Reviews of scale model kits.

German sWs with 2 cm Flakvierling

Published: February 2nd, 2011     
German sWs with 2 cm Flakvierling
Reviewed by: Marc K. Blackburn, IPMS# 42892
Scale: 1/35
Company: Great Wall Hobby


The Schwere Wehrmachtschlepper (SWS) was a heavy half track manufactured by Bussing-NAG and Tatra from December, 1943 to March, 1945. To streamline production, the SWS was simple to produce when compared to the Sdkfz 251 series. Approximately 825 were built. Beginning in mid-1944, an armored cab version was introduced and utilized for mobile flak guns. While this vehicle may not qualify as a paper panzer, it's pretty close. I found one very fuzzy photograph on line, so it did exist; however there are no production figures for the variant depicted in this kit and so one can only assume that the numbers were low.

Boeing 737-400 / US Airways

Published: January 31st, 2011     
Boeing 737-400 / US Airways
Reviewed by: Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1/144
Company: Minicraft Model Kits

The Aircraft

The Boeing 737 was developed in the 1960s as a low-cost development of the 707 and 727. It's the only Boeing "narrow body" airliner still in production. There are 9 versions, ranging from 85 to 215 passengers. While not approaching the Bf-109 in numbers, the 737 is the best-selling jet airliner in history, with 6638 delivered, with 2186 more on order as of December 31, 2010 (Editor: Boeing source).

The 737 in this kit is the -400 version, with CFM-56 engines. Because of the low wing and large diameter of the engines, the lower side of the nacelle is flattened, giving a distinctive "hamster pouch" look. The -300 and -500 versions differ from the -400 in fuselage length, with the -400 being 10 feet longer than the -300 and the -500 is 8 feet shorter than the -300.

For the military modeler, there are 22 air forces that fly or have flown a version of the 737. Unfortunately none of these are -400s. The 737, in its 9 versions is operated by over 500 airlines world wide.

Ferrari 458 Italia

Published: January 30th, 2011     
Ferrari 458 Italia
Reviewed by: Chris Smith, IPMS# 39182
Scale: 1/24
Company: Fujimi

Deriving its name from its country of origin, the 458 Italia is the latest from the Ferrari stable. All the usual things you would expect from a Ferrari are there including incredible performance (top speed over 200 mph) and styling that makes it look fast just standing still. There are some firsts for Ferrari including no floor shifter and direct fuel injection. The gear changes are handled by paddle shifters coupled to a dual clutch, 7-speed transmission. A former Ferrari team driver Michael Schumacher helped design the interior layout. Cooling air is introduced by some clever intakes around the headlamps and behind the rear quarter windows. Another neat innovation is the airflow vanes in the front grille that actually deflect as speed increases to reduce drag. The 458 has been in the news lately for a rash of fires that destroyed several cars. The problem was traced to a wheel well adhesive that couldn't take the heat.

Fieseler Fi 156C Storch 'Gran Sasso'

Published: January 28th, 2011     
Fieseler Fi 156C Storch 'Gran Sasso'
Reviewed by: Fred Wilms, IPMS# 2113
Scale: 1/32
Company: Hasegawa

History: The Fieseler Fi 156 is a fabric and steel tube constructed 3 place liaison aircraft. It is noted for its short takeoff and landing characteristics used by all the German forces. It's primarily used by German upper echelon personnel including Hitler himself. It also played a major role in a daring rescue of the imprisoned Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.First produced in 1939 the type remained in production throughout WWII. The total production was around 1549 aircraft. During the winter months, it was fitted with skis. It was also produced after the war by France and Czechoslovakia.

It had a crew of 2/3; empty weight 930 kg; maximum speed 175 km/h;  minimum speed 51 km/h and a range 385 km. Power was provided by an Argus AS-10C inverted V8, (air-cooled) with 240-hp; takeoff distance 26 meters (no wind).

F-22A Raptor

Published: January 24th, 2011     
F-22A Raptor
Reviewed by: Phil Pignataro, IPMS# 17254
Scale: 1/72
Company: Fujimi

Editor: With appologies to all, Mr. Pignataro's photos of the finished kit were omitted in the initital release of this review.

Background: Several kit manufacturers have released the F-22 in this scale and now Fujimi has jumped into the fray. As far as I know, this release is there first 1/72 aircraft in many, many years. If you are familiar with any previous Fujimi kits, you know they are high quality and well detailed. The Raptor continues that tradition.