Kits

Reviews of scale model kits.

Mirage IIIE/O/R/RD/EE/EA

Published: May 16th, 2015     
Mirage IIIE/O/R/RD/EE/EA
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo, IPMS# 46363
Scale: 1/48
Company: Kinetic Model Kits

The long awaited Kinetic Mirage IIIE was released a few months ago. It is a full package meal as with the parts in the box you can build the IIIE/OE/EE/EA/R/RD/ and very likely the RS version too, although the last one is not listed in the instructions.

The box is full with parts (15 sprues) including a fair amount of offensive ordinance (bombs and missiles) plus different drop tanks.  The markings include French, Spanish and Australian airframes. Among the French markings there is the option of finishing your model as the airplane flown by Jaqueline Auriol when she broke the feminine speed record.

If you never heard of Jaqueline Auriol, you should read about her. She was a female French aviator and test pilot. She set 5 speed records and won the Harmon International Trophy 4 times among other professional achievements, not to mention having been the daughter-in-law of a French president, with all the political and State duties that it implies.

Hermes A1 Missile

Published: May 16th, 2015     
Hermes A1 Missile
Reviewed by: Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1/144
Company: Brengun

The Hermes Program was a post WW-II American program which utilized German missile designs.  Best known of this series was the Hermes A2, which was the A-4 (V-2) copy.  The Hermes A1 was based on the Wasserfall, a surface to air missile developed at Peenemunde in 1942, but which never reached production.  General Electric developed an built the Hermes A1, which was about ¼ the size of the Hermes A2. 

The other big difference between the A1 and A2 was that the A1 had 4 extra fins on the sides of the rocket body.  This was to allow greater maneuverability when the rocket was being guided to a target aircraft.  The guidance was done visually during daylight and with radar assist at night.  Steering from the ground was done with a joystick. 

Five A1s were successfully tested at White Sands Range in New Mexico in 1950 and 51.  The entire Hermes program was canceled in 1954.

Pz.Kpfw.III (F) Ausf.M w/Schurzen Smart Kit

Published: May 15th, 2015     
Pz.Kpfw.III (F) Ausf.M w/Schurzen Smart Kit
Reviewed by: Eric Christianson, IPMS# 42218
Company: Dragon Models

Dragon Models offers a complete lineup of the Pz.Kpfw. III family tree in 1/35 scale, including several new kits in this last year alone.  The subject of this review is the Pz.Kpfw.III (F) Ausf. M (w/Schürtzen), from their “’39 to ‘45” Smart Kit series.  The [F] stands for FlammenPanzer, or ‘flame tank’.

A flame tank is a type of tank equipped with a flamethrower, most commonly used to supplement combined arms attacks against fortifications, confined spaces, or other obstacles.  The type only reached significant use in the Second World War, during which the United States, Soviet Union, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom (including members of the British Commonwealth) all produced flamethrower-equipped tanks.

A number of production methods were used. The flamethrowers used were either modified versions of existing infantry flame weapons, or specially designed weapons mounted externally, or replacing the tank's main armament as in the subject of this review.  Unlike some of the Allied flame tanks, fuel for the flame weapon in the Pz.Kpfw.III (F) was carried inside the tank itself.

Zeppelin Rammer

Published: May 15th, 2015     
Zeppelin Rammer
Reviewed by: Roger A Rasor, IPMS# 34117
Scale: 1/72
Company: Brengun

Brengun offers model builders a way to spend a few enjoyable hours assembling a pair of miniature examples of a German WWII secret weapons that never was…well, not beyond a single prototype to be accurate.   Kit BRL 72013 provides two small sprues of 16 grey plastic parts, a pair of clear canopies, a very small photo-etched fret of 20 parts and a little wisp of a decal sheet that provide enough components to build a pair of Zeppelin Rammers…one more than the Germans actually had.  

The Rammer (German: Rammjäger) was one of the projects for a German 'secret weapon' by Luftschiffbau Zeppelin.  It was designed primarily for aerial ramming against the allied bomber fleets that by 1944 were effectively leveling cities throughout Nazi Germany…and, maybe bringing the pilot back to earth breathing.

F6F-5 Hellcat Late - Profipack Version

Published: May 14th, 2015     
F6F-5 Hellcat Late - Profipack Version
Reviewed by: Dave Morrissette, IPMS# 33653
Scale: 1:48
Company: Eduard

Eduard's latest release in their Hellcat series is a F6F-5 late in the Profipack set which contains lots of photoetch, resin wheels, a masking set and the sprues needed to make a late version. The set also comes with five olive sprues and one clear sprue which have wonderful panels lines and the lapped seams in the fuselage. The photoetch has one brass fret and one colorized one with lots of cockpit parts including a wonderful dozen for the instrument panel alone. The kit also has an excellent decal sheet with markings for four planes:

  • VF-12 (or VBF-12), USS Randolph, May 1945
  • LCDR T. Hugh Winters, VF-19, USS Lexington, October 1944
  • VF-29, USS Cabot, January to March 1945
  • White 115, "Death and Destruction", Multiple Pilots, VF-83, USS Essex, May 5th 1945

There's also all the needed stencils. There also options for open/closed canopy, bombs or rockets and extended or retracted tail hook.

VW Rabbit

Published: May 14th, 2015     
VW Rabbit
Reviewed by: Jim Stepanek, IPMS# 48016
Scale: 1:24
Company: Revell, Inc.

Very little flash and the parts fit very well on this kit.  I had thought about trying to fit a V8 engine but the car is just too small.

Engine: The little 4-banger engine is very well detailed with all the parts fitting extremely well.

Interior: Interior panels are very well engraved and cry out to be detailed. 

Body: There’s no chrome on the body.   I made the mistake of masking all the window frames and painting them with black chrome when all that really needs to be done is paint the edge of the glass.  The body is in beautiful shape right out of the box.  I used HOK marine blue to get a pretty close to factory color.

This really cool kit to work on and Revell needs to be commended for their craftsmanship.  Thank you also to IPMS for allowing me to review this kit.

F-4J VF-84 JOLLY ROGERS

Published: May 13th, 2015     
F-4J VF-84 JOLLY ROGERS
Reviewed by: Greg Wise, IPMS# 44378
Scale: 1/48
Company: Academy

History Brief

The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is an all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor aircraft/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Douglas Aircraft. It was also adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force. The Phantom is a large fighter with a top speed of over Mach 2.2. It featured a tandem two-seat with twin-engines. It can carry more than 18,000 pounds (8,400 kg) of weapons, including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and various bombs. The F-4 was designed without an internal cannon, but later models incorporated an M61 Vulcan rotary cannon. Beginning in 1959, it set 15 world records for in-flight performance, including an absolute speed record, and an absolute altitude record.

Tiger I Early Production

Published: May 13th, 2015     
Tiger I Early Production
Reviewed by: John Shimek, IPMS# 4899
Scale: 1:35
Company: Dragon Models

This Tiger I kit by DML is the command version used by Tiger I ace Michael Whitman and is an early production vehicle. This kit has distinctive early production characteristics including smoke dischargers, cylindrical cupola, pistol port, and are accurately reproduced. Included in the box is a molded complete crew set as though posing for a propaganda photo. There is a small fret of photo etch parts included which most noticeably is the engine deck screens.

The kit contains 805 parts including 753 in gray styrene, 27 etched brass, 21 clear styrene, and DS plastic tracks. It is important to note that many of these parts are not used on an early production vehicle. A total of 231 parts on the kit's sprue are not used, and are indicated as such on the instruction sheet. Care must be taken as several sprue have the same identifying letter, yet only one of those same sprue has the correct part to use. Three antenna mounts are included for a command tank but antennas are not included kit.

Avia B.534 IV. serie

Published: May 12th, 2015     
Avia B.534 IV. serie
Reviewed by: Brian Baker, IPMS# 43146
Scale: 1/72
Company: Eduard

History

The Avia B-534 was one of the classic biplane fighters of the 1930’s, and served with several Eastern European air forces, some lasting almost to the end of World War II. When the nation of Czechoslovakia was formed by the Treaty of Versailles, the Czech part was much more industrialized than the Slovak section, and it wasn’t long until a company, Avia, was formed, and began producing different types of aircraft for military and civilian use. In the early thirties, a biplane fighter was developed, eventually evolving into the B.534 series. Prototypes were powered by various radial and in-line engines, and the first B.534 has a License built Hispano Suiza 12 Vprs 12 cylinder liquid cooled engine. Several production batches followed, differing mainly in fuselage configuration, armament, landing gear arrangement, and the location of various engine components.

The main production models were as follows:

Martin 404 TWA

Published: May 10th, 2015     
Martin 404 TWA
Reviewed by: Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1:144
Company: F-Rsin

The Kit

This was my first F-Rsin kit.  Probably won’t be my last, though.  Their catalog is just full of airliners that don’t make the cut for the major manufacturers.  This isn’t F-Rsin’s first Martin 202/404 either.  They have a resin version of this aircraft too, but it costs about twice as much.  I hope they produce their NORD 262 in plastic.  Or I may just buy the resin kit anyway.  I may be the only IPMS USA member ever to get a ride in a NORD 262.  Yeah, that’s a war story.

The kit is very simple.  Two fuselage halves, wings are 4 pieces: left/right, upper/lower, with separate nacelles.  Cockpit and passenger windows are done with decals.