Riich Models 1/35 Universal carrier MkI

  • Built: 2021
  • Added to Stash:2020
  • Enhancements: Tracks- MasterClub

Riich’s Universal carrier must surely rate as the definitive model of the Universal, or Bren Gun carrier in 1/35th scale. This modeller can certainly Riich hanging onto this title for some time too, given the very detailed model that emerges from Riches multi media offering. Plastic, photo etch and even thread and springs combine to build an outstanding model.

I felt like I could put together a real Bren Gun carrier after this kit. Construction starts with a very detailed Ford V8 engine that would benefit from being displayed beside the completed model on a scratchbuilt stand, as its not seen once the engine cover gets fitted over the top. Given this, modellers can save themselves some time by just building the radiator, as that is all that can be seen on the completed model.

Although, from the instructions, the build looks daunting, I found if I took my time, things progressed smoothly, if not exactly slowly. This was the wrong kit to pick for a week build project!

Fit of parts is excellent, even down to integrating the supplied P.E. Everything fitted perfectly. I found only a couple of weak points whilst building the kit. The main one being the suspension locating pegs are very weak, partly the soft plastic and partly the lac of robustness. I broke two. They were replaced with brass rod. Were I to build another, the suspension would be left off until the final steps.

The rear diff. in step 6 is better added after the back wall, part E1 has ben added. Some steps in the instructions weren’t too clear, to me anyway! It took me a while to work out the correct placement of the wood floor sections, parts F38, F36 and F37, which actually sit on the floor, and also the fact you fit either the two Lee Enfields OR the folded Bren tripod K11. And don’t start me on those bloody etched seat legs!! I really wish Riich had supplied a little jig to assist with getting consistent folds and the required angled with these. In the end, my seats sit at the right height and look level(ish) but it was fiddly work getting there. For the visibility these parts have on the constructed model, plastic would have been easier to apply. The interior looks very complete once built and really only needs the addition of ammo boxes and sundry other personal items to make it look lived in..

Riich Models supply three figures which I didn’t use, given they are wearing NW Europe kit., separate earphones and a microphone are even supplied for the radio op> I imagine you may have to fit them during construction. Some nicely detailed Lee Enfield rifles and Bren LMGs are also supplied. Personal equipment and additional storage will have to be sourced from accessory kits though as none is provided.

Some thought on what scheme you will finish your model in, needs to be done prior to construction as its much easier to paint the interior as you go along rather than at the end. Riich provide marking for four vehicles on a colour marking guide that also identifies the vehicle unit and theatre. I had already decided on the kiwi vehicle, so SMS Portland stone was applied to interior parts as I went along. Link and Length parts are provided for the tracks, and don’t look too bad at al, the top sections even having some sag built in. I decided to complicate matters even further and added master club metal track links . These are the first metal tracks I have built and Im here to tell you, tiny bren gun track links are probably not the best introduction to these after market items!

They do look good once completed,, and give the model a nice heft. I didn’t go as far with the weathering on mine as I perhaps should have. In fact I was not happy with my weathering at alll on this, but thats getting ahead of myself here. First off the model was painted in the Counter scheme using SMS paints, which to me look spot on. A wash was then applied around all rivets using Migs Neutral wash. At this stage the vehicle looked quite stark so a filter for desert yellow was applied, to my eye, it made absolutely no difference!

I thin sprayed on some AK Dust effects around the running gear. Around this time Rinaldo released his “Desert Weathering” you tube. I applied pigments following his lead, but picked the wrong colour, mine are far too brown. I should have aimed for something more yellow. The pigments did impart a dusty look to the vehicle though and toned the camouflage down. It wa at this stage I felt like I had lost my vision for the model and rather than spend more time on fine-tuning the weathering I decided to just add the small parts and call it done. A decent armour modeller could turn this model into a gem I feel. I probably should have spent a bit more time applying chipping scrapes etc, but my return to work was looming and I wanted to say I had completed a couple of models over my leave.

In summing up, this is a little gem of a kit. The build was enjoyable enough although the etched seat frame and building the tracks frustrated me. Again, I lost the vision I had for the model near the end of the build, so it was just rushed to completion. This is something I need to overcome, although this and the gnat fell to my wish to say I had completed 10 models this year rather than any quest for quality.

Universal Carrier Mk 1 19th Bn 2nd New Zealand Army. Libya 1941

Airfix 1/48 Folland Gnat T1

  • Built: 2021
  • Added to Stash: 2020
  • Aftermarket: Wheels, SBS. Pitot Tube, Master Detail
  • Decals: kit

This build was undertaken on a recent 4 week leave block. At the time I had decided on a – far too ambitious, as it turned out- idea of building three kits in four weeks. This, the Riich universal carrier and the Gecko Models Bedford MWD. Lockdown. Wife at work. All the planets were aligning for a solid four weeks at the bench.

Well, getting called back to work for a week, and the Riich Bren gun carrier with its 400 parts put paid to that idea!

I was originally going to mount the gnat in flight, but didn’t really want to waste the SBS wheels. The other thing that squashed this idea was the fact Airfix only supply one pilot, for a jet that is a trainer!

A bit of penny pinching on Airfix s part I think. Anyway, the plan last this stage was to build the box art scheme, so I really needed two pilots. So the idea of a jet in flight was abandoned.

The model assembled easily enough with the use of minimal filler. Aside from the wheels and pitot tube, the model was OOB. CMK and Eduard do AM sets for the cockpit, but I found the kit cockpit and instrument panel decals were fine, especially under a closed canopy.

Soon enough, it was time for paint. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, between schemes, the Yellowjacks scheme was decided on. Mr Surfacer pink was used as a primer, which revealed a few seams needing a revisit from the sanding stick. Mainly the underside seam and the wing roots, not sure what I did here, but I was left with a small step, previous dry fits had shown a problem free fit, maybe the intake trunking had interfered slightly.

Main colour was Mr Hobby Insignia yellow, applied in two thin coats, the pink undercoat helping to provide a nice vibrant deep yellow. The Airfix decals performed as advertised, as they always do, Microscale products helping them sink into the underlying detail on the wings and fuselage.

Tamiya brown panel line accent was carefully run along all engraved detail, before being allowed to dry, the excess then being removed with then aid of a odourless thinner dampened cotton bud.

There is really nothing further to add about the build. Again the photos show where I have been less than careful with my masking of the wheels and restating panel lines around the avionics bay, but this model really was just an exercise to see if I could get it built in a week.

Would I build another? Absolutely! It seems fashionable these days for some “serious” modellers to bag Airfix as lacking in detail and aiming their kits purely at kids. Yes, they may be simplified in a lot of cases, but their 48 scale kits, I believe certainly have the enthusiast in mind. This is the fourth Airfix kit I have completed. Every one of them has been a joy to construct, and that to me is what its all about.

Folland Gnat T1. “Yellowjacks” Aerobatic Team.

No4F.T.S Royal Air Force.R.A.F.Station Valley . Wales 1964

Kinetic 1/48 AV-8A Harrier

  • Built: 2021
  • Added to Stash: 2021
  • Aftermarket Used: Eduard PE dedicated seatbelt set, Res-art wheels Brassin Zuni rocket pods. Master Models, Pitot tube

The second of my Harrier builds this one was a far more enjoyable build. Kinetic have moulded new fuselage and intake halves for these boxings. the result being a nicer build experience with better fit. The cockpit, to me anyway also looks more in scale than the undersized Sea Harrier Cockpit tubs and seats. There is also sidewall detail moulded into the fuselage halves.

The wings still have to have their trailing edges thinned to avoid a step with the control surfaces and small triangular fillets cut away from the tips so the halves properly mate. On this model, I drooped the flaps as I like doing on a lot of my models. The seat was detailed up with the Eduard PE seat belts for this particular kit and we were ready for paint. Although not specifically mentioned in the instructions, the kit also contains all parts to make a late post upgrade 8C with slime lights, different antenna fits and a later type stencel ejector seat.

It had to be a hi-viz scheme for me, same as the Airfix 1/24 scale Superkit of the Harrier, I built as a teenager.

As these jets were originally built in in the U.K they were finished in R.A.F colours, so Gunze dark sea grey and green were sprayed through my old faithful Badger 150. A DN Models mask set being used to delineate the camouflage pattern. A.K Real colours Light Aircraft Grey being used for the undersides.

Naturally being a marine jet, it needed some air to ground ordnance. Brassin providing the rocket pods.

Im pretty happy with this build, more so than the FA2. With The FRS1 just about done, its looks like I will get through my Kinetic Harrier trilogy fairly painlessly. Should you desire, there is plenty of resin and P.E aftermarket goodness to suit this kit.

I enjoyed this kit so much I’ve kept Kinetics GR1/3 boxing in the stash to build as a R.A.F GR1 jet tucked away in its little forest clearing. To me, the early pointy nose is the classic shape of the Harrier and I am glad Kinetic finally got around to releasing these boxings.

Hawker Siddeley AV-8A Harrier U.S.M.C VMA-513 Det. B 1982

Revell 1/48 UH-1B Iroquois

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 5e5ea59c-8674-467c-aaf6-4df45a534280_4_5005_c.jpeg

  • Built: 2010
  • Aftermarket Used: Hamilton Hobbies UH-1B conversion
  • Decals: Custom made
Add block
The short bodied Hueys have been woefully represented in 48 scale, with still no decent kit available.  The best of a bad bunch being the Monogram boxing, in its various boxings, which is the basis of this model.  As a young Air Training Corps cadet, this helicopter gave me my first ride in a military aircraft, and what a ride it was.  Based at RAAF Base Pearce as part of their SAR flight, in the mid seventies they were crewed by pilots and crewmen who had seen service in the recently ended Vietnam war, and boy, did they give us rides to remember.  I loved every minute of it and it started a love affair with helicopters, even though I don’t model a lot of them.
Out of the box, the monogram (although it is now boxed by revell) Huey C is a mix of B and C features, which need correcting.  As I was not building this as a gunship, I started off by cutting off the integrally moulded ammo box from the floor and filling the gap with plastic card.  The rear bulkhead is detailed with a curtain, that also got shaved off before the sound proof quilting was restored with embossed tin foil.  New scratchbuilt unarmoured pilot seats replaced the armoured kit seats.
Sealing the fuselage halves up –  not a great fit-  attention turned to the roof. where a bit of rectangular stock was used for the hoist arm.  The motor housing came from Hamilton Hobbies. A local producer of home made resin conversions for ADF aircraft. Although a bit rudimentary at times they were a godsend for modellers of ADF aircraft. The roof also had the airvents repositioned to their proper locations.  The kit pylons were used to hang the Kellett tanks from.  Ryan Hamilton again doing the hard work for me by providing the tanks in his detail set. Copper wire was used for the fuel lines that run from the tanks to the airframe
 The rotor head and blades came ftom an ESCI Huey 1D, the blades having been cut down to the shorter B length.  This assembly replacing the kits C type rotor head and wide chord blades, which were not used on the B model.  Finally, the model could be painted using Xtracolour olive drab and white with yellow trim on the tanks.  Speaking of yellow, I must have bought every sheet of yellow lettering available trying to source correct font and size for the RESCUE titles, without success, same with the AIR FORCE titles on the boom.  There was no other option, but to get custom decals made.  These cost me a small fortune, thanks to the manufacturer not using paypal or CC, so I had to transfer the money using Western Union.  This aside the finished items semed to match my photos of the real machine exactly, however they were translucent when applied, probably having been ALPS printed.  The Air Force titles have been built up with two layers to produce opaque lettering which still looks light grey rather than white.  White underlays were supplied for the tanks yellow titles, but for some strange reason, were differently sized from the yellow lettering.  In the end Ryan Hamilton came to my rescue (pun intended) with some decent yellow RESCUE titles.  All that was left to do was add the rear aerial from brass wire and EZ line and she was done.  Looking at the photos, you can make out it is well below my best work, but I just cannot bring myself to retire it yet.  Perhaps because of the memories it brings back to me.  It is definitely a model I will revisit once someone releases a decent B model in 35th scale.  Ronin Decals of Australia hopefully will release his long promised Huey history sheet in 35 scale as well EDIT, still has not been released as of 2021.

Bell UH-1B SAR Flight 2 Flying Training School. Royal Australian Air Force. Pearce. West Australia 1977

Kinetic 1/48 Bae Sea Harrier FA2

Built: 2021
Added to Stash: 2014
Cockpit: Eduard PE Interior
Wheels:  Reskit
Jet Nozzles: ​Aires
Practice Bomb Carrier: Flightpath

This year, I have had friends randomly picking kits for me to build.  This FA2 was a follow on build to the Kinetic FRS1 that was the actual kit picked out for me.  Like my tornado builds, I decided in addition to the FRS1, I would also tackle the other Kinetic Harriers in the stash.  And like the Tornado, if I had not have started both sea harriers at the same time, I would have sold the FA2 after completing the FRS1.  Its not a difficult kit, but its not the most enjoyable either.  The third Kinetic Harrier I started was their new AV-8A, and it was obvious from the fit of the intakes, Kinetic have retooled these parts and the fuselage halves.

Construction Notes
The intakes were built up on each fuselage side prior to assembling the fuselage halves, rather than after as the instructions would have you.  The advantage to this is a a slightly better fit although I found the rear cockpit bulkhead pushed the nose wheels halves out a bit.  My solution to this was widening the location channel to ease the fit of the bulkhead..
There is also an atrocious joint where the wing undersides join the fuselage, despite me adding a spreader to widen the fuselage a little.  
Making matters worse, is it is very difficult to get any sort of sanding stick in there to clean the joint up, even custom made ones.  On all kits, I just put up with it.

Whilst we are on the wings, if you do not want a step between the separate control surfaces and the rear of the wing, the thickness of the wing interior needs to be substantially reduced before you cement the wing halves together.  If left as the kit comes the flaps and ailerons are a lot thinner in cross section than the rear of the wing. Supposedly the wing pylons need to be moved 4mm back, but I didn’t bother with this.

Panel line detail on kinetics SHARS are a little inconsistent, so the scriber was run along most of the main panel lines to deepen them.  A thin coat of Mr Color Medium Sea Grey was then applied.  Over the top of this I marbled on various greys, both lighter and darker than the MSG, before another thin blending coat of lightened MSG was sprayed.  A couple of panels were then masked off and painted with MRP MSG to give the look of replaced panels.  The fuselage extension was also painted in untainted Medium Sea Grey straight from the jar, as this showed as a different shade even on heavily weathered jets.  Then began the time consuming process of masking off and painting all those RWRs, doppler panels, dielectric panels and rubbing strips on the leading edge of the fin.  Jets are definitely more work than WW2 aircraft!

The under fuselage pylons and AMRAAMS were decided on to make the jet a little different from other models of the FA2.  Several reference photos were consulted to get the placement of the pylons correct as Kinetic do not give you any guidance in the instructions.  Despite the photos, I got some feedback when I posted the model on Britmodeller, the AMRAAMs were still tool forward by a couple of mm.  I can live with that

The decal sheets in these SHAR kits are nothing short of comprehensive, probably amongst the best you can find in a kit.  From the FA2 sheet, you can make just about every FA2 in service, in either hi viz or subdued schemes, as Kinetic provide you all squadron insignia, and all serial numbers by way of separate numbers you then combine to make your desired serial.  All stencilling is provided in both pink, red and black depending on which scheme you finish your jet in.
The sheet is printed by cartography, and they performed excellently sinking into all the recessed detail with the aid of Micro set and Micro Sol.

It was then that disaster struck.  I foolishly glued the windscreen on with Tamiya extra thin. I must have had the windscreen touching the instrument coaming one one side as the glue wicked straight up the inside of the windscreen.  AAAAGGGGHHH!  I managed to get the windscreen off, and polished the glue mark out, but the damage had been done as this kind of thing is hard to come back from.  The model no longer matched my vision of it in my head and I found I was just wanting to get it off the bench so that I could concentrate on making a better job of the others. Hence, the rather sloppy touch up paint around the reattached windscreen.

​ This is the problem I always have when building multiple kits in parallel.  I won’t be doing it again.  My new found apathy for the model only increased when I found the canopy would not sit flush when in the closed position.  The simple workaround to this was to just place it in the open position. A couple of the antennas had broken off with my handling of the model, and I didn’t replace them as by this stage I was over the kit. Annoyingly Kinetic want you too drill out all the location points for the antennas, which are moulded with a little tab on the underside, so your hole has then to be cut into a rectangular shaped hole.  I daresay, Kinetic have done this rather than provide holes so any antenna fit can be catered for, but really Kinetic, you could have provided flashed over slots to make this job easier. To top the model off, it then rocked ever so slightly once placed on its gear, despite me fitting the main gear last to ensure it would sit on all five wheels.  Thats it.  It will be going to the back of the cabinet.  Im hoping my other two will turn out better as Im using a bit more patience in their construction.  Meanwhile, Im not rating the Kinetic kit as an enjoyable build.

BAE Sea Harrier FA2 ZH812 801 SQNFleet Air Arm.  Yeovilton. U.K 2006

Dragon 1/35 SdKfz 7/2 + Bronco 1/35 Sd.Ah. 52 Ammunition Trailer

Built: 2021
Date added to The Stash:  2015

Enhancements Used: Voyager 1/35 37mm brass barrel and ammunition

I have a vague recollection this kit was purchased during an armour buying blitz.  As has happened on far too many previous occasions, I get a bee in my bonnet about building a particular kit, after seeing a completed example or reading a review, and not only do I buy the particular kit, but also a swarth of other AFVs, trucks, ships, whatever, only to sell most off them off when I realise I won’t build half of them!
Anyone else do this?
This kit having survived “The Post Loss of Interest Sale” was plucked from the stash to form part of this years build schedule, which my modelling mates had randomly picked for me.

If you have only ever built tamiya armour, are you in for a treat! but only if you love assembling tens of parts into assemblies that tamiya would mould as maybe three parts.  Then there is the instructions.  small crowded drawings on a fold out page that do not do a good job at all, on illustrating to the builder, what parts are needed for what variant.  

To me this is not a big thing, as I primarily build armour as a bit of a palette cleanser from aircraft.  But if you’re a purist that  cares what  month the Stug III production line started using 8 hole sprockets instead of 6, Dragon ain’t your friend!  The instructions are also littered with misnumbered parts and some parts were difficult to place thanks to  vague placement drawings.
Instructions aside, the Dragon Sd.Kfz7 series kits build up into well detailed examples of the vehicle.  Construction proceeds  quickly thanks to the well fitting parts.  I had a slight gap at the rear of the bonnet, but disguised this with a strip of glue soaked tissue paper as the actual vehicle has a canvas boot cover fitted here. PROTIP.  Cut the tissue AFTER it has been soaked in glue and allowed to dry, not before!

You could leave the bonnet sides and top off if you wanted as the kit does include the engine, but I didn’t want the hassle of the extra detailing this would warrant.  The other thing to watch out for is the axles are a little spindly, coupled with the tight fit of some of the wheels when pushing them on as  I had a couple of axles that snapped.  To make life easier, ensure that you remove all mould seams from the axles so that the wheels will slide on easier.  Dragon surprisingly don’t supply decals for the drivers dials either.  I thought I would be smart and fit the steering column later than the instructions call out, to aid in painting.  Don’t do this.  It needs to be added when called out.

I found assembling the gun quite fiddly, and the instructions certainly did not help here.  I would have liked a lot more detail drawings of where parts fitted.  The dragon flash hider, although moulded quite nicely was replaced by the Voyager part as this had all the holes drilled out.  I have no idea how they mill this parts but they look absolutely superb.  The barrel was also replaced with the brass item.

For the finish, I envisaged an early war grey vehicle used during the dry summer months in Russia coated with a layer of dust.  In reality, well I don’t think I have weathered it very well at all.  Pigments were used to represent the dust, and it again just looks like I have caked it on.  I need to learn a little pigment goes a long way.  More successful were the oil washes I used on the rear deck.  The Grey was tamiya.  I looked at SMS, but there’s is a very dark colour.  I know the actual colour was in real life quite dark, but small vehicles look better when the colour is lightened I think.  Mud spatters were added using Mig products.  I would advise all readers to look at the many  tutorials available on Youtube to see these techniques demonstrated.  Adding the tracks also proved quite fiddly with them breaking a few times.  They are provided as separate links. Im thinking the enamel thinner used to fix the pigment in place may be weakening the glue.  Ill use fruit tracks when I do the SdKfz7.

Well, this model was drawing to a close, but wait!  There’s More!  Looking at the few photos out there of this vehicle, it was quite often seen towing an ammunition trailer behind it. Bronco Models to the rescue.  Their trailer assembled quickly, the only weakness being again, spindly axles.  I ended up replacing one which I again snapped with more substantial brass wire.  Much better.  The trailer was coupled to the half track and then she really was complete, after a few of the voyager brass wheels were littered around the bed.  Not too many as Im sure the crew would just kick them off before moving. The kit could have a lot more accessories added to give it that lived in look, but I was at the stage where I wanted to move onto the next project.

Soft skin vehicles really appeal to me, perhaps its because they don’t have to  be weathered as extremely as tanks.  Armour weathering is still a real learning curve for me.  The Dragon SdKfz7 and 88mm gun are also  in the stash having survived a couple of Stash Slash. Im looking forward to building them too, now that I know what to look out for.


Hobby Boss 1/48 F-105G Thunderchief

Added to stash:  2017
Finished:  2021

Cockpit Panels:  Quinta 3D decals
Seats:  Legend 
Gun Barrels:  Master Barrels
Pitot Tube:     Master Barrels
Wheels:  Reskit                                                                                External details:  Eduard Exterior set.  Quickboost vents                                                                                       Navigation Lights:  Quickboost                                                                              Decals:  Caracal                                                                          Boarding Ladders:  LF Models

This is not the first time the HobbyBoss Thunderchief has formed part of my stash.  It first joined the stash soon after its release, only to be sold off in the Great Stash Slash of 2013.  However, its funny the effect of looking at the real aeroplane can have on us as modellers.  
What had previously been so many disparate grey parts in a box took on form and  large menacing  grace when I stood next to several real Thunderchiefs whilst on an Aviation Odyssey to the USA,
I knew I had to build one upon my return home.  My mate had a similar feeling upon looking at the F-101B Voodoo, a jet he had previously had no love for either.

Consequently the HB two seat Thud rejoined my ever growing stash, and this year was picked out by a mate for my 2021 build schedule.  I should add here, for a kit to only spend 3 years in my stash between being purchased and then built is well above the average!

 As with all my builds, I started out watching related youtube videos and pulling all the reference material I had in my library.  Republic’s Thunderchief had  a very tumultuous start, during which the project was almost cancelled. Republic refined the original design markedly and the Thud went on to deliver sterling service during the Vietnam War before being withdrawn due to crippling losses.  This was due to the jet performing a role it was never designed for.  All this research helps with motivation for the build.

HobbyBoss’ Thud is one of their earlier releases, I believe it’s scaled down from their 32 scale kit, hence the breakdown is far more complicated than it probably needs to be with an engine, open gun bay and even parts for the nose mounted radar.  That said, I do like the display options these details offer the builder.

Ive made a conscious effort lately to plan how I want my finished builds to look.  This helps me with purchasing aftermarket parts that may be needed, and on the flip side, deciding what assembly steps and parts can be skipped due to closed panels etc.  I’m finding planning like this leads to saved time on the build.
With this jet,  the canopies and gun bay would be opened to show those details of the jet.  The drag chute door behind the fin and the lower speed brake would also be shown open as seen in many period photos.
It would also be tooled up  with a typical Wild Weasel asymmetrical load out that would have been carried during the Vietnam war.  Naturally, it would need to wear the WW tail codes for Wild Weasel.

I was surprised to find I had amassed quite a bit pf AM for the Thud!


Construction Notes
I started by making up complete fuselage halves by assembling each fuselage rear to the front half.  Doing it this way ensures a neat gap free join. Plastic strip was glued to the rebate where the engine bulkhead would normally be glued to provide more glueing area.

obbyBoss really mucked up here.  The kit cockpit side consoles are way too narrow and do not reach the fuselage walls.  You will need to add plastic sheet to widen them.  What on earth were you thinking HB?
extra width topextra width bottom
The Thunderchief has a wide very visible cockpit that rewards extra detailing.  I chose to use one of the new Quinta cockpit sets specifically for this kit.  Well, colour me impressed!  This was the first time I had used these sets.  The Thud one fit perfectly, correcting the too narrow kit consoles.  They are easy tao apply once all the moulded detail had been sanded off the panels and look far more realistic than just flat PE panels.  Printed on white vinyl, you may have to touch in the odd visible white edge, but this is nothing hard.  the dials are already gloss coated, although I would probably hit the panel with a matt to dull Quinta’s semi gloss finish.  These will be  my go-to panels for all aircraft that feature highly visible cockpits in future.
quinta sheetquinta panelsquinta panels-2


Construction Continues
For such a complicated looking kit, it went together surprisingly quickly.  The separate spoilers were individually added to the top wing before the halves were glued together.  Doing it this way ensures you get the best possible flush fit as it allows access to  both sides of the wing, which you wouldn’t be able to do if you added the spoilers to the assembled wing halves.  I had the Quickboost navigation lights to hand so also added these.  Strange decision by Quickboost to mould the complete wing tip in red and green plastic when the actual light is quite small.  I can only assume they did it this way so the light is correctly faired in.  Be careful to avoid a step though.  I also added the completed wings to each fuselage half to better ensure  a gap free join.  Hobby boss’ kit has the wing strengthening plates moulded on.  I could not glean a date though when these were added to the real jet, just that the constant tempo of operations in SVN had lead to fatigue issues, hence the reason they were added.  Anyway, I was not going to risk destroying detail by sanding them off.  The Gs were late airframes anyway so hopefully they had them fitted.

Eduard PE fascias were added to the gun bay and the plastic vulcan barrels replaced by the incredible brass turned Master Barrels ones, You will go crosseyed trying to assemble them.  The Eduard gun bay door with its open gas vents is a massive improvement on the kit part.  Should you be building your Thud with the gun bay open, I’d suggest the Eduard set is a must.

Painting and Decorating
Aeromasks are a manufacturer unknown to me.  I stumbled across them browsing facebook.  They offer a very comprehensive range of camouflage mask sets in all scales.  Seeing they offered a set for the Thud, I promptly ordered one thinking it would really ease painting the S.E.A scheme.

​The sets arrived pretty quickly from America and are indeed fairly comprehensive, even providing masks to paint the demarcation lines on the fuel tanks.  Clear instructions leave you in no doubt how to position the masks and in what order to paint the scheme.  You are well advised to follow these as the painting order is designed to ease the masking process, not necessarily the painting.  Therefore you start with the medium green not the tan as you would imagine.
Being the masks are not designed to fit specific kits, you may find some trimming necessary in order to fit the kit you are using.

The masks were placed on little blobs of white tac so as to leave a soft edge.  This was only marginally successful so I ended up tracing around most colours with the airbrush freehand to soften edges.
Overall, I was happy with the masks and the intricate pattern using them provided, which seemed to match photos.  A lot of the jets had their camo field applied as they entered the theatre still in their silver schemes, so there would have been some minor differences from airframe to airframe.

 The bloke who runs Aeromask used to paint  real Thunderchiefs at Hill AFB, so has access to all the official paint schemes.
My intention was to portray a battered and faded jet, but again looking at photos revealed not a lot of faded paint on the Wild Weasles, so the faded look was held back apart from the upper surfaces.
​The Caracal  decals performed flawlessly as always.  Prior to decalling, an oil wash was applied straight over the lacquer paint.  This was then sealed with a gloss coat ready for decalling.

Thunderchief_initial paintThunderchief_initial paint stb sideThunderchief_initial paint-2

Once decalled a further gloss coat was applied to seal the decals before stains and leaks were added with more oils.  The model was then flat coated before proceeding to final assembly.  This is now my preferred work flow.


Final assembly reveals the achilles heal of the HB kit.  That being the very spindly weak undercarriage legs, upon which the completed model wobbles alarmingly.  Against my better judgement white metal legs were purchased, and ultimately discarded, because they were….well….crap plus the main reason the kit legs are spindly is the insubstantial socket HB have moulded for them to sit into.  The metal legs weren’t going to fix this, nor could I glue in more substantial sockets.  The Thud continues to wobble on its legs.


​Weapons were sourced from a hasegawa weapons set.  There was a difference in size between the kit missiles and the hasegawa ones .  My faith went into the Japanese manufacturers product.
A final lack of detail that was not discovered until I went to fit the canopy was that HB had made absolutely no allowances for the modeller to pose them open.  Thus actuators had to be scratch built.  This was achieved with brass wire and rod
The brass pitot tube was push fit into the hole in the nose cone and this mighty Vietnam warrior was finished.

Final Thoughts
The Thunderchief makes for an imposing model in the cabinet.  Its a decent size in 48 scale, and stands out amongst all those grey jets  in its multi hued warpaint.  The lovely LF Models ladders provide a nice splash of colour and draw your eye to the cockpits
I think the Thud is one of my best efforts yet.  the trouble free construction being a bonus I had not expected when first perusing the instructions and parts.  An enjoyable build, although one will do me.

Republic F-105G-1-RE Thunderchief  U.S.A.F  561st TFS Korat Thailand  1972


Kinetic 1/48 E-2C Hawkeye 2000

  • Purchased: 2018
  • Completed:2021
  • Enhancements:
  • Wheels  Royale Resin
  • Decals: Authentic Decals
The hawkeye was quite a bold release for the then relatively new Kinetic.  Although I have never seen a built example grace the competition tables here in Australia, there are quite a few builds featured on line.  Perhaps a better indicator of what people are building.  In any case, I hope Kinetics courage in releasing it has been rewarded by good sales.
Being one of Kinetics earlier kits, there are a few sink marks evident on wings, the crew door and the rotordome pylons, easily fixed, as they are quite shallow.
Panel lines are somewhat heavy and ejector pins mar the wheelwells.  Options out of the kit allow the modeller to fold the wings, drop the flaps or model the crew door open
Interior detail is fine for what can be seen and full intake trunking is included for the engine intakes.  Upon its release, the kit seems to have met with good reviews, some commentators remarking that the 4 bladed propellers would need some minor reshaping to better reflect the full sized blades.  All reviewers experienced a nasty step between the upper nacelle and the wing interface. otherwise the kit was found to be well fitting


Kinetic followed up their original boxing with this later boxing that includes parts for upgraded satellite antenna fits, engine cowlings with stiffeners and the 8 bladed propellers.  The four bladed props are still included.  Both boxing s are let down by the very plain markings offered.  Surprising, given the schemes this aircraft has worn and the fact the decals were designed by Fightertown.  Italeri have also reboxed the kit with a far more colourful aircraft sporting markings from “Liberty Belles”

Build Notes
2020 was to be the year I built anything from my stash  that saw service with the United States Navy.  It didn’t work out too well!.  Pandemic aside, the start of 2020 turned out to be a modelling disaster that saw about 4 kits started and promptly consigned to the bin before finally managing to complete one.  The Hawkeye was the fifth kit started and was shaping up well, until I discovered the canopy had been short shot.  Kinetic though were very receptive when I requested a replacement, although the part did not reach me until quite some months later due to global airmail almost shutting down.


I had decided early on to build the model with wings extended as to me, wings that fold along the fuselage hide too much of the aircraft. In the Hawkeys case it would also take away from the greyhound look of the aircraft.  Kinetic offer decent spars that go some way towards ensuring the spread wings form a solid join and align with the fixed centre section.  Fit is good, but not exceptional.  I was left with gaps top and bottom that needed filling and rescribing.  Greater care and some fettling on my part would have probably reduced these, as dry fits without the spars revealed tight joints
Sink marks across the wing top surface were dealt with by application of Mr Surfacer 500.  Rather than slather on putty, the nacelle step was dealt with by careful sanding of the nacelle mating surfaces where they met the wing undersides, taking care to maintain the contours.  Serial dry fits were carried out until the step had been eliminated.  The then very minor gaps were filled with Apoxie Sculpt, the excess being removed with a damp finger.  The overscale static discharge wicks were cut off, to be replaced with toothbrush bristles.  Being the lazy Modeller I am, the ejector pins in the wheelwells were ignored.

As a result of having to wait for the canopy, the kit was built up in sub–assemblies, being the wing, comprising the nacelles, the rotordome and supporting pylons, and finally the fuselage, being I did not want to contend with possibly having to fair a badly fitting canopy into a large and unwieldy model.  I carried this method right through to painting and decalling.  Dry fits had shown the wing to fuselage fit could be easily dealt with, when the time came, and this method would also allow unfettered access to the inside faces of the nacelles and the fuselage sides that would otherwise  be underneath the wing.
Fuselage assembly was unremarkable, an average fitting belly panel required some use of Mr surfacer, and  a large amount of lead sheeting was epoxied in behind the cockpit bulkhead with lead shot filling the gaps either side of the nose wheel well to ensure the aircraft sat on all three undercarriage legs.  Fitting the clear nose cone left a step on one side.  The low side of the step was built up with apoxie sculpt and sanded to shape.

Paint and decals

Whilst still in its sub assemblies, the model was painted using Mr Color light gull grey with the tail fins in SMS Insignia Blue.  Black de icer boots were sprayed tamiya rubber black after some very time consuming masking.  The portions of the flaps hidden by the wings and the flap wells got a  coat of Mr Color Flat Red
Not a single chip of paint peeled up on the removal of the tape, unlike most of my Tornado builds.  Looks like that old Alcad grey primer was the culprit!
The cockpit tinting was done using a 50:50 mix of tamiya Metallic brown and smoke, overcoated with several layers of future.
Unless you want to build the very boring kit option, aftermarket decal sheets are a must, even then options are few, with the decal manufacturers seeming to offer nothing post 2008.  This machine has worn some very colourful markings which have not at all been mirrored by the very uninspired decal sheets out there, save for the Fightertown Liberty belles sheet.


I chose a decal sheet by the-to me- unknown manufacturer, Authentic Decals that included a scheme with a large hawk on the side, and ticked my boxes of having coloured fins and a artwork on the rotordome top surfaces
My concerns about the Authentic decals not performing or breaking apart in the water were unfounded.  Turns out they are printed by Bergemot.  (EDIT, It seems this sheet is also offered under the Bingo Decals brand, I’m not sure which came first, or if one is a knock off of the other, or printed with permission)
They performed flawlessly and reacted very well to the Micro decal solutions settling down into even the rivets with only two applications.  This is more than I can say for the kit decals which had been printed by cartograf. They took multiple applications of setting solution before sinking into the detail, and only after resorting to using Daco strong solution.  All walkway decals and fuselage national insignia were left off until the wing had been mated to the fuselage.  However this then exposed the fact the Authentic Decals NAVY titles were far too big, when compared to photos of the real machine and how the NAVY titles sat in relation to the national markings.  The kit NAVY titles were the correct size, but it was too late as even removing the oversize titles would still leave the ship and squadron designations in the wrong spot in relation to the NAVY titles. There was no choice but to just suck it up, and move on.  I decided to do a clean build as photos I had of the real aircraft showed it very clean indeed, like fresh paint clean, plus I was getting to the stage where I wanted it off the bench

Final details were added and EZ line used for the antenna lines.  Like  all modern aircraft , the model was starting to get hard to pick up, the more you added to it.  Royal Resin wheels replaced the rather bland, and in any case far too weighted kit wheels.  All those pesky red lines on the wheelwell doors were applied with a fine tipped gundam marker, and she was done, ready to almost take up half a shelf in my cabinet.

SO! The two questions I ask myself after each build

Well, not bad. I think its an incremental improvement over my Tornado builds.  I’m still marring my finish with stupid mistakes, which are only too apparent to the camera lens, damn you macro camera!!Thers some silly construction and finish mistakes as a result of just not taking my time but, overall,  I’m  pretty happy with it, and just love the look of the finished model. It just looks so busy with the aerial wires, the multi bladed props, deployed flaps and that large Hawk

Not another Hawkeye, but if I found the Greyhound at a reasonable price, then possibly!
Thanks for looking in.  See you after the next build

                                                                                    Grumman E-2C Hawkeye 2000  VAW-117 Wallbangers  United States Navy  

U.S.S. Nimitz  Pacific Ocean  2009

I.B.G Model 1/35 Bedford QLT

Purchased : 2014
Completed: 2020
Some added details to cab from card and rod
Jerry Cans: Bronco Commonwealth AFV equipment
Decals:  ​Kit

Construction Notes


This kit was purchased from the much missed late John Xigoladis of Showcase Models Australia fame, who bought us the Bushmaster PMV.  John used to have a small shop in the heart of Melbourne Australia, which,  as well stocking  all the major brands also carried some  obscure brands, well, for Australia anyway.
 I have a bit of an interest in soft skins, especially Commonwealth ones, so was very happy to see this on the shelf and quickly plucked it out from below a stack of other kits to take to the counter and ask John for a peak at the contents.

It all looked quite crisp and nicely moulded in the box, so away with me it came.

Fast forward 6 years- actually quite quick, I have kits that have been in the stash for up to 20 years – and I was looking for an easy uncomplicated build following my Tornado odyssey. This seemed to fit the bill
For anyone else contemplating this build, your first stop should be here .  Terry’s review is an excellent article on building the model, its also about the only review I have seen on the net.
As I pretty much followed Terrys build and suggestions, there is not a lot else I can say about my build.  The plastic was quite soft and marred by several heavy mould seams on parts, the most noticeable being cylindrical parts.  Where I could, I replaced these using rod or brass wire.  Some details like seat backs and steps look a little chunky, and the headlights had sink marks in their centres.

Fit was excellent throughout with the caveat of the mudguards as pointed out in Terry’s review.  Although the plan was to build OOB, I did add some scratchbuilt details to the cab as per the article.  Eduard, Plus Models, Reskit and PART all offer detail sets for this kit if you want.




​The interior was painted with SMS paints SCC15 Olive Drab, and chips added with a sponge and Vallejo German camouflage black brown.  Scuffed paint was added by way of dry brushing silver paint on the floor and pedals.
dial decals were from a 1/32 instrument panel sheet were added to detail the blank instrument cluster provided by IBG. This is probably the only British Army truck fitted with an air speed indicator!
The cargo body is missing handles and locking latches, but I left the model as is.  I should have probably replaced the thick grab handles with in scale wire though.  I did briefly toy with the idea of leaving the rather featureless moulded rear tarp off and scratch building the metal hoops, but in the end carried on with the kit part for a quick build.  I believe there is supposed to be a flap in this towards the front where a Bren gun could be mounted on a pole for AA defence , but could find no photos of this set up. The tarp is one of the weaker parts in the kit I think.

The real truck has a wooden floor in the cargo tray, Thi sounded like a great excuse to break out the chipping fluid and practise my chipping technique  to portray paint worn away by many pairs of hob nailed boots.  Would the SMS paints chip though?  Reading various threads on FB modelling groups seemed to suggest they would, so an underlying generic wood colour was laid down, followed by two coats of AKs “worn effects”  This was allowed to dry and then the SMS green laid down.  Once dry I scrubbed the paint with a wet stiff bristled brush until the green paint started to chip away.  It took a little more effort than using acrylic paint.  A coarse sanding stick was also used to impart some scratches to seats and seat backs and around high traffic areas.
Overall, I was quite happy with the result.

Out of the three paint choices, I decided on the camouflaged version, as I love the so called “Mickey Mouse” pattern.  To paint this, I scanned the very helpful paint diagram up to model size, then simply cut out the pattern to use as a mask.  Speaking of the instructions, apart from the painting guide, I found them rather vague in illustrating part placement and quite dark in print quality .
Stars were painted using masks from Js works, and left me unimpressed. The masks are not sharply cut out and you are left with a bit of a ragged looking star.  In this case, the following weathering steps would go some way towards hiding it.  The kit decals were used for all other markings and performed flawlessly.  They are printed by Techmod, whose decals I have never had a problem with.
Jerry cans from a Bronco set were added to fill the kit provided empty racks. They needed to be thinned down a bit to fit both cans in the racks.
By this stage I had a pretty pristine looking truck, so it was time to impart a bit of dirt and grime.  First step towards this was building up misted coats of Humbrol khaki drill over the trucks undercarriage and a little up the sides to replicate a coating of dust.


My M60 Build had left me feeling a little more confident about the weathering process.  Like most modellers, I have a library of modelling books including the Mig FAQ series and the Tankart books, which a friend describes as “impenetrable”  Im going to agree with him as after several reads of the Rinaldi books, I was only a little the wiser about some processes.  In some respects they are quite dense regarding technique.  By far the most helpful tool I found was a series of YouTube by “Nightshift Modelling”  This bloke really breaks the techniques down with his video demonstrations in a way books just can’t.  I just followed his process for using oils and pigments.  I certainly could have gone further with the weathering on this truck, but decided to stop as I was keen to move on to the next subject. The old impatience kicking in! 

Final assembly found me struggling to get the tarp cover square to everything else.  I ended up replacing the kit poles with plastic rod and think I may have actually cut one side longer than the other, as from the front it definitely does not look square!
There is a friend in my little modelling circuit that we mock for being quite meticulous in his planning of a build.  Here I really should have taken a page out of Andrew’s book, because meticulous planning would have seen me cut away the kit mounted tubes on the sides of the cargo bed that the metal hoops slide into on the real truck, and replace them with brass tubing.  This would have made the tarp assembly far more solid, with the benefit of also being easily removable.  We won’t mock you anymore Andrew! (Who am I kidding, yes we will)
Following the kit instructions here leaves you with an assembly difficult to keep square and adequately mount to the body solidly.

I really enjoyed this build, despite me rushing a few details towards the end.  Looking at the photos, my weathering still looks a little unrefined, but I felt with this model, my confidence  in working with oils and pigments had grown.
​Would I build another?  Id definitely build another British cargo truck, maybe the ICM Models Ford though.  I just think the IBG kit misses a few quite visible details, ie windscereen wipers

Bedford QLT  Irish Guards. Holland 1944


Revell 1/48 Tornado GR4

Enhancements Used:  
Cockpit: Eduard
Seats: Paragon
Wheels: Brassin
Wheelwells: Eduard
Weapons: Brassin
Pitot: Master Barrel
Wing Seals: Shaun off Britmodeller
                                                                                                  Decals: Model Alliance Op Telic Part 1

The third and final instalment!  I had wanted to build Danger Mouse from the start.  For some reason I thought it was a ADV though, not a GR4, so then had to keep on  building tornadoes until I got to my GR4.  Well that’s my excuse for building 3 Revell Tornadoes.


I had a load of aftermarket I had planned on using on this build.  Some of it got binned as not value adding to the build though.  
Firmly in this camp, I place the phase Resin Hangar seamless intakes.  For a start, I just don’t think they are needed.  Whilst the kit intakes do have a nasty seam, you can really only see the first couple of mm of the kit intake trunking, ands then only by holding the model up at a weird angle and craning your neck to look down the intakes.  If this bothers you, a bit of filler and sanding will eradicate the seam. Secondly, the case resin intakes are moulded as just the intake tunnels without the bulkheads provided as part of the kit trunking.  These bulkheads form the front and back walls of the wheel wells and provide important structural integrity.  As I was going to be using the aires resin wheels this was not a dealbreaker.  What was the dealbreaker was the resin intakes would not fit over the top of the resin wheel wells without removing a big chunk.  This  was after sanding both the roof of the wells and the outer wall of the intake wafer thin, so, the resin intakes got binned and I reverted to the kit intakes.  To be fair to Phase Resin, Mike is probably not expecting you to use his intakes in congestion with resin wheel wells.  That aside, to not cast the integral bulkheads seems strange..  My opinion. Don’t bother with the intakes.  The wheel wells however do add to the kit, beautifully detailed as are all aires sets, these even fit with a minimum of fuss.  What led to them getting junked along with the intakes was after glueing them I found I just could not get the fuselage parts to line up seamlessly as the other kits had, so they got hit with the debonder and binned as well.  Not going too well so far!  The aires wells do add a lot to the kit though, and I’m sure the fit issues were due to something I did.

The rest of the build proceeded as per the other tornado builds.  Again I cut off the wing cogs to fit them at a later stage.  Again this is another thing I would never do were I to build another tornado ( I won’t be!)

Revell would have you assemble the wing flaps as a three piece assembly whereas in real life they are one piece with only the small aerofoil section being a separate piece.  Make sure you fill and sand the join line.  Hopefully the photos explain this a bit better.  Shaun’s resin wing seals are far better representations of the real things rather than the featureless kits items.  He can be contacted through  Britmodeller.com

Photos I found on the net of Danger Mouse and other Operation relic jets showed a fair bit of wear and tear with scuffing and chipping of the ARTF grey paint exposing the underlying dark camouflage grey paint.  To portray this on the model. I first applied a coat of dark sea grey to the leading edge slats, nose, pylons and one of the drop tanks.  Mr Neo masking fluid was then dabbed on with a torn bit of sponge and the model sprayed with a couple of light coats of Scale Modeller’s Supply Barley Grey.  SMS is a home grown  Australian paint manufacturer.  I have been increasingly using his paints, as Im finding them excellent to spray.  You can spray them straight from the bottle, but I add a drop or two of thinner to make them spray even better.  They are a lacquer paint that has proven to be hard wearing and quick drying.  Once this paint had dried I rubbed my finger over the Neo to remove it from the airframe leaving the model looking chipped and scuffed.  The jet was made to further look worn by painting a few panels in either dark sea grey or lightened shades of the barley grey. One of the fuel tanks was painted in the old wrap around scheme, jets being fitted with different coloured tanks being quite common, even today.

I applied a panel wash with Payne’s grey oil paint straight over the SMS paint, with the excess wiped off and no damage to the underlying paint.  The decals were also placed straight over the paint, which dries with a sheen, the model Alliance decals performing well, although the DM code letters were too light and did not stand out enough when compared to photos of the real jet.  As I could not find any dark grey or black letters of the correct size to replace them, so had to resort to painting the fin top a lighter grey.  I replaced the letters with other codes from the same sheet.  Penfold’s catch cry “Crumbs Chief” should also be far pinker than the pale shade on the sheet, maybe it faded!  Op Telic jets do not seem to have been as well photographed as Op Granby jets, well so it seemed to me with good quality photos being hard to source. In particular I wanted to know if these jets wore the full suite of stencils after they were repainted.  In the end I went with just the major ones figuring only those stencils that dealt with rescue or crash procedures would have been re applied.

With this model I decided to really strengthen the pylon to wing attachment by using epoxy glue.  They ain’t coming apart now, although perhaps I should have ensured they were parallel to the centre line first!

With that Danger Mouse was done.  One of my favourite cartoon characters as a child.  There are still a few build and finish faults, but this is my favourite of the three.  I love the pugnacious look of the short nose coupled with the laser sensors.  The Eduard Brassin weapons are also a must have, being better detailed and more accurate than the kit supplied weapons.  Out of the box, you can arm a Operation Granby or Operation Telic jet.  Even the stenciling is provided.

So with three Revell Tornadoes done, what are my thoughts?  Well, let me start by saying I sold my remaining Revell tornado from the stash, as to build more would be just like beating yourself over the head repeatedly using a hammer.  I think you would really have to love Tornadoes to build multiples of the Revell kit.  Marred by soft detail in a lot of places, sink marks, flash, it can be  a troublesome build in inexperienced hands.  Take the time to research other on line builds and the previously linked youtube videos as fit problems can be mitigated if the builder departs from Revells suggested build sequence.  I really cant see anyone else aside from Airfix releasing a newer tooled Tornado, so Im thinking the revell is going to be the go-to in 48 scale for quite some time.  I might just order that new 32 scale Italeri tornado, as the Tornado itch still needs to be scratched with a wrap around GR1.

 Tornado GR4 ZA542 31SQN Royal Air Force. Combat Air Wing Ali Al Salem Op. Telic 2003