Aircraft

Reviews of products for scale aircraft models.

Mustang Aces of the 357th Fighter Group

Published: January 24th, 2011     
Mustang Aces of the 357th Fighter Group
Reviewed by: Floyd S. Werner Jr. - IPMS# 26266

Osprey's Aircraft of the Aces series continues to be a great resource for the modeler and historian. This edition is no different. Written by noted historian, researcher, fellow modeler and editor of the IPMS/USA Journal, Chris Bucholtz, this soft bound book features 96 pages of information, stories, black and white photographs, and color profiles, featuring such noted pilots as Chuck Yeager, Bud Anderson, Kit Carson, and John England to name a few. The 357th featured some of the brightest colored Mustangs in the ETO.

The book follows the unit from its inception in 1942 with P-39s until the end of the war flying the latest P-51Ds. The unit produced 42 aces, more than any other unit in Europe, and it did this in just over a year of combat flying.

SAAB J21/J21R

Published: January 22nd, 2011     
SAAB J21/J21R
Reviewed by: Hub Plott - IPMS# 31328
Company: MMP Books

This book tells the story of the first fighter aircraft from Sweden's SAAB. The unconventional, pusher propeller, twin boomed SAAB J-21 and its jet powered development, the J-21R As one who has a fondness for unusual aircraft I am really grateful to finally have a book that covers this aircraft.

The book begins with the development of the aircraft and its related systems. Of special importance was the development of an ejection seat so that the pilot could exit and clear the pusher propeller in an emergency. This is followed by operational histories of its use with the various squadrons. The coverage of the propeller driven J-21 concludes with 25 pages of color photos of the two surviving J-21s presented in a "walk-around" style. In addition to many fine exterior shots, there is extensive photo coverage of the cockpit. Lastly, we are treated to six pages of color profiles of various operational J-21s

French Air Force Bell P-39Q Airacobra, Dauntless, Grumman F6

Published: January 21st, 2011     
French Air Force Bell P-39Q Airacobra, Dauntless, Grumman F6
Reviewed by: Fred Amos - IPMS# 6672
Scale: 1/32
Company: PT Decals

This decal provides markings for several different aircraft used by the Aeronaval/L'Armee de L'Air in the years following World War Two. Included are markings for two P-39's used in Algeria in 1945, a captured Fieseler 156 C Storch, two Grumman F6F Hellcats, an SBD-5, an Fw190-A5 and a Dewoitine D.520. The decals are very colorful and in perfect registry.

I just had to see these decals on a model so I have built an old Hasegawa 1/32 scale Fw190-A as a test bed. The model was built and painted to represent an aircraft captured at the end of the war and pressed in to service in 1946. The model was initially painted in the RLM 74, 75, 76 scheme common to Fw190's. Then a very thin layer of Humbrol RLM 71 was sprayed over the upper surface colors leaving the camouflage pattern slightly visible. Then before the RLM 71 had time to dry I soaked a cotton cloth with Denatured Alcohol and rubbed the upper surfaces in the direction of the airflow to give it worn and weathered appearance.

Il-2m3 Sturmovik, Weekend Edition

Published: January 20th, 2011     
Il-2m3 Sturmovik, Weekend Edition
Reviewed by: Perry Downen - IPMS# 44000
Scale: 1/72
Company: Eduard

The Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik was a ground-attack aircraft produced by the Soviet Union in the Second World War. Soviet sources give the number produced as over 36,000. It is regarded as the most formidable aircraft of WWII and best ground attack aircraft of all.

The aircraft's engine, cockpit, radiators, and fuel tanks were protected by a steel "tub "designed to be an integral part of the load-bearing frame. This design made it ideal for its low-level ground attack and anti-tank roles.

The Il-2m3 (Type 3) version was introduced in 1943 in the battle of Stalingrad. It was so successful that the Soviets produced this version more than all the others. It was armed with two 23-mm Vya cannons and two 7.62-mm ShKAS machine guns in the wings. The rear gunner operated a 12.7-mm UBT machine gun. It could carry various combinations of rockets and bombs.

It is the Il-2m3 version that Eduard has recently released and is the subject of this review. As presented, the model is equipped with four RS-132 rockets under the outer wing panels.

Spitfire Mk IX Wheels and Paint Masks

Published: January 20th, 2011     
Spitfire Mk IX Wheels and Paint Masks
Reviewed by: Roger Rasor - IPMS# 34117
Scale: 1/32

Aires has added a set of 1/32 Spitfire resin wheels/tires (with paint masks) to their continually growing line of detail parts. Although labeled for Mk.IX Spitfires, these wheels are appropriate replacements for those found on most marks. The set features the early four-spoke wheels with typical smooth tires. They easily will fit the new Tamiya kits as well as the PCH kits and the earlier offerings from Hasegawa and Revell. Detail is exquisite...the hubs even exhibit the recessed valve stem and the tires have a realistic flat bottom with just the hint of a bulge. All appears to be spot on, as our friends in the UK might say.

The wheels are cast in a soft gray resin and each comes attached at one point on a shared casting block. They can be clipped off the casting block with sprue cutters and the stubs can easily be sanded to match the flat spot on the tires. I found it necessary to add a swipe of filler to one tire along the bottom to disguise what appeared to be a slight mold shift. Not a major problem...just a minor flaw in the sample I received.