Aircraft

Reviews of products for scale aircraft models.

B-18 Bolo Canopy Masks

Published: July 3rd, 2013     
B-18 Bolo Canopy Masks
Reviewed by: Phil Pignataro, IPMS# 17254
Scale: 1/72
Company: Eduard

The idea behind these pre-cut masks is to save you time and frustration when painting your model and also to protect the clear areas under the masks.  I think the B-18 could be a “poster child” for using pre-cut masks on a model. As a typical pre-war bomber, it sports lots of clear areas with lots of framework. I counted 74 individual clear window panels on the model. In addition to the large number, the panels on the windscreen have rounded edges which present problems when using tape or foil, since very careful trimming is called for. Do not despair, fellow modelers, Eduard has come to the rescue. This particular set, matched specifically to the Special Hobby B-18, has all the masks necessary to cover all those 74 “panes,” as well as masks for the wheel hubs.

Scale Aircraft Modelling, Vol. 35, Issue 5

Published: July 2nd, 2013     
Scale Aircraft Modelling, Vol. 35, Issue 5
Reviewed by: Dick Montgomery, IPMS# 14003
Company: Scale Aircraft Modelling

The June issue contains two Feature articles. Feature 1 is entitled, “Arthurian Legend” and is nine pages of images coupled with an excellent description of how Chris Fleet built his Airfix Agusta Westland Merlin HC3. Interestingly, Chris shares his use of copper wire to simulate detail within the model. Two pages of full-color images of a real Merlin add to the trove of detailed information that one can use when building this Airfix kit.

Feature 2, by Neil Pinchbeck, covers the Revell Supermarine Stranraer in 1/72nd scale. Neil’s article covers how he dealt with the rigging (oh, those hated double stands!), cutting the canopy open, and adding rivet detail. Neil’s work is outstanding, both on the model itself and then within his article.

The Aviation in Profile article is by Brian Wakeman, and it features the Kinetic BAe Hawk 100 kit in 1/32nd scale. In keeping with the Canada Day theme set by Editor Jay Laverty, Brian’s Hawk is in Canadian markings and is truly a work of art. Brian’s review of the Kinetic kit provides a solid foundation upon which modelers can build their own Hawks.

Messerschmitt Bf-110 Landing Gear

Published: July 2nd, 2013     
Messerschmitt Bf-110 Landing Gear
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo, IPMS# 46363
Scale: 1/48
Company: Scale Aircraft Conversions

Scale Aircraft Conversions specializes in white metal replacement parts.  Its line of replacement landing gear has been expanded to include a set for the venerable Bf-110 from Revell/Monogram.

This set is one of the more elaborated sets from SAC I’ve seen.  It includes three main parts – two landing gear struts and a two-part tail wheel, plus 3 “frames” with the rest of the delicate parts.

My example arrived partially crushed (I guess due to shipping).  Having the small parts attached to a “frame” actually prevented them from being distorted.  But still, a bit of work might be needed to straight them out; however, it is very easy to work with white metal (check the SAC website for details at http://www.scaleaircraftconversions.com/homepage.cfm?DTTM=20130701124712...).

Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire C

Published: July 1st, 2013     
Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire C
Reviewed by: Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1/144
Company: Minicraft Model Kits

The Aircraft

The Tu-22M3 Backfire C has had a somewhat confusing development history.  The original Tu-22 was NATO code-named Blinder.  It had two pod-mounted engines above the rear fuselage, one on either side of the vertical stabilizer, and fixed sweptback wings.  Then Tupolev came out with what I think is almost a new design, with the engines mounted in the rear fuselage and intakes along the fuselage side, and variable-position wings...I think the first on a large Russian bomber.  This was the Backfire.  The designation for this aircraft was Tu-22M1.  The M probably stands for “Modified.”  There were only nine Tu-22M1s built, and it was fairly quickly replaced by the Tu-22M2.  The M2 had more powerful engines, a bigger wing, and an area rule fuselage.

The Tu-22M3 first flew in 1976.  The first big difference between the M2 and M3 were that the intakes on the M2 looked like those on an F-4 Phantom, while the M3’s look like those on an A-5 Vigilante.  The second, more subtle difference, is that the nose cone bends down on the M2 and up on the M3.

Merlin HC-3 Landing Gear

Published: July 1st, 2013     
Merlin HC-3 Landing Gear
Reviewed by: Rod Lees, IPMS# 10821
Scale: 1/48
Company: Scale Aircraft Conversions

Yet one more “You really should buy this or have your plastic gear fail in a year” set for a heavy model.  Thanks as usual to our friend Ross at SAC for providing IPMS USA this set, and IPMS for sending it to me for review!

This gear serves as an excellent example of why metal is a perfect medium for plastic model gear.  First, the new Airfix plastic is a bit soft (NOT COMPLAINING, but it is not optimal for landing gear), and the SAC gear is yet again a “drop fit replacement” set.  Second; on this model you HAVE to install the gear during construction, early on.  There is no way to do it otherwise; on the main sponson gear in particular, the parts are sandwiched into the gear mount for structural integrity.  It’s the only way to do it, as the gear goes all the way through the top sponson in a cutout per the prototype, so you have no choice.  That means the gear becomes a dreaded “sticky-outy” thing to deal with while building.  And if you drop the kit on the workbench like I occasionally do, expect to see parts flying and hear blue vocabulary.

Sea Harrier Outrigger Wheels and Weapon Pylons

Published: June 28th, 2013     
Sea Harrier Outrigger Wheels and Weapon Pylons
Reviewed by: Rod Lees, IPMS# 10821
Scale: 1/72
Company: Quickboost

  • Product/Stock # QB 72 390 Sea Harrier FRS.1 Pylons for Airfix kit, $8.50
  • Product/Stock # QB 72 385 Sea Harrier Outrigger Wheels for Airfix kit, $6.50

We continue to express sincere appreciation to our friends at Quickboost for providing us more of the prolific output of their company; I buy a lot of their items and hope others do as well.  Without their expertise, we would be the poorer!

Not much I can say for these additions...the new Airfix kits are a boon to the modeling community, addressing the need for simple yet detailed kits for the newcomers and also us old guys.  But sometimes the details cry out for more.  As usual, Quickboost steps up to the plate!

What we have here are upgrades for the outrigger wheels; in the photo below, the softer, light-colored items are the kit parts.  Perfectly acceptable.  Now, look at the Quickboost upgrades.  The detail on the wheel hubs in particular is refined and adds much to the overall appearance.  The aerodynamic fairings are better defined, and you also get separate, delicate actuator rams.  A major improvement in appearance, to my eye…

Kawasaki Ki-45 Kai Hei Toryu (Nick)

Published: June 27th, 2013     
Kawasaki Ki-45 Kai Hei Toryu (Nick)
Reviewed by: Brian R. Baker, IPMS# 43146
Scale: 1/72
Company: Hasegawa

History

The Kawasaki Ki-45 was the first attempt by Japanese manufacturers to provide the JAAF with a modern twin-engine fighter.  The original specification was issued to Nakajima, Mitsubishi, and Kawasaki in 1937, but the first two soon withdrew from the project, Kawasaki continued into 1939 with the completion of the Ki-45 prototype.  This proved to be inadequate in many respects, so in 1940 the aircraft was  completely redesigned, with some existing Ki-45 prototypes being converted to Ki-45 Kai (Modified), with different wings, tail surfaces, and engines.  Thus modified, the new aircraft was accepted for production by the IJAAF, entering service in 1942.  The aircraft served throughout the Pacific War in China, New Guinea, Indo-China, Manchuria, the Philippines, and finally in mainland Japan against the B-29 heavy bombing offensive, where it was one of the few relatively effective interceptors.

Lockheed T2V-1/T-1A Seastar

Published: June 27th, 2013     
Lockheed T2V-1/T-1A Seastar
Reviewed by: Walt Fink, IPMS# 2447
Scale: 1/72
Company: Sword Models

Lockheed’s derivative of the venerable T-33 as the Navy’s carrier-capable jet trainer, the T2V/T-1A bears a strong family resemblance to the T-Bird, but was a far different animal.  A redesigned and strengthened wing with leading edge droops, different flaps, and boundary layer control was a big item, while a strengthened fuselage and gear, plus the raised rear cockpit for better visibility by the back-seater, gave the Seastar its characteristic humpback look.  Larger tail surfaces, intakes, tailpipe, and an uprated J33 engine were included.  Additional fuselage speedbrakes were added to the fairings aft of the wing, and other improvements were added as well, along with upgraded ejection seats, a hefty arresting hook, and a catapult hook.

F-104G Starfighter RCAF/USAF

Published: June 27th, 2013     
F-104G Starfighter RCAF/USAF
Reviewed by: William Carrell, IPMS# 48803
Scale: 1/48
Company: Revell, Inc.

History

Another of Kelly Johnson’s modern marvels in aviation history, the F-104 truly lived up to the many nicknames it was bestowed.  The “Missile With a Man In It” is probably the most reflective of this great machine.  It was a plane that was produced in greater numbers for foreign use rather than US use.  It was, however, a major leap forward in technology that led to multiple advances that allowed the US to be the leader in high-performance aircraft.  A quick look at the main gear configuration and wing thickness can lead one to see how the F-16 was influenced.

Douglas C-47 Skytrain

Published: June 27th, 2013     
Douglas C-47 Skytrain
Reviewed by: Walt Fink, IPMS# 2447
Scale: 1/144
Company: Roden

The first release of C-47/DC-3 kits from Roden has been issued as a C-47B from the 53rd TCW, 437th TCG, 83rd TCS.  The parts have some nicely engraved detail on them, but on my sample it wasn’t entirely consistent. It looked great on the wings, tail, and the sides of the fuselage, but on the top and bottom of the fuselage halves, it faded out and was pretty faint.  The rear door is molded as a separate part to fit into the space in the left fuselage half, and contains the main entry door and cargo door with its hinges.

Clear parts consist of two strips of windows which fit inside the fuselage, two landing light lens covers, the astrodome, and the windshield, which on my sample was missing from the sprue and wasn’t in the poly bag, either.  A replacement was promptly and graciously supplied by MMD-Squadron, so construction could continue.