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Military Miniatures in Review No.59

Published: January 7th, 2014     
Military Miniatures in Review No.59
Reviewed by: Eric Christianson, IPMS# 42218
Company: Ampersand Publishing

Military Miniatures in Review (MMIR) is one of only about a half-dozen high-end armor-based magazines, and my favorite go-to source for finishing and weathering armor models and figures.  Regular publication has been spotty in the past; otherwise I would have sprung for a subscription long ago.  That said, I try to pick up every new issue, and those that I miss I can purchase (at a discount) from their website. 

As of right now, Ampersand does not offer MMIR in digital format, but even if it did I’m not sure I’d switch from the hardcopy version.  The quality of the materials used and the sheer number of crystal-sharp images included in each issue makes these magazines stand out among their peers.

Saab JAS-39 Gripen Pitot Tubes and AOA Probes

Published: January 7th, 2014     
Saab JAS-39 Gripen Pitot Tubes and AOA Probes
Reviewed by: Phil Pignataro, IPMS# 17254
Scale: 1/72
Company: Master Model

If you want to build a Saab Gripen in 1/72 scale, you currently have only one choice - the Italeri kits that include single-seat or two-seat versions. These kits have been around a little while, but are good representations of the early versions. One area of these kits that needs improvement is the sensor probes, both the pitot tubes and Angle-of-Attack (AOA) sensors. They are over scale and not the correct shape.  Luckily for us modelers, this product from Master Model of Poland corrects the deficiency. Their package contains two AOA sensors, a nose mounted pitot tube, a tail mounted pitot tube, and a brass fret for the nose vortex generators. Since they are to scale, all of these pieces are extremely delicate. The two AOA sensors, mounted on the sides of the forward fuselage are "micro" sized. I quickly learned not to grab the model by the forward fuselage sides, as these sensors are also needle sharp. Ouch!

F-35A Lightning II

Published: January 7th, 2014     
F-35A Lightning II
Reviewed by: Rod Lees, IPMS# 10821
Scale: 1/72
Company: Italeri

Thanks very much to MRC for providing us this little gem, and thanks to Italeri for producing it!  (and the usual appreciation to Dave and Dick for sending it my way to review...)  

This model requires a bit of skill, only in that it has many miniature parts which require care in installation.  We'll address that more later, but the basic model is excellent in presentation and delivery.   

This kit was first “out the chute”, as our rodeo friends say, on the market for a decent, accurate F-35 production-representative model.  I gave up on another company's 1/48 build, as I did not care for the tail plane inaccuracy (serious dihedral out of the box) and other issues.  Italeri's kit is much better overall... now they need to pantograph it out of Braille-scale for us old guys.  It would even make a great 1/32 kit, as it's relatively compact as fighters go.  Box art is well done, and the now familiar license logo from Lockheed Martin is prominently displayed on the box.   

F-102A Delta Dagger Antennas and Details

Published: January 6th, 2014     
F-102A Delta Dagger Antennas and Details
Reviewed by: Mike Hinderliter, IPMS# 45124
Scale: 1/72
Company: Quickboost

Quickboost has added the antennas and details for the F-102A to their line of resin aircraft accessories. This latest addition is molded in a smoke, red and clear resin, it’s smooth, seamless and bubble free.

Comparing the Quickboost parts to the Meng parts is no comparison because they are replacing the little sticks and nubs that are already molded onto the fuselage or as in the case of QB parts #2 aren’t even there to begin with. You know, those little things sticking out in your way as you build and that eventually tend to disappear as you handle it. The thing that I like is that they already come molded in color and I don’t have to paint them. Just remove them from the mold blocks, remove the old antennas and lights from the kit body, which ever ones are still there and super glue them in place.

I very highly recommend this product if you want a nice and detailed F-102A. I would like to thank Quickboost and IPMS USA for the chance to do this review.

Mitsubishi A6M3/3a ZERO FIGHTER Model 22 (ZEKE)

Published: January 5th, 2014     
Mitsubishi A6M3/3a ZERO FIGHTER Model 22 (ZEKE)
Reviewed by: Greg Wise, IPMS# 44378
Scale: 1/72
Company: Tamiya

History Brief

Following the Zero Model 21 (A6M2), the Model 32 (A6M3) Zero was introduced and entered service in the summer of 1942. It was powered by a Sakae 21 engine which featured superior high-altitude performance and an increased top speed. However, the Model 32’s reduced fuel capacity, heavier airframe design, and shorter clipped wings reduced the flight range. In order to fix this problem the Model 22 (A6M3) aircraft was introduced in early 1943. It came with an improved 12m wingspan to correct performance shortcomings and increase maneuverability, additional inner-wing fuel tanks to regain a longer flight range and reintroduced folding wing tips. Deployed mainly to the Solomon Islands from early 1943, The Mitsubishi A6M3/3a Zero fighter was considered by many to be the most well balanced Zero aircraft.

PB4Y-1 USN "Calvert and Coke" with Two Options

Published: January 5th, 2014     
PB4Y-1 USN "Calvert and Coke" with Two Options
Reviewed by: Jim Coatney, IPMS# 46815
Scale: 1/144
Company: Minicraft Model Kits

The Consolidated PB4Y-1 was the navy version of the B-24 Liberator. Whereas the Army Air Corps used letter designations to identify the various versions of the B-24 (B-24D or B-24J for example) the US Navy used the same designation (PB4Y-1) for all models until the single-tail PB4Y-2. This means that the glaze-nosed B-24D and the turret-nosed B-24J were both called PB4Y-1 in Navy parlance. The kit reviewed here is the PB4Y-1 version of the B-24D.

Minicraft’s kit comes in a small, sturdy, top-opening box. The cover illustration is of a US Navy PB4Y-1 from VB-103, England, 1943. Inside are four sprues, two in light gray, and two in clear. There are thirty-eight light gray parts and thirteen in clear. The fuselage is for a B-24J, but a replacement nose, molded in clear, is included to convert to a D model. Instructions are simple and clear, with assembly broken into six simple steps. Two large diagrams cover the paint and decal schemes. Model Master Paints are called out.

Focke Wulf FW200 C-3 Condor

Published: January 5th, 2014     
Focke Wulf FW200 C-3 Condor
Reviewed by: David Horn, IPMS# 44962
Scale: 1/72
Company: Trumpeter

Aircraft and History

The Focke-Wulf Fw-200 Condor was originally developed as a long range airliner in the late 1930’s . With it’s success as an airliner, the military noticed its capabilities. The Luftwaffe made good use of the new airframe. The Fw-200 was used as a VIP transport, a maritime torpedo bomber and with the addition of internal fuel tanks, a long range maritime patrol aircraft.

Kit

This kit is basically a scaled down version of their 1/48 scale kit which has all the remarkable detail reproduced in a smaller scale. The bulk of the detail is inside the fuselage, however most of that detail is hidden once the fuselage halves are assembled. The main landing gear is highly detailed and almost a small kit in itself. All of the flight control surfaces are separate and can be displayed in neutral or deflected positions. Markings provided in the kit include one that was captured by Russia as well as one in Luftwaffe service.

Focke Wulf FW 190D-10

Published: January 5th, 2014     
Focke Wulf FW 190D-10
Reviewed by: David Horn, IPMS# 44962
Scale: 1/48
Company: Hobby Boss

Aircraft and History

The Focke-Wulf Fw-190 series aircraft may be the best German fighter aircraft in WWII. Developed by Kurt Tank in the late 1930’s, it proved itself in combat over France in 1941. The first Fw-190’s had a radial engine but later on, an inverted V-12 engine was installed and the Fw-190D series was born. This subject, Fw-190D-10 is an interesting subject, only two prototypes were produced and the D-10 did not make it to production. Many of the featured used on the D-10 were later used on the TA 152.

Kit

This kit has superb detail inside and out. Cockpit detail is nice and some photo etch is provided. The real gem is inside the wheel bays, you can see the back of the engine and super charger components. All of the control surfaces except the elevator can be displayed in a deflected position.

Sea Vixen Ejection Seats with Safety Belts

Published: January 5th, 2014     
Sea Vixen Ejection Seats with Safety Belts
Reviewed by: Rod Lees, IPMS# 10821
Scale: 1/48
Company: Quickboost

Thanks again goes out to our friends and suppliers at Quickboost for yet another outstanding upgrade for a good kit, namely the Airfix Sea Vixen.  If you are into Vacuforms, you could also use it on the Dynavector kit if you so desire (and have one).  

These seats are designed for “right” and “left” sides, i.e. the #1 seat is for the pilot (Stick actuator), and seat #2 (as indicated on the pour stub) is for the “right”, or Radar systems operator position (in the “coal hole” as many called it).

This took maybe an hour to paint and dry; as there are no color instructions, I found a few internet pictures to determine the information I needed.  The back pad was painted in leather brown, and the seat pad in dark green.  Drybrush with white, pick out some details in silver, and it’s done.

SAS 1/4 Ton 4x4 Truck ETO – Smart Kit

Published: January 5th, 2014     
SAS 1/4 Ton 4x4 Truck ETO – Smart Kit
Reviewed by: Dave and Camden Koukol, IPMS# 46287
Scale: 1/35
Company: Dragon Models

Background

One of the most recognizable Allied vehicles of World War II was the Jeep – or ¼ Ton 4x4 Truck.  Outfitted for a variety of roles, one of the most dashing was the role of British Special Air Services (SAS) “raider” operating far behind enemy lines.  Equipped with extra fuel tanks, Vickers machine guns, and bullet-proof driver and passenger windshields, the SAS Jeeps were lightweight, agile, rugged vehicles well-suited for commando operations focused on disrupting enemy activity.

The Kit

Another offering in their prolific line of Jeeps, Dragon beautifully captures the essence of the SAS raider.  Molded in gray styrene with a fret of photoetch detail, a small sheet of decals, and instructions, this little subject is packed with features.  Notably, a full engine and engine compartment are included, as are 5 Vickers K machine guns for 3 mounting positions.  Figures, weapons, and gear for 4 SAS commandos are included as well.  Detail is crisp and quite robust, and assembly sequence is straight-forward.