Reviews of scale model kits.

Boeing E-3 AWACS, NATO

Published: March 22nd, 2011     
Boeing E-3 AWACS, NATO
Reviewed by: Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1/144
Company: Minicraft Model Kits

The Aircraft

The E-3 Sentry is a logical follow-on to the earlier US Air Force EC-121. Of course the Sentry has better radar, more room and a more reliable aircraft. The basic airframe is the Boeing 707-720 with the JT-3D engines. When NATO decided they needed an airborne command and control system, they bought 18 Sentries. It's of interest to modelers that the 17 remaining NATO Sentries are registered in Luxembourg, which has no other aircraft. In fact they don't have an air base, so the NATO aircraft are based at Geilenkirchen, Germany.

The Kit

This is the third issue of the basic E-3A from Minicraft, along with their Boeing 707s, C-18 and E-8 JSTARS. The mold is several years old, but it has been well maintained, with crisp edges and almost no flash. All sprues are in separate plastic bags which reduces lost parts, breakage and scratches on the clear parts.

U-511 Type IXC Turm I

Published: March 21st, 2011     
U-511 Type IXC Turm I
Reviewed by: Steve Zajac, IPMS# 34937
Scale: 1/350
Company: Mirage Hobby

After producing several 1/400th U-boats, Mirage is now offering U-boats in the increasingly popular 1/350th scale. The U-511 was a Kriegsmarine long-range IX-C type submarine. The Turm-I variant included trial installation of a six tube Wurfkorper 42 artillery rocket launcher rack and improved 37mm and 20mm anti-aircraft armament. The kit features a 2-piece full hull, detailed exterior surfaces, conning tower with 2 periscopes and wintergarten, 10.5cm deck gun, display base, photo-etch parts (railings for all deck levels, anchor, cable cutter, WGr42 launcher base, ladders, screw blades and nameplate), and decals (U-511 bow placards and ensign). The completed model is approximately 8.6" long.

GUEST REVIEW: Star Wars Y-Wing Fighter

Published: March 20th, 2011     
GUEST REVIEW: Star Wars Y-Wing Fighter
Reviewed by: Brian M. Neary
Scale: 1/72
Company: Fine Molds

Editor's note: Dragon Models USA is the Fine Molds Models Importer in the USofA but this review author provided his own kit, out of pocket, for this review. The kit is currently very difficult to find on the retail market.


  • Superbly engineered kit, very little filling or correcting will be needed.
  • Best kit of this subject ever released.


  • Expensive, now increasingly hard to acquire. (I apologise for teasing you with the review)
  • Instructions in Japanese (note: may not actually be a con if you *are* Japanese)


US Howitzer Motor Carriage M8

Published: March 15th, 2011     
US Howitzer Motor Carriage M8
Reviewed by: Scott Hollingshead, IPMS# 34786
Scale: 1/35
Company: Tamiya

First released in 1974, the Tamiya M8 Howitzer Motor Carriage still holds up reasonably well to more modern offerings by this company, as well as some of the new folks on the block. This is one of several 1/35 scale kits that Tamiya has decided to re-release this year, and I for one certainly enjoy having another opportunity to build some of the kits that I missed out on back when they were originally released, as I had not yet picked up the armor modeling bug. A few years ago, I recall seeing a photograph of an M8 built by another modeler, and I started a search that took me a little over a year to fulfill in finding one of the original kits. That one is still on a shelf (along with a Verlinden update set), but this was a great opportunity to build what is a very well designed kit, even by today's standards.

British Infantry, North Africa, 1941 - 1943

Published: March 14th, 2011     
British Infantry, North Africa, 1941 - 1943
Reviewed by: Mark Aldrich, IPMS# 39295
Scale: 1/35
Company: Master Box

Master Box continues to release some really nice and different figure sets. These rests are very different than other sets on the market and usually very "in action" type poses. They also make a series of dual sets. These are designed to be easily made into a combat action series of figures. On their website, this is listed as #2 which means the German figures should be #1. The only issue is that there currently is no #1 set. There is however, an Italian Infantry in Africa set #1 and this must be the set to be used in conjunction with the #2 set.