Aircraft

Reviews of products for scale aircraft models.

Pilatus Turbo Porter Floatplane

Published: March 18th, 2013     
Pilatus Turbo Porter Floatplane
Reviewed by: Fred Wilms, IPMS# 42113
Scale: 1/48
Company: Roden

History

The Pilatus was a widely exported Swiss (STOL) turboprop utility aircraft floatplane variant, powered by Pratt Whitney of Canada.  The aircraft began its career in 1959.  It had been modified with several different engines.  The aircraft ended its military career in the mid 1990’s.   It then started a new career, or second life, in the private sector with some modified as floatplanes.

Items in the Box

The model is made of injection molded plastic, gray in color.  The instructions were made up in book form, printed on both sides of the pages.  Other parts were made up of clear plastic windows and landing lights.

Bunny Fighter Grass Masks

Published: March 18th, 2013     
Bunny Fighter Grass Masks
Reviewed by: Dave Morrissette, IPMS# 33653
Scale: 1/48
Company: Eduard

For those who might have missed it, Eduard has launched the Bunny Fighter Club, a membership club from Eduard which will have special kits and aftermarket available to members only. To join, you need to purchase their excellent 1/48 MiG-21MF kit which has Bunny Club markings. The markings for the kit include the 2 Czech planes and the MiG-21MF flown by Lt. C. Bunnyfield. This colorful character has a light blue and green plane with orange details, with a large bunny on the tail wielding a missile.

All kidding aside, Bunny Club members receive some great perks:

Rigging Turnbuckles for WWI Aircraft

Published: March 17th, 2013     
Rigging Turnbuckles for WWI Aircraft
Reviewed by: Dick Montgomery, IPMS# 14003
Scale: 1/32
Company: GasPatch Models

This product review will begin with a general introduction to GasPatch Models. GasPatch Models is located in Athens, Greece. GasPatch was founded in 2011 and produces plastic model kits and an excellent array of aftermarket parts intended for WWI aircraft subjects. One gets a sense of the professional nature of this enterprise by visiting the GasPatch website. The website is first-rate in appearance, navigation of the site is intuitive, and finding specific items is simple, easy, and quick. In a word…the site is an excellent site and reflects well on GasPatch as a company.

At the time of this writing, GasPatch has three variants of the Salmson 2A2 in the planning stages, all in 1/48th scale. This review, however, focuses on some GasPatch products that are already available. GasPatch produces a line of turnbuckles and air speed indicators in 1/48th and 1/32nd scales. This review focuses on these turnbuckle accessory packs.

Fabric Seatbelts for Luftwaffe WWII Fighters

Published: March 17th, 2013     
Fabric Seatbelts for Luftwaffe WWII Fighters
Reviewed by: Roger Rasor, IPMS# 34117
Scale: 1/48
Company: Eduard

In this detail set, Eduard provides modelers with a unique way to add detailed seat belts to any 1/48 scale WWII Luftwaffe fighter.  Unlike previous Eduard seatbelt sets, this one does not include solely painted photo-etch parts.  Instead, the photo-etch components in this set are for the buckles and other hardware, and the belts are provided in a flexible, pre-printed fabric that comes on a paper backing.  This multi-media combination promises realistic looking results because of the flexibility of the belt material.

The drawings on the front of the small instruction sheet illustrate the somewhat complex assembly process, and the step-by-step instructions on the back describe how to do it.  These cryptic instructions describe a process that proved to be more tedious than I had expected.

The steps read:

Buccaneer Landing Gear

Published: March 17th, 2013     
Buccaneer Landing Gear
Reviewed by: Mike Hinderliter, IPMS# 45124
Scale: 1/72
Company: Scale Aircraft Conversions

Scale Aircraft Conversions makes various landing gear sets out of lead-free white metal. Some come with the wheels attached if needed, like this set for the Buccaneer, where the kits wheels are molded onto the struts. Others might have the wheel bay included to help with added weight, but most only come with the new landing gear struts. I had the Airfix model so I don’t know how the CMR wheels are molded.

The detail of the metal parts is much crisper and looks flawless. The advantage to these parts is their strength and that they won’t warp under the kit’s weight over time. They will also hold up well while you work with them – no accidentally snapping them apart. To attach the new landing gear, you will need to use CA glue. On their web site they recommend a thicker gap-filling CA glue so that you can position them the way you want and then use an accelerator to bond the parts instantly.

I highly recommend this product. I have had models where the landing gear has broken under the aircraft’s weight, and how disappointing it is to see your kit leaning in the display case. It’s good to know that there is a solution for this.

Nakajima Ki-44-1 “Shoki” (Tojo)

Published: March 15th, 2013     
Nakajima Ki-44-1 “Shoki” (Tojo)
Reviewed by: Brian R. Baker, IPMS# 43146
Scale: 1/72
Company: Sword Models

History

The Nakajima Ki-44 “Shoki”, code named “Tojo” by Allied intelligence during World War II, was rather unusual by Japanese standards, since it violated the traditional Japanese design emphasis on maneuverability at the expense of nearly every other performance attribute.  Appearing shortly after the Ki-43 “Oscar”, the Ki-44 stressed speed, heavier armament, and rate of climb over other factors, and was intended as a high speed interceptor.  The first flight was in 1940, and by 1941 several prototypes had been tested, these eventually being sent to China and later Southeast Asia for combat evaluation.  Initial response by Japanese Army pilots was negative, but after they became familiar with the type, they achieved some successes, resulting in further production of the type.  Production models were equipped with more powerful engines, and the type entered service as the Type 2 Single Seat Fighter, Model 2, or Ki-44-II Otsu, with four 12.7 mm machine guns.  The type served in the Philippines, Formosa, China, and in mainland Japan against the B-29 offensive, although except for a few successful suicidal ramming attacks, the type slowly faded from the scene, being replaced by a newer type, the Nakajima Ki-84 “Frank”, which was superior on all counts. Only 1,225 Ki-44’s were built before production ended in 1944.

Aichi B7A2 “Grace” Torpedo Bomber

Published: March 15th, 2013     
Aichi B7A2 “Grace” Torpedo Bomber
Reviewed by: Brian R. Baker, IPMS# 43146
Scale: 1/72
Company: Sword Models

History

The Aichi B7A torpedo bomber was an attempt by the Japanese Navy to provide a state-of-the-art general purpose carrier-based bomber to replace the Nakajima B6N “Jill” torpedo bomber and the Yokosuka D4Y “Judy” dive bomber with a single type capable of both roles. It was planned to operate these aircraft from the IJN’s largest carriers, the Taiho and the Shinano.  Powered by the new Nakajima Homare 1800 hp. radial engine, the first prototype was built and flown in 1942, but development problems, mainly concerning the engine, slowed the aircraft’s path to service introduction.  By the time production started in 1945, an earthquake had destroyed the plant, and only a few were actually allocated to units.  Since the fleet carriers that the Japanese Navy planned to operate from had all been sunk by the end of 1944, (the Shinano, which was launched at the end of 1944, was sunk by an American submarine only ten days after commissioning, a kind of record for brevity of service), the few that were completed were assigned to the land-based Yokosuka and 752nd Kokutais, where they saw only limited service. A total of only 114 examples were completed, including prototypes, and fortunately, of the two aircraft brought to the US after the war, one is still in storage at the National Air and Space Museum’s facility at Silver Hill, MD.

B-17 Wheels

Published: March 14th, 2013     
B-17 Wheels
Reviewed by: Andy Renshaw, IPMS# 35806
Scale: 1/48
Company: Eduard

No introduction is needed for the subject that would carry these wheels!  The B-17 has long been a favorite among modelers, and many remember Shep Pane’s diorama using the Monogram B-17G.  Revell also released the B-17F, and now both molds have long been reissued many times.  Needless to say, it’s still the only game in town for a quarter-inch scale B-17, and overall is still accurate in shape.  However, the finer details show their age.

Eduard has been releasing lots of very useful resin upgrades that can add a little extra life to some older kits.  These new resin wheels for the B-17 are no exception, and are little jewels to support your detailed B-17 project properly.

In The Package

The parts come in a blister pack similar to Aires’ sets, with the resin parts sandwiched in the larger compartment with some foam rubber, and the included mask set within a upper compartment that has also been known to hold photo etch parts in other sets.  Overall, it makes for a great package with the parts and masks protected from damage.

F-16 Pitot Tube and Angle of Attack Probes

Published: March 14th, 2013     
F-16 Pitot Tube and Angle of Attack Probes
Reviewed by: Michael Novosad, IPMS# 36721
Scale: 1/48
Company: Master Model

The Review Product

Three parts are included in this set: the pitot tube and two angle of attack probes.  The parts are packaged in a small zip-lock bag, stapled in a folded, heavy paper stock display hanger.  The parts are also further sealed in a small envelope of clear plastic film taped to a h