Airfix 1/48 Spitfire FRXIV (yes, another one!)

  • Added to Stash; 2022
  • Completed; 2023
  • Enhancements:
  • Exhausts: Brassin
  • Wheels: Brassin
  • Seat Belts: Eduard
  • Guns: master barrel
  • Decals: Xtradecals

Well! I certainly did not see myself completing another of these kits, immediately following on from my other one, but I had become intrigued by a few comments on my Facebook page as to how to get a better fit at the wing roots.

The suggested method was to fit the upper wings direct to the fuselage . This allowing the best way to get a tight fit, then the lower wing is added.

I was doubtful this would work on this model, given the very small contact area for the upper wings abutting the wing fillets. Instead I added the upper wings to the lower wings, only glueing the tips together to ensure there would be no step. As the wings had had no glue added inboard of the aileron cut outs, the soft plastic allowed me to spread the upper and lower wing to fit over the undercarriage location stubs moulded in situ along the wing root. My wing root gap was almost non existent this time, needing only a thin smear of Mr Surfacer to reduce the join.

My other major departure from the instructions with this build was to glue the fuselage halves together, completely dress the join, then add the fuselage from below. The fuel tank was still a poor fit.

I added a 10thou shim to the front. The shim was sanded to conform to the cross section of the cover before it was put fit on. Result was a much tighter fit.

The construction on this was looking a lot tighter than my first one, which pleased me. For the finish, a modified desert day scheme used by the RAF post war was settled on. The different scheme a mate had used on his really appealed to me, so I wanted something similar for mine.

Not the same, obviously as I didn’t want to show him up!

The modified desert scheme was only used on two aircraft types that I know of, the Spitfires XIVs of 208 SQN and Tempests of 6 SQN. It was arrived at to differentiate the spitfires of the RAF from those of the Israeli Air Force and the Royal Egyptian Airforce, following a couple of “friendly’ fire incidents, which led to the loss of a few RAF machines.

During this time frame, all three Air Forces flew Spitfires, albeit different marks, so making your aircraft different from the others was a necessity.

Colours used were Gunze’s dark earth and MRPs light slate grey and medium sea grey for the undersides. The camouflage being freehand with my Iwata HP-C. Some tonal variation was achieved by utilising a random preshade of differing colours such as yellow, tan and light grey,

Decals were from xtradecals and there was no problems with applying them over a gloss coat, the post war D type roundels looking superb against the drab camouflage. With the national markings done it was time for the stencils which came from the kit sheet, well that was if I hadn’t accidentally thrown them out during packing up for the house move. Actually, there was nothing accidental about it as I can remember looking at them and thinking “I won’t need these, its a field applied camouflage” so in the bin they went.

I may have been correct in this assumption as the only two photos I could find on the net of these machines showed weren’t the best quality, so I couldn’t make out if there was stencilling or not. Given the machines were completely painted in a new scheme – well the top surfaces anyway – my supposition was stencilling was reapplied. In any case a lat mark spitfire stencil sheet by Barracuda Studios was duly ordered

Given Roy Sutherland markets this as suitable for any Spitfire from mark nine to mark 22, it was disappointing to find only enough stencils for four propeller blades, not five as needed in my case, or in fact for a mark 22/24.

Wing Walk lines were masked and painted as long thin decals and I don’t get on well!

An interesting little fact I discovered on Spitfires post VIII – the mechanical undercarriage down rods which extend above the wings when the gear is down, were deleted. So I didn’t add them as was my original intent and what started me down the stencilling rabbit hole

I was particularly pleased with my handling of the canopy on this kit. It was sharply masked and remained crystal clear, which is not usual for me, well thats how I remembered it before the move.

Imagine my horror when I pulled it from the box to discover a dirty great crack the length of it.

No problem, there’s two in the kit, in fact I had two remaining ones from both kits. I had used one as a mask when painting this kit, so cleaned it up with some MR Thinner, which revealed that this one was also cracked, I mean for christs sake!!!! Maybe I applied too much pressure whist holding it when painting the kit. So, the remaining canopy was masked up and painted. Unmasking this revealed………. a tiny spot where the plastic had crazed, what caused it. I don’t know, no glue had been near it, only lacquer paint, whether it pooled on this spot whilst painting, I have no idea. The offending area was sanded out and repolished but I could not eradicate it completely.

Thanks though to some fellow modellers following a plea on one of the facebook sites, I soon had not one but two extra canopies to replace my marred example. The whip aerial was added from some piano wire and she was done.

Looking at the completed model with a critical eye, there are a few areas Im not happy with, and some unforced errors I continue to make, but the different camouflage certainly sets it apart from my other Spitfires, and I have really grown to love the Griffon engined spits.

Supermarine Spitfire FRXVIII 208 SQN Royal Air Force Egypt 1949

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2022 Build Year in Review

Well, combined with not yet having a bench up and running, and being coerced into visiting the in -laws for Xmas

(turns out five hours drive is STILL too close!) it’s beginning to look like…. my modelling year is done.

Net result? five models, which is actually not that bad for me, given my usual is 5-8 a year. There were a few false starts, although not nearly as many as in previous years. Toward the middle of the year, my wife and I made the decision that we were going to bring forward our retirement and move interstate to a retirement property we had previously purchased. This of course severely curtailed bench activities as we started to get our house ready for market. We are now in the new house but the modelling bench has not yet come back on line.

Anyway, on to the builds. In order of completion.

The year started out with The Eduard Spitfire I had bought The Few double boxing with full intention of building both. The second having opened cowls and gun bays, but that one became the first of the year to fall. Its back in the box and will be revived at some stage

What can I say about the Eduard Spits that has not already been said? Nothing really. Just. Build. One!

Second kit was the Accurate Miniatures 1/48 Mitchell C/D

This was my second go around with this kit, having attempted it upon its initial release. From memory, that one never reached completion.

The kit was neither as much fun to build, nor as good as I remembered it, but Im happy with the completed model and its been a favourite on line. I must admit Im very chuffed with how the distressed stripes came out. Am I allowed a bit of self congratulations? Yeah, of course I am.:)

It was then the turn of Fly Models 1/32 Hurricane MkIId One of my favourite aircraft in one of my favourite schemes, what’s not to like? Well the whole kit really!

Beautiful surface detail, but not an enjoyable build. Looking at it on the shelf, Im also not totally convinced by SMS paint’s interpretation of Dark earth and Middle stone to be honest.

So, what’s next after two complicated builds? Well, Hell, lets just lurch into a complicated 1/48 jet!!!

Meng’s F-18E Super Hornet was started as a mate was building the Hobby Boss kit. Mercifully, this build stalled a little whilst I waited for some resin that seemed to be taking its sweet time proceeding through the U.S postal system to arrive.

In the meantime I started the Hasegawa 1/48 Ki-44 Tojo, as I needed a quick build. Or slammer build, if you want to stay hip and cool in the new modelling scene

Did I say quick? That fucking camouflage took me two goes!

That done, back to the Super Hornet, which actually was an enjoyable build, or as enjoyable as modern jets can be with all that pylon and stores palaver to go through.

This is pretty much where the packing up of the bench commenced, the F-18 being rushed behind for a point, as we say in the AFL states. Is there any other kind of footy? (No, there’s not, is the correct answer) which I feel is reflected in the completed model.

I almost got the Airfix Spitfire XIV over the line, but moving day arrived first

Somewhere along the way, a Wingsy kits 1/48 109E1 also died .

Far too many kits were added to the stash. On the other hand, a chunk of built models were sold, so there’s a bit of room in the cabinet.

The first job in the New Year will be to get the bench up and running. There is a decent sized room in our new place that will become mine. Planning has already started, the first step being to sort out modelling accessories and tools I no longer use or cant see me having a use for any more.

I was a little horrified at just how much modelling stuff I had to pack up, as a result my number one goal for next year will be sorting and, where necessary culling them . The decals have already been done, with the surplus decals going up on FB over the next couple of weeks.

Aside from that.

Make More Models.

Im on a transition to retirement, which means 11 months of Long Service Leave. Thanks Ambulance Victoria! Thats gotta get me through about……oh, an eighth of the stash! I’d also like to fiddle around with this site a bit more.

Thanks for looking at at my ramblings throughout the year, both here and the FB page

A Merry Festive Season to you all

Bruce

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Meng 1/48 F-18E Super Hornet

photo credit. Scalemates
  • Added to stash 2022
  • Built: 2022
  • Enhancements:
  • Seat– Brassin
  • Wheels-Reskit
  • Nozzles- SteelBeach
  • Pylons: Phase hangar resin.
  • Wingtip launchers: Flying Leathernecks
  • Decals: Afterburner Pacific Coast CAG Superbugs

Construction Notes

I need to stop writing these so long after I have finished the model, as its sometimes hard to remember stuff encountered during the construction!

That aside, I found Meng’s kit to be a painless build, construction wise. There were some pesky seams under the LEX that took a while to remove, and there are some spurious panel lines on the rear fuselage sides that need filling. Overall though I would rate it as a well fitting kit that is quite enjoyable to build.

As with any kit, multiple dry runs and careful preparation of the parts to ensure all mating surfaces are clean will reward you with far less problems than the modeller that does not take these steps.

The gun muzzle and fins can be painted separately and then added during final assembly, so good is their fit.

It easily eclipses Hasegawa’s ageing kit (as it should)

However, should you only have the Hobby Boss kit in your stash, I certainly wouldn’t be rushing out and replacing it with the Meng kit. Comparing notes with my mate, there doesn’t seem to be a lot between the two, perhaps a slightly better fit with the Meng kit-maybe!

Calum’s build here

My plan was to model a clean jet, as this is what most photos of this jet showed, clean as in both condition, and having no stores save a centreline fuel tank fitted. The phase hangar 3d printed pylons were therefore purchased in order to show detailed undersides with all holes slots etc hollowed out unlike the kit pylons that just have no detail on the undersides.

Likewise the resin Flying Leatherneck wingtip launchers. Whilst the kit wingtip launchers actually weren’t bad, if modelled bare, they displayed a nasty centreline seam which would have been difficult to fill.

Initial construction of the model proceeded fairly quickly although progress was held up whilst waiting for the resin to arrive from the United States. Thinking back on the build, no real problems were encountered. As my intention was to fit FOD guards, I left out the intake trunking and compressor fans. The intake FOD Guards are made from Apoxie-Sculp formed over the intake, then left to harden. The afterburner sheet included decals for the FOD guards so it would have been a crime not to use them.

I faffed around endlessly and to no avail trying to come up with home made covers for the nozzles, epoxy putty, glue dampened tissue being two materials that were tried and quickly removed as my efforts looked rubbish. In the end I found Steel Beach resin had done the work for me by releasing a set of covered nozzles for the hasegawa kit. Long OOP, I managed to find a set from a German retailer, even better, they fitted the Meng kit.

Halfway through the build, my wife and I put our house on the market, which resulted in me packing the modelling bench up to project the house in the best way during inspections.

We sold the house, but this then had the effect of me putting a clock on my modelling projects, in an effort to get them done before starting to pack the bench up in November. Experience has shown me that half finished projects that get packed away for house moves never get finished upon unpacking at the new house.

Subsequently. the Super Hornet was finished in a bit of a rush, with not the greatest attention paid to final assembly, or even the weathering really. Just a few token stains appearing on the wings.

The one store it carries, the target seeking pod, has just been tacked on as an afterthought with no decals or weathering. This was a deliberate choice on my part. When the new bench is set up, the ordnance will again be getting the attention it deserves

A mix of gunze and SMS paints were used for the USN greys, they ended up being mixed as I thought the SMS FS36320 was way too light as was their version of FS36375., but thats just my opinion. Some tonal shifts and fading being achieved by post shading on various shades of grey before a final blend coat.

The Afterburner decals performed flawlessly. I chse to paint the yellow trim and squadron codes on the fins using masks cut from scanning the decal sheet into my silhouette cutter. Im slowly getting better at using the software. The yellow border to the black spine was also masked and painted rather than using the decals. Long thin decals and I don’t get on a lot of the time.

The Meng decals, however were a big let down. Only the stencils were used, instead of being legible, they were just formed from random lines and are also the wrong colour being black instead of the contrasting grey. That said, they did perform alright and responded well to micro’s setting solution where used. Most of them were applied to little pools of future as I find this the best method for applying stencils and avoiding silvering.

Yes, I should have just used the afterburner stencils, but wanted to save these for a future Meng F-18F thats in the stash, in fact somehow the stash has ended up with THREE Meng Fs. Im not sure how this happened!

So thats it, my Meng Super Hornet. It was originally started for a FB group build, but it overrun the deadline. Whilst I enjoyed the build, I find modern jets can get a bit draining around the 80% mark, all those pylons, stores, undercarriage componets and aerials make them a fussy build. At least one of those two seaters will get done though, either as a USN jet or a R.A.AF jet

Boeing F-18E Super Hornet. VFA27 Royal Maces. U.S. Navy

USS George Washington 2010.

Please excuse the photography. I was having all sorts of issues getting my speedlights to slave to the camera.

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Hasegawa 1/48 Nakajima Ki44 Tojo

  • Added to stash: 2022
  • Built: 2022
  • Enhancements: Seat belts- Eduard
  • Decals: Combination of kit and home made masks

There is not really much to say about the construction off this kit at all, it being virtually viceless

The model was purchased off Facebook along with the hasegawa Val, both fine examples of Hasegawa single engined Japanese WW2 aircraft dating from the early 2000s. Kits that have pretty much stood the test of time well, although some of the details could now be considered a bit clunky.

The only tweak made to the model was to insert a spreader bar of plastic to eliminate a wing root gap.

Aside from this, assembly was trouble free. The model was assembled with super glue in an effort to avoid ghost seams. The fact I still experienced some has left me on the fence about assembling kits with superglue. Certainly with this kit, it led to no advantage.

The intent behind this model was purely as a fun build and to test my airbrush skills whilst I waited for resin bits to arrive for my Meng Super Hornet build. As such, only PE seatbelts were added and I left it as a clean unweathered build. Given the simple shapes of the markings, the opportunity was taken to further learn how to use my silhouette machine. The decal sheet was scanned and the required decals traced out and cut from Oromask 810. This is certainly getting easier, the more I use the machine and software.

Undersides were painted in tamiya LP11 whilst upper surfaces were done using Mr Color nakajima green and a mix of tamiya acrylics to match the gunze colour “propeller colour” which is a dark brown. It took me two goes with my Iwata HP-C, the first being stripped back as the mottle did not look dense enough compared to the kit paint guide.

Yellow ID bands were gunze yellow with a bit of red added. Lastly the black anti glare panel was added before all the bits such as undercarriage, doors, tanks were glued on. Well, not all bits, the telescope sight managed to end up in that alternate universe a lot of plastic kit parts end up in. This necessitated a new one being made from some plastic rod and the windscreen being levered off to fit it. I never managed to get a clean fit on the windscreen again, so left it slightly wonky.

The Hasegawa Tojo was a fun little build. I didn’t get it done in the last week of my holidays as planned due to coming down with Covid, and its certainly not my best work, I mean look at that windscreen for gods sake! As a break from larger and more complicated builds though, it certainly was the required tonic. The big brother of this kit lives in my stash, and I wouldn’t mind doing this one in the box scheme from this kit with those striking blue bands.

Nakajima Ki44-II “tojo” 2nd Company 85th Flight Reg.

Imperial Japanese Army. China 1944

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Fly Models 1/32 Hawker Hurricane llD

  • Built: 2022
  • Added to stash: 2017
  • Enhancements:
  • Instrument panel-Yahu
  • Seatbelts-HGW
  • Decals: all insignia painted on using kit scheme as templates. Stencils-1 man Army

“I can’t see any more Fly kits in my future”

My love for this particular mark of Hurricane dates back to the mid 70s when the owner of a Perth W.A hobby shop I frequented showed me his rendition of the ancient Monogram 48 scale kit.

It is still clear in my mind (yet I cant remember what I did last week!) as he had added the exhaust streaks and some scuffing around the wing roots. All the raised rivets had been dry brushed and there was not a seam or silvered decal anywhere. At the time I had no idea kits could be made to this standard, where did the seams go, and why were there no brush strokes!!!!

This stalwart of early British fighters, though has sadly been ignored by the main manufacturers when it comes to 32 scale.

There was a early kit released by Revell in the lates 60s, which remained the only game in town until Pacific Coast Models and then Fly released their non mainstream kits.

As a “lo-fi” kit, I think the Fly Models Hurricane rates above the Pacific Coast kit from what I can remember of my PCM kit before I sold it. Out of the box, the Fly kit boasts sublime surface detail on the wings in the form of raised rivets. The fabric effect on the fuselage is not overdone, there are recessed rivets on the leading edge which means it will be easy to reinstate these following sanding and filling sessions. All this complimented by some nice resin and photo etched details. Not mentioned in the instructions, there are also parts to make a MkIV out of the box, with the armoured radiator and (crude) rockets, rails, blast plates and drop tanks being included. These parts will find a new home in my spares box.

There are surprisingly few parts for a 32 scale model, but construction certainly was not simple. Not helping in this was the instruction booklet. There detail on illustrated parts in some cases not matching the detail on the actual parts in some cases. The seat adjustment handle, bulletproof glass, and armoured rear cockpit bulkhead being some examples.

I would advise washing the sprues in soapy water before assembly. Usually I would not do this but found on this particular model, my Tamiya extra thin just did not grab like it does on other plastic. I can only assume this was due to some contaminenat on the plastic, although they did not feel greasy.

The cockpit “cage” was frustrating to clean up and get square, again not aided by vague instructions. I used the compass face included in the Yahu set. Fly would have you glue the seat adjustment lever to the wrong side of the seat, they also have you incorrectly have the seat harness attaching to the rear of the seat. It should in fact run through a slot in the armour plate. Despite the diagram showing an armour plate detailed with bolt heads the PE item in the kit is featureless. I added punched plastic card discs, although mine are overscale. The control column likewise is not the detailed item shown in the instructions but a rather featureless plastic part. I wrapped fine wire around the spade grip. The super detailers amounts you could also add the chain running from the pulley mounted on the column .

The fuselage went together without too much drama, well apart from a seam on the cowling that just would not disappear despite numerous sanding sessions. In the end I scribed a trench along it then filled it with superglue and sanded it down. That did the trick.

If there is one trick to this kit, it is ensuring that you remove COMPLETELY, the casting block on the wheel well roof. My dremel got this job. When I had finished, in some areas the roof was that thin it was almost transparent!

Get this right, and assembly is reasonably straight forward, with the wing centre section fitting to the fuselage reasonably well. I chose to add plastic card tabs to the various wing sections to aid assembly. You want to avoid steps at all costs, sanding will destroy all that lovely raised detail.. To this end I chose to add the top halves of the wings to the wing roots as I wanted a clean join here. This meant, on my kit I had a step on the leading edges, but figured any detail destroyed here would be easier to re instate than the raised rivets around the wing root.

The landing light as a consequence also was not the best fit. Superglue came to the rescue. The tailplanes also required filler along their roots as did almost every trailing edge. No razor sharp trailing edges on this Hurricane!

Fly would have you add three recognition lights underneath. Wartime aircraft seem tp have only the centre one fitted based on photos I looked at, so the two outer lenses were glued in place then faired over with putty. Whilst we are on the bottom of the machine, of you are going to add the pulldown footstep, don’t forget it is linked to the handhold to the rear of the cockpit, so this should also be cut out and the inward folding cover added. I didn’t bother so I won’t add the step either.

The model required several sessions of priming, and then remedial sanding and filling to smooth over several areas. The underside could then be preshaded in SMS PRU Blue before the final colour using SMS Azure Blue. A marbled coat was then applied using lightened Azure Blue. Staying with the undersides, the wheelwells were painted silver and the underside roundels painted using Montex masks from their A type roundel set. Whilst masking the underside demarcation line, something was not looking right. My theory is Fly have engraved the bottom lines of the side cowlings too low. They should be higher up the fuselage sides which would make the bottom cowling also wider as it looks a bit too narrow. I have not compared this to any plans, just eyeballing photos. I probably should have filled and re engraved the lines, but I was on a roll now and not wanting to slow my progress.

Uppersurfaces were painted with SMS Mid Stone and SMS Dark Earth. The SMS rendition of Dark Earth looks a little too dark too me, but it does complement the mid stone nicely. Lightened mixes of each colour were applied in random streaks and mottles, with the fabric rear and control surfaces being painted in paler still shades of the basic colours to represent the different way these would have faded from the metal areas.

Masks for the codes and serials were cut by a mate. Thanks Calum. The roundels again are from Montex masks as was the fin flash. Artillery Models actually sell the decal sheets from each boxing as masks, but don’t waste your money. They are made from a very light tack transparent frisket, and just do not easily transfer from the sheet or even stick to the model.

What is worth the money (well maybe not, as they are very expensive, are the set of stencils from One Man Army out of Belgium. These are masks which you can spray all the stencils through, rather than using decals or dry transfers. Some of these stencils such as the No Step markings are tiny, but the masks are very sharply cut. I was most impressed and will be investing in more of their sets. they can be re used so my set will be re used on Revells forthcoming new tool Hurricane. TIP: buy from Hannants as even with postage to Australia, they are still cheaper than BNA have them for.

Chipping was added using Vallejo white grey and then the whole model sprayed with tamiya semi gloss varnish ready for washes and further weathering to be applied.

For this model, the oil dot filter process was used. Small dots of white, buff and yellow oil paint was applied to the top surfaces and scrubbed in with an old brush. This had the effect of bleaching the upper surfaces. Im not sure Im really happy with the effect although it does give a sun faced effect to the model.

The Artillery Models vac form canopy was cut out and fitted as the kit plastic canopy did not fit over the spine of the aircraft and sat high. Reskit wheels were purchased but they look to be significantly undersized. Looking at photo I think the kit supplied resin wheels are more correct, but their hubs are way too small.

I found the undercarriage difficult to fit as it does not locate positively within the wheelwell. The tailwheel was ri enforced with a bit of brass tubing as I did not trust the kit plastic.

Lastly the kit gun barrels were replaced with brass tubing although I think mine are fairly anaemic looking for 40mm weapons. I may revisit these later.

Conclusion

The Fly Hurricane kit is one Ive been wanting to make for a while, purely as I love the aeroplane, but it certainly tested me, to the point Ive sold the other Fly Hurricane kits I had in the stash. They are just not an enjoyable build experience.

Having this model on the shelf takes me many years back, to a young boy,, standing at the counter of that upstairs Hay St. Mall hobby shop gazing in awe at another hurricane in desert camouflage. And for that reason alone this rates as one of my favourite builds so far.

Hawker Hurricane Mk.IID. 6 SQN Royal Air Force.

Shandur. Egypt 1942

Accurate Miniatures 1/48 B-25C/D Mitchell

  • Completed: 2022
  • Enhancements;
  • Wheels-Reskit
  • Machine gun barrels-Master Model
  • Decals: Eagle-cals Dutch Mitchells
  • Formation lights– CMK
  • Seats-Quickboost

This is the second time I have tackled the AM Mitchell, the first one ending up in the bin, having never got to the painting stage, so Im very happy to final have a completed AM Mitchell in the cabinet, albeit not the first Mitchell to grace my shelves, having built the old Monogram B-25J about two decades ago.

My memories at the time of the A.M Michell was its fine engraved surface detail comprising rivets and panel lines plus fasteners, and its detailed interior, both features which garnered it praise in the modelling press at the time of its release. Critiques were too narrow cowl openings and a nose transparency which perhaps sloped too much in profile

Fast forward to this year and a third of the way into the build, my over riding thought was “this aint as good a kit as I remember”

The surface detail was in places shallow, rivets and panel lines were definitely not consistent in depth, fit was average, especially the nacelles and intakes, and transparencies were certainly not crystal clear.

The instructions I remembered being clear and informative did not really point out location points of some parts accurately, leaving the builder to guess on a couple of occasions. That said enough alternative parts are included to build a few different modifications of the B-25C/D Mitchell. The instructions helpfully pointing these out for the kit schemes. If you are doing another scheme though, as I was, you’re best off consulting images.

Construction Notes

I pretty much left the interior in the aft fuselage out as you will never see it. The kit pilot seats looked a little chunky, so were replaced with the quick boost resin seats, complete with belts. Rather than painting the rear interior yellow Zinc Chromate, I think I should have used a green chromate. The first hint of fit problems came with fitting the bomb bay, the rear bulkhead not matching the contour of the fuselage at all. A not insignificant gap had to be filled with thick plastic strip. This being an original A.M boxing, the brass shim nose weights were included, these being augmented with some small lead shot poured into a couple of crevices. This precaution proving its worth with the completed model still only just balancing on all three points.

Blast panels in front of and behind the upper turret were cut from thin card on my silhouette machine using the templates printed on the instructions. I still think they are a little oversized though. The ventral turret and guns were a sloppy fit, the soft plastic not helping, the glue join breaking several times. In the end I replaced the kit gun breeches with blocks of plastic strip drilled to take the brass barrels, this being a lot more solid.

The real fight came with the wings though. Whilst the nacelles were a reasonable fit to the undersides, they left large gaps and steps on the top of the wing, with the separate carberetter intakes not helping. These parts required multiple goes at filing, sanding and re-scribing. Just when I thought I was winning, I noticed plastic on the undersides of one of the wings seemed to be delaminating, sure enough, I could peel up flakes of plastic. More supergluing, sanding and re-scribing followed. The plastic in my kit ws soft, almost soapy, which led to me managing to also break one of the wing spars, and nose wheel leg off It didn’t so much snap off as just bend and break during my repeated handling of the fuselage. The nose strut was rebuilt with brass tubing. The instructions call for it to be added prior to the fuselage halves being closed up, the narrow wheel well not allowing it to be added later.

The tail plane assembly fit reasonable well, certainly not as bad as some other online modellers seemed to find, putty was still needed though, but only a smear. The leading edge landing light covers also required a fair bit of fairing in. The separate nose part also came in for some judicious sanding on one side to remove a slight step.

The kit wingtip lights and upper fuselage formation lights were all removed and holes drilled to accept aftermarket CMK lights, although these were the last items added. The kit cowlings were opened out slightly by wrapping sandpaper around an appropriately sized bit of dowel. They do not need much sanding to look a little better. I had a set of quick boost engines which look far better than the kit engines, but they need pushrods and ignition wiring adding and I was losing patience with the build, so used the kit engines after all. If you do use the kit engines, you will need to remove a section of the attachment collar, otherwise the crankcases protrude proud of the cowling face. There is a faint scribed line around the collar, which I used as a cut line.

After an uneasy ride, we had arrived at the painting stage

Paint and Decalling

Right from the start, This was going to be finished as a R.A.F 2Tactical Air Force machine with D Day stripes. Two decal sheets from my decal bank contained such subjects, one from Dutch Decals and a much better quality item in terms of colour and printing from Eagle Cals. the plan was in place……until I saw a 2TAF Mitchell on Britmodeller forum that the builder had portrayed with the upper surface stripes removed leaving just traces. I loved the look, and although it was a different SQN we know for a fact that all aircraft had their upper stripes removed by August 1944, although some Mitchells had them reinstated to guard against friendly fire. How to paint traces of D Day stripes though, I considered applying super thin paint, hairspray chipping, micromeshing before deciding on using water soluble Mission Model paints for the stripes. But this is leaping forward many steps. First the basic colours were applied using MRP Neutral grey for the undersides and Mr Color Olive Drab for the upper surfaces. This was then mottled and streaked with the OD tinted with flesh, then tamiya Khaki Drab, and finally Desert yellow in order to build up a multi layered variated Olive Drab colour. Fresh OD was then used for a few select panels to mimic replacement panels.

D Day stripes were then masked out and applied with thin coats of MMP thinned with water. Just like in real life the top stripes were then scrubbed off with a stiff brush moistened with water. Not happy with the first attempt which looked too symmetrical from side to side, I resprayed the stripes before, again scrubbing them off, this time aiming for a fa more irregular look. I left some remnants around panel lines and raised detail. This second attempt looked far better. An overall wash using Mig Dark wash was then applied to the upper surfaces with ABt 502 Paynes Grey being used on the lower neutral grey. I found Abts version of Paynes Grey far bluer than other Paynes Greys I have used, nothing alarming just something to be aware of.

Decals were then applied, the decals, being printed by Microscale , going down fine. Eaglecal providing photos of the actual machine in the instructions. Upon studying these, I realised I had added the flat window instead of the astrodome, and also my chosen machine had the fixed 50 calibre gun in the nose as well as the flex .50. What did I say about studying photos? I need to take my own advice! The spine window came out reasonably easily and was replaced with the astrodome. I decided to leave the nose armament alone, as I could see damage arising with any attempt to remove the nose transparency.

Several thin coats of Dullcote were then applied to get a dead matt finish, before oil leaks were added with several applications of……oil paint! Raw umber mixed with black and starry filth were the colours of choice. One engine had marked breaking to represent a damaged or severely leaking engine.

The transparencies were then unmasked to reveal a stain or crack in one pane of the cockpit. There was no option but to remove it and add the alternative cockpit canopy. As luck would have it, this was the canopy that should have been used in the first place, having the additional framing evident in the photo.

The soft plastic kit aerial posts were replaced with brass wire. The last wall hurdle thrown at me came when I noticed that somehow one of the small dutch orange triangles had superimposed itself over the nose art, I wondered where that triangle had gone!. naturally I managed to tear half the nose art off trying to remove it necessitating ordering a new set of decals from Ultracast in Canada. SIGH!

Whilst the Dutch Decals decal set also carried the same nose art, it was nowhere near as sharp as the Eagle cal sheet. This just left the bomb doors, undercarriage doors and wheels to be added, and she was done.

Im pretty happy to finally have a completed Accurate Miniatures R.A.F B-25 in my cabinet, even if the kit was a chore to build. Like my revell tornadoes, the experience of this build led me to sell all other A.M Mitchells in the stash. One is enough!

The A.M kit has not aged well, and is another of those kits that could do with a new modern tooling, although Im not sure who this would come from, perhaps HKM will downscale their 32 scale J model. The only manufacturer I see doing new tool twins these days would be I.C.M and they may well take years getting back on their feet following Russia’s inhumane invasion

North American B-25 Mitchell II. 320 SQN Royal Air Force.

Belgium 1944

Eduard 1/48 Spitfire Mk1

  • Built: 2022
  • Added to stash: 2021
  • Enhancements: None
  • Decals: Fundekals, Early War Spitfires Part 2

This is my second build of Eduard’s spitfire, and I found the experience as enjoyable as the first.

Upon examination of the parts the first thing the jumps out at you is the extensive surface detail Eduard’s mould makers have lavished on this kit. The empennage is covered in fine raised rivets whilst the wing rivets are recessed.

Careful study of the instructions and sprues reveals that Eduard have included parts to make any spitfire from the first production machines up to mid 1940 machines. There are unarmored and armoured windscreens, various separate armour plates and gunsights plus seats. Useful to understand all these differences was Wingleaders photo archive on the Spitfire Mk1. The Few boxing allows one to build two Spitfires, one with the later armoured fuel tank and one without, although this was not immediately apparent to me. It was only after careful study of the Wingleader book and the Fundekal instructions that I understood the various differences that I was looking at in photos. That Eduard has included all these optional parts shows how thoroughly they researched the aircraft.

Its a shame they did not include the later undercarriage selection lever as that would then allow you to build any spitfire up to the end of the Battle of Britain, although the later selection lever looks easy enough to scratchbuild, or you could just buy the Tamiya Mk 1. My research unearthed the electric undercarriage selector appeared around the 600th or February 1940 build machines. I could not find a definitive answer.

For this build, I deviated from the instructions a bit in that the cockpit sidewalls were added to the fuselage sides before being painted. The floor, complete with stick, rudder pedals and seat was treated as a separate subassembly. As were the various bulkheads, the rear bulkheads having their lightening holes drilled out. This method made it harder to get a paintbrush to all the little detail areas, and for the second build, the instructions were followed to the letter, which resulted in details being easier to reach with the paintbrush. The cockpit colour used for this build was a coat of SMS RAF interior green with the sidewalls washed with Mig Dark Wash.

With the cockpit completed, the rest of the build proceeds quite quickly. Ensure all mating surfaces of the wheel well parts are sanded at the correct angles to lessen gaps between the parts . Eduard, I feel could have made the fit of the sockets that accept the landing gear legs far more positive. Be careful ensuring you locate these carefully into parts xxx . Any misalignment here will affect the sit of the model later.

I had some gaps at the wing roots that I thought I could close up by running tape spanwise from wingtip to wingtip. While this did close up the gaps, it also introduced other problems such as too great a dihedral and led to some alignment issues. I won’t be doing that again!

A smear of filler was needed around the stabilisers, and we were ready for paint. For this model I had decided to use some Mission Models Paint I had previously purchased. Reading up on peoples experience with this paint revealed modellers have a love hate relationship with it, but if modellers of the stature of Mike Rinaldi swear by it, it can’t be that bad, surely ?

Whilst I managed to get the paint down OK, I had great difficulty getting a fine line with the dark green, despite following MMPs mixing ratios and advised spraying pressure. The paint is also a little fragile with it lifting in several spots. A Peter on my FB page suggested thinning it with future with I will try on my next Spitfire build. The undersides were finished in Tamiya lacquers as per my usual practice.

Like MMP , Eduard’s decals also seem to have polarised modellers. For this build, only their stencils were used. Over a gloss coat, they were applied on little pools of Mr Setter, with the excess being wicked away with a cotton bud. Left to set overnight, I found I could peel away the carrier film off some of the larger designs like the trestle markings and gas patch, without tearing the decal.

The code letters and roundels came from the fundekals sheets and performed absolutely flawlessly, even over the raised rivets on the fuselage. The unusually sized roundel appealed to me, and I wanted to represent a Spitfire from The Phony War period during which the R.A.Fs markings were rapidly evolving.

I should have mentioned prior to laying down the camouflage colours, black was airbrushed along the wings, then masked off to portray the wing walk lines.

Final assembly saw the wheels, propeller resin exhausts and aerial pole mounted, the antenna wire from infinity rigging wire, which despite my best efforts, still bent under the elasticity of the infini thread. I’ll replace the kit part with some brass rod on my next build.

Eduard’s spitfire was a very enjoyable build. To my mind though, the kit contains some unnecessary complications, the undercarriage sockets being one. Fit was for the most part good, with a slight smear being needed on the taipan roots, and most reviewers stating the wing root fit also leaves a slight gap. Ima already working on the second kit from the box and have added the Vb dual boxing to the stash.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1. Royal Air Force Drem Scotland Jan. 1940

Kinetic 1/48 Bae Sea Harrier FRS1

  • Built: 2021
  • Added to stash: 2015
  • Enhancements:
    • wheels-reskit
    • Ladder-Brengun
    • FOD covers-Flightpath
    • Cockpit-Eduard PE
    • RBF flags-Fantasy printshop
    • Bomb-Reskit
    • Pitot tube-Master
    • Sidewinders – Reskit
  • Decals: Xtradecal Harrier Falklands 25 year Anniversary

The third and final of my Harrier triple build. The first being the FA2 and the second, the AV-8A. I have to say, I am quite happy with how this one turned out too.

Being pretty much the same kit as the FA2, I will refer you to that article for the build notes. The Flightpath FOD guards are made to fit the kinetic intakes and are cleverly integrated into the interior during assembly.

Right from the off, I wanted to do a Falklands harrier. The very comprehensive kinetic decal sheet will allow you to build just about any SHAR used during that conflict in any of the main schemes, but I turned to the Xtradecal sheet for my scheme. To me the EDSG, makes the jet look dark and menacing. My chosen jet is portrayed as she was towards the end of the conflict. She is staring to look a bit battered with a replacement rudder and jet nozzle from a medium sea grey jet.

Painting started with applying a white undercoat to the undersides of the jet and the fuel tanks. Maskol was then dabbed on with a sponge around the pylons and noses of tanks and gunpods. The idea being, once the EDSG had been applied, these little dabs of masks would be rubbed off, revealing the chips of white. Over the white undersides, lightened mix of Mr Paint Extra Dark Sea Grey was ten sprayed through my Badger 150. The demarcation line was masks off, and neat EDSG applied. Over this Mr Color EDSG was randomly mottled as well as some dark Sea Grey. The finish was starting to look a little battered now. To complete the illusion, darkened EDSG was sprayed through one of those splatter templates which are all the rage now. The model now had the tail Royal Navy titles and SQN badge applied. Very thinned EDSG was then applied over this until the title just showed through. Not quite sure if the real jets had these marking ghosting through, but I wanted it as an interest point.

From here, Gunze X113 gloss varnish was applied before the rest of the decals. The xtradecal sheet contains a very thorough run down of the jets from both carriers, calling out any marking oddments or variations. For those questioning those blue LAU10s, apparently some Hermes jets had their rails painted roundel blue as EDSG was starting to run short.

Final assembly consisted of adding tanks, undercarriage, wheels and all those sticky out bits such as pitot tube etc.

I love the SHAR in these colours. The addition of the ladder and FOD guards add a splash of colour to an otherwise dark scheme.. Heading its way towards me is the Skunkworks RN carrier base and tractor, which should make for a nice little display.

And thats it for this instalment of Kinetic harrier builds. I have one remaining GR3 in the inventory, which will be tackled later as an early GR1.

Bae Sea Harrier FRS1. 800SQN. F.A.A. H.M.S Hermes. South Atlantic 1982

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

Kinetic 1/48 Bae Sea Harrier FA2

Built: 2021
Added to Stash: 2014
Enhancements:
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.


 

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
Assembly
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

HOW DID I GO? 
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

WOULD I BUILD ANOTHER?
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
Bruce

                                                                                    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
Enhancements: 
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

Completed:2020
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

 

Revell 1/48 ADV Torando F3

Enhancements Used
Seats: CMK 
Seatbelts: Eduard steel
Wheels: Eduard
Pitot Tube: master barrels
Decals: Xtradecals Tornado F3 part 1
BOL Rails: Phase Resin Hangar

Construction Notes
 Oh God, what was I thinking, building three of these at the one time?.  In last months gripping episode you will recall that I (rashly) decided to build all three of my tornadoes from the stash at the same time.
​Well the plan didn’t quite start out like that.  This tornado was actually the first started, and the original plan was to just build this one,  however, it was not really turning out as I had pictured in my mind, – a common theme with my builds –  so it got shelved, and my other F3 pulled out of the stash, and started with the intent of being a better build (yeah, right!).  It was at this stage the idea to build all the tornadoes in my stash was born.  In actual fact, I thought I would  only be  building the other ADV  and my GR4.  
It  was only when the other ADV was almost finished, this one was revisited, and the decision made to complete it.

​Being the same kit, most of my notes from the first build stand.  My thought process with finishing this kit was to make it a clean build, as, with three builds now underway, getting  Tornadoed out, was a real possibility!   To this end, no stores were added, apart from the large tanks. Photos of the actual jet showed it sans stores anyway, save for tanks and a RAID pod on one of the BOL rails.

 This time the BOL rails came from Phase Resin hangar.  To better reflect RAF pylons, the sway braces were cut off and the “bulges” on both sides of the pylon had their length shortened.  Close enough for Govt. work as the saying goes.  there are plenty of photos available on the internet to aid as reference in this task.
The wings again had their cogged teeth cut off so that they could be painted separately and added later as part of final assembly.  This time I left I bit more of the “spar” with the result the wings attach far more securely, although they don’t have that classic Tornado anhedral

For this model, I wanted to add FOD covers too.  They were formed by covering the intake firstly with  household aluminium foil.  Kleenex tissue was then laid over the foil and coated in diluted white glue.  The thought process being to then slide the hardened tissue off the foil.  In reality, this didn’t work as the glue had worked too well, and stuck the tissue to the foil!
Once dry, the tissue FOD covers were trimmed to shape, and then painted.  Thin strips of tamiya tape formed the ties underneath the jet, whilst white EZline stood in for the bungee cords stretching back to the intake vent FOD guards which were formed from offcuts of red painted plastic card.  RBF flags came from an old Verlinden sheet.

As the Eduard PE wheel well set was not used on this model, the door retraction struts fitted neatly into their slots without the need to shorten them as was required on the other ADV build.
The kit decals were again used for the instruments, but this time the CMK seats were used, dressed with Eduard “steel” seatbelts which are far easier to use than their normal PE belts, being far more malleable, and less prone to the paint flaking off.


Paints used on this completion were Mr Color, another of my favourite brands, This actually being the first of my tornado builds, it was again plagued by large chunks of paint peeling off when the masking tape was removed.  This being one of the things that contributed to the build being abandoned in the first place, the painting process becoming an endless look of touch ups.
​In an effort to allow the wash to enhance more of the surface detail than the first kit, I applied the wash straight over the lacquer paints without first applying a barrier coat of gloss.  The excess was wiped away without removing any of the underlying paint.  Lacquer paints really are bulletproof!  Shock, Horror, the decals were then applied, still without a gloss coat.  No problems with silvering.  It was only after decalling that  a sealing coat of semi matt was applied.  
The Xtradecal decals behaved flawlessly, although again I used the too thick kit decals for the stencilling.  They stand out way too much on close inspection.  If you are building this kit, I would ditch the kit decals completely and use AM sheets, Xtradecal, also doing a stencilling sheet.

Since these photos were taken, I have  divided the four sky flash missiles from the first build between the two ADVs so each jet carries two skyflash.

So, how’d I go?  Well, in some ways I feel I did a better job on this one than the first ADV, although it still has plenty of flaws.  I still feel I can do better.  Anyway, here are the photos so you can judge for yourself.  Next instalment should be the third and final Revell Tornado.
​Thanks again for looking.




Panavia Tornado ADV. F3 OEU Royal Air Force RAF Waddington. May 2003

AFV Club 1/35 M60A2

  • Purchased:  2020
    Built:             2020
    Enhancements:  Tracks: AFV Club                              
                                  MG Barrel:    Master barrel                          Headlights: SKP Model                                               
    Antenna bases: Voyager  ​
The AFV Club (AFVC) M60 was one of those kits I didn’t realise I needed until it was offered to me by a friend!  Thanks Norm.
 I’ve always loved these cold war tanks, the M60A2 having a  rather uniquely shaped turret which added to the appeal.
 Reviews on line painted a rather good picture of AFV Club’s kit too, although its not a kit I’ve seen built often.

The AFV Club kit is moulded in an olive drab plastic, the many sprues filling the box to the brim.  An aluminium main gun barrel, PE mesh and detail parts, string tow cables,  clear parts for the periscopes also round out the package.  Tracks are of the rubber band variety, the main gun and machine gun dust covers are  provided in a vinyl type material.  The armour version of an Eduard Profipack kit, although this seems to be a standard of all AFV Club kits.

Once construction is commenced though, you realise a lot of the parts are not needed as they apply to other variants of the M60 family.  Although AFVC also offer a late type M60A2, I imagine you could also build one from this boxing as they include the later type wheels and air intakes.  You might  need different tracks.

The build seemed to go on for ever, mainly due to having to clean up a faint mould seam on all parts, which started to become tedious, especially on the small parts and certainly took away some of the enjoyment.
I ended up breaking some of the turret basket rails whilst doing this so  replaced  the broken parts with brass and plastic rod.  I not sure I got it all square though.
A Master Details brass barrel replaced the plastic M85 barrel provided by AFVC, and I replaced the kit provided tow cables with some copper ones I found in my spares box, and she was  ready for painting.

 

TanModel 1/48 RF-84F ThunderFlash

Built: 2019
Enhancements: CMK MB ejection seat 
Paint: AK Real Colours
Decals: OOB

My second attempt at Tanmodels Thunderflash was borne out of my dissatisfaction at my first attempt, and I have to say, Im not really happy with the second attempt either

This example was built from the first issue of the kit, but using the second release decal sheet, as it is far superior to the initial issue in quality, anyway, although I do think the first sheet had better options. Confused yet?

This first release of the kit had very pebbled plastic, so a NMF finish was out, I decided.

;In any case, I wanted to complete a camouflaged jet so as showcase the aircrafts service life and different operators.

Assembly on this one was streamlined by keeping the nose camera covers closed.You still have to build the camera bodies, which still constitute a finicky assembly due to their near scale racks.

The rest of the jet assembled a little easier than my first attempt as well.

This time, the intakes and wings assembling without any fit issues. Aside from this, all the weak points of the other build were still encountered, the disappearing panel line and rivet detail around the bottom of the fuselage, that required rescribing, the very weak attachment points for the nose landing gear doors and the sloppy fit of the tailplanes.

The model was painted using the RAL shades by AK Real Colours, my first time using these paints.  I thought they sprayed OK, but a few modelling friends have raved about their performance, so maybe I need to revisit them. The camouflage pattern was laid out using blu tac sausages.

A gloss coat was then applied and recalling commenced. The decals on this revised sheet, as stated before are a big improvement over the first sheet, being both in register and a little thinner. Im not sure about the Norwegian roundels though as they look a bit pale when compared to photos on the web.

AKs panel line wash for grey green aircraft was then brushed on and the excess removed after an hour before a final semi matt coat was sprayed all over.

The masking from the canopy was removed and the CMK seat added as these jets, in fact, all the NATO jets – apart from the French ones – were fitted with a Martin Baker seat.

The CMK seat has excellent detail and was a drop fit.

Finally the undercarriage was added, the nose leg still being a less than sound fit and the drop tanks added, although I have failed to push one of them home against the pylon with the result the nose of it droops, and it is out of line with the other one. During the build I managed to lose one of the airbrakes (I seem to lose a part every build) 

An email to Tanmodel resulted in them sending me a replacement part without charge which was very kind of TanModel, seeing as it was my fault.

So, my second TanModel ThunderFlash and the last one I can see myself doing. 

The result, again is a model that Im far from happy with. I have seen some very nicely done examples on the net, so it can be made up into a lovely looking model. As can any kit really!

Again, my lack of satisfaction with the project and how it was progressing led me to rush it towards the finish line. In fact I sold this one off in 2021.


Republic RF-84F Royal Norwegian Air Force 717 SQN. Rygge Air Base. Norway 1956

Zukei-Mura 1/32 N.A.A P-51K Mustang IV

  • Purchased   2019
  •      Built             2019
  •  Enhancements:  Seatbelts:  HGW 
  •         Paint   MR Paint
  •         Decals   Kit scheme
Build Notes:
The inspiration for this model came from seeing a 48 scale kit completed in these markings on the Britmodeller.com forum. Instantly, I wanted to build it, however, in 32 scale, rather than 48 scale, as I feel these single engine fighters have more presence in this scale.

I knew Zoukei Mura had produced a boxing of their Mustang in these markings, so the kit was duly purchased, and promptly started, as BM were running a “shark mouth” theme Group build. Talk about the planets aligning
​We all start our impulse purchases right after buying them, Right!  Actually this would be one of the very few kits I have started straight after buying it, strangely all the previous one have been Airfix kits being the Walrus and Defiant
​ The build log can be viewed here although I did not finish the kit by the deadline.

​This was my first ZM kit, and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  They do not build up like your usual kit.  The design philosophy being the makers want you to build the model similar to how the real aircraft was assembled.  A very Japanese thing.
Many people dont seem to like the complexity of these kits, but like the trumpeter kits, a lot of the innards that will never be seen can be left out helping speed and uncomplicate the build.  Despite the complex breakdown of the kit, it went together remarkably well, most joins falling on panel lines and  being engineered to look like panel lines.  Interestingly the new Eduard Mustang looks like it may have borrowed some of its breakdown from this ZM kit, the weheeblwell for one being engineered the same.

I puttied the wings, a task made easier by ZM only having the panel lines present, saving you having to fill hundreds of rivets like you would have if using  the tamiya kit
Assembly proceeded quickly as I had made the decision to have the cowlings closed in order to show off the shark mouth.  Therefore I only assembled the bare bones of the engine, really just the block in actual fact.
the only fit problems encountered were   a bit of a step on one side between the cowling and the fuselage and a gap around the carburettor scoop.  Im guessing this was down to me.  You really do need to ensure all parts are aligned, otherwise it will have a knock on effect, and I think this is where my step on the cowling crept in.  On my next one (Yes, I intend to make another) I think I would save glueing the rear fuselage bulkhead until I added the empennage to further aid correct alignment
Aside from this, I managed to forget to add the landing light.  Never think you can build one of these kits without always consulting the instruction sheet at each stage.  Speaking of the instructions, I reckon they rival Wingnut Wings sheets for clarity and well thought out construction steps and build tips.

My only disappointment with the kit was, the flaps.  Like a lot of other mustang kit, the  flaps had the scalloped cutout to enable them to fit flush against the wing when added in the up position.  Given the attention to detail ZM have shown in other areas of the kit, I thought they could have given you alternative flaps for the down position like tamiya did with their kit.  Did I say only disappointment?  Irritatingly, some of the decal designs had a registration problem, the sharkmouth, serials and walkway red  L stripe all having a thin white drop shadow.  I painted this out with a thin black sharpie on the mouth, but decided to live with the serials on one side after a bit of a failed attempt at correcting the other side.  Subject to say, I can’t see the R.A.F calling me anytime soon for a job painting serial numbers on their aircraft!  The provided wheels are not weighted, and come in halves necessitating the tread to be reinstalled after eradicating the seam.  ZM do offer AM wheels, as do barracuda.  ZM also offer quite a few figures and photo etch sets to complement the model, so their website is worth looking at.  I will be purchasing their PE gun bay set so as to build the gun bay covers with the locking handles extended.  I did purchase some 500lb bombs, so may well arm her up in future as well

Z.M call out U.S colours for the camouflage, which many RAF mustangs were indeed painted in during manufacture, however, this particular machine was painted at an RAF Maintenance Unit.  I surmised that they would have painted her in RAF colours rather than US colours, so went for the standard RAF day fighter colours instead.  If you look at the build log, you can see in one of the posts a very helpful modeller posts the service history of this machine which shows came from the factory in NMF and was camouflaged in Italy
​I went for a lightly weathered model, adding some light exhaust staining, oil leaks and grubbiness from foot traffic on the wings using oil paint.  Vallejo silver was used for the chipping with mud splatters underneath from pigments.  Testors Dullcote was used to finish off before the aerial line was added with EZ line.  Talk about a frustrating hour trying to thread it through the canopy.  It doesn’t bode well for that WNW Felixstowe in the stash patiently waiting its turn to be built.
​Im happy with my ZM mustang. I have another in the stash to build, on which I will use all the parts, and I also have a tamiya mustang to build.  It will be interesting to compare the two.

North American Mustang IVA  KH774  112 SQN Royal Air Force. Italy. 1945

Trumpeter 1/32 P-47D Thunderbolt

Built:  2019
     Enhancements Used: 
Gunbays: Eduard PE. Wheels-Brassin. Seat Belts-HGW. Gun Barrels-Master Barrel

Decals:  Combination of Ad Astra masks and Superscale Cowl checks

One of my New Year resolutions was to tackle some of the stalled builds taking up room in my cupboard. 
Being as the Trumpeter Thunderbolt box was taking up the most room, it was summarily dragged down onto the Cutting Mat.
I’m not sure when or why work on this stalled, but a look in the box revealed all major sub assemblies completed, just needing their seams dressed and then bringing together to be ready for paint.  A nice shortcut to getting Build No.2 done for the year. 

I rate Trumpeter’s Razorback Thunderbolt as  one of their nicer kits. Reasonably accurate, options to allow dropped flaps. open gunbays, open or closed canopy, and plenty of underwing stores options.  It also goes together quite quickly if you don’t use all the unnecessary interior parts. such as the   full ducting for the superchargers.  Contrary to a lot of on line builds and reviews out there, the  cockpit does not require the ducting to sit on, as it is will locate quite solidly  into slots provided on each fuselage half.  The wing spars slot through the openings provided for them as well without needing the ducting added.  Leaving these parts out plus the engine accessory bay greatly simplifies the assembly of the model.

All I added behind the engine was the bulkhead and firewall to provide some rigidity to the fuselage.  Its a big model, and you do not want seams popping open when it is picked up or otherwise handled. Assembly still throws out a few  fit issues.  Steps on the wing undersides when fitted to the fuselage, leading edge gun inserts and windscreen all required attention on mine.  The attention taking the form of filler and plastic shims to even up gaps and steps.  I have heard the gunbay panels can be an troublesome fit, but this would not concern me as I wanted mine open.  If the details there, why not show it off, right?

The only frustration I found, in common with all Trumpeter’s radial engine kits is the poor fit of the engine parts.  The parts certainly do not click together with the result it is quite easy to end up with an engine and propeller out of alignment as I found on my Hellcat build. 
This is then compounded by Trumpeter also not engineering the cowling to be a strong positive fit to either the engine or airframe.  At least in the thunderbolt, the engine is held solidly within the cowling by a frame.
I further reinforced the cowling airframe join by inserting two pieces of plastic tubing into the cooler ducts to provide a more positive fit

In regards to the chosen scheme, I have always thought the checkered cowling of the 78th FG would stand out in the cabinet, so looked for a suitable machine to model.  I was quite taken by “Miss Behave” with her RAF colours of dark green upper surfaces, and sky undersurfaces.  Invasion stripes, red rudder and the scalloped area under the canopy remaining NMF reinforced my choice. 

With this scheme originally picked when the model was originally started, masks for all markings were ordered from a bloke in Canada that called himself Ad Astra masks.  Now sadly no longer doing them as mask set was excellent to use.  He based the masks on photos of the real aircraft and an aeromaster decal sheet.

This time, the deciasion was made to apply the insignia first, mask and then paint the camouflage.  It was hoped doing this, the masks would be easier to align, and I would avoid that thin white ring of built up paint you can get if painting the markings last
What I learnt from this was the US star and bar markings must be the most complex markings to paint, even more so than RAF type A1 roundels.  There are just so many elements you need to ensure are aligned and straight.  Anyway I got there in the end having to only touch up two stars  Painted markings are the only way to go in 32 scale in my opinion.  Even the “miss Behave” came out nicely, a true testament to the great job Ad Astra did cutting these masks.  Then there was the cowling!
Well, I tried to mask that too using a montex mask set, but it was just an abject failure, so was my attempt at cutting little squares of Tamiya tape.  Buggar it, I thought, this will be decalled, so I dragged out the Barracuda sheet, but I could not get this aligned either despite it being sized for the Trumpeter kit.  It must be me as I imagine Roy would have been meticulous in designing the sheet..  Rapidly running out of options, I found an old Superscale sheet with checks on it for the old Revell kit.   It fit surprisingly well, just needing a couple of black squares filled in with black paint around the cowl opening and underneath where the two halves met.

This just left the final assembly where I discovered I had lost a wingtip light and also one of the landing gear covers.  Despite hunting high and low, no sign of them.  I can only think I accidentally chucked the gear cover out as it was stuck to  the big ball of Tamiya tape that was sitting on my desk.  The jigsaw that are HGW belts were then assembled using wild guesswork as to how they all threaded together!  HGW could really help here by providing step by step instructions rather than just a picture of the completed belts.  

Searches of the various fora hasn’t revealed anyone else knowing how to assemble them either!  The guns also provided a bit of frustration trying to get them all aligned and properly seated.  I really need to either test fit these items and engineer proper fit, or assemble them way before I get to this stage.  I had the same problems with the guns on my hellcat.  To add the brass gun tubes, I simply drilled the holes in the leading edges out slightly and pushed them through into the breechs. 
The 108 gallon drop tanks are from the kit with plumbing added from wire and steadying braces from plastic rod.  If I was being strict to the 84FS’s missions I should have added bombs as after D-Day this squadron switched from long range escort duties to ground attack, but I wanted my aircraft to wear the tanks.

​Adding the ammo bay doors, I also discovered I had the door upside down when I painted the star and bar portion on it.  A modeller worried about perfection would have repainted the star.  I just flipped the door upside down as the model had got to the stage where I just wanted it off the bench so I could move onto something new. 
Does anyone else get like this?

The photo I had of Miss Behave showed no chipping or fading that I could make out, just that very extensive oil streak leading from the oil cooler doors, so this was added with black oil paint, and then the whole model dullcoated .  I should probably go back and gloss the oil streaks at some stage.
It was then time to sit back and enjoy the model, happy that I had reduced by one the small amount of kits on the shelf of doom. (there’s still 6 on the SoD if you must know!)
Overall, not as good as I was hoping it would turn out, but it still looks imposing on the shelf and Im happy I have a 32 razorback in markings not usually seen.  I just love that big checkered cowling.  I really hope that we get a 1/32 P-47D from Tamiya at some stage.

Republic P-47D-22RE Thunderbolt 84FS 78thFG 8th A.F U.S.A.A.F Duxford England. 1944

Airfix 1/48 Boulton Paul Defiant Mk1

  • Built: 2019
         Enhancements :  Eduard Interior and exterior details
  •                                    Landing Flaps: Eduard. 
  •                                    Gun barrels; Master Model
  •                                    Wheels; Barracuda Studios 
  •                                    Exhausts: Quickboost    
  •                                    Paint:  Gunze
    ​                                   Decals: Ropasmodels 
Airfix’s 1/48 Defiant, released in 2016, and purchased by myself soon after is what we have now come to expect from Airfix’s new line of kits.   Evocative box art, soft grey plastic, sharply printed decals and well illustrated  clear instructions outlining the different  ways you can complete your defiant, in flight, or wheels down, separate control surfaces, choice of open or closed canopy, this also extends to the turret, which can be modelled with the doors open, and raised or lowered turtledeck  (why are they called turtle decks?)
Neither the now obsolete Classic Airframes or Trumpeter kit offered that.

I decided that wasn’t enough for me though, so added Eduard’s flap set.  My search of defiant photos revealed a few on the ground with flaps cracked open, certainly not fully open as I have depicted, but that’s how I pictured I wanted the completed model to look.
Construction was fairly painless, fit being almost excellent.  I needed to trim the cockpit floor on one side as the wing assembly did not not quite close up snugly underneath the fuselage on one side.  The cowling also needed a bit of clamping, as again on one side I had a bit of a gap underneath the oil tank cover.  I can only surmise I had the floor slightly out of alignment.  The eduard set added the colour printed instrument panel and some side console detail plus the seat straps for pilot and gunner.  I have read some on line reviews bemoaning the simplified cockpit, to me, what you get in the box is fine, especially when dressed with the eduard PE.  The wheel wells also get a helping of PE around their walls which brings them to life.  The model built up quickly, the smallest amount of filler being needed around the tailplanes and the rear underside join of the power wings to the fuselage.  The PE flaps were folded up without difficulty (surprisingly for me) and offered up to the previously cut out kit flaps.  Some shimming was needed to spread the open areas of the rear wing to ensure the rear wall of the brass flap bay sat at the same level as the underside of the wing.  I should have taken my time a bit more here ensuring a better fit, and cutting out the slots for the flap actuators which I completely missed.
The machine gun barrels were cut off and the breeches drilled to take the sublime master Models barrels. I fit these wherever possible as they really add to the look of the model.  It would be icing on the cake if they came pre blackened!  The kit pitot tube was also replaced with Albion Alloys tubing.  Although there is nothing wrong with the kit wheels, being moulded as they are, weighted and with separate hubs, I had a set of Barracuda wheels in the box, so these were duly added.  Waste not, want not. The landing lights were not the best fit, so were fitted at this time, so they could be faired in prior to painting.

The turret popped into place without all the fuss, some other online and magazine builds report, but I was surprised to have trouble pushing the clear dome down onto the base, thinned white glue being required to fill the resultant small gap.

Painting was made easy using a set of camouflage masks from Mal Mayfield.  From the decal sheet, I had decided on an early war scheme with the black and white undersides and A type fuselage roundel to push home the early war use of this aircraft.  The decal manufacturer was new to me, I ended up using the kit roundels and codes and Ropos’  roundels looked a little bright, whilst the codes looked too pale.  The “T” was sourced from an Extradecal Medium Sea Grey RAF Codes sheet, as  With the multitude of decal sheets on the market, these generic sheets are not as probably as handy as they once were, but to me, they are still a must have in my decal bank for this very reason.  The only decals I used from were the serials and these performed fine, being quite thin.  No stencilling was applied to the underside as they would have all been overpainted when the undersides were done. AK panel line wash for brown/green aircraft was used as  a wash on the top surfaces.  Chipping was added using vallejo silver, whilst highly thinned tamely black was used for the exhaust stains.  Emboldened by watching Plasmo use his dremel to  surgically cut parts out, I set forth with my dremel to open up the kit exhausts.  30 seconds later, I was ordering quickboost  exhausts from BNA Modelworld. Rather than displaying the same skill as Plasmo, my exhausts looked like Dexter, the serial killer had gone to work on them.  You will need to cut off one of the locating tabs  in order to fit them into the airfoil slots.  Whilst you are ordering your exhausts, also order a set of landing gear covers, as the kit ones are overly thick and simplified, and do not portray the real ones very well.

Final assembly involved adding the undercarriage which fitted snugly into their respective sockets.  I was expecting a fight with the flaps and their tiny actuators, but was pleasantly surprised how easy they were to place.  In reality the actuators should fir in their respective slots, but I failed to cut out the ones on the bottom wing and clogged the flap ones with a thick coat of future I had applied to also act as a glue.  Therefore my actuators are a butt fit to wing and flap which is not correct for the real machine.
An  aerial line from EZ line  and a bit of sprue and punched plastic disc to represent the extended gunners footstep bought my first build for 2019 to a close. 

Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.1 264 SQN Royal Air Force. Biggin Hill. February 1940

Trumpeter 1/32 Hellcat MkII

  • Built: 2018

    Aftermarket Used:  Cockpit:Eduard Interior. Wheelwells, Eduard PE. Wheels-Barracuda. Seat Belts-HGW. 

Decals:  Home made masks

I first made the trumpeter hellcat in 2007, and finished it as a FAA machine.  I quite liked the build, and the scheme, but unfortunately the model got damaged in a house move.  I bought this model with the idea of making another FAA Hellcat, and initially was quite motivated when the kit made my to do pile for 2018 builds.  That motivation evaporated when it hit my bench and I discovered the wings had sink marks in them over the rear spars.  As I had just completed two involved builds of the HobbyBoss Tomcats, here and here I just didn’t need the grief, so the model went on the “For Sale” pile.  A week later, I decided I wasn’t going to let any minor sink marks beat me, and the kit ended up back on the bench.  A bit of brushed on Mr Surfacer 500 made quick work of the sink marks.  Restoring the rivets wasn’t as hard as I had imagined which is what really led me to put the kit aside in the first place.  A Rosie Riveter tool was used  plus the ubiquitous sewing needle.

The Eduard interior set was used for the cockpit, the pre painted etch certainly giving that busy look to the consoles and circuit breakers that painting just cannot achieve. The Trumpeter hellcat suffers from a few inaccuracies, the main one being the cockpit is far too wide and the rear fuselage does not capture the flat sides of the real machine.  This did not bother me greatly with my first hellcat, but with this one, I cant unsee it.
In an effort to reduce the oval sides, I sanded flat  the curved sides of the interior bulkheads, and when glueing the fuselage halves together, pushed in the fuselage sides aft of the cockpit.  If it made any difference, it was minimal.  The engine accessories, bearers and oil tank were all left out, as was the radio equipment as none of it will be seen, the engine itself pushed into the  firewall, so the bearers are not required to be assembled.
Fit of the major parts was pretty good as it usually is with most trumpeter kits, even the wing halves mating nicely in the extended position, although I managed to introduce a slight step between the port wing sections.
Prior to this, the moulded wheel well ribs had been shaved off so that the eduard parts could be used.  These being fairly easy to place and  superior to  the shallow kit detail.
The completed wing sub assembly nestled in nicely to the fuselage, with again just a smear of Mr Surfacer.  Eduard provide a PE panel that skins the panel adjacent to this seam so that you don not lose any detail through sanding.  Painting the scheme was made easier by using LF Models  camouflage mask but I’m jumping ahead!  As my chosen aircraft was a Hellcat MkII, or F6F-5, and the kit represents a late -3, a few changes had to be made.  The windscreen in particular needed some frames sanding off.  The clarity was restored with various grades of micromesh, and Eduards canopy mask set for the trumpeter -5 used to save me masking some tricky curves.  A rear view mirror was furnished from then plastic card and added to the interior of the screen.  FAA Hellcats also had a round external mirror mounted to the top of the windscreen and this has still to be added to the completed model.  The camouflage was started by first spraying the white areas before masking these off so the sky undersurfaces and  dark slate grey, and extra dark sea grey uppers could be painted.  Extracolour paints were used for this, the final model I will be using enamels on as I finally made the decision to abandon them in favour of acrylics and lacquers.  For the roundels, a friend cut them from an upscaled and scanned aeromaster sheet for FAA Hellcats.  This is the second time I have got a friend to cut masks for me, and I’m wondering whether I should just buy a cutter myself although the learning curve with the software scares me.  Trumpeter also left the supporting straps off the drop tank although they have included the holes in the fuselage underside for them.  I fashioned them from thein strips of plastic card glued to rod which then was pushed into the holes.  Bombs were from the kit, although the tailfins were from the Eduard sheet.  Stippled on Mr Surfacer represented the cast iron bodies before they were painted olive drab with a yellow ring denoting HE.  Around this point my interest in the model started to wane.  I had had to repaint the roundels a couple of times and touch up various parts of the airframe paintwork caused by clumsy handling and poor masking. The serials which were decals had also silvered.
  The model was not reflecting the vision I had started with, and I was keen just to get it finished and off the bench.  I decided to scrimp a lot of the weathering and shading I had planned instead opting for a simple wash and some oil streaks using AK Dark wash.  This is something I really need to beat next year, so that I see each model through to completion with a consistent level of skill and patience. Roy Sutherland’s superb resin wheels were painted and glued to the previously assembled undercarriage legs, which had had wire brake lines added.
 Finally exhaust streaks were added with highly thinned Tamiya NATO black, although I don’t think they are nearly pronounced enough before the whole model was hit with Testors Dullcote, and that signalled the end of 2018 for me modelling wise.  Shame about those silvered decals, and Ive just noticed the prop is off centre too!

 

Grumman Hellcat MkII. 896 SQN. Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm.  HMS Emperor 1945

 

Eduard 1/48 Supermarine Spitfire HFVIII

  • Date Completed:2018
  •   Aftermarket Used:  None, model built completely from box
  •   Paint Used: Xtracolour Medium Sea Grey and PRU Blue
This model was completed as a review build for The Modelling News, so I will not put a detailed guide here as the article covers the build and finishing in depth.
http://www.themodellingnews.com/2018/08/build-guide-spitfire-mk-hf-viii-in-48th.html
http://www.themodellingnews.com/2018/08/painting-finishing-bruce-tops-off-his.html#more
  Which only leaves me to say, this really was an enjoyable build.  If you have not built one of the Eduard Spitfires, Get On it!!!

Supermarine Spitfire HF Mk.VIII 32 SQN Foggia. Italy 1944

Eduard 1/48 F-14A Tomcat

Date added to stash: 2016
  Date Completed: 2018
  Aftermarket used:
some parts from Eduard Detail set 
  Paint: Mr Color Light Gull Grey
  Decals:  Furball Sundowner Anthology

I started this at the same time as lthe other Tomcat I was building for a friend.  At the time, it seemed like a good way to build a kit from my stash as well.  In hindsight, if I had not started this one, I would have sold it, because its position has been ably taken by the Tamiya kit, and building the two HobbyBoss kits was a real grind.  Not that there was anything wrong with the kit, but it was just one HB Tomcat too many. (Although this boxing was done by Eduard, it is the HobbyBoss kit, so I will refer to the kit as HobbyBoss)
The previous article covers the build in detail, although I would add my take home lesson from building Tomcats is mask the intake camouflage demarcation before you add them to the jet I didnt on either build and it was a hell of a job to add them later!
I had high hopes for this build wanting to build it with all panels open.  In the end the build just started annoying me as there ws other stuff I wanted to build and I chose to rush  a lot of things.  Im not really happy with it, but HB Tomcats are a long complicated, involved build as are many modern jets, so to do two in a year is not bad.  I have  three tamiya Tomcats in the stash and look forward to tackling those at a later date.  Just not for a while, as Im all Tomcatted out. 
I also think Miss Molly was the wrong jet to pick, as all those open panels do not allow you to see that nose art in its entirety.  Live and Learn, hey.
And wheres that sensor gone from under Miss Molly’s hand on the starboard side?  I definetly  added it LOL
For those who don’t know, Miss Molly was named for Molly Snead, a nurse to Senator Carl  Vinson, yep, the Senator the carrier is named after.
 I visited  the USS Carl Vinson at Fremantle Western Australia in 1994, so like to model aircraft from her.

Grumman F-14A Tomcat VF-111 “Sundowners”  U.S Navy U.S.S Carl Vinson  1989

Hobby Boss 1/48 F-14A Tomcat

  • Date Completed: July2018
  • Aftermarket Used: Quickboost Pilots
  • Paint: Gunze Mr Color 
  • Decals: Kit supplied  for airframe, missile stripes from Fightertown Tomcat Data sheet           
This build was borne out of a work colleague’s request for me to build the kit for him.  As I also had the kit in my stash, I thought I would build the two of them alongside each other.  As often happens with my double builds, this one sped ahead and was completed whilst mine sat on the bench falling further and further behind.
The Eduard boxing contains the Hobby Boss plastic, brassin resin burner cans,chin pod, wheels and a PE sheet specific to this kit with a large decal sheet done by Furball Aero Designs
The HB Tomcat is a nice kit, there a few accuracy issues, most noticeably, the bottom edges of the intake openings are not parallel to the top edges as they should be, but this is only noticeable from head on.  Rivets punctuate the flying surfaces which should be smooth, but apart from that, its  a detail packed kit,  allowing you options to open the gun bay, avionics panel, display the radar and extend the wing control surfaces. 

 

It assembles well and does not really deserve all the wailing and teeth gnashing it gets on the internet.  I put it above the Hasegawa offering, but it has been pushed into the shade a bit with  the release of the tamiya kit.

Jeff had requested his model be finished in Jolly Roger markings as if just about to launch, so I used the compressed nose leg,  extended the wings and dropped the flaps and leading edge slats.  Naturally, all the access hatches were glued in the closed position.

  Of course this meant I also had to crew the jet, so used the aerobonus crew .  Although Aerobonus should be applauded for the idea of releasing seated pilots, I really wish that they would include alternative helmeted heads with visors down and masks in place.  As it is,  their entire range of seated pilots have visors up and masks dangling which means they can not be used for in flight models, which I imagine is what most people want them for.

I sourced correctly helmeted heads, as well as a gloved hand that grips the throttle from an Academy Phantom.  As the canopy would be closed on this particular jet, I didn’t bother using the PE consoles and panels, rather relying on the entirely adequate kit parts.  The canvas coverings over the instrument panel glare shields were beefed up with milliput draped over the kit parts, and then painted a dark leather colour, which according to the DACO book, is the shade the original black covers fade to.
The HB kit includes the short lived glove vanes, (they were wired shut in A models, puttied over in B models and left out altogether in Ds, I believe) requiring you to open up  flashed over slots in the wing gloves. Stupidly, I didn’t, thinking I could just scribe the vanes in later, This would have worked if I was halfway good at scribing, as it was, it just created more problems for me.  My tip. Open up the slots and use the kit vanes as even shut, the openings  are quite prominent on the real jet.

For some reason I had a gap when fitting the bottom plate, not sure why as dry fits had shown a good fit.  Fitting the phoenix pallets hid most of it and a plastic card shim covered the rest.  The forward fuselage fitted to the rear with no gaps or steps as did the tailfins.  I had read about fit problems when glueing the gun bay  and avionics panels in the closed position, but being patient and gluing a side at a time will reward you with reasonable fit, still, I needed a small smear of Mr Surfacer around the ladder door.

Apart from this, the kit assembled quickly.  I left the brass burner rings out after successfully bending one up, only to then  drop the pliers on it.
The WIP shots on the front page outline my painting steps in achieving a bit of tonal variation to the Light Gull Grey

Moving onto the decals, I didn’t apply any of the stencils. as photos of the actual jet showed very few.  The decal instructions call out the red turbine warning stripes to be placed along the jet nacelles whereas they should go around them.  That said, I forgot to add the stripes above the NAVY titles. I was disappointed the yellow border of the VF84 sash showed through the US star, I didn’t want to lay another start and bar over the top so left it as was.  For the other side I cut away the yellow border where from where the star and bar would overlay it.

 The Fightertown data sheet, whilst being quite comprehensive, does not include enough stripes for a full suite of phoenix, so I could only add the stripes which would remain the most visible, and with the stores fitted, the canopy was the only part left to fit.  The fit to the windscreen is not to my liking as there is a step and small gap as you can see, but at the rest of causing cracks to the canopy from forcing it, I decided to leave this too as it was.
The Jolly Rogers scheme is most attractive and I can understand why a lot of modellers choose it to adorn their Tomcats

F-14A Tomcat VF-84 “Jolly Rogers”  U.S.S Theodore Roosevelt  U.S Navy  1989

 

Airfix 1/48 North American P-51D Mustang

Year Purchased: 2018
Date Completed:  April 2018
Aftermarket Used: Eduard Brassin shrouded exhausts
Paint: Floquil Bright silver, Xtracolour Olive Drab, various vallejo and tamiya colours used for detail painting

Construction Notes: Im loving the new Airfix kits.  This is the second Ive built after the walrus.  From the excellent box art to the many options included in each kit, you can tell they are designed with the modeller in mind.
Airfix’s mustang was a very enjoyable build, with excellent engineering, detail and fit.  That there will be other boxings is evident from the options in the kit for different windscreens, canopies and tail units.  A Commonwealth boxing has already been announced.  As good as the kit is, it is let down by a few parts, mainly the cross hatched wheels, where the tread just does not extend to the centre of the tyres.  You will either have to source replacements, or scribe the tread in ( badly) as I did.  Brassin make resin replacements, but inexplicably would have you drill out the hubs rather than use the same mounting as the kit uses.  I would also recommend the Brassin M-10s as the kit ones are a little clunky.

 The propeller has some sink marks on the blade tips, and the gun inserts aren’t the best fit.  Other than these minor quibbles, the kit is a joy. 
There is some rivet detail on the wings which you will need to fill should you so desire, but the wheel wells are moulded correctly with the straight rear spar. The kit cockpit looks busy enough assembled OOB and even comes with decals for placards.  When choosing a scheme, I could not go past the striking 2ACG machine with its Black Lightning bolts on wings and fuselage, and it meant I could use those M-10 airborne bazooka tubes.
Rather than use the kit decals for the arrows I had a friend cut some masks for me.  Other than the black arrows, the kit decals were used and performed flawlessly.

I used Floquil Bright silver for the finish, with grey and black preshading underneath to try and get a bit of tonal variety. This will bear further experimentation as in certain light, you can see a bit of variation in the silver finish.
 I decided on impulse to build the kit for an upcoming themed competition, so feel I rushed it a little bit. Everything was going fine until I applied one of the Mig Panel line washes over what I thought would be an  impervious base of Future but to my horror, as well as removing the excess wash with an old T shirt, I also removed paint in some areas.  This then began the downward spiral of touchups which never match.  Anyway, its done, but Im annoyed that this is another finish that was going nicely until this stuff up sent it down a different path.  I can only surmise my coat of future was not thick enough.  Another enjoyable build, although these days I would build the Eduard kit.

U.S.A.A.C P-51D Mustang 2nd Air Commando Group India 1945

Airfix 1/48 Supermarine Walrus Mk1

  • Year Purchased: 2017
  • Date completed     March 2018
  • Aftermarket used:  Eduard mask set
  • ​Paint: Xtracolour Dark sea grey, Dark slate grey,  FAA sky grey

I had held off on getting Airfix’s new Walrus due to me having HPHs big resin 32 scale kit to build, however upon seeing a mate’s I just had to buy it. Not only that, I had to build it straight away!
Airfix are really kicking goals with their new 48 scale kits, and this is no exception, with a fully riveted hull,  stressed skin effect on the roof, a nice interior, and  several options that allow you to model the wings folded or spread, canopies open or closed and wheels up or down 
The model assembled well with good fit. I found it a thoroughly enjoyable build, well, until I got to the rigging!

Painting was done with xtracolours and all was good until I got to the rigging.  A combination of super glue that had gone off and would not instantly set and not really knowing what I was doing sort of bought the build undone.  Still, I got their in the end, better equipped to handle that wingnut wings kit I want to tackle this year.
Construction Notes
Although there are plenty of injection moulding pins present on the interior surfaces, you cant see any, apart from two in the extreme nose once the fuselage is together.
I elected to glue the roof to one side to better handle the joint as I could then attack it from both sides. Airfix have moulded some lovely surface detail into this kit so you want to reduce any need for sanding as much as possible
The centre “fan looking thing” needs all traces of the moulding seam sanded off before glueing between the two engine nacelle halves
I found the open cockpit a little too wide for the fuselage, although that could have been a fault on my part.
Back to my kit.  I found when on its wheels the folded wing float dragged on the ground due to me not securely glueing the wing spar.  At the last minute I decided to cut the spar off and have both wings extended, This is the wing with the aileron deflected up.  I could not debond the glue join unfortunately, so I will just have to live with it.
An enjoyable kit, although the rigging turned it into a bit of a grind in the end.

Supermarine Walrus Mk1 700 N.A.S Royal Navy. H.M.S Sheffield

Kittyhawk 1/48 Su-35

  • Built: 2017
  • Aftermarket Used: A.M.U.R Reaver afterburners
  • Decals: Kit

This was another review I completed for The Modelling News
You can read the articles here, which covers construction and finishing of the model

Overall, I enjoyed building the model, and think it ranks as one of kittyhawks better models to date, only let down by the lack of drooped nozzles and being able to make a late version Flanker OOB. Well, that and the normal KH issues like poor instructions and could-be-better moulding . 

Really though, I thought KH might have started to overcome a few of these things by now.  That KH instructions continue to mis number parts or show them incorrectly is incredibly frustrating, and seems to just illustrate (excuse the pun) a lack of listening to customer feedback
  I cant comment on the accuracy, but nothing really glaring stood out to me.
Since I have completed this kit, Great Wall Hobbies have released theirs, and were I ever to do another, this is the kit I would choose, being superior in all facets, but I wont do another as one Su-35 in the cabinet is enough for me.

  This was also the first time I completely painted a model using Mr Color laquers, and I will certainly be using them again I have to say, the finished model looks quite striking in the cabinet due to its size and that colour scheme. 

Kinetic 1/48 C.A.C Mirage IIIO

  • Date Completed;  December 2017
  • Aftermarket Used: Eduard interior set, Seat-Pavla MB4, Pitot tube- master barrel. Stores-PJ productions PM3 bomb rack, Hasegawa bombs, Wheels-Resin art
  • Decals: Caracal Mirages over Australia

The Mirage holds a favourite place in the hearts of many Australian Aircraft modellers, so there was much rejoicing when Kinetic announced they were releasing this kit.  Although in my opinion,  it renders the Heller and Italeri kits obsolete, moulding is a little soft and the fit is not the best. 
There is still room for the definitive kit out there. 
Two of my friends and I decided to build this kit as a challenge build to get judged at a show.  the winner gets to pick the next subject.  At least I finished this one, the last build – the Kittyhawk Jaguar- is still languishing in its box with broken u/c.  In a fit of insanity, I decided to build all three kinetic mirages in my stash.  two single seaters and a trainer, the trainer still needing to be finished as I’m a little “miraged out” at the moment.  The kit goes together quickly enough, but there are several traps  awaiting the unwary, and the moulding is quite poor for a kit released in 2015, mine having many sink marks and a lot of flash. OOB, the nose gear also has a little bit of an exaggerated backward rake.
With the two Caracal sheets, you can pretty much make any mirage in the RAAF fleet, wearing any of the many schemes it wore during its service life
 I found though, the caracal tail bands needed trimming for a better fit, and the blue in the roundels and fin flash is too vivid. 
Ronin Graphics also do a couple of very comprehensive sheets, that also allow you to build a few of the commemorative schemes.
In fact there  is a fair bit of AM around for this kit
And the winner of the challenge build?  Well, all three of us never managed to get to the show!

C.A.C Mirage IIIO(A) 3 SQN. Butterworth. Malaya. R.A.A F

Kittyhawk 1/32 P-39 Bell Airacobra Mk1

Year Purchased: 2016
Date Completed: 2017
​Aftermarket used
Eduard 
Cockpit interior set, and exterior set ,exhausts
HGW Seatbelts RAF eraly style Sutton Harness
Mastercaster early style wheels and fishtail exhausts for Mk1
Master Model  .50in and .303 gun barrels with no flash hider
Maketar Masks  RAF and RAAF airacobra for Special Hobby kit

I have always loved the Airacobra in Royal Air Force markings, so when Kittyhawk announced their kit, thoughts turned to modifying it to represent a Mk 1 Airacobra as briefly used by 601 SQN
Research revealed there weren’t too many visible differences between the kit version and the one I wanted to model.  Fishtail exhausts, wheels, armament and a smaller diameter propeller being the main ones.  Mastercaster did wheels and exhausts for a Mk1.  Although made to fit the Special Hobby kit, they were easily adaptable to the KH kit.  Master of Poland supplied the gun barrels for wings and fuselage, the nose cannon being made from brass tubing.  I had planned to have the nose gun bay open, and had even gone as far as to replace the kit 37mm cannon with a 20mm hispano robbed from a HobbyBoss Spitfire, but in the end was not happy that I had portrayed the interior correctly, so reluctantly glued the panels shut.  The aerial mast was scratchbuilt from plastic strip, and the pitot tube came from a Trumpeter P-47
Overall I found the kit a reasonable build, although there were a couple of areas where fit was less than stellar, the wingroots being the main culprit.  This was due to the recess for the inner walls of the wheelbays not being deep enough.  The problem was solved by fitting the wings to the fuselage minus the wheelwell inner walls.  These were fitted after the wings were glued on.  To enable this, you need to cut the tabs off the wheelwell front and rear walls that the inner walls locate onto.  Do this and you will be rewarded with a join that just needs a smear of filler to hide.  It remains one of my favourite builds.

Bell P-39 Airacobra Mk1 601 SQN. Royal Air Force. Duxford 1941

Kittyhawk 1/48 Super Etendard

  • Built: 2017
  • Aftermarket Used: Dedicated Eduard PE set
  • Decals: Kit

The Kittyhawk Super Etendard Modernise was another build done for The Modelling News.  

www.themodellingnews.com/2017/01/build-guide-review-pt-ii-bruce-finishes.html#more

The only addition was an Eduard Zoom Set to help the cockpit. It was finished with Gunze paints and the decals from the kit. It went together pretty well with a minimum of filler, however if you are one of those modellers that don’t enjoy the construction phase, Kittyhawk kits aren’t for you.  Just about all the parts need refining with flash and ejector pins needing removing before assembly.  That said, I still enjoyed building this kit.  However should you wish to build an early Argentinian jet used during The Falklands War, you are best getting the Kinetic kit, as that includes the proper bullet fairing on the tail.


 

Bronco 1/48 Curtiss Tomahawk 81-A2

  • Built: 2016
  • Aftermarket Used: Nil
  • Decals: Kit

This was the second review I did for The Modelling News and I had high hopes for it.  Unfortunately  the kit was  a bit of a chore, whether this was because I had just built a kittyhawk, or because of all the remedial work required,  I found myself having  to dig deep to finish the build.  
Despite its inaccuracies, the kit has some nice features, although I can not recommend it given the Airfix kit is far superior.  I imagine this will be relegated to the shadows, especially in the Western market.

Curtiss 81-A2 Hawk. American Volunteer Group. China. 1941

Special Hobby 1/32 Brewster Buffalo Mk1

  • Built: 2016
  • Aftermarket Used: Nil
  • Decals: Montex masks

This one had a period on The Shelf of Doom due to me damaging the windscreen.  Special Hobby kindly came to the rescue and supplied me a new one free of charge.  Exceedingly generous of them seeing as I was the one who cocked it up.  I added a few additions to the cockpit such as a British reflector gunsight and armoured glass screen to reflect the British modifications. All markings are sprayed using Montex masks.  I have since discovered a few colour inaccuracies, the fuselage band should be sky blue and there should be no yellow ring on the underside roundel.  I still like it though.  Its actually a kit that I would like to revisit as I do i have a soft spot for the tubby Buffalo.  This being the third one I have built, well fourth, as I remember building the old tamiya kit as well. 

Brewster Buffalo Mk 1 67 SQN. R.A.F Burma 1941

Eduard 1/48 N.A.A. F-86 Sabre

  • Built: 2016
  • Aftermarket Used: Multimedia kit OOB
  • Decals: kit

This is Hasegawa’s still very nice plastic rebooted by Eduard and supersized with some of their excellent resin and Photo etch.  

This was built for a review for The Modelling News, and rather than go through the build again, I will just send you there via this link

I was quite happy with the finished model and it still resides in my cabinet.

 

North American Aviation F-86F Sabre 390th FBS, Alexandria AFB, Louisiana, USA, 1955

Hasegawa 1/48 P-40E Kittyhawk

  • Built:   2016
  •   Ultracast P-40 seat
  •   Ultracast P-40 Block tread wheels
  •   Ultracast P-40 Tubular exhausts

Decals:            Combination of Cutting Edge Pyn Up and Aussie decals

​Hasegawa’s P-40 series seems to be one of those kits modellers either love or hate 
 Flick through any of the fora and you will find modellers that rate it as a horrible fitting kit through to other modellers that have had no fit problems at all.  It does require care in assembly – like any kit – but I found mine went together reasonably well with only a small amount of iller needed around the gun ports and fuselage.  To be honest, I found the Cutting Edge decals a real disappointment, thick and reluctant to conform to recessed details.  The nose art decals, although very thin, were not sharply printed.  I dare say though printing technology has improved since these decals were first released.

Curtiss P-40 E-CE Kittyhawk

A.M.T 1/48 Douglas A-20C

  • Built: 2014
  • Aftermarket Used: Master barrel brass gun barrels, RedRoo Models tropical cowls, Vector corrected control surfaces, MDC main wheels.
  • Decals: RedRoo Models

The second of a parallel Boston build, This one was finished as a RAAF machine. All the comments from my first Boston Build apply here too, including the spindly landing gear.

Douglas A-20C 22 SQN Royal Australian Air Force .

Goodenough Island New Guinea 1942

AMT 1/48 Douglas A-20 Boston IIIA

  • Built; 2014
  • Aftermarket Used: True Details wheels, Master Barrel gun barrels Vector control surfaces
  • Decals: Various spare decals with nose art being hand painted.

Another two builds of the same kit in parallel.  AMTs kit is getting rather old now and we really need a new one.  Detail is soft, although there are now sets available for it from Vector, and it has several inaccuracies including metal control surfaces where they should be fabric and I believe the main landing gear is to far backward, or forward, cant remember which.  That said, it is a pretty viceless build.  The only weak point being the undercarriage attachment.  It is incredibly flimsy.  Mine have sheared off twice!!.  The doors also have poor attachment points.
I cut out all the control surfaces and replaced them with the Vector resin replacements,
I built the RAF one for a group build on an on-line forum.  It was the first time I had used the salt chipping method, and I was quite pleased with the results.  I wanted an machine that reflected the haste with which some units applied their invasion stripes., so the stripes were hand painted using vallejo paints.

As there are no decals for this scheme in 48 scale I used various generic sheets for the codes and national markings and hand painted the nose art.  She was flown by an Australian crew.  Im really hoping a new tool kit of this important aircraft is released soon.  The A.M.T kit has served well, but is long overdue for replacement.

 Xtracolour enamels were again used

Douglas Boston Mk IIIA Royal Air Force. England. 1944

Tamiya 1/32 Supermarine Spitfire MkVIII




Date Completed:2015
Aftermarket:  barracuda Starboard cockpit sidewall. Barracuda Spitfire Block tread Wheels
Decals: Victory Productions Commonwealth Spitfire Aces

This Tamiya kit lived up to all the hype about it, which is just what I needed after coming out the other end of a mojo drought.  I didn’t bother with the engine, knowing it would slow the build down.  Rather than opting for the kit shark mouth scheme, I went for something different choosing Group Captain Clive Caldwell’s machine.  Codes and unit markings were from Victory Productions Spitfire Aces sheet, whilst all national markings were painted. A real joy from start to finish.
In retrospect though, I lightened the dark earth a little too much, so it doesn’t quite capture the darker looking camouflage of our spitfires. 

Spitfire MkVIII 80 Wing Royal Australian Air Force. Moritai. 1944

Special Hobby 1/48 Brewster Model 339 Buffalo

  • Built: 2014
  • Aftermarket Used: Nil. OOB
  • Decals: Kit

The second part of my double Buffalo build. Like the other build, this one also went together quite effortlessly.

To paint it I used the then popular “black base” technique. I remember not liking it that much as I didn’t think it gave you a lot of range with the colours. The colours on this were all lightened considerably to portray a faded machine that had been operating under a blazing hot Northern Territory sun.

Extracolour paints were again used from my now diminishing supply.

I think this one turned out better than the U.S one I completed just prior.

Brewster Buffalo. 1 P.R.U SQN Royal Australian Air Force. Hughes Air Base.N.T 1942

Special Hobby F2A-3 Buffalo

Date Completed: 2014
Aftermarket Used 
CMK Armament set, 

Decals:  Montex masks

 


Another double build in which was eventually a pretty productive year after a few false starts!
From memory these Buffalos were lovely kits to build, being fairly straightforward, even the CMK gun bays fitted without too much scraping and grinding
The completed models were painted with extra colour paints which were my preferred brand until export restrictions stopped them coming into the country.  I still have several tins I am slowly using up on current projects.
For the USN one, I could not go past those oversized early war stars, which I found on a Montex mask set.  This were the second set of markings I had masked after my dakota  I found the process a little more difficult lining up all the elements and there was a fait bit of touching up to do.  I cannot remember what colour I used for the USN blue grey, the underside grey was Extracolour with a dark wash from Flory Models.  A small piece of brass mesh was inserted behind the oil cover opening.  Looking at the model now, you can see I have rushed the weathering with none on the undersides or gun bays.  Despite this, it still looks nice sitting in the cabinet with those big stars.

Brewster F2A-3 Buffalo MCAS Ewa  WMF-221 Hawaii. USA 1942

 

Trumpeter 1/48 Douglas C-47 Dakota

Date Completed: 2014
Aftermarket used: Quickboost rudder and corrected cowlings
Decals  Not decals at all, but masks from Mal’s Miracle Masks

 

 
Trumpeter’s Dakota gets cast as inferior to Monogram’s ancient model in  some quarters.  I built the monogram one as a kid and   found the Trumpeter kit  light years ahead in fit, detail and engineering.  Ok, there are some accuracy issues, the rudder is riveted where it should be fabric covered, the cowlings are based on the soviet copycat aircraft and the sit of the aircraft is not quite correct but these can be fixed with aftermarket items.  I just love all the riveting on the kit which you really need on a kit this size.  Mine was built for a Korean war GB on Britmodeller.com.  Th year had started off with several failed builds, so this one reaching the finish line was very satisfying indeed
I left the wings removable to ease transport, which leaves slight gaps, maybe this is why it has received no love at competitions, plus I have modelled it clean with no weathering whatsoever.
I increased the height of the undercarriage by adding plastic block spacers to the locators in the cowlings so the aircraft nose points up more.  The drag links were lengthened with rod.
This was the first time I painted national markings on using masks.  I got Mal Mayfield to cut masks from a Hawkeye decal sheet.  I impressed myself with how easy painting the roundels was, and determined to go this route on all of my future larger builds.  There is some conjecture over whether the cheat line was red or blue.  I opted for blue after seeking answers on Aussie Modeller International on-line forum

​C-47B Dakota 77 SQN  Royal Australian Air Force Korea 1952

 
 

 

Hasegawa 1/48 A4G Skyhawk

  • Built: 2013
  • Aftermarket Used: Steel Beach Tailplane plates
  • Decals: Hawkeye Australia

A little more effort was put into this model of the skyhawk than my last one as I wanted to display it with the tailplanes tinted up exposing the hole through the fin and the hellhole open.

Cutting off the moulded tailplane rub plates was trickier than expected, but I got there in the end using a thin razor saw. These days I would use a P.E saw.

I made up some rudimentary innards through the open hell hole door. The door itself had its interior detailed with plastic strip and some foil to replicate the small bag for the R.B.Fs. These doors were commonly seen open on the flight line.

The air superiority scheme consisted of light and dark admiralty grey. At the time of modelling, no off the shelf paints were available from any of the major manufacturers.

The paints for this came from a local company that actually made model railway colours. As far as I kno, these paints were their only foray into aircraft sets.. The practise bomb carrier seen so often on Aussie skyhawks was scratch built from plastic card and strip.

McDonald Douglas A-4G Skyhawk 805 SQN R.A.N F.A.A H.M.A.S Melbourne

Hasegawa 1/48 A-4G Skyhawk

  • Built: 2013
  • Aftermarket Used: Nil. OOB
  • Decals: Ronin Decals
This is one of my older models.  The still nice Hasegawa 1/48 Skyhawk from when Hasegawa were a big name in model kits.  This one has been modified into a Royal Australian Navy A-4G which were basically E models anyway.  All the parts to make a G are included in the kit.  I decided to do an early Skyhawk before colourful unit markings became all the rage in the R.A.N.  Mainly because I had not seen one done before. As well as completing this one, I also did one in the Air Superiority scheme as a parallel build.
Decals came from a Hawkeye sheet for R.A.N Skyhawks, which was an early ALPS printed sheet.  The decals were thick and the underlying white shapes for the decals that needed them were oversized.  In a word they were crap, but Steve Evans is completely redoing the sheet under his Ronin Aviation Graphics label.  The decals released under this label bear no resemblance to his earlier Hawkeye sheets in either printing or performance  The latest sheet –  when he finally gets around to releasing it –  will allow you to model any skyhawk that saw service. 
Centre line TER came from Aerobonus and bombs came from a hasegawa weapons set.  There are lots of mistakes if you look closely, but I am happy with it. It remains as a timeline marker as to how my skills are slowly improving.  I remember the kit as being easy to assemble with some fit issues around intakes and the gun inserts.


A-4G Skyhawk 805 SQN. H.M.A.S Melbourne. Royal Australian Navy

 

Hasegawa 1/48 Hurricane MkIV

  • Built: 2013
  • Aftermarket Used: Rocket rails and radiator recast from Guideline Publications items, Ultracast wheels and exhaust
  • Decals: from the “decal bank”

I have always loved the look of the Hurricane armed with rockets. Again it evokes memories of building the 72 Airfix kit as a child. It was another model I wanted to revisit, so my second Hasegawa Hurricane used a resin conversion set from Guideline Publications which included the armoured radiator and resin rockets and rails. The rails were rather twisted so a friend kindly recast me a new set. Searching out colour schemes was interesting as it was quite difficult locating photos of rocket armed Hurricanes. I eventually settled on this one from South East Asia Command, although you will note it has no codes or serial. Much searching and asking of questions failed to reveal an accurate combination I could use. This model was also riveted with my new Rosie the Riveter tool, although I just confined it to the wing upper surfaces

Hawker Hurricane MkIV 20 SQN Royal Air Force. Burma 1944

Hasegawa 1/48 F-18A Hornet

  • Built: 2012
  • Aftermarket Used:
  • Decals: Hawkeye Australia
  • Bomb: Hasegawa Weapons set

Theres not too much I can remember about this build, being as Im writing it up about ten years after completion. The gunship grey scheme the RAAF trialled appealed to me, and I thought it would make the jet stand out from all the other Aussie hornets you see.

In fact the jet standing out is why the RAAF did not go ahead with the scheme

Decals are Hawkeye decals which, although quite thick performed adequately. There are much better decals on the market now, although up to date markings for RAAF “Classic” remain rarer than hens teeth.

For some reason, even our own Australian decal manufactures can not come up with a decent decal sheet. The long OOP Afterburner sheet remaining the best out there still.

This model no longer remains ion my collection having been sold off in 2021. I will replace it with a hopefully better RAAF Classic Hornet build sometime in the future.

McDonnell Douglas F-18A Hornet 77SQN R.A.A.F Williamtown Australia

Earlier Builds

A lot of these builds are no longer with me, having been moved on from the cabinet so that other completions can take their place. Some of them were tossed after suffering damage in various house moves. In just about all cases , these are the only photos I still have of them. I have included them purely for completeness.

Trumpeter 1/48 Sea Fury F.B11

  • Built: 2012
  • Aftermarket Used: PP Aeroparts spinner and blades,
  • Decals: Aussie Decals

i Think everyone who likes this machine was quite excited when Trumpeter revealed they were releasing a badly needed new tool kit to replace the ageing HobbyCraft kit. That anticipation quickly melted when everyone saw what a complete hash Trumpeter had made it, as they do with a lot of their British subjects.

The details of this build have been lost to time, but I do remember a lot of remedial work was required to accurise it.

This involved building up the strange scallop shaped cockpit opening, replacing the bulborous spinner with a PP aeroparts one, or was it W.E.M, cant remember!

In fact quite a lot of PP aeroparts were used from their very comprehensive set designed for the Hoobycraft kit.

These days were I to do this one again, I would use the lovely Airfix kit. But I won’t be as I have the lovely Fisher Models 1/32 scale kit in the stash.

I only just recently sold this one, so it had stayed with me for quite some time.

Hawker Sea Fury F.B11 Royal Australian Navy F.A.A Nowra.

2021 Build Year

For 2021 , I went to my modelling mates and asked them to select a number from 1 to 241 which is the number of kits in the stash.

Each chosen number was then matched to a particular kit in my spreadsheet.

The selected kits were pulled from the shelves. Leaving me with the below selected kits. The phantom was my wildcard choice!

Selected builds for the year. I didn’t do too badly by years end.

Before I could commence these though, I had a leftover build from 2020 to complete . For readers who may have forgotten previous episodes, 2020 was the year I designated “USN year” Well, that worked well. I think this was the only kit of the 5 built that year connected to the USN

So the first kit to cross the line in 2021 was the Kinetic 1/48 E-2C Hawkeye 2000

Now that was out of the way, the real 2021 builds could get under way.

My mate Mick had picked the Thunderchief out. A purchase inspired by seeing the real one during a trip to North America.

Hobby Boss 1/48 F-105G Thunderchief

Darren picked out the next kit. The Dragon 1/35 SdKfz 7/2 + Bronco 1/35 Sd.Ah. 52 Ammunition Trailer

The Kinetic Harrier picked by AP followed, but this is where things got a little crazy. Why make one harrier when you can make three!

The first kit to be completed being the Kinetic 1/48 Bae Sea Harrier FA2 I wasn’t really happy with this one, and in fact, based on my build experience, would have flogged the FRS1 if I had not already started it .