Aircraft

Reviews of products for scale aircraft models.

Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star

Published: February 28th, 2011     
Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star
Reviewed by: Chris Smith, IPMS# 39182
Scale: 1/48
Company: Revell, Inc.

History

Yet another classic design from Kelly Johnson, the Lockheed F-80 was America's first practical, jet powered fighter. I say practical because the real "first U.S. jet was the Bell P-59 which was really a transition trainer for new jet pilots, not a viable combat aircraft. The first "Shooting Star," was produced in 141 days and flew on Jan 8, 1944. Teething issues included fuel consumption levels higher than anticipated (a common problem of early jet engines) which required hanging extra tanks under the wings. Armed with 6x 50 cal. machine guns and a stable flight profile, the F-80 proved its worth in the Korean conflict primarily as a ground support aircraft.

AV-8B Harrier Plus

Published: February 26th, 2011     
AV-8B Harrier Plus
Reviewed by: Chad Richmond, IPMS# 10346
Scale: 1/48
Company: SuperScale International

This decal sheet initially has you scratching your head about whose sheet it really is. It's a SuperScale International sheet, with Squadron Products logo on the bottom of it, and it's printed by Cartograf ion Italy. It doesn't really matter, because it is a really well done sheet. It features markings for two very colorful Harriers. The VMA-214 bird bears Pappy Boyington's markings and is in a different than normal two tone grey scheme, FS36118 and FS35237 with a black fin and black wing tanks. The VMA-211 bird is in the same two tone grey scheme with a bright red fin trimmed in yellow. The instruction sheet is in full color, which is a nice touch, and there are enough stencil data to allow you to do both aircraft. You have to really pay attention to all of the marginal notes, because all of the marking data is on one side of the crowded instruction sheet. The other side of the instruction sheet is one half showing the two aircraft in profile and the other half showing seven future decal releases.

Wings of the Weird and Wonderful

Published: February 26th, 2011     
Wings of the Weird and Wonderful
Author: Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown, RN
Reviewed by: Paul Bradley, IPMS# 35554
Company: Hikoki Publications

Captain Eric Brown is the doyen of test pilots; a former Chief Naval Test Pilot and Commanding officer of the Aerodynamics Flight of the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, Brown is in the Guinness Book of Records as the pilot-in-command who has flown the most types of aircraft - over 490 and they are all listed in the front of this book. His career in test piloting started back in 1942 after a spell on combat operations over the North Atlantic, and lasted through to the 1960s. He is therefore the ideal person to write about many different types of aircraft from a pilot's perspective and compare them to each other.

The Cinderella Service: RAF Coastal Command 1939 - 1945

Published: February 26th, 2011     
The Cinderella Service: RAF Coastal Command 1939 - 1945
Author: Andrew Hendrie
Reviewed by: Paul Bradley, IPMS# 35554
Company: Pen and Sword Books Ltd

In 1936, the Royal Air Force reorganized into a series of task-specific commands; the most famous were Fighter Command and Bomber Command, which played very public roles in the defeat of Nazi Germany. However, another, perhaps more vital battle was being fought by an unsung command over the frigid waters of the North Sea and North Atlantic - Coastal Command. Its role in defeating the U-boat threat and keeping the seas open for vital supply convoys to reach Britain enabled the beleaguered country to weather the nadir of the war in 1941-2, allowing the US to resupply the British armed forces and build up her own troop strength on British soil prior to the liberation of mainland Europe. That important role has been largely unsung over the years, earning the Command the nickname of the 'Cinderella Service' that inspired the title of the book.

P-40 Wheels & Paint Masks

Published: February 21st, 2011     
P-40 Wheels & Paint Masks
Reviewed by: Roger Rasor, IPMS# 34117
Scale: 1/72
Company: Aires Hobby Models

Aires now offers two types of resin wheels for detailing P-40 models built from 1/72 Academy kits (as well as those marketed by other kit manufacturers). By producing these two sets, Aires actually provides something for detailing all versions of the P-40 (and P-36) in 1/72 scale. Both sets also include pre-cut vinyl paint masks and painting instructions. The resin castings feature crisp details and are accurate representations of the real thing.

Set #7257 provides a pair of wheels with straight tread tires on the later style eight-spoke hubs that Curtiss introduced with the N model P-40. They are more accurately detailed than the kit wheels provided in the Academy kit...that have a diamond tread pattern. These wheels, in reality, were actually smaller than the ones equipped on all previous P-40 versions, but in 1/72 it is difficult to tell that the Aires wheels are the same size as the wheels in set #7258.