Kits

Reviews of scale model kits.

F-4J Phantom II & F/A-18F Super Hornet "Jolly Rogers" (2 kits) Limited Edition

Published: May 24th, 2017     
F-4J Phantom II & F/A-18F Super Hornet "Jolly Rogers" (2 kits) Limited Edition
Reviewed by: Dave and Camden Koukol, IPMS# 46287
Scale: 1/72
Company: Hasegawa USA

Background

Of all of the US Naval Aviation fighter squadrons, VFA-103 has one of the most recognizable color and markings schemes since the Vietnam War. Nicknamed "The Jolly Rogers, " the squadron boldly sports black and gold unit markings featuring the legendary "Jolly Roger" skull and crossbones. "The Jolly Rogers" were formed in 1944 as VF-17, and saw action under numerous squadron designations throughout their history. From the Vietnam War era through 1995, VF-84 claimed the "The Jolly Rogers" moniker. Upon VF-84's inactivation in 1995, VFA-103 took up the "Jolly Rogers" mantle to keep a rich Navy tradition alive.

Represented in this 2-kit set are 2 legendary aircraft originally conceived by McDonnel Douglas -- the F-4J Phantom II and the F/A-18F Super Hornet. The F-4J was the Navy's primary fighter-bomber during the Vietnam and into the mid-1970's until replaced by the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. Ironically, the F-14's replacement was the F/A-18 Super Hornet, which has seen ongoing operations in the Global War on Terror.

MiG-31B/BS Foxhound

Published: May 21st, 2017     
MiG-31B/BS Foxhound
Reviewed by: Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035
Scale: 1/48
Company: AvantGarde Model Kits (AMK)

The Kit

The AMK 88008 Mig-31 follows on their earlier MiG-31 BM/BSM (88003) Foxhound kit and comes in a large, solid, top-opening box that is packed solid. Similar to Wingnut Wings kits, it will take extreme care to repack the sprue packaging back into the box if you are not starting cutting sprues right away. Sprues are individually packaged in re-sealable packaging, with some parts (missiles, forward fuselage, and main upper fuselage) packed in their own boxes. Parts are molded in a medium gray styrene that is fairly hard and comparable to Tamiya sprues. Panel lines may be considered by some to be a little heavy, but I found no issues. The transparencies come molded in both clear and a transparent-smoke color and include separate open and closed options. The IRST lens, landing light lenses, the forward refueling probe cover, and the gunsight are also included in clear and smoke transparencies. A small fret of photo-etch (radar dish and seatbelts) is included.

Opel Kfz. 305 Ambulance

Published: May 21st, 2017     
Opel Kfz. 305 Ambulance
Reviewed by: Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1/72
Company: Italeri

The Opel "Blitz" truck was produced from 1930 to 1975. It was used as a commercial vehicle, and when the Wehrmacht needed a reliable and fast truck, the Blitz was chosen. In 1937, the Nazis had Opel build a factory at Brandenburg, which turned out over 130,000 Blitzes, until the RAF stopped production in 1944 by bombing the plant.

This kit is the ambulance version of the Opel Blitz. The ambulance had a transportation box on the back to handle casualties.

The Kit

There are two sprues, along with a clear sheet for windows, and a decal sheet. One sprue is for the chassis and cab, the other is the ambulance box. No PE, no resin, no problem.

The model is fairly straightforward to build. There's a frame section, the cab, the ambulance box, the wheels, and some detail parts. The kit is a reissue of the ESCI ambulance from the 1970s. The molds have been reworked, as there 's no flash, and the parts are pretty well molded.

Tales from the Apocalypse, The Waitress

Published: May 19th, 2017     
Tales from the Apocalypse, The Waitress
Reviewed by: Dave Steingass, IPMS# 47624
Scale: 1:16
Company: Gecco

I've never met a Japanese kit that wasn't top-quality, and the Tales From The Apocalypse series from Gecco Models is no exception.

This series of figures carries a 1980s-era B-Movie Horror theme. In what may be the most brilliant packaging of any models I've ever seen, these figures are packaged in look-alike VHS tape boxes.

Number 5 in the series, is a Diner waitress, wearing a Blue Dress, white smock, and pink Chuck Taylors. Like the Traffic guard, she has recently experienced some trauma. A broken arm, multiple leg wounds, and a gouged out right eye and a machete seems to have hacked her neck. She is carrying a very gruesome Blue-plate Special of severed arms. Tasty.

The kit is made of high-quality styrene with virtually zero mild lines or flash. The Pen she is holding in her twisted right arm, fits sort of crooked, but it really isn't noticeable unless you are looking for it. No basing was included in the kit (an optional resin basing kit is available for each figure, sold separately) so I built my own bases. All parts fit well, as is expected from high-quality Japanese kits.

T-54-1 Model 1947 Soviet Medium Tank

Published: May 19th, 2017     
T-54-1 Model 1947 Soviet Medium Tank
Reviewed by: Andrew Birkbeck, IPMS# 27087
Scale: 1/35
Company: MiniArt Limited

Background

The T-54/55 series of Soviet tanks are the most important tanks to see operation in the Cold War era, if for no other reason than sheer numbers: some estimates put total production at over 100,000 units. This series of tanks have also been used in almost every conflict of the second half of the 20th century, large and small, beginning with the invasion of Hungary by Soviet forces in 1956, the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967, 1973, 1982, the Vietnam war from 1967-75, the Iran-Iraq wars of 1980-88, the conflicts in Afghanistan, the Yugoslav Civil wars, and conflicts across Africa. This new, super detailed kit from MiniArt represents the initial production variant of the T-54 which started rolling off production lines in 1947, but suffered from a great many teething troubles. For a superb blog on the T-54, please check here: https://thesovietarmourblog.blogspot.com/2017/01/t-54.html