Aircraft

Reviews of products for scale aircraft models.

Alpha Jet A/E

Published: December 11th, 2013     
Alpha Jet A/E
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo, IPMS# 46363
Scale: 1/48
Company: Kinetic Model Kits

Kinetic has released an all new mold Alpha Jet in 48th scale, which is a welcome addition to the lineup of trainers/light attack airplane kits. Upon opening the box, you will find three sprues molded in light grey styrene, one clear part sprue, a small photo-etch fret, plus decals for three versions.

The overall surface detail is very nice, with fine and clearly defined recessed panel lines and rivets. Small parts suffer of a bit of flash, but nothing that 30 seconds with a sanding stick won’t fix. The clear parts are very transparent.

The overall kit breakdown indicates that several versions of the Alpha Jet are possible. The box lists A/E, but the instructions also list a B mark.

Sadly, the instructions are confusing at times, making it difficult to know with which parts are relevant for the version you are building. In particular you have two options for the tail cone, but no indication of which one corresponds to which version. I was not able to figure that out myself so I just picked one randomly.

F-89 Landing Gear

Published: December 11th, 2013     
F-89 Landing Gear
Reviewed by: John King, IPMS# 46812
Scale: 1:72
Company: Scale Aircraft Conversions

Background

Scale Aircraft Conversions (SAC) produces white metal landing gear for various aircraft models in 1/144th, 1/72nd, and 1/48th scale.  Most sets are direct replacements for the kit parts. 

The Parts

The Revell F-89D/J has been around since the early 1990s (my boxing has a copyright date of 1992).  Revell of Germany has recently re-issued this kit, and no matter which boxing you get, it is a nice model of the F-89D/J.  The SAC landing gear for the F-89 are direct replacements for the kit parts.  The white metal parts have some mold lines that will need to be cleaned up, but are otherwise is great condition.  Due to the nature of the material used, I do feel that some of the finer details of the landing gear are not as crisp as their plastic counterparts.  However, after some paint and weathering this should not be an issue.

Gloster J-8A/Gladiator Mk. II

Published: December 11th, 2013     
Gloster J-8A/Gladiator Mk. II
Reviewed by: Brian Baker, IPMS# 43146
Scale: 1/72
Company: Airfix

History

Much has been written about the Gloster Gladiator, and information is available everywhere, so this sketch will be understandably brief.  The Gladiator was designed to a 1930 Air Ministry specification, and the prototype first flew in 1934. A development of the Gloster Gauntlet, the Gladiator differed in having more power and an enclosed cockpit, along with other aerodynamic improvements.  The initial production order was for 23 aircraft, but  eventually a total of 378 Gladiators was built between 1936 and 1937. An improved version, designated Gladiator Mk. II, has a three bladed fixed pitch Fairey-Reed metal prop and detail differences.  270 Mk. II’s were built between 1938 and 1940, when production ended.

Gloster Javelin FAW 9/9R

Published: December 11th, 2013     
Gloster Javelin  FAW 9/9R
Reviewed by: Rod Lees, IPMS# 10821
Scale: 1/48
Company: Airfix

Couple of thank you notes up front; to Hornby for bringing Airfix back from the abyss and turning it around; an Injection-molded 1/48 Javelin is one we could only dream of in the past, and here it is!  And to Hornby America, who provided IPMS USA this great model of an iconic British cold war fighter.  (And thanks to Dave and Dick for the build opportunity!)

The last time I built a “flatiron” as these were called, was the old Dynavector 1/48 vacuum molded kit about 15 years ago.  It had a wealth of detail, and was actually very easy to build.  The kit is still viable (I have another one sitting on the shelf waiting to e built), but the Injected version is far better in the full-Monty detail realm.  The only tricky part was installing the forest of vortex generators on the wings, as these were brass tiny brass tabs with small spears to push into holes on the wing… surprisingly enough, they worked well on the soft plastic and were very durable.  Ah, the old days….

Yak-1 Exhaust

Published: December 10th, 2013     
Yak-1 Exhaust
Reviewed by: David Wrinkle, IPMS# 45869
Scale: 1:48
Company: Quickboost

The Yak-1 kit originally manufactured by Accurate Miniatures and now re-boxed by Eduard is a fine little kit but could certainly use a bit of aftermarket sparkle with this Quickboost exhaust kit.  The original kit parts are ok but lack the bored out exhaust stubs. 

The Quickboost kit contains a pair of well molded exhaust parts in grey colored resin.  Removal from the pour stub is easy by simply making a few scores with your favorite sharp hobby knife.  Please be careful - it is easy to score through the part (ask me how I know), and slice the part in half.  Once separated from the pour stubs, a few scrapes with my hobby blade cleaned up the part and I was able to place it relatively easily in the fuselage opening.  These two parts have a good fit and it looks good when installed.

F-104C Starfighter Ejection Seat

Published: December 10th, 2013     
F-104C Starfighter Ejection Seat
Reviewed by: Michael Scott, IPMS# 43177
Scale: 1:72
Company: Quickboost

Quickboost is known for producing finely cast resin details. This seat is no exception. The details are very good but some are fragile, such as the ejection rings, which quickly broke off and disappeared. This isn’t so much a function of the piece, but of careless handling on my part. They are easy to break, so be prepared to make up your own if you snap them off.

Removing the seat from the resin casting plug was easy enough with a razor saw. However, I eventually had to cut more, about 1/8”, from the seat bottom to get a decent fit in the Hasegawa 1:72 F-104C kit. I don’t know if this is a function of the kit or the seat.

Once painted, and with a subtle wash, the seat details pop out. After modifying the seat bottom as above it was a drop fit into the cockpit.

The Quickboost replacement seat is far better than the simple plastic form that Hasegawa supplies, plus, it has seat belts cast in. A worthy addition to your Starfighter.

Sea Vixen FAW 2

Published: December 10th, 2013     
Sea Vixen FAW 2
Reviewed by: Ron Bell, IPMS# 12907
Scale: 1/72
Company: Dragon Models

The Vixen was originally developed for the RAF, but was turned down in favor of the Javelin for a missile-armed interceptor. The Fleet Air Arm picked it up and it was tailored to their needs, replacing the Sea Venom. The later versions, the FAW 2 (FAW=Fighter, All Weather) had saddle tanks added to the two booms to increase fuel capacity and thus range as well as better electronics. At the time, it was the heaviest aircraft ever operated by the FAA and was twice the size of the Venom it replaced. Due to all that weight, it only managed to be about 75 mph faster than the Venom, but it did carry the Red Top missile for air-to-air combat, which the Venom could not, as well as the Bull Pup air-to-ground missile. It served with the FAA from 1959 'til 1974.

The Cyber Hobby kit has around 120 well molded and mostly flash and mold seam free parts on six sprues, two of which have clear parts. The detail is finely engraved and is pretty extensive and the clear parts are very nicely done. The decals take up two sheets and give you markings for six different aircraft. I'll deal with the instruction sheet as we go along.

Super Wing Series He 219 Uhu - The Finale

Published: December 10th, 2013     
Super Wing Series He 219 Uhu - The Finale
Reviewed by: Rob Benson, IPMS# 44038
Scale: 1/32
Company: Zoukei-Mura

Again, many, many thanks to Mr. Hideyuki Shigeta for honoring me with the privilege of building the Super Wing Series He 219 Uhu (Eagle Owl) model kit for public review as an IPMS Reviewer Corps representative.  I am deeply appreciative of the trust and confidence shown in me by both Mr. Shigeta and the IPMS Reviewer staff.  I am delighted to report on the last stages of construction!

F-105B and F-105D (Double Kit)

Published: December 10th, 2013     
F-105B and F-105D (Double Kit)
Reviewed by: Greg Wise, IPMS# 44378
Scale: 1/72
Company: Hasegawa

History Brief

When the F-105 Thunderchief entered service in 1958, it was the heaviest single-engine combat aircraft and was commonly known as the "Thud" by its crews. In March 1956 the USAF placed an order for 65 F-105Bs and 71 were built. Although it set speed records the 105B was besieged with problems, typically the F-105B required 150 hours of maintenance for each flying hour. Most of these problems were addressed under Project Optimize and by 1964 it was relegated to ANG squadrons.

The Pucará Story

Published: December 6th, 2013     
The Pucará Story
Author: Ricardo Caballero, Phil Cater
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo
Company: MMP Books

Mushroom Model Publications released a new book in their “White Series”, devoted to the Argentinean designed and manufactured “Pucará” (“Stone Fortress” in the Quichua native-american language).

The Pucara is an indigenous design of a twin ending light attack/COIN airplane. It has seen service in Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Sri Lanka and the UK (captured). The list of countries that explored –and even placed orders- for them is much larger, but for different reasons the export orders never materialized.

The book breakdown is, as you can expect, based on the chronology of the airframe: It begins with “Origin and Development”, then moves into “Further Development”, it has a very detailed chapter of the “South Atlantic Conflict” (which includes multiple color profiles and color photos); “Pucara in Uruguayan Service and Elsewhere”, “Post 1982 developments” and it wraps up with a full color “Walk-around” section and a chapter devoted to “Weapons and Stores”. Finally there is a section with digital art, covering all the “What if”, based on cancelled export orders.