Airfix 1/48 Spitfire Mk XIVe (conversion)

  • Acquired: 2023
  • Completed: 2023
  • Enhancements;
  • Wheels; Brassin
  • Gun Barrels; Master Model
  • Exhausts; Brassin
  • Seat Belts; Eduard
  • Decals; Xtradecal

Another project (and Spitfire) started on nothing but an impulse. That impulse came in the form of fellow modeller Andy King publishing a post on his blog on how he was tackling converting the above two kits to arrive at an early Spitfire MkXIV,

His clear photos and narrative indicated what seemed a fairly straight forward conversion, one possibly even I could handle despite my inability to constantly cut straight lines.

A mate very graciously sent me the required Airfix kits, those being the Spitfire MkVb and XIV. Thanks Norm!

First order of (de) construction was too cut the kits along the required panel line as indicated in Andy’s article, although I deviated from Andy in just cutting straight through the rear access hatch rather than cutting around it to make the cut easier. Take particular care around the fin fillet of the XIV. Once cut, I traced the fillet onto the Vb fuselage halves with a pencil so I had an accurate edge to cut to.

It was then a simple matter of joining the spine from the Vb kit to the lower fuselage of the XIV.

This had been the deciding moment. If this had not worked, the project probably would have been binned, but I was very happy with the result.

A tape together showed everything that needed to match up did

From here it was just a matter of assembling the spitfire as per the XIV instructions. The fuselage join did require some filler and subsequent rescribing of the lost panel line with that troublesome little jig just aft of the canopy. My work here was not great and I wish i had of had the patience to persist with it until I was truly happy with the result rather than settling for just “good enough”

If I could offer one bit of advice to modellers on the oft asked question of “How can I improve ?” it would be to persist until you are happy with your efforts rather than just accepting mediocrity. If only I took my own advice more often!

For the cockpit, the rear bulkhead from the Vb was married to the sidewalls of the XIV cockpit, and the fit of the fixed rear clear section from the Vb checked for fit. All good

What wasn’t so good though was when it came time to offer the lower wing section up to the fuselage, I could not get to mate to the wing fillets as it was fouling on the rear of the cockpit tub. Talking to Andy, he’d faced the same problem although in his case it was possibly due to him using the Eduard cockpit.

A long process of elimination and trouble shooting revealed the Vb bulkhead was not sitting as deep into the tub as it could. Remedying this sorted the problem and i got the lower wing fitted without further problem, and before you say “Bruce, that photo does not look like the fit is problem free,” the clamps are actually ensuring the underwing radiators sit flush with their cutouts. They mating surfaces do require some judicious sanding to ensure their fillets sit flush with the wing.

The top surfaces were then added for a nice tight fit. There was a small misalignment on the cannon stubs, but a skinny sanding stick paid short shift to that!

Painting time!

Annoyingly I had small flecks of paint pull up with tape all through the painting stage, no idea why as I had cleaned the plastic prior to painting with tamiya thinner X20A, and also used a primer. Nothing major, until I went to swab up some surplus Mig Ultra decal solvent with a cotton bud and removed not only the decal solvent, but also the clear finish and paint down to the plastic.

I have never had this happen before. It was easily touched up, although you can still see the scar. Also evident in the above pic are my dodgy scribing skills.

The camouflage demarcation was achieved by using the AML camouflage mask set. Its designed for the Academy kit, but still fits the airfix kit nicely. I managed to create a few ridge lines though with over judicious coats of paint.

Weathering was achieved with oil washes and spattering on Tamiya brown panel liner to represent spaces of mud kicked up by the propeller. Just needed to add the exhaust pipes and the mirror that came from a quick boost set and she was done

There exhausts were base coated in dark iron, then washed progressively with tamiya dark brown panel liner, Vallejo pale german camouflage brown and finally Vallejo white grey.

Im very happy to have this mark of Spitfire in the cabinet. A shout out to Andy King for doing the conversion as I never would have thought of it. Do check out his blog. He has always got something interesting on his bench.

Supermarine Spitfire XIVe. 350 (Belgian) SQN. R.A.F Lympne. 1944

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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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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.


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

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

I.B.G Model 1/35 Bedford QLT

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

Construction Notes


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

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

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

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




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

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

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


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

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

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

Bedford QLT  Irish Guards. Holland 1944


Revell 1/48 ADV Tornado F3

  • Built 2020
  • Enhancements Used 
  • Seatbelts,  Eduard
  • Wheels   Brassin
  • Wheelbays  Eduard
  • Pitot Tubes and AoA sensors  Master Barrel
  • Weapons  Brassin ASRAAM   Hasegawa Sparrows (skyflash)  BOL rails  F4Dable Models
  • Decals  Xtradecal Tornado F3 Part 1
 Like a lot of modellers, I had heard some horror stories about the fit of the Revell Tornadoes.  The consensus seemed to be whilst they were definitely a step up on what was currently available, the fit left something to be desired.  The kit seems to be one of those that polarise modellers world wide.  The truth is, like the Hasegawa Harrier, the ease of build is directly linked to how you build the tornado.
What inspired this particular build was a mate directing me to a series of youtube videos done by a fellow named Nathan Robinson.
Nathan is a member of the IPMS Tornado SIG and admits to having built six of these!  So if anyone will have the build down pat it should be him.
Deciding to take a leaf out of Jon Bryons book, all three revell tonkas – 2 ADVs and a GR4 – were pulled from  the stash to be built as a batch.
Following Nathans build sequence, I found the build progressed fairly quickly. I still needed filler around the intakes and along the fuselage sides,where it meets the bottom plate, but these were all easy joins to clean up and rescribe.
For the cockpit, the kit decals were used which sat down surprisingly well over the moulded detail and certainly looked busy enough through the closed canopy.  Note Revell call out the wrong rear instrument panel, you need part S214

I deviated from Nathans build my cutting off the cogged part of the wing so I could add them later. To be honest, Im not sure this is the best way as you lose a bit of structural integrity. Ive already so modified all three of my kits, but wish Id left one to compare the two different methods.  Maybe on my eduard Desert Babe kit!

I replaced the rather bland wing seals with some moulded by a fellow called Shaun from  I’m not sure if they are still available as he was doing them when the kits first became available.
The decision was also made on this model to have the flaps up, to better show off the lines of the ADV.  The best way to achieve a flush fit with the wings is to cut the bar on parts B111 &113 so you are left with separate flaps.  These can then be glued  individually to the top wing ensuring they sit  flush with the upper wing.

The undercarriage assembles fairly easily, despite being moulded in two halves. Revell have form here, which means you have a seam to clean up. Part C159 and 168 placement is a little vague. Step 69 shows it the best. On gluing the PE facia to the back wall of the wheelwell, I had an alarm bell go off in my head going, “I wonder if this slot the PE covers is important” Well, Yes, it is as this is where the door retraction strut sits.  Didn’t realise this until I added them, so then had to cut the struts, in fact I replaced them with thin rod. I find this annoying on Eduard’s part. They could have easily made the back facia in two parts to be fitted either side of the slot. Its not the first time Eduard have failed to take into account the fitting of kit parts around their etch, and one of the reasons I find myself using less AM these days unless it is drop fit. Some etch placards and brake lines dress up the legs nicely, but on my other F3 I will use wire and decals instead..

Photos of my chosen jet show it fitted with BOL rails on the inner side of the wing pylon. If like me, you didn’t know what BOL rails are, I can know tell you they are a launch rail with an inbuilt countermeasures pod. They are surprisingly hard to track down as an aftermarket item, considering quite a few jets use them.  A friend offered me his Steel Beach ones, but they looked quite a crude casting. The F4DModels were much better although warped.  Hot water straightened this out.

For the Barley Grey, I used a home grown paint SMS which performed quite well, Its marketed as ready to spray, but I still thinned mine a little. Colour looked good, but I find it strange they do not offer a Light Aircraft Grey in their range to go with the barley grey, so it was back to my go-to paint. Mr Color.
Again on this model, I had problems with the paint and primer peeling off when removing the tape. I have no idea whats causing this. The model was wiped down with tamiya thinner prior to paint, and was primed with Alclad Grey.  The consensus amongst my modelling mates was it could be the primer, which Ive had for a while, so in the bin it went.
The model was gloss coated for decals and in preparation for the wash. These days I apply the wash before the decals, despite this method, the wash failed to pick up a lot of the very fine detail, despite repeated applications, which was annoying in the extreme.
The decalling should have been easy, but again my poor build planning brought things unstuck. Literally!
The decals had all been applied when I realised I had not painted the fintop di electric panel, so as the tape would lay over the decalled fin band I religiously detacked the tamiya tape before laying it over the decal.  Of course, on pulling off the tape, the decal came with it, necessitating me having to  paint the fin band back on.  This in itself needed a lot of touching up as each time I pulled tape off, paint came away too. I really need to get to the bottom of why this is happening.
Surprisingly, my enthusiasm hadn’t waned for the model, so I pressed on, applying a satin sheen, which I then went over with dullcoate. Even with the satin, the model still looked far too glossy.  Annoyingly, all the stencils stood out as too thick as well. I had applied them in little pools of future to stop any silvering. I wont do this on my next one.

This just left final assembly of wheels, aerials, canopy mirrors and nav lights. none of which I managed to lose as is the usual case despite several of them pinging off the tweeezers.
And that was that! One down, two to go
So what do I think of the Revell Tornado? Well I think the main problem is, its Revell!  I have no problems with the breakdown of the kit, but the kit quality is poor indeed, flash, sink marks and ejector pin marks mar the parts, making assembly harder than it should be. These kits, like Airfix, are designed for the mass market, the so called “pocket money brigade” and the tooling shows it. You get what you pay for.
Despite this, if you ever release a new tool Jaguar, Revell, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.
Anything would be better than the horrid kittyhawk kit thats still sitting on my shelf of doom.

Panavia Tornado F3 ADV ZE763 11 SQN Leuchars Royal Air Force 2006

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.
  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