Aircraft

Reviews of products for scale aircraft models.

Mirage 2000 Pitot Tube

Published: March 16th, 2011     
Mirage 2000 Pitot Tube
Reviewed by: Charles Landrum, IPMS# 26328
Scale: 1/48
Company: Master Model

I like the Mirage family of jets, they just look fast. An interesting feature is the bulbous nose probe out in front of the radome. In plastic this is a hard part to clean up - I have suffered these trials with the Heller Mirage 2000 and the Italeri Mirage F.1. The Mirage 2000 was the Eduard re-release that I built for IPMS review. Well, the nose probe was a casualty of the road on my way to its first contest entry! I made the repair, but it looked a bit short and then it was subsequently lost. The Model Master probe is far more petite and prototypical, so I was eager to try this brass replacement and restore my Mirage to its visual glory! 

Installation was easy. I remove the base of the old probe, filed back the nose to match the taper of the base of the probe, drilled a hole and voila, my Mirage was back to full strength. This is such a nice enhancement that will withstand jostling, that I plan to order several. I only wish that it was turned from stainless steel or aluminum so you wouldn't need to paint them with a metallic. Strongly recommended!

Thanks to Master Models and IPMS/USA for my review samples.

Browning .30 Caliber Barrels

Published: March 16th, 2011     
Browning .30 Caliber Barrels
Reviewed by: Charles Landrum, IPMS# 26328
Scale: 1/48
Company: Master Model

I continue to be amazed at the variety and quality of the product line from Master Models. I have had the pleasure to review their replacement ship gun barrels but this is the first opportunity I have had to review their aircraft accessories. This latest offering from Master Models is a pair of replacement .30 caliber barrels, perfect for the rear gun mount on most two-seater US Navy aircraft. These barrels are little jewels. Okay, I am not a machinist and so I am always impressed by quality lathe work. I was a bit astounded by the perforated cooling jackets. I will not even ask how it was done, but there had to be a computerized milling machine with an indexing arc to even space the dimples in this fine brass. Installation is easy, cut off the plastic barrel, drill a small hole and glue in the replacement barrel. Is the barrel worth the cost and effort? Well, I dug out the best barrel I could find (one from the Accurate Miniatures SBD Dauntless) did a comparison, and have to say "yes", it is a much finer barrel. I might not replace the barrel in this kit, but I can think of a lot of kits that could use the upgrade.

C-47 Skytrain Exhaust

Published: March 16th, 2011     
C-47 Skytrain Exhaust
Reviewed by: Charles Landrum, IPMS# 26328
Scale: 1/48
Company: Quickboost

In this set Quickboost offers a drop-in replacement set of exhaust pipes for the Trumpeter C-47. This set eliminates pesky mold seams and provides a deeper more realistic exhaust opening. The exhaust pipes in the kit and the QB replacements appear to have built-in mufflers. My guess is that Trumpeter depicted a later style exhaust. The Monogram kit, on the other hand, has a short pipe with a more turned out opening. This earlier style is more appropriate for the WWII aircraft. Working on the hunch that the QB pipes are a later style, I went through my reference and I have found pictures of Vietnam era Gooney Birds with such a pipe, including the AC-47 gunships. This also includes the C-47s the Army used for VIP transport in CONUS. So if you are modeling the later aircraft, including the Monogram AC-47 release, these mufflers would be more appropriate for your model. Highly recommended.

P-38 Lightning wheels - Spoked nose wheel with rear cover (diamond tread)

Published: March 15th, 2011     
P-38 Lightning wheels - Spoked nose wheel with rear cover (diamond tread)
Reviewed by: Andy Renshaw, IPMS# 35806
Scale: 1/48
Company: Ultracast

Many times one of the areas that we find lacking in kits is the wheels. Usually the tread pattern is very shallow, incorrect, or incomplete. Plus, whatever tread is present on the kit parts tends to get removed when smoothing over the seam created from having the wheels in two halves.

Ultracast has recently released a series of 1/48 wheel sets for the P-38 Lightning. This review concentrates on the "diamond tread" version. The parts are cast in flawless cream colored resin and feature beautiful detail including valve stems. Also on the main wheels, the internal brake drum is visible through the open spokes. The tread pattern is good and defined, and is more accurate than that in the Hasegawa kit. Comparing photos of wartime P-38 wheels, the Ultracast pattern looks correct while the kit tread pattern is very small. There is also a very slight flattening effect in the resin parts, which looks far more authentic than the "other" more common resin wheels available.

Mig-23 Flogger Wheel Bay

Published: March 14th, 2011     
Mig-23 Flogger Wheel Bay
Reviewed by: Charles Landrum, IPMS# 26328
Scale: 1/32
Company: Aires Hobby Models

Now this package is deceiving - it is marked as 1/48 scale. But Aires goofed in the printing of the packaging and these are really 1/32; if you have the Esci kit, you will instantly see the size difference. But no matter and on with the review...

While there is still no state of the art Mig-23 kit in 1/48, we now have the Trumpeter one in 1/32. Typical of the large Trumpeter aircraft, the basics of the wheel wells are there and are accurate, but they lack a lot of the detail that this scale cries out for. In 1/32 scale, the wheel wells are easier to detail, but the wells of the Mig-23 are complex and it will take a lot of effort to replicate the complexity of the space. Aires to the rescue!