Archive for the ‘Build Reports’ Category
I’ve always enjoyed building Accurate Miniatures kits. They are nicely detailed, assemble reasonably well, and always result in a good looking model. I hated to see them go out of business, but I was glad to see MRC pick up their name and toolings. While we won’t see any new Accurate Miniatures kits, we can continue to enjoy the ones that were produced!
I think one of their best kits was their Yak-1. It came in a few different boxings and variant, but all were good fitting, easy to assemble kits. If their kits had any shortcoming, it was lack of decal options. This kit was no exception- one option. And while their decals are great, sometimes you want to do something a bit different.
Thankfully, Linden Hill Imports and Lift Here! Decals came to the rescue. Read the rest of this entry »
I am a big fan of cheap, easy to build models that are reasonably accurate. I am certainly no rivet counter, but I suppose I could be described as a rivet estimator. I could count rivets, but I choose not to, and I am happy with looking at a model and saying “that’s pretty close”.
Hobbyboss has taken a lot of heat for their 1/48 Easy Assembly kits. And to a certain extent, I can understand the criticism. Their P-40M was quite oddly shaped, even for someone with relaxed standards like me. I built it, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but it’s shape was so obviously odd it was a bit comical. Their P-51D was a better effort. I’d certainly recommend it, as well as the 1/48 UH-1. While they also had some minor shape and detail issues, for a rivet estimator, they worked out just fine.
With the most recent in the 1/48 Easy Assembly series, the P-47D, Hobbyboss has continued to improve the kits. This one looks like a P-47D, and while I’m sure folks with a more critical eye than I have would find faults in it, I was quite happy with how it looked overall. Read the rest of this entry »
Occasionally I do commission builds of aircraft. it’s a way to help fund the hobby, and add to the family income in a small way. One trend I’ve noticed is that quite often, my customers ask me to build Special Hobby kits.
Special Hobby is a Czech producer of short-run model kits. Most kits are multimedia, containing injection molded, photoetch and resin parts. Many have vacform canopies. They tend to be quite detailed, with generally accurate outlines and detail, and the various parts look very nice.
However, I’ve discovered why so many folks ask me to build them for them. Building a Special Hobby kit is quite a challenge. This Fiat G.55 Centauro was no exception. Read the rest of this entry »
Certain World War II aircraft seem to possess characteristics that are almost life-like. The P-51 Mustang was aptly named, as it looks every bit a thoroughbred. The Spitfire’s shape brings to mind a grace and beauty that is almost feminine. The P-47 Thunderbolt has a brutish look says “bad things are about to happen to you.” The P-40′s open radiator seemed custom made for a shark motif.
My fascination with building World War II Russian aircraft shows no signs of slowing down! It’s a part of aviation history I’ve not learned much about in the past, so it’s been fun doing research for these builds. One of the aircraft series that I’ve found particularly interesting is the Lavochkin fighters.
While the LaGG-3 did not astound everyone with it’s performance, designer Semyon Lavochkin went back to the drawing board, and after adding a radial engine and some other improvements to the fighter, came up with a winner. The La-5 was the first in this series of radial-engined Russian fighters. Read the rest of this entry »
The Yak-7 line of fighters has an unusual history. Originally designed to be a two seat trainer, flights tests of the Yak-7 showed that it was a more capable aircraft than the Yak-1, and it immediately began to be produced as both a two seat trainer and a single seat fighter. The -7V was a fixed-gear version of the fighter, specifically for training pilots as they transitioned from simpler trainers to the faster fighters.
Alanger’s Yak-7V is a rebox of the ICM kit. The parts are well cast, and have nice surface detail. The single piece canopy is very thick, and has overly heavy framing. Markings for a single aircraft are provided. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s always a good thing when Airfix releases a new-tool kit. It’s an even better thing when it’s a Spitfire!
Airfix fulfilled the wishes of many Spitfire fans with their recent release of the Griffon-engined Spitfire Mk. XIX. While the numbers of this particular model of Spitfire were never that great, it’s unique, clean look as a purpose built recon aircraft has given it a special place among modelers.
It follows in the footsteps of two other Griffon-engined variants that Airfix has released over the last few years, those being the Spitfire Mk. XII and the Seafire Mk. XVII. (Here’s to hoping for a Mk. XIV!) Read the rest of this entry »
My continuing interest in Soviet World War II aviation rolls on. It all started with a P-39 build after reading Redstar Airacobra. I’ve enjoyed building something a bit different, so I’ve decided that I’ll stick with the theme for a while.
This is Eduard’s 1/48 Yak-3 kit, which is from the late 1990′s I believe. Despite it’s age, it is a nice, simple, well fitting kit. Nothing about the construction should present any problems, and because the parts count is low, it can be assembled quite rapidly. Detail is good, though a bit simple when compared to newer Eduard kits. (Of course, if you are so inclined, there are aftermarket sets for this kit to dress it up.)
The paints are not really accurate, but I wasn’t too concerned about that. I actually used Vallejo Sky Blue on the undersides, and Tamiya’s RAF Medium Sea Gray and Ocean Gray for the upper surfaces. Decals were from Aeromaster’s ”The Russians are here!” Part II (48-642).
Weathering was done with some light fading/shading with the airbrush, and various oil techniques for panel lines, mud and oil splatters.
It’s a quick simple build that yields a nice looking model without any problems!
You really can’t go wrong with one of Eduard’s Weekend Edition kits. The plastic is great, the price is excellent, and the quality is top notch. Their 1/48 La-7 kit is no exception to this. While it does not contain the photoetch, masks ad multiple decal options that their Profipack kits do, it is a great bargain and builds great right out of the box.
This is the second time I’ve built this kit, the first being back in 2007, and I thoroughly enjoyed it both times, even doing the same marking scheme!
Construction is very straight-forward, with no problems for the most part. I did use some Tamiya Basic Putty to smooth out the wing to fuselage join. The way the kit is engineered, the fuselage is placed on top of a single wing assembly, with the top of the wing being the cockpit floor. Adding some Tamiya Basic Putty to the join, and smoothing it out with a Qtip soaked in nail polish remover took care of the gap without any problems.
I painted the undersides Vallejo Sky Blue, thinned with some water and Future for airbrushing. The Future also greatly improves the adhesion of the paint to the plastic. Upper surfaces were painted with Tamiya XF-82 Ocean Gray 2 RAF and Tamiya XF-83 RAF Medium Sea Gray. No, these aren’t the correct colors, but they were on hand, and close enough for me. (I generally paint to TLAR standard… “that looks about right”. )
The decals went on well, and I finished up with some airbrush shading and fading, oils for a panel wash and mud “splatters”, and a matte coat using Vallejo Matte Coat.
This is a great, simple kit that is a lot of fun to build, and it’s affordable. I highly recommend it!
In Pt. I of this dual-build, I covered Ark Models’ 1/48 MiG-3. In Pt. II, I’ll be covering Trumpeter’s 1/48 MiG-3 Late Version.
There are quite a few folks who give Trumpeter a hard time about their kits. From their use of recessed rivet detail to errors in shape or other detail accuracy, the company receives some harsh treatment on forums from many modelers. And some of the criticism is not unwarranted, in cases. But overall, I’ve enjoyed every Trumpeter kit I’ve built, despite the complaints. Read the rest of this entry »
In January I had written a kit preview for Ark Model’s MiG-3, graciously provided by my friend Alex at scale-model-kits.com. The research for building this kit sparked an interest in learning about the MiG-3, and so I have had quite an enjoyable time not only with the build, but with learning also. That’s one of the great things about this hobby- it’s as much history as it is hobby.
In reading about the MiG-3, I decided building one wasn’t enough. So inspired by my recent dual-Airacobra build, I decided to do a dual MiG-3, comparing the Ark Models kit to the Trumpeter offering, which is covered in Pt. II of this dual-build.
One thing I learned fairly quickly in my research is that the MiG-3 that Aleksandr Pokryshkin flew (which is the subject of this boxing) is actually an early model MiG-3, and the Ark Models kit is a late version. Of course, I’m not a stickler for details like that, but as my research had turned up quite a few color profiles, and the other half of this dual build, the Trumpeter kit, had multiple marking options for a late version MiG-3, I decided to use the Trumpeter markings for the Ark Models kit.
The Ark Models kit is actually the ICM molding, repackaged by Ark Models.
The cockpit for the kit is fairly detailed. It consists of separate tube-framework sidewalls and floor pieces for the cockpit, similar to a Hawker Hurricane. The parts are nicely detailed. I normally am a bit put off by this type of arrangement, as they often can be quite fiddly to assemble, but these actually went together with no problem. Once assembled, it forms a nice little framework that fits easily into the fuselage. I did opt to leave out the seat backing, so that by adding it later, I could get a proper angle for it’s fit. Read the rest of this entry »
Monogram’s P-39 kit is a true classic. I remember building it back in the late 70′s or early 80′s. The detail in it was incredible at the time. I thought it was the coolest thing being able to see the engine, open cockpit and gun compartment. For its time, it was a very detailed model.
And it was versatile. It had parts for several versions of Airacobras, and with just a little work, a skilled modelers could use it as the basis for any variant of the P-39, from the D through the Q. For the time, it was quite the kit.
When I decided to build Eduard’s 1/48 P-39N weekend edition, I thought it would be neat to also build Monogram’s venerable kit, and see how it compared. Read the rest of this entry »
I first built one of Eduard’s P-39 kit’s almost five years ago, that one being the Accurate Miniatures’ P-39 Racer boxing. I really enjoyed the kit, and had been meaning to build one again. But time and other projects fly by. Sometime last fall, Squadron had Eduard’s Weekend Edition of the P-39N kit on sale, so I picked it up. At the time it was on sale for $9.99, which is an amazing bargain. (It’s still available at a very reasonable price, $17.96 as of this writing.)
Shortly after purchasing the kit, I began reading a book about a Russian Airacobra pilot in World War II. Redstar Airacobra: Memoirs of a Soviet Fighter Ace 1941-45 by Evgeniy Mariinskiy, available at Amazon as a Kindle book for only $9.99, is a very interesting read. It’s translation is a little rough in places, and at times I had trouble figuring out the time frame of things, but it really gives a great look at Airacobra operations on the Eastern Front in WWII.
One of the parts I found most fascinating was that Mariinskiy’s descriptions of his flying was almost entirely air-to-air combat, flown against “skinnies” (Me-109s) and “clodhoppers” (Stukas) as he termed them. The impression I had of P-39s was of a sluggish, almost-coulda-been fighter using it’s 37mm cannon to blast away at tanks. But the book opened my eyes to the fact that Russian pilots flew it as a fighter, and did so successfully. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the most fascinating chapters in the story of World War II, in my mind, has always been the struggle for control of the skies over the Mediterranean island of Malta. Acting as an “unsinkable carrier”, the small island was a thorn in the side of the Axis attempts to make the area their own pond.
Even though the guns have been silent for decades, a battle among modelers still “rages”… what in the world were the “correct” colors on the Malta Spitfires?
If you’re looking for the answer, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but this isn’t the place.
I can, however, go through the process I went through to decide how I wanted to paint my Malta Spitfire. Read the rest of this entry »
When I built Trumpeter’s Supermarine Spiteful last summer, I concluded the build report by saying “Now I just hope Trumpeter will follow up with a Seafang!”
Well, I guess they read my build report. Read the rest of this entry »
In looking back over my 2012 builds, all 26 of them, I realized I’ve built more than a few Hobbyboss kits in the past year. I don’t know that I really set out to do so. Most of their kits get some sort of knock for accuracy. Some of them are plainly obvious, some are not. But despite any knocks against them, Hobbyboss has put out some interesting and affordable kits recently, and the fit is very, very good.
I’m not normally into building helicopters… just not a subject that interests me. But when my good friend Mike Kloppenburg from Bombshell Decals showed me his results building Hobbyboss’ 1/48 UH-1C at an IPMS club meeting last fall, I decided to give it a go myself. The kit was less than $15, so it certainly was not a drain on the budget! Read the rest of this entry »
For this build I used Starfighter Decals “F8F-1 Bearcats in USN Service” (Stock# 4805), available from the Starfighter Decals website. Mark Tutton is the man behind Starfighter Decals, and he does top-notch work, as I certainly saw with these Bearcat decals. They went down perfectly, and what impressed me the most was how opaque the yellow decals were when placed over the blue paint. There was no “shine through” at all- the color was bright and vivid.
Starfighter Decals has some great sets for a wide variety of aircraft, and if you’re into the older Monogram 1/72 scale aircraft, you’re probably already familiar with their work. They’re printed by Cartograph, so you know the quality that brings to the build!
Thanks Mark for such awesome decals!
When I was a kid, I loved reading about World War II aviation. If there was a book about the subject, I read it. I read everything in my school library I could lay hands on. I went to the public library, and exhausted those books too. And on occasion, I was able to acquire books for my small but growing collection, most of which I still have today. (Plus a few more I’ve purchased as an adult…)
One of my favorite books was a coffee-table sized book called “In the Cockpit”, by Anthony Robinson. The book detailed flying aircraft throughout aviation history from a pilot’s perspective. Everything from the Blériot IX to the F-4 Phantom was covered. One of the stories related in the book that always entertained me was about the F8F Bearcat.
The Bearcat pilot told of being at a Navy airshow after the war was over, and the USAAF flew in a P-51 with the words “Fly Army Air Force” in bold letters on the side. After the show, the P-51 was taking off to leave. The Bearcat pilot decided to have some fun. So he waited behind the P-51 until it was well into it’s takeoff roll, and having held on the brakes with the engine opened up, he let go and took off after the P-51, which was just beginning to lift off. The Bearcat quickly caught the unsuspecting Mustang, and flew several barrel rolls around him before the Mustang pilot fully realized what was happening.
I always thought that was a great story, and while the Bearcat was never at the top of my favorites list, I was happy to see Hobbyboss release a modern-tooled version of this US Navy fighter, and decided to give it a go. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the things I love about Tamiya is the fact that I can build one of their models, and have it be as close to a “perfect” model building experience as you can get.
There are no gripes about fit. No inserts that don’t work. No messing with filling gaps or sanding parts to make them fit. How Tamiya manages to do this so consistently and yet be affordable amazes me.
Such was my experience with their 1/48 P-51D kit. The kit itself was the recently issued “Tuskegee Airmen” boxing of their wonderful bubble-top Mustang. Being averse to natural metal finishes, and always a big fan of RAF colors, I decided to look for some Commonwealth markings. Read the rest of this entry »
Forum member John Sachs built this great Taifun and posted it to the forums. I thought he did a great job with it, and asked him if he would write a more detailed build report. Thanks so much, John! It looks great!
Designed in 1934 by the Bayerische Fleugwerke Company in Germany, the Bf108 was to become one of the company’s first designs by Willy Messerschmitt. The company fell out of political favor when one of the company’s designs killed Hans Hackmack a close friend of Erhard Milch, the head of German Civil Aviation Authority (Deutsche Luft Hansa). Apparently Milch was quite upset about the lack of response from Messerschmitt and his company. This caused a large rift between the two and civil contracts were cancelled. It was the beginning of a bitter relationship between Milch and Messerschmitt. Read the rest of this entry »
I first built this kit back in 2008, and while the kit was great, I wasn’t real happy with how I finished it. Do you ever have one of those builds? Things are going along great, you’re getting to the finish line and it’s all looking good, and then suddenly things just kinda go sour?
It wasn’t a problem with the kit… I was just starting to use Tamiya paints and I had not quite gotten the hang of them. I think I over-thinned them, or something .. but the paint turned out bad, which affected teh decals, and the weathering… eventually I just gave it a dull coat and called it done.
So I’ve always wanted to get a “do-over” on this kit. Thankfully, there are plenty to be had at very good prices if you look around. Read the rest of this entry »