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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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.


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

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 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