Kits

Reviews of scale model kits.

Space Shuttle Discovery

Published: July 9th, 2015     
Space Shuttle Discovery
Reviewed by: Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1/144
Company: Dragon Models

The Space Shuttle (actual name “Space Transportation System) was a reusable manned low Earth orbit vehicle.  It consisted of the space plane which went into orbit and glided back to Earth, two Solid Rocket Boosters and the expendable fuel tank. 

Shuttles were operated by NASA from 1981 to 2011, flying a total of 135 missions. 

The missions ranged from launching satellites and interplanetary probes to delivering components for the International Space Station, and later delivering supplies and crew for the ISS.

There were originally 5 shuttles built, Enterprise, which had no orbital capability, Challenger, Columbia, Discovery and Atlantis.  After Challenger was destroyed, Endeavour was built. 

The Kit

Dragon’s kit of Discovery can be built as a “cutaway”, using the clear parts to show the interiors, or as a standard display model.  This model is also available in Dragon kit DRA 14705, which includes the 747 used to transport the shuttle from the landing area at Edwards AFB to the Kennedy Space Center.  

Boulton Paul Defiant Starter Set

Published: July 8th, 2015     
Boulton Paul Defiant Starter Set
Reviewed by: Greg Wise, IPMS# 44378
Company: Airfix

History Brief

The Boulton Paul Defiant Mk I, among RAF pilots it had the nickname "Daffy". It was a British interceptor aircraft that served with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. They were designed and built by Boulton Paul Aircraft without any forward-firing guns, as a two-seat turret fighter, powered by a 1,030 hp (768 kW) Rolls-Royce Merlin III piston engine and 723 built. It was a contemporary of the Royal Navy's Blackburn Roc and the concept of a turret fighter, as it was developed in both aircraft, related directly to the successful First World War-era Bristol F.2 Fighter.

In service, the Defiant was reasonably effective as a bomber–destroyer but proved vulnerable to the Luftwaffe's Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters. Its lack of forward firepower was its major weakness in daytime combat and its true potential was found when it switched to nighttime operations. In the end, the Defiant found use in gunnery training, target towing, electronic countermeasures and air-sea rescue. The sole remaining Defiant is kept at the Hendon museum. 

F-4G Phantom II Wild Weasel

Published: July 7th, 2015     
F-4G Phantom II Wild Weasel
Reviewed by: Tom Pope, IPMS# 47261
Scale: 1/32
Company: Revell, Inc.

Introduction

Since late in the Korean war, into the Vietnam War, and even more importantly today, one of the most important missions within the United States Air Force and Navy is the suppression of enemy air defense systems. Blinding the enemy air defenses was and still is crucial to clearing the road for massive bombing campaigns and air superiority. In the United States Air Force, this mission went to a group aptly named the wild weasels. Much like a weasel, the job of these aircraft is to stick their head up and get the enemy air defense systems to see and lock their radar on the aircraft. When the electronic systems in the weasel aircraft indicate the enemy is locked on you, you would launch your anti-radiation missile to ride the enemy radar beam back to the antenna it was broadcasting from. Once in proximity of the antenna, the missile would detonate releasing thousands of bits of steel shrapnel, shredding the enemy radar antenna thus blinding the enemy. In the Vietnam War, the USAF wild weasel mission went to the F-105 Thunderchief. After the F-105s retired and through the first Gulf War, the wild weasel role went to the F-4G.

U.S. Motor Grader - Part 2

Published: July 7th, 2015     
U.S. Motor Grader - Part 2
Reviewed by: Bill O’Malley, IPMS# 46473
Scale: 1/35
Company: PlusModel

This is a great kit, and will build a beautiful model of a unique WWII vehicle. Building this model is a challenge however, and will require lots of resin experience and careful fitting of many delicate parts.

Originally introduced as the "Caterpillar Diesel No. 12 Auto Patrol" in 1938, the grader was renamed as a ‘Motor Grader’ one year later. The U.S. Army used the Cat 12 Grader during WWII in all theaters for airfield and road work. This is an iconic vehicle that has long deserved a quality kit and Plus Model has delivered a beauty. The Grader follows Plus Models other excellent full resin dozer kits.

An Out-of-the Box review is located here: http://web.ipmsusa3.org/content/us-motor-grader

Star Trek Romulan Bird of Prey

Published: July 6th, 2015     
Star Trek Romulan Bird of Prey
Reviewed by: Tom Pope, IPMS# 47261
Scale: 1/1000
Company: Round 2 Models

Introduction

The original Star Trek TV series, in the 1960s, set the stage for TV science fiction drama in many, many ways - too many to go into here. Suffice it to say, that TV show, while great science fiction on the surface, hit all of the major political topics of the time including the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. In one particular episode “The Balance of Terror”, the crew of the Enterprise was forced to respond to attacks on Federation outposts along the Romulan neutral zone, made by a new and unseen enemy with sophisticated, as yet unknown weaponry. The enemy ship could electronically cloak itself from sensors and from being visibly seen. Because of the power required by the plasma weapon however, the ship had to un-cloak before they could fire. When the ship became visible, the image of a great orange bird of prey could be seen on the lower hull of the ship. Once the weapons fired, the great bird of prey disappeared again leaving only the image of a predatory bird that could attack and then retreat into the darkness.

Tim Flock’s 1956 Chrysler 300B

Published: July 5th, 2015     
Tim Flock’s 1956 Chrysler 300B
Reviewed by: Doug Cole, IPMS# 46605
Company: Moebius Models

The Kit

This automotive model review covers Tim Flock’s 1956 Chrysler 300B Kiekaefer Race Car 1:25 Scale Moebius Model Kit #1212. The release date on the inside of the body is 2013 but this model is readily available at most outlets. Moebius designates this as a Skill Level 3 kit for modelers 12 years and older.  It includes 15 trees molded in white, chrome, clear and transparent red, soft vinyl tires, waterslide decals and an extensive full color instruction manual.  Also included are some photo-etch detail parts.

This kit is designed to commemorate one of the cars used by the celebrated Tim Flock whose career would lead him to be named one of the 50 best NASCAR drivers of all time. I have to give Moebius Models credit for releasing this model and to IPMS for providing the review sample.

Construction and Detailing

For the most part, tube glue works just fine for construction on this kit.  Use some white glue to install the windows and some CA glue on the photo-etch parts though.

T-34/85 "No. 112 Factory Production"

Published: July 4th, 2015     
T-34/85 "No. 112 Factory Production"
Reviewed by: Greg Wise, IPMS# 44378
Scale: 1/35
Company: Academy

History Brief

The iconic T-34 medium tank has certainly left its mark in the pages of history. It’s one of the highest produced and longest serving tanks of all time. Identifying T-34 variants can be frustrating and complicated. There were several differing turret castings between factories. New features were commonly added in the middle of production runs while other features were deleted. In addition damaged or older tanks were rebuilt or retrofitted and the addition of newer-model equipment and new turrets was a common practice. Our sample tank is from factory 112 located in Gorki. It appears to be a late version with a ‘mushroom’ type turret featuring early or late style copula and venting arrangements options. 

The Product

My sample arrived in a large sturdy box with a glossy eye-catching box-art-top clearly designed to inspire the imagination. Inside I found the parts neatly package in sealed poly bags. The parts are highly detailed and come in two colors. Also included are; the instructions, one photo-etch fret featuring the engine grill, one piece of thread to be used as the tow cables and one decal sheet with six options.

Battlestar Galactica Viper Mark II (2 Pack)

Published: July 3rd, 2015     
Battlestar Galactica Viper Mark II (2 Pack)
Reviewed by: Doug Cole, IPMS# 46605
Scale: 1/72
Company: Moebius Models

The Kit

This review covers the Battlestar Galactica Viper Mark II (2 Pack) 1:72 Scale Moebius Model Kit #957. A new release, this model should be readily available at most outlets. These are resized versions of the original 1:32 scale model. Moebius designates this as a Skill Level 3 kit for modelers 12 years and older.  It includes two main trees containing most of parts for each craft. It is molded in white styrene with a transparent canopy, display stand, waterslide decals and an extensive instruction manual.  

There are markings for different craft in the decal sheet. I have to give Moebius Models credit for releasing this model and to IPMS for providing the review sample.

75mm Pack Howitzer M1A1 & Gun Crew

Published: June 30th, 2015     
75mm Pack Howitzer M1A1  & Gun Crew
Reviewed by: Jim Stratton, IPMS# 20703
Scale: 1/35
Company: Bronco Models

Following their release of the 75mm Pack Howitzer with ¼ ton truck and crew, Bronco has released a British airborne version with a crew of five. When this kit came up for review, I had just finished building Vision’s 75mm Pack Howitzer and thought it would give me an opportunity to compare the two kits. Much to my surprise the Bronco kit is the Vision kit with a new sprue added to detail up the original kit. There are two sets of trails on the pack howitzer. The front trails and the rear trails. Both sets are hollow, with lightening holes on the sides. The hollow front trails house the equilibrator springs and the rear trails are just hollow. Vision released the original kit with a one piece molding of the rear trails, which looked okay but really didn’t represent the hollow trails to well. In the Bronco release you get the entire Vision kit along with a new sprue of parts that better represent the hollow rear trails. In addition there are smaller molded parts to better detail the undersides of the bottom of the cradle and a nicely detailed lunette and tow pintle.

"Blue Devil" Fletcher-class Destroyer

Published: June 29th, 2015     
"Blue Devil" Fletcher-class Destroyer
Reviewed by: Rod Lees, IPMS# 10821
Scale: 1/125
Company: Round 2 Models

Thanks to Round 2 models for sending us this “blast from the past” kit, and leadership for generously firing it my way to relive what could have been for a very young modeller…

First, this is a BIG model.  A yard’s worth…(36 inches)… Suitable for R/C (Many have tried and succeeded), display (with work) or free-running (for those with big enough pools… it’s too easy to lose a non-controlled ship in a local pond).

The box art is an attention-getter:  using the original 1964 box art is a great idea; nostalgia sells.  (Yep, I was six at the time when I first saw this kit).  It was what got my “COOL MODEL” factor spun up.  (For those interested, I saw this kit at “Who hobbies” in Rapid City, South Dakota, where my father was stationed at the time as a missile support helicopter pilot flying H-19’s and later UH-1F’s out of Ellsworth AFB… that’s another story, as that hobby shop is, last time I checked, still in business!)