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Welcome to the IPMS/USA Product Reviews site!

Introduction: The primary organization of the IPMS/USA Review website is by IPMS/USA National Contest Class. Within each Class there are sub-menus by kits, decals, books, etc. The Miscellaneous Class is for items that are not class specific or that cross two or more classes.

IPMS/USA Members: We encourage you to submit reviews, both here and to the Journal. To volunteer for membership in the IPMS/USA "Reviewers Corps" and submit your own reviews, please read the Guidelines For Submitting Product Reviews.

Manufacturers, Publishers, and other Industry members: IPMS/USA is pleased to offer your company the opportunity for product reviews. All product reviews are performed by IPMS/USA members, and are posted in the publicly-accessible section of our website. With very few exceptions, we perform full build reviews of new kit releases, aftermarket products, and supplies. If you would care to provide product samples for review, please contact David Morrissette, IPMS/USA 1st VP.

Welcome to your new IPMS/USA Product Reviews page!

March/April 2014

Published: April 23rd, 2014     
Cover Image
Cover Image
Issue Information
Journal Year: 
2014
Journal Volume: 
26
Journal Issue: 
2
  • Remembering IPMS-USA Founder Jim Sage
  • Caped Crusader’s Custom Cruiser - Adding a few extras to the Batmobileof 1950, by Dan Thompson
  • Big Bengal - Putting a Polish on Tamiya's 1:35 Porsche-turret Konigstiger, by Pedro Negron
  • Duplicating a Desert Diorama - Paying tribute to Shepard Paine by replicating a “Tips” Scene – Kind of, by Patrick Brown
  • Improve Your Model Photography - Basic Tips for Getting Print-Ready Images, by Richard Marmo
  • Designs for Defense - Painting Detailed Shields on Figures, by Gino Dykstra
  • Hornet Plus Three - Rebuilding Revell’s classic carrier kit, by Jodie Peeler

"Q" Ship

Published: April 23rd, 2014     
"Q" Ship
Reviewed by: Ron Bell, IPMS# 12907
Scale: 1/390
Company: Round 2 Models

The Ship

A lesser-known fact about u-boat attacks is that most came during broad daylight and were conducted with the u-boat's deck gun not at night with a torpedo. The convoy system was yet to be established, so when the u-boats encountered individual unescorted ships rather than waste a torpedo, which they had on board in limited numbers, the u-boat would surface and shell the target with their deck gun. Sometimes the target would surrender, so the u-boat would send over a boarding party to help themselves to whatever they wanted before they told the ship's crew to abandon ship. They then scuttled her using no more valuable ammunition. However, when the target did not surrender or chose to run, the u-boat would just blow them out of the water with the deck gun.

F6F Hellcat Aces of VF-9

Published: April 23rd, 2014     
F6F Hellcat Aces of VF-9
Author: Edward M. Young; Illustrator: Jim Laurier
Reviewed by: Greg Wise, IPMS# 44378
Company: Osprey Publishing

About This Book

A historical account of VF-9 and its pilots that became aces flying the Grumman F6F Hellcat. In the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the US Navy quickly formed Carrier Air Group 9. CAG-9 had four squadrons, VF-9, VB-9, VS-9 and VT-9 they were activated in March 1942. Initially equipped with five Brewster F2A-3 Buffalos that were quickly replaced by Grumman F4F Wildcats. VF-9 first saw action during the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942. It was here the squadron successfully engaged Vichy French fighters in combat over Morocco. Upon returning to the United States, VF-9 became one of the first squadrons to receive the Grumman F6F Hellcat. Soon after they deployed on the USS Essex, namesake of its class of fleet carriers that formed the backbone of the US Navy’s Fast Carrier Task Force. VF-9, the Hellcat, and the Essex all entered combat in the fall of 1943, want more? Get this book.

The book itself is well printed with a hearty gum and cord binding. The print is easy to read and the photographs are very clear. The plate illustrations are accurate, colorful and honestly represented.

US Cold War Aircraft Carriers, New Vanguard 211

Published: April 22nd, 2014     
US Cold War Aircraft Carriers, New Vanguard 211
Author: Brad Elward, illustrated by Paul Wright
Reviewed by: Rob Benson, IPMS# 44038
Company: Osprey Publishing

Thank you very much to the wonderful folks at Osprey Publishing for providing this new publication for review.  Thanks are also due to the IPMS Reviewer Corps for allowing me the opportunity to explore a wonderful documentation and fascinating historical description of the earliest super carriers.

On opening the book you will find 48 glossy pages filled with text, 30 color photos, 11 black-and-white photos, 2 black-and-white drawings, and 7 color painting and diagrams.  The softcover binding is 9.75 x 7.25 inches and a little less than a quarter-inch thick, with a color photo of the U.S.S America off the starboard bow.  In 8 chapters, Mr. Elward provides a brief historical introduction explaining the roots of these early super carriers, and focuses on the Forrestal, Kitty Hawk and Enterprise classes.  I appreciate the thorough bibliography and index.    

USAF/VNAF A-1E Skyraider

Published: April 22nd, 2014     
USAF/VNAF A-1E Skyraider
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo, IPMS# 46363
Scale: 1/48
Company: Caracal Models

Caracal Models has released a sheet for the 1/48 Revell (Matchbox) A-1E molds. This sheet includes decals for seven USAF and two VNAF aircraft (for an amazing total of 9 airplanes!).

The options on this decal sheet are:

  • A-1E 132649, (Medal of Honor mission aircraft)
  • A-1E 132619, "Carolyn's Folly"
  • A-1E 135007, "Miss Pussy Galore"
  • A-1E 133919
  • A-1E 135206, "Georgia Ann"
  • A-1E 132528, "War Monger"
  • A-1E 132612
  • A-1E 132628, VNAF
  • A-1E 132503, VNAF

The first three aircraft are overall ADC Gray, while the last six are in SEA camouflage. Stenciling is provided to build one USAF aircraft. The decal sheet was printed by Cartograf in Italy.

Being a Cartograf decal sheet you know you’ll get good quality, thin and opaque decals. They are very glossy on the sheet and they have very little transparent carrier film around them minimizing the chances for silvering.

Ryan STM-2 / PT-20

Published: April 22nd, 2014     
Ryan STM-2 / PT-20
Reviewed by: Rick Bellanger, IPMS# 35220
Scale: 1/32
Company: Fisher Model and Pattern

This is part two “The Build”, of my review; the kit review can be seen in an earlier posting.

I followed the instruction sheet using Fishers guide for colors and building sequence.  The first thing I did was take inventory of all parts.  I found I was missing a couple of struts.  I emailed Paul Fisher of Fisher Models and within a few days had the replacement parts in hand.  Excellent customer service. As suggested, I thoroughly washed all parts using Dawn soap and warm water and let them dry overnight.  It took about an hour to “clean up” the parts; this involved some molding lines and a little flash to be removed.  One thing about Fisher kits, his molding is excellent and you should have very little clean up to do.

Caracal Modes US Navy / USMC AD-5 Skyraider

Published: April 22nd, 2014     
Caracal Modes US Navy / USMC AD-5 Skyraider
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo, IPMS# 46363
Scale: 1/48
Company: Caracal Models

Caracal Models has released a second sheet for the 1/48 Revell (Matchbox) AD-5 molds. This sheet includes decals for seven aircraft 

  • AD-5 Skyraider BuNo 133878, VU-1
  • AD-5 Skyraider BuNo 133893, NAS Los Alamitos
  • AD-5 Skyraider BuNo 133876, NAS Seattle
  • AD-5 Skyraider BuNo 132466, VA-125
  • AD-5 Skyraider BuNo 132442, NAS Anacostia
  • AD-5 Skyraider BuNo 132447, AES-12, USMC
  • AD-5 Skyraider BuNo 132616, NATF

This is a very colorful sheet, as the airplanes were CONUS based and likely used in training missions, so be prepared to use your international orange paint. Stenciling is provided to build one aircraft.

Being a Cartograf decal sheet you know you’ll get good quality, thin and opaque decals. They are very glossy on the sheet and they have very little transparent carrier film around them minimizing the chances for silvering.

F-4B Phantom

Published: April 21st, 2014     
F-4B Phantom
Reviewed by: Dave Morrissette, IPMS# 33653
Company: Academy

Academy's first release in a new series of 1/48 scale Phantoms is an F-4B in VF-111 "Sundowners" markings. There are 15 spectacular sprue with one being clear. The rest are colored to the specific areas of the plane. the bottom parts are white, the top gray and metallic parts black. Panels lines are fine and there are some real innovations. For example, the engine exhausts are molded as a complete tube so there are no seams to fill and they look great. There is also a complete set of weapons with the needed bombs and missiles and a full set of drop tanks.

Construction starts in the cockpit. The kits parts are very nice but I did use the Eduard PE set for the cockpit. One nice feature of the kit is that the cockpit side instrument panels are separate and can be painted separately and can be glued on after painting and detailing. At the same time that the cockpit is being built, the wheel wells are built. The front well has the linkage in it fort eh gear doors and this was tough as this is almost the first thing added. I broke it off two steps later as it is very fragile. This cockpit/front well assembly is glued in front bottom of the fuselage.

U.S. Marines AV-8A Harrier Decals

Published: April 20th, 2014     
U.S. Marines AV-8A Harrier Decals
Reviewed by: Phil Pignataro, IPMS# 17254
Scale: 1:72
Company: Caracal Models

When I purchased the new Airfix Harrier GR.1 kit in 1/72 scale, I did so with the intention of building it as the USMC AV-8A Harrier. I planned to cobble together suitable decals from my collection of spares, but didn’t have to when Caracal Models released a sheet just for this very purpose.

The decal sheet is silk-screen printed by Cartograph of Italy, so you know the quality is excellent. All markings are on register and the colors are vibrant. Caracal provides an eight page booklet, printed in full color, which depicts profiles for twelve aircraft plus generic drawings with painting instructions and stencil placement. Colors are listed in FS numbers. All the aircraft choices have the same basic camouflage scheme of Dark Green, Dark Sea Gray over Light Gray. The two exceptions are a test machine that has Day-Glo orange panels and another aircraft in a winter scheme where White replaces the Dark Green. Though there are marking options for a dozen aircraft, there are only national insignia and stencils for one “low-viz" and one “hi-viz" aircraft.

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