Reviews of scale model kits.

English Electric Lightning F1/F1A/F2/F3

Published: June 10th, 2019     
English Electric Lightning F1/F1A/F2/F3
Reviewed by: Rod Lees, IPMS# 10821
Scale: 1/48
Company: Airfix

Thanks first off to Hornby/Airfix for sending IPMS/USA this kit, and keeping the brand alive! If you have not built one of the new Airfix kits, you need to get over to the store and buy one, or several. HELP KEEP THEM IN BUSINESS, as Airfix has many economical and fantastic kits. Kudos to John and Phil to providing it to me to review.

Airfix's re-release of their venerable 1/48 English Electric Lightning kit is a welcome return of an old friend, not one of their newest molds. When originally released in 1997, the kit was considered ground-breaking with "state-of-the-art" molding technology. The parts fit was lauded as best available, with detail impeccable for the time. This kit and the Spitfire Mk 22/24 and Seafire FR46 were the "new Airfix" in the late 1990's for a short time, but this kit was one of the best at the time.

The Lightning F-1/1A was first out the door, with its small fuel tank on the belly. This kit was rapidly followed by the F-6 with a totally new fuselage with large underbelly tank and over-wing tanks as optional parts, including gun panels for the lower fuselage tank area for the few fitted with that setup.

Aero Commander 560

Published: June 9th, 2019     
Aero Commander 560
Reviewed by: Chris Smith, IPMS# 39182
Scale: 1/72
Company: Croco Models

The Aero Commander line of medium twin-engine aircraft began with the Model 520 first flown in 1948. Designer Ted Smith used design cues from his work on the A-26 Invader in formulating the Aero Commanders layout. Known for stable handling characteristics and seating capacity, the Aero Commander proved its utility in service. The 560 series introduced more powerful engines and a swept vertical tail. In its later variants, the Commander would gain PT-6 turboprop power. Notable firsts for the type include the U S Air Force purchasing some designated L-26 or U-4 to carry President Eisenhower, the first medium twin authorized to carry the POTUS. Perhaps the most famous Aero Commanders were flown by the legendary Bob Hoover. His routine included full aerobatic maneuvers with two engines, one engine, and no engines!

RF-5E Tigereye

Published: June 9th, 2019     
RF-5E Tigereye
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra, IPMS# 11190
Scale: 1/32
Company: Kitty Hawk

There's something about this relatively small, compact and sleek fighter that can grip the imagination. I've been enamored with it, that when Hasegawa released their 1/32nd scale version many moons ago, I made no less than five over a single week, just to show it in some of its endless liveries.

With the release of this version of this famous aircraft, Kittyhawk has not only provided us with a variant never before available in this scale but upped the game considerably over the venerable Hasegawa kit in terms of detail.

Shiden-Kai N1K2-J "George" Late Type

Published: June 2nd, 2019     
Shiden-Kai N1K2-J "George" Late Type
Reviewed by: Ben Morton, IPMS# 47301
Scale: 1/144
Company: Platz

The Shiden Kai was developed, in 1944, to counter US bomber aircraft that were attacking the mainland of Japan. With the combination of a refined airframe and a 2,000-horsepower engine the Shiden Kai was a masterpiece of a fighter with balanced performance. While it might be said that it was too little too late, production of the Shiden Kai was limited due to it being introduced in late1945.

This updated boxing of Platz's 1/144th scale airplane kit includes new decals, packaging, and illustrations, while retaining the nicely molded detail and easy-of-assembly of the original.

This updated release features:

  • Two complete 1/144th scale plastic models of the late type Shiden-Kai with the smaller vertical tail
  • Decals are provided for the canopy frame to reduce the difficulty of painting
  • Molded with delicate, engraved panel lines
  • Easy-to-understand painting description in full color

Marking options include:

Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu (Nick) Part 1

Published: June 2nd, 2019     
Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu (Nick) Part 1
Reviewed by: Dave Morrissette, IPMS# 33653
Scale: 1:32
Company: Zoukei-Mura

Zoukei-Mura's latest release in 1/32 scale is the wonderful Ki-45 Toryu (Nick). This twin engine 2-seat, heavy fighter was used by the Japanese Army in WWII. Let's not wait another minute and jump into the box and see what's what.