Kits

Reviews of scale model kits.

VH-34D "Marine One" Helicopter

Published: June 5th, 2015     
VH-34D "Marine One" Helicopter
Reviewed by: John Noack, IPMS# 23017
Scale: 1/48
Company: Gallery Models

I've had a hankering to build an H-34 Choctaw for some time now.  When the Gallery Models kit was released, I debated which version to build, but I've always had an eye for that distinctive Marine Green under White scheme on the VH-34 variant.  When Dave offered up the 1/48 VH-34D Marine One kit, I jumped at it.

This is my first Gallery Models offering, and I am impressed by a number of things.  First of all, the careful packaging.  Not only is each of the many sprues individually bagged, all of the smaller and delicate parts on a sprue are molded together and protected by additional foam padding (see image).  Clear plastic parts get an additional level of protection by being packaged in their own boxes nestled within the other sprues.  Other builder-friendly features include a full color painting and markings sheet, decals that are bagged and protected with an overlay sheet, and two finely detailed sheets of photo-etch that are again bagged but also covered with a clear vinyl sheet on each side (which only became apparent to me when I cut the rudder pedals off the sheet and nothing happened.  Take that, carpet monster!

Mitsubishi F1M2 Type Zero Observation Seaplane (PETE) Model 11 "934th Flying Group"

Published: June 1st, 2015     
Mitsubishi F1M2 Type Zero Observation Seaplane (PETE) Model 11 "934th Flying Group"
Reviewed by: Greg Wise, IPMS# 44378
Scale: 1/48
Company: Hasegawa

History Brief

Code named ‘Pete’ by the Allied Forces the Mitsubishi F1M2 Type 0 Observation Seaplane Model 11 was originally built as a catapult-launched reconnaissance seaplane. In essence, the Pete was a two man crew, single-engine biplane with a main central float and two auxiliary outrigger floats.

MiG-15 Ceskoslovenske Patnactky

Published: June 1st, 2015     
MiG-15 Ceskoslovenske Patnactky
Reviewed by: Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1/144
Company: Eduard

Eduard has come out with two double kits of the MiG-15. This one is the Czechoslovakian MiGs. There are two differences between the kits. First is markings. This one is for Eduard’s “home team”, with 7 different Czech MiGs. The second difference is that one of the MiGs in this kit has three guns in the nose instead of two. This is the build with three guns.

Since this is a double kit, you get two of everything. I used the other kit to do the Eduard PE upgrade. I was also gratified to see that there are two slightly different sets of main wheels per kit. There’s also the usual canopy mask and wheel masks, which are top quality.

The Cockpit

The cockpit is basic, but if you really want to upgrade, get the PE set. There’s a decal for the instrument panel, which fits well. The interior is painted light gray, I used 36375, and the seat is black. The intake splitter glues to the back of the instrument panel, and this all goes into the fuselage. I also put some small pieces of lead in the top of the splitter. This is just enough to keep the model from being a tail sitter.

Piranha Super Spy Car

Published: May 31st, 2015     
Piranha Super Spy Car
Reviewed by: Joseph Staudt, IPMS# 39453
Scale: 1/25
Company: Round 2 Models

In the early 1960’s, plastics were the wave of the future. The Marbon Chemical Company believed that plastic could be used for the structural parts of automobiles, and to demonstrate this they decided to build an entire car out of ABS plastic. The folks at AMT were so taken by this concept that they not only released kits of the car, but also committed to build a quantity of the full-scale vehicles. The most famous of these was used on the TV show “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”, where it served as the car driven by the main character and his sidekick, a pair of international spies.

The full-size cars never caught on, but the kits were popular, and Round 2 has recently re-released them. The first one out is the “Original Art Series” version of the “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” car, with original box art and a booklet full of color photos of the original vehicles, including the recently restored car from the TV series.

FIAT Mefistofele

Published: May 31st, 2015     
FIAT Mefistofele
Reviewed by: Tom Moon, IPMS# 43192
Scale: 1/12
Company: Italeri

The one-off racing car “Eldridge", derived from the old Fiat SB4 chassis, became known as Mephistofele for the infernal noise emitted by its powerful aircraft 6-cylinder in-line engine, giving a capacity over 20,000 cm3, not attenuated by exhaust mufflers kept  “free” to provide the most significant performance.  On 12th July 1924 in Arpajon, the Mefistofele was able to reach, driven by its pilot and designer Ernest Eldrige, the amazing speed, for the time, of 146.01 miles per hour (over 230 Km/h) and broke the World Land Speed Record achieving an impressive result. The Mefistofele, was characterized by the high back bodywork able to contain the powerful Fiat A-12 liquid-cooled engine and for its structure especially made to achieve the speed record. 

This kit is an apparent upgrade and rebox of a 1975 Protar Kit. It has new parts and decals. This kit has 19 sprues along with a nice plastic compartment case that hold the screws, tubing, springs and wire. It has one sheet of decals and one clear plastic sheet that has the “glass” for the instruments, and the template for painting “FIAT” on the radiator screen. Also included are 4 rubber tires.

Bf 109E-7 trop Weekend

Published: May 31st, 2015     
Bf 109E-7 trop Weekend
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo, IPMS# 46363
Scale: 1/48
Company: Eduard

Eduard continues to expand its Bf 109E line, this time with a Weekend Edition of their E-7/Trop. The kit comes in 5 sprues (one clear), a “superfabric” seatbelt and two marking options. Recently Eduard has started to offer two markings options in their Weekend editions and I appreciate that.

Construction starts, as usual, with the cockpit. A simple affair to assemble it delivers a realistic representation of the “front office” of the 109 E-7. Decals are provided for the instrument panel or you can paint and drybrush it. Please note that I built this model using a photoetch fret (reviewed elsewhere in the IPMS/USA website), so the seatbelt shown in the image does not represent the “superfabric” one.

Shortly after assembling the cockpit you have to make a big choice: display the engine or have the cowling buttoned up? I personally like the lines of the airplane undisturbed, so I choose to keep the engine out. Still you are directed to assemble some interior frame and gun shelf, mainly to provide some strength to the fuselage assembly. Fit is excellent all around.

MiG-15 bis Dual Combo

Published: May 31st, 2015     
MiG-15 bis Dual Combo
Reviewed by: Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1:144
Company: Eduard

This spiffy little kit comes two to a box.  There are 5 markings choices.  This is the “out of the box” version review.  I did the other half of the kit using the Brengun PE. 

Major Assembly

Since this is the second of these, I gained a little experience with the first, and I learned something.  Well, I actually knew this from before, and that’s the MiG-15 model is a tail-sitter, and you need to add weight to the front.  On my Airfix 1/72 MiG-15, I had to put about 6 finish nails in the intake before it would sit on the nose wheel.  For this kit, the amount of lead needed just fills the top of the intake splitter. 

As for the cockpit, there’s a decal for the instrument panel, there’s a seat in there, and the stick is there.  This is a huge improvement over the JJ-5 (MiG-17) I built 10 years ago, which featured no opening for the cockpit, just a smooth surface with the canopy on top.  Before putting the decal in, I painted the interior 36375 gray and the seat black. 

Sd.Kfz.234/2 'PUMA'

Published: May 31st, 2015     
Sd.Kfz.234/2 'PUMA'
Reviewed by: Keith Gervasi, IPMS# 44177
Scale: 1/35
Company: Tamiya

History

Among the variety of wheeled armored vehicles which saw action in WWII, the Sd.Kfz.234/2 – armed with a 5cm gun – boasted the strongest firepower. The Sd.Kfz. 234 series, which was developed as successor the 8 wheeled Sd.Kfz. 231, had an important role in reconnaissance missions for Blitzkreig tactics. Four variations from 234/1-4 were deployed with differing armament and the 234/2 was the first in this series. Unlike the 231, armored with plate bolted onto the frame, the 234 adopted a monocoque structure to improve productivity and strength. Controls were located in both ends and the front armor plate was 30mm thick. The Tatra-made Type 103 air-cooled V12 diesel yielded 210hp, a maximum speed of 80kn/h, and a range of 1000km. The chassis had sophisticated 8-wheel drive and 8 wheel steering mechanism. The turret was armed with the 5cm Kwk39/1 gun which was able to penetrate 37mm thick armor plate from a distance of 1500m with armor piercing ammunition. The maximum load was 55 rounds. An MG42 machine gun was also mounted. A Fu.Spr.f radio for car-to-car communication was equipped to the turret rear while command cars were also equipped with the MW radio Fu.12 and star- shaped antenna. The production of the 234/2 started in Dec. 1943 and lasted until Sept. 1944. During this period, a total of 101 were produced. These vehicles were deployed to units in Normandy, Ardennes and the Eastern Front. With superior firepower, mobility, and a wide range of operations, the 234/2 took an active part in roles such as forced reconnaissance.

Somua S35 French Medium Tank

Published: May 31st, 2015     
Somua S35 French Medium Tank
Reviewed by: Andrew Birkbeck, IPMS# 35344
Scale: 1/35
Company: Tamiya

Those who have studied the collapse of the mighty French military machine in May 1940 at the hands of Germany’s armed forces know that it wasn’t a lack of quality fighting equipment as much as an inability to utilize it effectively that sunk the French cause.  In a number of large and small battles between the two sides, effective French leadership together with the proper tactical use of the equipment at hand had the French blunting if not outright defeating their German counterparts.  And when it came to tanks in particular, the French had some pretty formidable weaponry.  One of the finest tanks of the day was the French Somua S35, weighing in at 20 tons, and carrying a 47mm main gun plus a coaxial machinegun.  With frontal armor at 40mm, this was equal to anything the Germans had on hand at the time.  It also had mobility, able to reach speeds of 29 mph on improved roads.  The three man crew had excellent all round visibility thanks to the commander’s rotating cupola atop the turret, plus a series of episcopes and telescopic sights available to the crew members.  The crew was also linked together for fighting purposes by voice tubes and tel

F-35A Lightning II

Published: May 30th, 2015     
F-35A Lightning II
Reviewed by: Paul Brown, IPMS# 24085
Company: Hasegawa

This is the first kit of what I expect will be a number of F-35 kits from Hasagawa and represents the U.S. Air Force version of the Joint Strike Fighter. The Marine F-35B and Navy F-35C are sure to follow.