armies 1868-1877 describes the conflict between the fledgling Japanese central government and provincial Samurai clans. It narrates the central governments struggle to create a modern military from the feudal samurai military system and the resistance to this process by the conservative Samurai leaders. 

The book provides a basic chronicle of the civil war between the government armies and the provincial armies of the feudal Samurai leaders. The weakest point of the book is the lack of maps illustrating the troop movements throughout the various campaigns.  Readers who are unfamiliar with Japanese geography will be at a disadvantage. 


The author included an excellent bibliography which contains most of the premier works on this period of Japanese history.  There is also a comprehensive index which makes this book a useful research tool.

There is a serious error on page 10 where conservative feudal samurai military leader Saigo Takamori is described as a daimyo, or 'feudal lord'.  Takamori was actually heir to a fairly low-ranking samurai in southern Japan.



Japanese Armies 1868-1877 is about the length and depth of a master's-level term paper, so this is not an in-depth work.  Still, it is worth the price for someone wanting to take a first look into the period or to brush up and clarify their knowledge.

Many thanks to Osprey for the review copy.

Italeri 1/72 Sd. Kfz, 251-8 Ambulance

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 14:16
Product Image Review Author:  Jim Pearsall Italeri

The Sd. Kfz. 251/8 was the ambulance version of the personnel carrier halftrack built by Hanomag.  The vehicle was known in the Wehrmacht as the Krankenpanzerwagen, (armored ambulance).  It could carry 8 "walking wounded" or 2 stretcher patients and 4 seated casualties. 



There are 4 sprues in the box, along with the decals and instructions.  No clear parts.  I pretty much followed the instructions as far as assembly, starting with the interior and then putting the top and bottom of the main compartment together.  I did take a picture of the interior before I did the final assembly, because that's the last time anyone's going to see the driver's compartment, since there are no windows or openings. 

I painted the entire vehicle panzer dark gray, including the wheels and the suspension parts.  I then painted it with panzer schokobraun in stripes for the camouflage.  I then painted the black tires on the track suspension and assembled the suspension parts. 

I was very pleased with the fit of all of these parts.  The only place I had any fit issue was the rear doors on the "passenger" compartment, which had a small gap.  The body and the wheels went together very nicely. 

I applied the decals at this time.  My experience is that the more small and delicate parts I have on the model when I put on decals, the more I have to reinstall or repair. The decals came off the backing paper nicely, and were tough enough to be moved into position without tearing or folding.  I did have a little trouble with the L shaped markings on the rear fenders, as they wanted to fold.  But I convinced them to lie flat.  Once the decals were dried, I sprayed a coat of Testors Acrylic Flat to reduce the shine from the Future and to protect the decals. 

Next it was time to install the tracks.  The tracks are "length and link" and do present some interesting moments during assembly.  The length sections went onto the wheels quite nicely, and the individual links were put on the drive sprockets, they behaved well.  But when it came time to put the links on the rear wheels, they would invariably turn 90 degrees so that the slot which was supposed to fit the next track link would go around the wheel.  These were tiny parts, and just getting ahold of them with tweezers and reinstalling them was an exercise in miniature dexterity.  I used Testors liquid cement thickened with tube glue to give me a sticky surface to put the track link on, and some time to do the reinstallation.

I installed the finished track sections.  They went into position neatly, and I was happy with that.  I then installed the front tires and the headlights. 

And the model was finished.  I am happy with it. 



Recommended.  This kit has some intricate track parts, but the fit is good and the decals are very good. 

Many thanks to MRC and Italeri for the kit, and to IPMS USA for the chance to build something a little different.

WWII German Light Radio Communication Car Review

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 13:59
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Reeves ICM

Brief History

Manufactured by the Stoewer Company, as well as BMW and Hanomag since 1936, the light uniform all-road car (leichten gelande Einhets Personen-Kraftwagen) possessed all-wheel drive, independent suspension, and a simplified open body. This particular body, the Kfz.2, was a three-seat communication car with a Torn. Fu.b1 radio set.


The Kit

The kit consists of 5 styrene sprues, one clear sprue, and a small sheet of decals that represent the four featured schemes in the kit. Construction begins with the chassis, and over the course of the first thirteen assembly steps, you've handled 45 parts. Everything goes together pretty smoothly however.

The next thirteen steps have you assembling the engine and inserting it onto the chassis. It builds into quite a nice little kit all itself. Following that, we move onto the floor of the car, adding the fuel tank, bracket, rear reflector, and fuel tank nozzle. This is then added to the chassis.

Assembly of the wheels follows-- each made up of three parts. Installing them is a bit tricky-- you not only have to put them onto the axle, but also line up a top and bottom slot and this is not so easy to do as you can't see so well to do it and if things aren't installed exactly in place in previous steps, it is tricky. The radiator, firewall, instrument panel, and fiddly bits are next. Extreme care should be taken here-- the handles and pedals and such break very easily. Decals are included for the gauges which is a nice touch.

The side panels get added next and this was very fiddly as there are not the best attachment points to assemble things together. It was a bit of a guessing game. They then have you add the partition for the rear seat and the rear panel. The three part hood fits quite nicely in place over the engine and has great detail. The front seats and fenders are next. The seats lack detail and one of the seat back's inner face had a hard to reach sink mark inside. A three part brush guard and bumper assembly is next, followed by three Kar 95 rifles to be placed in the three crew positions. The gear lever is added here as well, but was snapped in half on the sprue...so I replaced it with wire.

Doors, rear deck, windshield, and steering wheel come next. The windshield sort of lays on top of a groove, so you have to decide if you want it in place or laying down. A four part folded canopy is next and lays nicely on the rear edge of the car. The radio set and cabinet is then added to the deck. A few decals can be added to the dials. My only complaint is that one would think there would be a headset of some sort included in the kit-- it is difficult to use a radio without one. I'll grab a set from the spares to fill in this needed detail as soon as I find one. There are parts for either a long or short rear antenna. After adding all the rear fiddly bits (rear lights, license plate, etc), we add the tools, headlights, side mirror, and other small bits. The wipers ended up flying off into the ether when I tried trimming off the sprue bits...so I laid my windshield down to hide their absence. At this, construction is done.


Painting and Weathering

As mentioned before, there are four schemes in the kit. Three are in Panzer Grey with one based in France and two in Russia,  I chose the fourth scheme, a DAK scheme from the Ramcke Brigade based in Libya. I used a Krylon primer gray for the base coat, and then a coat of hairspray. I then sprayed on a custom mix of Tamiya paints for the desert yellow. I then used an old toothbrush with water to wear down to the primer coat where sand may have been kicked up to damage the paint. I didn't use too many decals in this scheme, but what I did use went on smoothly. I finished weathering by applying some oil paint rendering and AMMO washes and pigments.



This was a nice little kit that went together pretty smoothly. I would've liked to have seen some figures, but there are some pretty good sets from Dragon and Master Box that fit the bill. Other than the lack of true attachment points for the cab sides and no headgear for the radio set, I would heartily recommend this kit to anyone looking to add to their German arsenal. I am grateful to ICM and IPMS-USA for the review sample.


German Infantry Set (Mid-WWII)

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 13:40
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Reeves Tamiya


Tamiya has really stepped up it's game in the figure department in the last few years. Starting with single figures and sets in the re-boxing of the Marder III M, Hummel, and 38 (t), the new designs have really made assembly and posing easier than ever. There are notches and tabs that help align the shoulders, legs, and torsos (molded in front and back halves) to avoid any gaps. There are also molded indentations on the back of the torso and in the pouches to attach the extra equipment to so they appear to avoid them looking as if they're simply resting on the torso and belt. The included facial details are also much more expressive and individualized than in the past. In one figure, there is a separate boot and another has a hand separate from the arm which is a bit odd. The drawback to the parts being so specifically keyed to each other is that they really aren't interchangeable. Mold lines are subtle and one figure had some pinholes near the eye that showed up as I was taking my close-ups for the review. That being said, the figures as is are really very good.


 Inside the side opening box are two sprues for the five included Heer soldiers and a sprue containing weapons and equipment. There is also a set of decals for helmet and uniform insignia, shoulder flaps, collar tabs, belt buckles, and first aid can details. The equipment sprue contains three Kar-98 rifles, a MP40 submachine gun and ammo case, a MG34 machine gun and ammunition case (or first aid box), a grenade case with detailed insert, a pair of binoculars, a couple pistol holsters, and an assortment of bread bags, canteens, mess tins, entrenching tools, and gas mask canisters for each of the five figures. 


Out of the five figures, three are labeled as Infantry. Infantry 1 is shown "taking a knee" next to the grenade case holding a Kar98k rifle. There are options for two heads- one with helmet and one with cap. This is the aforementioned figure with the small pinholes near the eyes. Infantry 2 is shown posed with one foot atop a small pile of rubble included in the kit, also holding the Kar98k. Infantry 3 is shown standing with his rifle by his side and holding an ammunition case. This is the one true weak spot in the design of the kit for me-- you are to just glue the case to his leg under his closed fist with no visible handle in sight- and if you want to add one, you'll have to drill a hole through the fist to pose it.


The remaining two figures include a non-commissioned officer and a machine gunner. The officer is shown holding binoculars and an MP40. He also has the option of the two different heads. The machine gunner is shown holding his MG34 over his shoulder by the front tripod. In all cases (except Infantry 3), the hands are perfectly molded to hold the weapon or item illustrated. 


After assembly, I primed the figures with Krylon gray for plastic. I used a Vallejo paints for the figures and equipment and AMMO by Mig metal pigments for the metal areas. My figure painting skills aren't the best, but it is nice to have some good expressive figures to use for a base. I kept weathering to a minimum as I am not sure yet what sort of vignette or diorama they'll be placed in. Overall though, I am very pleased with the quality of the figures that Tamiya are putting out now-- they really are molded as nicely as most resin figures I have seen. My sincere thanks to Tamiya and IPMS-USA for the review sample.

Olkhovskiy Torpedo (two seat)

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 08:51
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Omega Models

When this first came up for review, I'll admit I never heard of this plane or company which is intriguing. A little quick research and I found that this was one of the first Russian monoplanes and it had an interesting difference with many planes- no ailerons. The ends of the wing bias because of their tether tension control wiring. That was enough for me. Omega Models located in the Czech Republic makes limited run resin models of lesser known subject. This kit comes in cream colored resin in 23

= pieces with decals, instructions and a length of wire.


My first action was to wash the parts with dish detergent to remove any mold release and let dry. Next, I separated the parts from casting blocks and sanded down the minimal seam lines. All this prep work is critical as finding paint not sticking or a seam line later is much harder to fix.


Construction starts in the cockpit which consists of two seats and two sticks. The stick broke while installing so I scratch built a couple. The seats have a nice approximation of a cane woven back. Once in place, the two opening insert is added. This took a little fussing but installed. This was then only place in the kit I used putty to smooth this part in and it was not a large amount. The tail parts were added making sure they are square. At this time, I added the landing gear struts.


Next, one of the struts is cut into four sections and these are the supports for the wings. The drawing shows the location on the fuselage and each 1-2 mm piece was added.


The wings were built next and since they are perched on struts, I needed them to be stable so I chose some stiff stainless steel wire and drilled into the wings  so the spacing matched the struts and glued the parts to once side first. The instructions call for spacing between wings of 10mm and this was achieved and things glued up solidly. I did not add the wings yet. At this point, the plane was primered and then sprayed a blue green color (in hind sight, I should have gone even more blue). This was set aside to dry.


While drying, I worked on the engine and propeller. The engine would have you add rods on the back and front for lifters and the like. The propeller looked well out of scale but checking references of the real plane, Omega is spot on as the prop on this plane was large.


I added the decals next. There was some silvering on the wing and fuselage decals and the decals were very resistant to settle until I used Solvaset. There is a set of decals for the wheels and try and try, they would not conform to the wheels regardless of treatment so they were removed. I added the wheels and then flat coated everything for final assembly and rigging.


I added the wings onto the supports and they fit well (and surprised me!). To support the rigging, I added the central attachment point and its two braces and painted it wood colored. Once dry and set, I used 0.3mm wire for rigging. I squared the wings up in a jig and started adding wires. Since the sides are mirror images left and right, I added the line in that sequence. When I got frustrated/sloppy/eye-blind, I stopped. Once the top was done, I flipped it over and did the bottom. I touched up the paint and flatted it again and the plane was done.


This is a good kit of a relatively unknown plane. With the rigging, rebuilding parts and size, I would recommend it to modelers who have a few kits under their belt. That and the decals would be my only caveat.


Thanks to Omega Models for the opportunity to not only build this kit but also for furthering my knowledge of this unique plane.




Depth Charge Mk. 54

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 08:42
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Brengun

One of the under recognized armaments for after market has been the depth charge. It is fairly simple to find missiles, bombs and other under wing things all very well done and in most scales but not so much depth charges. Brengun has issued a set (which looks like a rerelease of the Attack Hobby set) of the Mk. 54 Depth Charge in 1/72nd scale.


Looking at the set, you get two gray resin blocks which contain the depth charge body and the nose pin for the front arming propeller. There is also a photoetch fret containing 18 pieces, a set of decals and the instructions for assembly, painting and decaling the set.


Assembly starts with cutting the depth charges free- make sure the front is flat. You will need to drill a hole here for the front arming pole. Don't forget to trim the sprue on each fin. Cut the arming pole free and be careful. They are about 1mm and I managed to lose one. The photoetch comes next. The rear ring is cut free and bent into a circle and glues in place. The rear arming propeller is added. The front arming pole is added and then the propeller and the depth charge is finished except for painting.


The rest of the construction involves the pylons which are each constructed of 6 parts. I suggest having a photoetch bender available as there are bends involved. The top of the pylon is bent and then glued over the bent bottom of the pylon. Attachment feet are added to the top where it meets the plane and lastly, the shackles are added.


The depth charge is listed as either olive drab or light gull gray. The fuses are natural metal. The pylon is the bottom color of the aircraft. I went all gray in my painting followed by adding the decals which went on without any issues, Lastly, I added a wash to bring out the details and then a flat coat and finished.


This is a great little set but due to the bending required and the size of the pieces, I do suggest some experience. Definitely recommended


My thanks to Brengun for the review sample and IPMS/USA for the change to review it

Dog House with Dog

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 08:32
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Brengun

One thing I find very refreshing amongst the modeling community is some of the ideas that come out and this one caught my attention immediately- a dog and his (or her?) doghouse. The set is very simple and comes as five parts. The doghouse is cast as one piece and the roof is separate. The dog, a burn drum and a milk container also come. All are cast perfectly and the only preparation was washing the parts and removing the casting blocks.


In looking at this review, I could have just painted the parts but it just begged for a little base and a diorama. So before paint, I grabbed a little wood plaque and added some groundwork with Durham's Water Putty. I impressed the doghouse and drum into it and grabbed a 1/32nd scale pilot and pushed in some shoe prints and let the material dry. The ground was painted several shades of brown and washed with black and dark brown. I added some pieces of railroad ballast for rocks and glued in some grass. More washes and several rounds of flat coat (along with painting the edges black) and we were ready for giving the dog a home.


The parts were all primed with Alclad gray primer. Each piece was done separately and added to the base. I wanted the doghouse to be old and weathered so faded brown colors with a Flory brown wash were added. Since the dog slept there, I shredded some paper and tape and added some straw to the inside of the doghouse and glues the roof on and set the doghouse into its place.


The burn drum was next and I wanted a rusty old drum with ashy looking burnt wood. The drum was painted with Floquil red oxide and then pars had black added like the paint was barely still there. A wash was added and then various colors of rust weathering powder were added. The inside was painted brown and multiple washes and dry brushes until happy and then flat coated and added to the base.


The milk container was painted white. I liked the contrast between the burnt drum and the clean looking milk carton and so I left it and added it. Lastly was the dog and I tried to replicate the paint job of a brown dog with a white chest and white tipped tail. He was added. I flat coated the entire thing one more time.


To say this was fun is an understatement. This set could be added to any number of diorama ideas. Highly recommended. My thanks to Brengun Hauler for the opportunity to review this kit.

Ammo by Mig Jimenez Shaders

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 13:05
Product Image Review Author:  Tim Wilding AMMO by Mig Jimenez

Ammo has released a new line of 20 paint effects colors in 10 ml bottles.  I am reviewing four of these colors: #0863 Light Green 0864 Light Olive Drab, 0865 Military Green and 0866 Dark Green. These are the four green tones that they offer, along with blues, greys and earth tones. Here is what Ammo's website says about this new product:

    "The AMMO SHADERS are a new type of product designed to create a variety of effects on all types of models in a simple and fast way. The transparent and ultra-fine paint allows all skill level of modelers to apply stunningly realistic effects that seemed impossible before.

    From fading effects to wear and tear, shadows and highlights, altering the colors to different hues, this new range can even be applied to effect base colors like a filter. The SHADERS range give your model a dynamic and interesting finish in just minutes, making these colors perfect for modelers new to the hobby. The all new characteristics allow modelers to create effects that until now could only be achieved using more complex techniques such as glazes, washes, or filters.

    More experienced modelers enjoy the convenience of applying advanced and complex effects with finesse and ease. The new SHADERS are not just another paint, but a new way of applying professional effects quickly and easily.


Create effects with light and volume

Quickly change the tone of any color combination

Easily add dirt effects and emphasize panel lines

New product for quick effects

Doesn't need to be diluted. Nontoxic

Airbrush application with simple water clean up

Correct or clean within several hour working time

Unique formula with super fine pigment"


I used these four green tones on the new Meng Jeep I was also reviewing. I had used Tamiya's Olive Drab, XF-62, as the base coat. I used 0863 Light Green and 0864 Light Olive Drab on the hood and front fenders to lighten the base coat. I then used 0865 Military Green and 0866 Dark Green on the interior and lowers sides to dark them. I had just a little of the light green in my airbrush, so I added Future and put a tinted clear coat on the jeep before decaling. I liked the ease of just shaking the bottle a little and added a couple drops to my airbrush. These is no thinning required. The paint is very translucent and thin already. It cleaned up fine with Windex and a water flush of the airbrush.


I did a test by painting a strip of plastic with Tamiya's Olive Drab and White. I then painted strips of these shaders in rows on both colors. It is hard to see the settle effects on the olive drab, but you an see it on the white. Since these are water based, you can see that it kind of pooled up on the white. I think that it will lay down better over a satin or flat coat. I did find that they brighten up a paint job, but tones back down after clear coating. I will be using these to add more tonal variance on green base coats on future builds.


I would like to thank ammo by Mig Jimenez and IPMS for the change to try these new products out.


Tue, 06/23/2020 - 19:33
Product Image Review Author:  Brian R. Baker ICM


The Polikarpov U-2, later  PO-2,  was designed as a light training biplane, and first appeared in 1928.  It was a two seat, of mainly wooden construction, training aircraft similar in many respects to most late twenties biplanes, and had all of the characteristics required for a military trainer, including rugged construction, a low powered but reliable powerplant, and excellent flying characteristics.  It so impressed Soviet authorities that it was produced in very large numbers, over 30,000 being completed by Russian and foreign factories and maintenance units between 1928 and 1953, and the last ones weren't  built in Poland until 1959.  The PO-2 served mainly as a primary trainer at first, but eventually was pressed into service as a crop duster, military liaison aircraft, med and general supply aircraft, and later as a reconnaissance and light bombing type.  During the war, many were used by units made up of women pilots and ground crews, who were very effective in harassing the Germans by making night attacks and keeping them awake.  They were called the "Night Witches", and certainly played an important part in the conduct of the war.  A number of PO-2's have survived, where they are either displayed in museums or are flown by enthusiasts wishing to preserve the aircraft's history. An internet source lists 36 basic designations for the type, although  some are duplications since during the war, the airplane was redesignated from U-2 to  PO-2 in honor of  the designer,  Nikolai Polikarpov, a practice which recognized the efforts of creative designers in the Soviet Union.  For example, the Soviet I-26 fighter was later redesignated Yak-1 honoring  its designer, Yakovlev, for the same reason.


Aside from the internet, there aren't too many references available on the aircraft, and even on line, there are few photos available.  There was a book published by Kagero entitled Polikarpov Po-2, which included 44 pages, 175 photos, color information, and a set of Polish decals in 1/72 and 1/48 scale.  The book is based on an example on display in the Polish aviation Museum, and is written in Polish and English.  Basically, it gives a lot of information on the museum aircraft, and the excellent color photos illustrate all of the major details of the aircraft.  There are two side profile drawings of the museum aircraft, and several color photos of  a Polish civil flying example, SP-YPB.  If you are looking for detail, this is an excellent resource, but if you are looking for various color schemes and markings carried by the aircraft, you won't find these here.  There are some sites on line with a lot more information, and even the instructions in various kits of the aircraft have more information on different aircraft that this book does.  One good source uis Wings  Palette. Seeing as how there were numerous variants of the aircraft, there must be hundreds of possible color schemes and markings for the aircraft.  Good luck on that one.


The instruction sheet for this model consists of 12  8 1/2 x 11 inch pages of text and drawings.  The text is in Russian and English, and the drawings are mainly pictorial, with little if any text required. The drawings are large, clear, and very useful during the assembly process.  The last two pages provide good 1/72 scale color drawings showing the four aircraft for which decals are provided.  All are armed attack aircraft, and one features skis and snow camouflage.  One good feature is the inclusion of the flying and landing wire and the control cable positions, as this airplane had a lot of each.  They used to say that if you put a bird in between the wires in a biplane, and it got out, there was a cable or wire missing. That would certainly be true with this airplane.

One problem with the instructions is that the drawings are confusing.  The engine is shown as being entirely "gunmetal grey" in the side view color drawings, while the instructions show a mixture of  gunmetal, steel, and gunship grey.  The engine on the color photos of the airplane in the Kagero book shows a silver crankcase with black cylinders and a dark green propeller.  The really confusing part is the undersides of all four of the aircraft for which decals are provided. These are shown in the side views as being black with some sky blue details, while in the underside views in the instructions, the undersides of all of the airplanes are painted a sky blue shade, typical of Russian aircraft of that era.  I am not aware of Soviet night attack aircraft being painted black underneath, but it stands to reason that they probably were.  This is an area that suggests more research.


This kit was originally issued around 2013, and I know this because I built one and wrote the review for this website during that year.  Maybe this amounts to justification for what we reviewers do, because I noted a couple of problems with the 2013 kit, which was numbered #72241, and comparing the two kits, I found that the producers had completely redone the moldings, correcting the major error, which had the prop rotating in the wrong direction.  I noticed this because I've hand propped real airplanes all my life, and this one just jumped out at me.  It is nice to know that kit producers pay attention and want to get it right.

The original issue from 2013  that I built was #72241. I've seen references to a #72242 for the same airplane, and this one is #72243, which says that there have been two reissues. I haven't seen #72242, so I can't comment on it.

The main sprue has 56 parts, the small armament sprue has 31 parts, and the clear sprue has two windshields.  There is almost no flash, and the detailing is extremely well done, with the wing fabric being better than I've seen in a long time, and excellent  cockpit interior sidewall detail just waiting for superdetailing. There are a lot of small detail parts, but if you are careful, they shouldn't escape, and the effect will be tremendous.  This kit is very well done, and was a pleasure to build. And the propeller turns in the proper direction.

One problem I encountered with the basic airframe assembly is that the seats, which consist of 6 parts each,  are quite flimsy, and their attachment points to the cockpit floor,  which is located on the lower wing center section,  are very weak.  However, the whole thing went together OK, and once the seats were installed and the fuselage halves were joined,  there was no problem.


The kit goes together pretty easily.  The fuselage halves match up and required very little filler.  I had to use pretty heavy clamps to get the lower wing section to stay in place, and the vertical and horizontal tail units were very thin, although they lined up perfectly.  The wings and tail unit lined up perfectly, and after painting, the upper wings were attached to the airframe using superglue in the little holes provided for the mounting struts.  The struts themselves,  while very nicely done, required considerable trimming, as they each had several attachment points on the leading edges of the struts.  In fact,  the underwing  skids, about 1/2 inch long, had four attachment points that needed to be trimmed, and one of mine broke off, with part of the unit escaping.  I replaced them with plastic rod bent to the appropriate shape.  Although the landing gear struts went on easily,  the same can't be said for the skis.  I suspect that the wheels would have gone on more easily, but  the skis had very tiny holes on the mountings, which were supposed  to attach to the very small tabs on the landing gear strut.  The problem was to get the ski mounted in the correct position, as my model was to be sitting on the ground, or snow.  I tried regular Tenax cement, but I had to devise a jig to hold the airplane in the right position, and the Tenax was not fast drying enough to hold it in place. I finally tried super glue, and this worked, but it took a long time (overnight) to dry.  Once dry, the gear is very fragile, and must be handled with extreme care. The wire bracing helped.


Unless you intend to paint the entire airplane one color, I would suggest doing all of the major painting before attaching the upper wing.  The airplane is fragile enough that applying and removing masking tape on the airframe would be very critical, and you are just about assured that something will break.  In the case of the snow-camouflaged PO-2 that I built,  the undersides were sky blue, the upper surfaces were white, and the wing and landing gear struts were Russian green.  I realize that most of those snow camouflage schemes probably had green showing through due to weathering and wear and  tear, but I just painted mine white and let it go at that.


Once the airplane is completely assembled, the details can be added.  The instructions state that the small details, such as the  control horns for the elevator cables, located on the fuselage sides even with the cockpits, and the small venture tubes on the fuselage sides should be installed at an early stage of assembly.  I waited until the plane was completely assembled, and added them just before I installed the rigging wires and control cables.  I used my tried and true method of using unstranded electronic wire for these, and it was really not as difficult as it looks. White glue dabs held the wires and cables in place, and wires make it look like a real biplane.  Fortunately, all of the flying and landing  wires on this airplane are single wires, so there are no parallel wires to consider. However,  the rudder and elevator control cables are parallel, but you can get away with single wires if you want to.

The windshields are very tiny, and attach just ahead of the cockpits. They had small tabs on the bottom, but there were no corresponding mounting holes in the fuselage ahead of the cockpits, even though it shows on the instructions. I just trimmed off the little pegs and mounted the windshields without them. There is another clear plastic piece, part # D2, which is a window located on the right wing root, and which was there to allow one of the crew members to use a bomb sight. There is a part,  #A2, which apparently is the bombsight, which mounts on the right side of the fuselage. My clear part didn't fit properly, and flew away when I tried to mount it in the wing, and I never found it  I , however, filled the small hole with clear plastic filler, and it looks OK.  The PO-2 in the Polish museum just has an open space, so there were variations on this detail. 


There are several kits of the Russian U-2/PO-2 biplane in 1/72 scale listed in the Burns Guide, , including  ABC, Ace, A-Model, Frog, KP, Omega,  and Ursus, and the ICM kit has been around for at least 7 years.  I have only built the KP kit, and it is a totally acceptable kit, so don't throw any away if you have them.  The revised ICM kit is probably the best available at the moment, and although it is not intended for inexperienced modelers,  it is certainly buildable, and I would recommend it highly.  This is a very important airplane in the history of aviation, considering that over 30,000 were built, and certainly should be represented in any collection of 1/72 models, covering the thirties, forties, fifties, and even later periods.  I have built 5 so far, three KP kits and 2 ICM kits, covering military versions and even a crop duster variant.  The kit has a lot of potential, and is certainly worth getting several of.

Thanks to ICM for the review sample.

The Lafayette Escadrille

Tue, 06/23/2020 - 01:14
Product Image Review Author:  Dick Montgomery Casemate Publishers

Being an aficionado of the history of the aircraft and persons involved in aviation during World War I, this book became a "must have" after reading some of the reviews describing the book. I must say that I was not disappointed in any way, and in fact found this "photo history of the Lafayette Escadrille" one of the most compelling "reads" I've experienced in many a year.

The story of The Lafayette Escadrille is laid out in photos, quotes from letters written by the pilots, and historical records of the time. The author spent a year travelling to universities and museums, as well as the actual geographic locations described in great detail in the documentation uncovered during the research phase for the book. The author captured images of some of the buildings frequented by the men of the Lafayette Escadrille and the comparison of historical images and the modern images taken by Ruffin are remarkable. 

The text reveals that all was not "civilite' and "camaraderie" within this group of aviators, and that resentments toward each other and toward their French "commandant d'escadron" were not only present but obvious to the men involved. The personalities and possible motivations of those who sought to join the "Escadrille" are covered in dramatic and personal detail as are the fates for each of the aviators. The air war was brutal and bloody, as well as a platform for gallantry and honor. The text, often supported by excellent black and white images, help to bring the story of these young men and their machines to life.

The paperback version (the version being reviewed) is 194 pages in length with appendices, a list of archival sources, a bibliography, and an excellent index.

Table of Contents
1 A n All-American Idea Takes Shape
2 The Escadrille Americaine Is Born
3 First Blood
4 Into the Grinder
5 Season of Discontent
6 The Battle Continues
7 The Best and the Bravest
8 Misery in the Somme
9 Mac Goes West
10 The Heartbreak of Ham
11 Chaudun and Beyond
12 Hard Times at Senard
13 From Falcons of France to American Eagles
14 Aftermath
Selected Bibliography
Archival Sources

I can say, without equivocation, that this publication is the most thorough and detailed historical narrative of the Lafayette Escadrille that I have had the opportunity to study and read. This book is highly recommended due to the excellent maps, large number of stunning black and white images, and detailed coverage of the subject. Thanks to Casemate for providing this copy for review by IPMS.