Aircraft

Reviews of products for scale aircraft models.

AD-4 Skyraider

Published: August 18th, 2013     
AD-4 Skyraider
Reviewed by: Jim Fry, IPMS# 37654
Scale: 1/32
Company: Trumpeter

As The Douglas Skyraider series was arguably the most effective and all-around aircraft of the Vietnam War, I won’t go into any history. If you don’t know about the Skyraider but are reading this, you should be aware of this versatile aircraft which was used by both the US Navy and US Air Force. 

When I received the kit for this review, I first spent time going through the plans and the many sprues to get a feel of the fidelity to scale and detail level of the kit. I was excited by what I saw and anxious to get started with the build.

I must say that I do not suffer from AMS; I build plastic models as a hobby to relax and change my thought environment for a while. Although I have four specific reference books for the Skyraider series, none of them have 1/32 scale plans included, so I do not know if the length is 1.5 mm too short, nor do I care. The moldings look to follow the AD lines and the panel and rivet detail are very subdued and seem to follow the actual a/c lines.

Watchtower

Published: August 18th, 2013     
Watchtower
Reviewed by: J.R. Sharp, IPMS# 48773
Scale: 1/72
Company: MiniArt

The Kit

This kit is cleanly molded in the standard multicolored plastic offered by MiniArt. Using the same parts as with the other kits, there are no surprises; all parts are cleanly molded with crisp detail and free of flash.

Construction

Assembly was followed in the same manner as the Townhouse kit, building the corners first and then attaching the walls. Once again, I feel as if this is the preferred method for a better construction. All parts went together without issue on the main structure. Next, it was time to tackle my bane/failure from one of the previous kits…the stairs. I honestly cannot give a whole lot of complements to the stairs due to lack of alignment/attachment points for the entire assembly. I ended up just making the stairs look close to correct and moving on. The manner in which the railings attach on the balcony and stairs is not very sturdy. I found that my cement melted the holes closed in no time.

U.S. Modern Infantry (Iraq War)

Published: August 18th, 2013     
U.S. Modern Infantry (Iraq War)
Reviewed by: Chris Graeter, IPMS# 39558
Scale: 1/35
Company: Tamiya

Kit

The kit comes with two sprues, one for the four US Army figures and one for the four US Marine figures. There is a paper sheet with printed US food ration boxes that can be cut, folded, and glued up to represent these ration boxes. Also there is and instruction sheet for assembly. The first thing you will notice about this kit is that it is not a Tamiya mold, but instead a Master Box Mold. In fact the kit contains two Master Box figure sets into one. Why Tamiya used, Master Box Molds instead of producing their own is beyond me (could be a distributor relationship- Ed). Tamiya has a history of producing excellent figures, so I was a little dumb founded as to this fact when I received the kit. The figures have excellent detail with little to no flash to clean up. There are a few options for some of the figures. There are different weapons and equipment for some of the figures to choose from, but most build up to what you see on the box art.

Mirage F1.B

Published: August 18th, 2013     
Mirage F1.B
Reviewed by: Charles Landrum, IPMS# 26328
Scale: 1/48
Company: Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk is a newcomer on the scene and seems to be filling a niche by releasing subjects not kitted before and new kits of older subjects previously kitted. The only previous kitting of the Mirage F.1B in 1/48 was the Fonderie Miniatures limited run multi-media kit. That is why, as a fan of the Armee de l’Air, I was pleased to see Kitty Hawk release this kit, especially in two colorful anniversary schemes, including the D-Day 60th anniversary scheme from 2004. Kitty Hawk has started to release single seat variants of the F.1 as an option to the elderly ESCI/Italeri Mirage F.1.

Messerschmitt Bf-110E

Published: August 17th, 2013     
Messerschmitt Bf-110E
Reviewed by: Brian Baker, IPMS# 83146
Scale: 1/72
Company: Hobby Boss

History

The Messerschmitt Bf-110 was an early attempt by the Luftwaffe to develop a long range strategic  fighter for deep penetration missions. It was also intended as a long range escort for bombers,   as an interceptor against enemy bomber formations, and as a light bomber and ground attack aircraft.  The first prototype flew in 1936, but protracted engine development kept the Bf-110 from entering service until 1938 as the Bf-110B.  In 1939, the Bf-110C went into production, and this was the first version produced in large numbers.    The Bf-110C appeared in fighter, ground attack, reconnaissance, and “destroyer” versions.  The Bf-110C was used to effect in the Polish campaign in 1939, and this gave Goring the impression that the type was unstoppable, the ultimate air weapon.  After success in shooting down unescorted RAF Wellington bombers, the type was committed in Norway and Denmark, and later during the Battle of France.  As a close support airplane, it was quite effective, but when used as a long range escort during the Battle of Britain, it became obvious that it could not survive long in the air with Hurricanes and Spitfires, and the Bf-109E’s wound up escorting the Bf-110’s as well as the bombers.  The units were pulled back after heavy losses.

F4U-4B Corsair

Published: August 17th, 2013     
F4U-4B Corsair
Reviewed by: Greg Wise, IPMS# 44378
Scale: 1/48
Company: Hobby Boss

History Brief

F4U-4: The last variant to see combat during WWII, the Navy took deliveries in late 1944 and had two fully operational squadrons by the end of the war. The type incorporated a lot of changes over the F4U-1D. Most notable is that it had a more powerful engine with a new four bladed prop.

F4U-4B: Designation for F4U-4s to be delivered to the British Fleet Air Arm but were retained by U.S. for its own use. The British received no F4U-4s.

The Product

My sample came packaged in a large, sturdy corrugated box. The box art is very nice depicting a Marine Corsair circling the USS Point Cruz.

Focke Wulf Fw-190A-4

Published: August 9th, 2013     
Focke Wulf Fw-190A-4
Reviewed by: Brian R. Baker, IPMS# 43146
Scale: 1/72
Company: Zvezda

History

The Focke Wulf Fw-190 is probably one of the most modeled aircraft in any scale, mainly because it was such an excellent design and was produced in very large numbers during World War II.  Although sources vary as to the number produced, slightly fewer that 1,000 of the A-4 type appear to have been manufactured during 1942 to replace the A-3, and subsequently being supplanted by the improved Fw-190A-5.  Constantly upgraded during the war, the type held on until the final days, both as a fighter and as a ground support and reconnaissance aircraft.  Most serious modelers are familiar with the type and its history, so I’ll refer you to other sources.  There is certainly no lack of information on this aircraft, both in publication form and on the internet.

Dornier Do-335A-1

Published: August 9th, 2013     
Dornier Do-335A-1
Reviewed by: Brian R. Baker, IPMS# 43146
Scale: 1/72
Company: Hobby Boss

History

The Do-335, like many German aircraft of World War II, had a checkered development.  It began its life, at Hitler’s insistence, as a high speed bomber, and only later, when Hitler was told that the Me-262 would be a better high speed bomber, was the plane’s basic mission changed to that of heavy fighter and reconnaissance.

First, Dornier used a scaled down (1/2.5) Do-17Z airframe (Goppingen Go.9) to test the feasibility of the rear mounted engine with a prop behind the tail unit. Tests showed the usefulness of the arrangement, so design began on the full size airplane.  Featuring a tandem engine arrangement (which was not new to Dornier), the aircraft was a large, single seat, twin engine aircraft with two DB-603 liquid-cooled engines.  The type began as a high speed bomber (Nov. 1943), reconnaissance fighter and night fighter (Jan. 1944), and ended finally as a heavy fighter (Mar. 1944).  In July, 1944, the first prototypes were delivered as bombers. 

F-84G Ejection Seat with Safety Belts

Published: August 8th, 2013     
F-84G Ejection Seat with Safety Belts
Reviewed by: Roger Rasor, IPMS# 34117
Scale: 1/48
Company: Quickboost

Quickboost now offers aircraft builders a highly detailed 1/48 scale ejection seat that is intended to replace the one found in either the Tamiya or Revell F-84G kit.  It is recommended as a replacement for the Tamiya seat, but it also can be used to replace the Revell kit seat with very little adjustment.  As nice as the kit parts may be, this replacement provides a higher level of detail along with casually posed shoulder and lap belts molded in place.  The details are very delicate and crisply molded.

The parts that make up the seat are molded in Quickboost’s familiar gray resin on a reasonably small casting block. The quality of the molding is flawless, with no bubbles, pinholes, or flash to deal with.  A sharp #11 X-Acto blade or razor saw blade is recommended for removing the parts from the casting block…and then a quick swipe with a sanding stick can dress up the cut edges if necessary.  Extra care should be exercised when removing the seat from the casting block to avoid fracturing or losing any of the delicate details along the sides and bottom of the seat.

A-10 Thunderbolt II – Units of Operation, Enduring Freedom 2002-07

Published: August 5th, 2013     
A-10 Thunderbolt II – Units of Operation, Enduring Freedom 2002-07
Author: Gary Wetzel
Reviewed by: Kenneth McDevitt, IPMS# 46356
Company: Osprey Publishing

Review

The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is so ugly, it’s beautiful. It is clearly an example of function over form. The A-10 is designed to maximize the pilot protection with a titanium bathtub cockpit and heavily armored cockpit glass. The airframe design has redundant control systems and high mounted engines to provide maximum survivability when damaged, and also to reduce the risk of engine damage. The book starts with the fly-offs between manufacturers and the selection of Fairchild Republic as the design winner. In response to pilots’ feedback for a big gun, the General Electric GAU-8 Avenger 30 mm cannon was selected, with a rate of fire at 3900 rpm.