Kits

Reviews of scale model kits.

Hayabusa Muses-C

Published: February 26th, 2011     
Hayabusa Muses-C
Reviewed by: Dick Montgomery, IPMS# 14003
Scale: 1/32
Company: Aoshima

A Brief History

For seven years, 1 month and 4 days, Hayabusa (translated as Peregrine Falcon) traveled to and from the asteroid, 25143 Itokawa. Returning to Earth, the Hayabusa, or more precisely, that portion of the spacecraft designed for re-entry and landing on Earth, landed near Woomera, Australia. Hayabusa returned particles of the asteroid for study, resulting in a significant advance in our knowledge of asteroids and, at the same time, setting a high standard for future flights of this nature.

Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf E France 1940

Published: February 24th, 2011     
Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf E France 1940
Reviewed by: Michael Novosad, IPMS# 36721
Scale: 1/35
Company: Dragon Models

HISTORY AND PERFORMANCE

The Pz. Kpfw. III  Ausf. E was the first in the series to go into extended production. 96 vehicles were manufactured from December 1938 until October 1939. Additional armor was included, along with the standardization of six road wheels per side, while the main armament consisted of the 37 mm KwK L/46.5, along with two 7.92 mm MG34 mounted in the turret, plus a single 7.92 mm MG34 mounted in the front of the hull. This tank saw service in Poland, France, and Greece.

USS Independence LCS-2

Published: February 24th, 2011     
USS Independence LCS-2
Reviewed by: Jeff Faucett, IPMS# 43031
Scale: 1/350
Company: Trumpeter

Growing up near the beach, I saw plenty of double and triple-hull sailboats. I always thought that they were so cool and fast. So then I saw photos of the triple hull USS Independence, I knew I had to have a model of this ship. It looks so cool and fast, rumors are speed capability of 50+ knots.

The kit is modeled in typical Trumpeter gray and clear and consists of seven sprues (two clear), an upper hull, lower hull and three photo-etched frets. Also included with the kit are typical twelve page Trumpeter instruction booklet, a decal sheet, and a five-view color painting and marking guide.

Looking at each of the sprues, I found that the detail was crisp with no flash. However, I did find some ejector pin markings that need to be addressed, specifically in the hanger bulkheads. If you plan to keep the hanger door closed, as I plan to, you won't have to deal with these.

I.J.A. Type 97 Medium Tank [CHI-HA] Early production hull

Published: February 21st, 2011     
I.J.A. Type 97 Medium Tank [CHI-HA] Early production hull
Reviewed by: Greg Wise, IPMS# 44378
Scale: 1/35
Company: Fine Molds

History brief

The type 97 medium tank Chi-Ha, designed in 1936, was the most widely produced Japanese medium tank of WW II. Its turret was fashioned with 26-mm thick armor sides and 33-mm on its gun shield. Its 57-mm main gun had already been proven in the early model Type 89 medium tank. It also sported a pair of 7.7-mm machine guns. Powered by a 170-hp Mitsubishi diesel it had a top speed of about 23-24 mph. Weighing in at 17.4 tons [US], it was the most effective medium tank the Japanese had.

First impressions

F/A-18E Eagles and F/A-18F Diamondbacks

Published: February 21st, 2011     
F/A-18E Eagles and F/A-18F Diamondbacks
Reviewed by: Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1/144
Company: Dragon Models

This kit provides aircraft and markings for two Super Hornets, the single seat F/A-18E from VFA-115, Eagles, and a two-seat F/A-18F from VFA-102 Diamondbacks. Both squadrons are based at NAF Atsugi, Japan.

THE AIRCRAFT

The F/A-18E and F are redesigned, becoming the "Super Bugs", larger than the F/A-18A through D aircraft. Other noticeable changes are the squared intakes and serrated edges on the main landing gear doors and several of the panels. These have reduced the frontal and rear radar signatures, making the E and F models almost stealthy, although not as much as the F-22 or F-35. One of the weaknesses of the early model Hornet was range. The E and F models overcome this by being able to carry 5 extra fuel tanks instead of the 3 carried by the A through D models.

THE KIT

You get almost two of everything. You only get one single-seat canopy and one for the "family model". Otherwise you get two of all parts, including the extra seat and panel for the F model and the part which extends the fuselage spine forward on the E. Nicely molded in gray plastic, with no flash or molding faults. It's what we've grown to expect from Dragon.