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  1. We are pleased and excited to have won the honor of hosting the 2021 National Convention in the fabulous city of Las Vegas, Nevada. Special thanks to TJ and the IPMS USA National Board for allowing us to make our presentation and all the help they provided in its preparation. View the full article
  2. Review Author: Scott Hollingshead OKB Grigorov The Enrico Toti (S506) was the lead boat in its namesake class of Italian submarines. The keel was laid in 1965, she was launched in 1967, commissioned in 1968, and was decommissioned in 1992. In 2005 the boat was moved by land to Milan, where she resides today in the Museum of Science and Technology "Leonardo da Vinci". Called "pocket submarines" due to their diminutive size, the boats of this class were intended only to operate in the Mediterranean Sea, mostly to patrol the Channel of Sicily and participate in NATO exercises. The boat is 151.6 feet long, has a 15.4 feet beam, and has a draught of 18.7 feet. The two Fiat diesels provided power to the diesel-electric drive that would propel the boat at 14 knots surfaced, or 15 knots submerged. The crew consisted of 4 officers and 22 sailors, and she was armed with four 21-inch torpedo tubes. Still a fairly recent addition to the IPMS Review Corps suppliers is OKB Grigorov, which started business in 2003 in the European Union. This kit is a simple affair consisting of a hull, six deck empennages for the modernized sub, and a cone for the propeller, all of which are cast in gray resin. The propeller along with a four-piece display stand are photoetched brass. Inside the box, the hull was separately wrapped in a foam sheet, and then it and the other contents were enclosed in bubble wrap. Construction was quick, as one would expect with the limited number of parts. For 1/700 scale, the propeller looks close to photos I found online of the real one. My one caution is that a modeler will need to be experienced with small parts, otherwise there will be some frustration. I utilized Stynylrez Black for the lower hull and display stand, while Model Master Acryl Gunship Gray was used for the upper hull. I liked the color of the photoetched propeller, so no paint was added to it, but it was sealed, along with the rest of the boat, with Alclad Klear Cote Matte after washes of Tamiya Panel Line Wash Dark Gray. As far as my hits are concerned, this is a unique offering and the moldings are nice and crisp; the ease of construction make this something that modelers with limited experience with resin can build without too much difficulty. The brass propeller looks convincing and it was easy to set the blade angles to more closely match those used on the real submarine, in addition, the photoetched base is ideal for a boat of this size. My only real miss for this release is that I would have liked a small decal sheet for the hull markings and perhaps something for the base. Overall, I would highly recommend this kit to modelers wanting to add this historic submarine to their 1/700 scale collection. Most modelers will have little difficulty assembling the kit, but will need some experience with small parts. I would like to thank the folks at OKB Grigorov for providing this kit to the IPMS-USA Review Corps for assessment, and to Phil Peterson for leading the Review Corps, and allowing me to perform this review. I would also send out kudos to all of the folks behind the scenes at the Review Corps who help him with his efforts, and as always, my sincere appreciation goes out to all the folks who take the time to read my comments. View the full article
  3. Review Author: Ben Morton Platz NOTE: The link to the Nu Nu Upgrade set is http://www.platz-hobby.com/products/8131.html . The price is $30.00 Platz Models has a large and extensive line of plastic model kits: everything from small scale (1/144) aircraft to military ships. They do partner with smaller, niche manufacturers of plastic model kits. That symbiosis provides both Platz and those other kit manufacturers with market access and diversity of product. One of those relationships is with another Japanese manufacturer: Nu Nu Model kits. Nu Nu Model kits is principally involved with manufacturing modern 1/24th scale racing cars, notably Grand Prix GT3 cars. For those that may be unfamiliar with sports car racing, click this Wikipedia link and you'll have more than enough information to join in any conversation about the sport. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_car_racing ) One of Platz/ NuNu Model kits recent offerings is the BMW M6, 2018 Macau GP GT3 Race Winner. This is actually a re-release of a 2017 kit of the BMW M6 that features updated decals and new parts to faithfully reproduce the 2018 Macau race winner. The updated decals provide all the badges (sponsor logos, etc.) and the color panels featured on this car. Additionally, there is a decal for an on-car 'shout out' to long time team principal Charly Lamm. This is a curbside model and as such has no engine but there is a complete interior with all driver controls, detailed suspension bits, and a nicely molded safety/roll cage. This kit is molded in several colors (white, gray, black, clear bits, and some chrome plated parts) and I suppose you could build this kit without painting. For the serious car modeler there is a companion up-grade set available, also from Platz /Nu Nu. The up-grade set has a fret of photo-etch that includes disc brake pads, mesh for some air intakes, safety netting for the roll cage, replacement uprights for the rear spoiler, replacement wind shield wipers and blades, and all the bits (buckles, latches, seat belt material) you'll need to fashion a realistic, five point safety harness. There are also three, small sheets of carbon fiber decals for the lower chassis included with the up-grade set. There are more carbon fiber decals than are called for in the placement instructions so I just went with the obvious ones. Nevertheless, those decals go down nice 'n easy. All of this may seem daunting to some but the provided instructions are well drawn which makes using this up-grade set simple and easy. The photo etch bits are either direct replacements for the kit part or simply overlay the existing part. Assemble of the "Beemer" begins with the lower chassis to which are attached the front wheel spindles, brake/rotor assemblies, and portions of the exhaust system. Exercise some caution while assembling the front suspension as those bits are positionable. Again, as this is a curbside model all you get are the exhaust outlets as opposed the the whole system. A word of caution: the exhaust tips protrude a tad from the car body and might cause some fit issues when you get to mating the car body assembly with the chassis. Might be prudent to leave those exhaust stubs off until after everything is buttoned up? Rear suspension bits go on next as do the radiator and air outlet assemblies. Assembly graduates to the driver compartment with seat, foot pedals, and a detailed dash panel. This is the area of building where you get to put the roll/safety cage together. The roll/safety cage is quite visible. As such this area, with minor flash, mold seams, and visible ejector pin marks, really should be removed. Nothing horrendous but it will be noticeable if you don't deal with it. It should also be noted that after cleaning all those bits, the cage parts go together easily. I used the roll cage locating holes, located on the driver's compartment (part # B14) as a jig to aid assembly. The dash and instrument panel assembly gets added to the roll cage before both are attached to the driver's compartment. Don't concern yourself with gluing it (dash panel assembly) as there are pins on either side of the dash panel that fit into slots on the driver compartment side panels. Do concern yourself with attaching the photo etched safety webbing from the upgrade set at this stage. You will need to consult some references (search BMW M6 GT3 interior) to find the proper location for that webbing as the instructions are vague on the subject. I added some spare bits to the ends of that webbing to represent the attachment buckles. You can elect to replace the seat belt decal with a more realistic version using the upgrade set. That set has all the metal bits and strapping material that you will need. Curiously neither the kit nor the upgrade set provide a separate manufacturer's decal for the safety harness. The 'Sabelt' logo is printed on the decal version of the seat belt so I suppose you could do a bit of surgery and add it that way. If you are new to after market seat belts, you will need to check references for the attachment points on the chassis for the safety harness. Those attachment points are somewhat intuitive but the assembly instructions are void of that information. I did find a short (5:14) 'How To' video on YouTube that you might helpful if you're new to aftermarket safety belts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3xcOjW-69k . There are some other driver compartment pieces that may require care when installing; particularly parts # A24/#B6/#B7. Those pieces represent portions of an air intake, cooling system on the prototype. Parts #B6 and #B7 ( connecting flanges) attach to a large pipe that mate up with air inlet detentions on the body of the BMW. The engineering on the kit is such that that isn't a huge problem but it is something to be aware as you assembly your own BMW M6. The roll cage gets attached to the lower chassis/driver compartment. Additional suspension (shock absorbers, etc.) bits go on next as do the wheel/tire assemblies The tires and wheels are separate parts which will facilitate painting. The vinyl tires are well molded but do have a pronounced taper. That taper doesn't affect the end look but seems to be an engineering 'trick' to aid sliding the tires onto the rims. Decals are provided for the tire labeling (Pirelli). The upgrade set includes fronts for the disc brakes that simply overlay the kit part. Details (rear view mirrors, antenna, etc.) are the next items added to the car body. This step is more about the window glazing but windshield wiper assemblies are also in the mix. Those wiper blade assemblies can be replaced with some photo etched version courtesy of the upgrade set. I went with a hybrid approach with the wiper blades on my model. I used the plastic wiper arms and replaced the blades with the photo etched version. Platz/NuNu provides decals for the weather stripping that surrounds the window components, saving you the need to mask and paint some difficult areas. [Fun Fact: The sheet with the weather stripping decals are identified with numbers, the assembly/placement instructions identifies them with letters. :) It isn't impossible (think jigsaw puzzle) to figure out which one goes where, just use the illustration (Step 14) in the instructions to identify the correct position of a particular decal.] But in their defense, the window parts do fit just so. Before mating the body to the chassis you attach the headlamp/taillight bezels (chrome plated bits) as well as the glass that covers same. Several screens are replicated by cutting a piece of mesh, included with the kit, or you can use the handy metal replacement part from, you guessed it, the upgrade set. I'm beginning to think it would just be foolish to build this kit without it. There is a feature on the real BMW M6. That is the darkened headlamp bezels. This aspect is faithfully reproduced by the kit manufacture and much appreciated. As with any model, your own expertise will dictate how you go about assembling this kit. I would advise leaving some of the fiddly bits (exhaust tips, wiper blade assemblies, rear spoiler, etc.) off until final assembly and decaling is all said and done. Having mated the body to the chassis, the last step is placing all the decals on your BMW M6 GP racer. That step is made easier with the placement guide in the assembly instructions. Note that some of the larger color panels need to be placed before adding the smaller logos and such. Don't fret. Platz/ NuNu makes all this perfectly clear on the decal placement guide. Something that I missed is that a portion of the rear car body needs to be painted black before you begin applying all those decals. It could just be a language problem (remember I don't read or speak Japanese) but that step wasn't that obvious, to me, from the assembly instructions. It might help you to note that the artwork (decals) follow the panel lines on the car. You might also find it helpful to view the finished model on Platz's website. This will give you a good idea how all the decals work in concert with one another on the car. http://www.platz-hobby.com/products/9617.html This BMW M6 GP G3 race winner from Platz/Nu Nu Model kits is a grand model. Assembly is not much of a chore. There is more mold line clean-up than what one would expect but nothing that approaches a deal breaker when it comes to getting one of these kits for your very own. Matting the body to the chassis can be fiddly. Begin that process at the rear and bringing the body down toward the front of the car worked best for me. And, maybe leave the tires/wheels off 'til the last. This model will make a beautiful, colorful addition to your collection. Besides, having the model in your collection will help with imagining yourself in the car as you watch a short, on-board video of Augusto Farfus (a BMW team driver) taking a lap at Macau. Note the circuit map taped to the dash. I've watched this video clip several times and it's kinda fun to try and figure out where on the course the driver is in relationship to that map. (A copy of the map is included on the decal sheet). Besides watching it is also a good way to pick up some ideas should you wish to add more detail to the driver's compartment. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VsjUsrfORA My thanks to Platz/NuNu and IPMS/USA for the review copy. View the full article
  4. Review Author: Patrick Brown Osprey Publishing Bottom Line Up Front: This most recent addition to the Osprey Men-at-Arms Series does its best to make sense of a confusing subject, to the Japanese civil wars of the 1860s and 1870s period. It is well illustrated and provides rudimentary information that is fairly easy to understand. Chapters Historical Background The Boshin War, 1868-1869 Intermission, 1869-1877 The Satsuma Rebellion, 1877 Japanese Forces, 1840-1868 Armies of the Boshin War Armies of the Satsuma Rebellion Weapons Select Bibliography Plate Commentaries Index Japanese Armies 1868-1877 describes the conflict between the fledgling Japanese central government and provincial Samurai clans. It narrates the central governments struggle to create a modern military from the feudal samurai military system and the resistance to this process by the conservative Samurai leaders. The book provides a basic chronicle of the civil war between the government armies and the provincial armies of the feudal Samurai leaders. The weakest point of the book is the lack of maps illustrating the troop movements throughout the various campaigns. Readers who are unfamiliar with Japanese geography will be at a disadvantage. The author included an excellent bibliography which contains most of the premier works on this period of Japanese history. There is also a comprehensive index which makes this book a useful research tool. There is a serious error on page 10 where conservative feudal samurai military leader Saigo Takamori is described as a daimyo, or 'feudal lord'. Takamori was actually heir to a fairly low-ranking samurai in southern Japan. Conclusion Japanese Armies 1868-1877 is about the length and depth of a master's-level term paper, so this is not an in-depth work. Still, it is worth the price for someone wanting to take a first look into the period or to brush up and clarify their knowledge. Many thanks to Osprey for the review copy. View the full article
  5. Review Author: Jim Pearsall Italeri The Sd. Kfz. 251/8 was the ambulance version of the personnel carrier halftrack built by Hanomag. The vehicle was known in the Wehrmacht as the Krankenpanzerwagen, (armored ambulance). It could carry 8 "walking wounded" or 2 stretcher patients and 4 seated casualties. THE KIT There are 4 sprues in the box, along with the decals and instructions. No clear parts. I pretty much followed the instructions as far as assembly, starting with the interior and then putting the top and bottom of the main compartment together. I did take a picture of the interior before I did the final assembly, because that's the last time anyone's going to see the driver's compartment, since there are no windows or openings. I painted the entire vehicle panzer dark gray, including the wheels and the suspension parts. I then painted it with panzer schokobraun in stripes for the camouflage. I then painted the black tires on the track suspension and assembled the suspension parts. I was very pleased with the fit of all of these parts. The only place I had any fit issue was the rear doors on the "passenger" compartment, which had a small gap. The body and the wheels went together very nicely. I applied the decals at this time. My experience is that the more small and delicate parts I have on the model when I put on decals, the more I have to reinstall or repair. The decals came off the backing paper nicely, and were tough enough to be moved into position without tearing or folding. I did have a little trouble with the L shaped markings on the rear fenders, as they wanted to fold. But I convinced them to lie flat. Once the decals were dried, I sprayed a coat of Testors Acrylic Flat to reduce the shine from the Future and to protect the decals. Next it was time to install the tracks. The tracks are "length and link" and do present some interesting moments during assembly. The length sections went onto the wheels quite nicely, and the individual links were put on the drive sprockets, they behaved well. But when it came time to put the links on the rear wheels, they would invariably turn 90 degrees so that the slot which was supposed to fit the next track link would go around the wheel. These were tiny parts, and just getting ahold of them with tweezers and reinstalling them was an exercise in miniature dexterity. I used Testors liquid cement thickened with tube glue to give me a sticky surface to put the track link on, and some time to do the reinstallation. I installed the finished track sections. They went into position neatly, and I was happy with that. I then installed the front tires and the headlights. And the model was finished. I am happy with it. OVERALL EVALUATION Recommended. This kit has some intricate track parts, but the fit is good and the decals are very good. Many thanks to MRC and Italeri for the kit, and to IPMS USA for the chance to build something a little different. View the full article
  6. Review Author: Michael Reeves ICM Brief History Manufactured by the Stoewer Company, as well as BMW and Hanomag since 1936, the light uniform all-road car (leichten gelande Einhets Personen-Kraftwagen) possessed all-wheel drive, independent suspension, and a simplified open body. This particular body, the Kfz.2, was a three-seat communication car with a Torn. Fu.b1 radio set. The Kit The kit consists of 5 styrene sprues, one clear sprue, and a small sheet of decals that represent the four featured schemes in the kit. Construction begins with the chassis, and over the course of the first thirteen assembly steps, you've handled 45 parts. Everything goes together pretty smoothly however. The next thirteen steps have you assembling the engine and inserting it onto the chassis. It builds into quite a nice little kit all itself. Following that, we move onto the floor of the car, adding the fuel tank, bracket, rear reflector, and fuel tank nozzle. This is then added to the chassis. Assembly of the wheels follows-- each made up of three parts. Installing them is a bit tricky-- you not only have to put them onto the axle, but also line up a top and bottom slot and this is not so easy to do as you can't see so well to do it and if things aren't installed exactly in place in previous steps, it is tricky. The radiator, firewall, instrument panel, and fiddly bits are next. Extreme care should be taken here-- the handles and pedals and such break very easily. Decals are included for the gauges which is a nice touch. The side panels get added next and this was very fiddly as there are not the best attachment points to assemble things together. It was a bit of a guessing game. They then have you add the partition for the rear seat and the rear panel. The three part hood fits quite nicely in place over the engine and has great detail. The front seats and fenders are next. The seats lack detail and one of the seat back's inner face had a hard to reach sink mark inside. A three part brush guard and bumper assembly is next, followed by three Kar 95 rifles to be placed in the three crew positions. The gear lever is added here as well, but was snapped in half on the sprue...so I replaced it with wire. Doors, rear deck, windshield, and steering wheel come next. The windshield sort of lays on top of a groove, so you have to decide if you want it in place or laying down. A four part folded canopy is next and lays nicely on the rear edge of the car. The radio set and cabinet is then added to the deck. A few decals can be added to the dials. My only complaint is that one would think there would be a headset of some sort included in the kit-- it is difficult to use a radio without one. I'll grab a set from the spares to fill in this needed detail as soon as I find one. There are parts for either a long or short rear antenna. After adding all the rear fiddly bits (rear lights, license plate, etc), we add the tools, headlights, side mirror, and other small bits. The wipers ended up flying off into the ether when I tried trimming off the sprue bits...so I laid my windshield down to hide their absence. At this, construction is done. Painting and Weathering As mentioned before, there are four schemes in the kit. Three are in Panzer Grey with one based in France and two in Russia, I chose the fourth scheme, a DAK scheme from the Ramcke Brigade based in Libya. I used a Krylon primer gray for the base coat, and then a coat of hairspray. I then sprayed on a custom mix of Tamiya paints for the desert yellow. I then used an old toothbrush with water to wear down to the primer coat where sand may have been kicked up to damage the paint. I didn't use too many decals in this scheme, but what I did use went on smoothly. I finished weathering by applying some oil paint rendering and AMMO washes and pigments. Conclusion This was a nice little kit that went together pretty smoothly. I would've liked to have seen some figures, but there are some pretty good sets from Dragon and Master Box that fit the bill. Other than the lack of true attachment points for the cab sides and no headgear for the radio set, I would heartily recommend this kit to anyone looking to add to their German arsenal. I am grateful to ICM and IPMS-USA for the review sample. View the full article
  7. Review Author: Michael Reeves Tamiya Tamiya has really stepped up it's game in the figure department in the last few years. Starting with single figures and sets in the re-boxing of the Marder III M, Hummel, and 38 (t), the new designs have really made assembly and posing easier than ever. There are notches and tabs that help align the shoulders, legs, and torsos (molded in front and back halves) to avoid any gaps. There are also molded indentations on the back of the torso and in the pouches to attach the extra equipment to so they appear to avoid them looking as if they're simply resting on the torso and belt. The included facial details are also much more expressive and individualized than in the past. In one figure, there is a separate boot and another has a hand separate from the arm which is a bit odd. The drawback to the parts being so specifically keyed to each other is that they really aren't interchangeable. Mold lines are subtle and one figure had some pinholes near the eye that showed up as I was taking my close-ups for the review. That being said, the figures as is are really very good. Inside the side opening box are two sprues for the five included Heer soldiers and a sprue containing weapons and equipment. There is also a set of decals for helmet and uniform insignia, shoulder flaps, collar tabs, belt buckles, and first aid can details. The equipment sprue contains three Kar-98 rifles, a MP40 submachine gun and ammo case, a MG34 machine gun and ammunition case (or first aid box), a grenade case with detailed insert, a pair of binoculars, a couple pistol holsters, and an assortment of bread bags, canteens, mess tins, entrenching tools, and gas mask canisters for each of the five figures. Out of the five figures, three are labeled as Infantry. Infantry 1 is shown "taking a knee" next to the grenade case holding a Kar98k rifle. There are options for two heads- one with helmet and one with cap. This is the aforementioned figure with the small pinholes near the eyes. Infantry 2 is shown posed with one foot atop a small pile of rubble included in the kit, also holding the Kar98k. Infantry 3 is shown standing with his rifle by his side and holding an ammunition case. This is the one true weak spot in the design of the kit for me-- you are to just glue the case to his leg under his closed fist with no visible handle in sight- and if you want to add one, you'll have to drill a hole through the fist to pose it. The remaining two figures include a non-commissioned officer and a machine gunner. The officer is shown holding binoculars and an MP40. He also has the option of the two different heads. The machine gunner is shown holding his MG34 over his shoulder by the front tripod. In all cases (except Infantry 3), the hands are perfectly molded to hold the weapon or item illustrated. After assembly, I primed the figures with Krylon gray for plastic. I used a Vallejo paints for the figures and equipment and AMMO by Mig metal pigments for the metal areas. My figure painting skills aren't the best, but it is nice to have some good expressive figures to use for a base. I kept weathering to a minimum as I am not sure yet what sort of vignette or diorama they'll be placed in. Overall though, I am very pleased with the quality of the figures that Tamiya are putting out now-- they really are molded as nicely as most resin figures I have seen. My sincere thanks to Tamiya and IPMS-USA for the review sample. View the full article
  8. Review Author: Dave Morrissette Omega Models When this first came up for review, I'll admit I never heard of this plane or company which is intriguing. A little quick research and I found that this was one of the first Russian monoplanes and it had an interesting difference with many planes- no ailerons. The ends of the wing bias because of their tether tension control wiring. That was enough for me. Omega Models located in the Czech Republic makes limited run resin models of lesser known subject. This kit comes in cream colored resin in 23 = pieces with decals, instructions and a length of wire. My first action was to wash the parts with dish detergent to remove any mold release and let dry. Next, I separated the parts from casting blocks and sanded down the minimal seam lines. All this prep work is critical as finding paint not sticking or a seam line later is much harder to fix. Construction starts in the cockpit which consists of two seats and two sticks. The stick broke while installing so I scratch built a couple. The seats have a nice approximation of a cane woven back. Once in place, the two opening insert is added. This took a little fussing but installed. This was then only place in the kit I used putty to smooth this part in and it was not a large amount. The tail parts were added making sure they are square. At this time, I added the landing gear struts. Next, one of the struts is cut into four sections and these are the supports for the wings. The drawing shows the location on the fuselage and each 1-2 mm piece was added. The wings were built next and since they are perched on struts, I needed them to be stable so I chose some stiff stainless steel wire and drilled into the wings so the spacing matched the struts and glued the parts to once side first. The instructions call for spacing between wings of 10mm and this was achieved and things glued up solidly. I did not add the wings yet. At this point, the plane was primered and then sprayed a blue green color (in hind sight, I should have gone even more blue). This was set aside to dry. While drying, I worked on the engine and propeller. The engine would have you add rods on the back and front for lifters and the like. The propeller looked well out of scale but checking references of the real plane, Omega is spot on as the prop on this plane was large. I added the decals next. There was some silvering on the wing and fuselage decals and the decals were very resistant to settle until I used Solvaset. There is a set of decals for the wheels and try and try, they would not conform to the wheels regardless of treatment so they were removed. I added the wheels and then flat coated everything for final assembly and rigging. I added the wings onto the supports and they fit well (and surprised me!). To support the rigging, I added the central attachment point and its two braces and painted it wood colored. Once dry and set, I used 0.3mm wire for rigging. I squared the wings up in a jig and started adding wires. Since the sides are mirror images left and right, I added the line in that sequence. When I got frustrated/sloppy/eye-blind, I stopped. Once the top was done, I flipped it over and did the bottom. I touched up the paint and flatted it again and the plane was done. This is a good kit of a relatively unknown plane. With the rigging, rebuilding parts and size, I would recommend it to modelers who have a few kits under their belt. That and the decals would be my only caveat. Thanks to Omega Models for the opportunity to not only build this kit but also for furthering my knowledge of this unique plane. View the full article
  9. Review Author: Dave Morrissette Brengun One of the under recognized armaments for after market has been the depth charge. It is fairly simple to find missiles, bombs and other under wing things all very well done and in most scales but not so much depth charges. Brengun has issued a set (which looks like a rerelease of the Attack Hobby set) of the Mk. 54 Depth Charge in 1/72nd scale. Looking at the set, you get two gray resin blocks which contain the depth charge body and the nose pin for the front arming propeller. There is also a photoetch fret containing 18 pieces, a set of decals and the instructions for assembly, painting and decaling the set. Assembly starts with cutting the depth charges free- make sure the front is flat. You will need to drill a hole here for the front arming pole. Don't forget to trim the sprue on each fin. Cut the arming pole free and be careful. They are about 1mm and I managed to lose one. The photoetch comes next. The rear ring is cut free and bent into a circle and glues in place. The rear arming propeller is added. The front arming pole is added and then the propeller and the depth charge is finished except for painting. The rest of the construction involves the pylons which are each constructed of 6 parts. I suggest having a photoetch bender available as there are bends involved. The top of the pylon is bent and then glued over the bent bottom of the pylon. Attachment feet are added to the top where it meets the plane and lastly, the shackles are added. The depth charge is listed as either olive drab or light gull gray. The fuses are natural metal. The pylon is the bottom color of the aircraft. I went all gray in my painting followed by adding the decals which went on without any issues, Lastly, I added a wash to bring out the details and then a flat coat and finished. This is a great little set but due to the bending required and the size of the pieces, I do suggest some experience. Definitely recommended My thanks to Brengun for the review sample and IPMS/USA for the change to review it View the full article
  10. Review Author: Dave Morrissette Brengun One thing I find very refreshing amongst the modeling community is some of the ideas that come out and this one caught my attention immediately- a dog and his (or her?) doghouse. The set is very simple and comes as five parts. The doghouse is cast as one piece and the roof is separate. The dog, a burn drum and a milk container also come. All are cast perfectly and the only preparation was washing the parts and removing the casting blocks. In looking at this review, I could have just painted the parts but it just begged for a little base and a diorama. So before paint, I grabbed a little wood plaque and added some groundwork with Durham's Water Putty. I impressed the doghouse and drum into it and grabbed a 1/32nd scale pilot and pushed in some shoe prints and let the material dry. The ground was painted several shades of brown and washed with black and dark brown. I added some pieces of railroad ballast for rocks and glued in some grass. More washes and several rounds of flat coat (along with painting the edges black) and we were ready for giving the dog a home. The parts were all primed with Alclad gray primer. Each piece was done separately and added to the base. I wanted the doghouse to be old and weathered so faded brown colors with a Flory brown wash were added. Since the dog slept there, I shredded some paper and tape and added some straw to the inside of the doghouse and glues the roof on and set the doghouse into its place. The burn drum was next and I wanted a rusty old drum with ashy looking burnt wood. The drum was painted with Floquil red oxide and then pars had black added like the paint was barely still there. A wash was added and then various colors of rust weathering powder were added. The inside was painted brown and multiple washes and dry brushes until happy and then flat coated and added to the base. The milk container was painted white. I liked the contrast between the burnt drum and the clean looking milk carton and so I left it and added it. Lastly was the dog and I tried to replicate the paint job of a brown dog with a white chest and white tipped tail. He was added. I flat coated the entire thing one more time. To say this was fun is an understatement. This set could be added to any number of diorama ideas. Highly recommended. My thanks to Brengun Hauler for the opportunity to review this kit. View the full article
  11. The following is a joint announcement from the San Marcos 2020 Convention Leadership team and the IPMS USA Executive Board. We jointly appreciate all the feedback we received regarding this year's convention. We've taken your comments and concerns into careful consideration, while maintaining an ongoing dialogue and negotiation with the Embassy Suites convention center in San Marcos. These negotiations have been proceeding carefully due to the significant financial exposure that IPMS would be subject to if we simply decided to cancel the convention unilaterally. View the full article
  12. Review Author: Tim Wilding AMMO by Mig Jimenez Ammo has released a new line of 20 paint effects colors in 10 ml bottles. I am reviewing four of these colors: #0863 Light Green 0864 Light Olive Drab, 0865 Military Green and 0866 Dark Green. These are the four green tones that they offer, along with blues, greys and earth tones. Here is what Ammo's website says about this new product: "The AMMO SHADERS are a new type of product designed to create a variety of effects on all types of models in a simple and fast way. The transparent and ultra-fine paint allows all skill level of modelers to apply stunningly realistic effects that seemed impossible before. From fading effects to wear and tear, shadows and highlights, altering the colors to different hues, this new range can even be applied to effect base colors like a filter. The SHADERS range give your model a dynamic and interesting finish in just minutes, making these colors perfect for modelers new to the hobby. The all new characteristics allow modelers to create effects that until now could only be achieved using more complex techniques such as glazes, washes, or filters. More experienced modelers enjoy the convenience of applying advanced and complex effects with finesse and ease. The new SHADERS are not just another paint, but a new way of applying professional effects quickly and easily. Create effects with light and volume Quickly change the tone of any color combination Easily add dirt effects and emphasize panel lines New product for quick effects Doesn't need to be diluted. Nontoxic Airbrush application with simple water clean up Correct or clean within several hour working time Unique formula with super fine pigment" I used these four green tones on the new Meng Jeep I was also reviewing. I had used Tamiya's Olive Drab, XF-62, as the base coat. I used 0863 Light Green and 0864 Light Olive Drab on the hood and front fenders to lighten the base coat. I then used 0865 Military Green and 0866 Dark Green on the interior and lowers sides to dark them. I had just a little of the light green in my airbrush, so I added Future and put a tinted clear coat on the jeep before decaling. I liked the ease of just shaking the bottle a little and added a couple drops to my airbrush. These is no thinning required. The paint is very translucent and thin already. It cleaned up fine with Windex and a water flush of the airbrush. I did a test by painting a strip of plastic with Tamiya's Olive Drab and White. I then painted strips of these shaders in rows on both colors. It is hard to see the settle effects on the olive drab, but you an see it on the white. Since these are water based, you can see that it kind of pooled up on the white. I think that it will lay down better over a satin or flat coat. I did find that they brighten up a paint job, but tones back down after clear coating. I will be using these to add more tonal variance on green base coats on future builds. I would like to thank ammo by Mig Jimenez and IPMS for the change to try these new products out. View the full article
  13. Review Author: Brian R. Baker ICM HISTORY: The Polikarpov U-2, later PO-2, was designed as a light training biplane, and first appeared in 1928. It was a two seat, of mainly wooden construction, training aircraft similar in many respects to most late twenties biplanes, and had all of the characteristics required for a military trainer, including rugged construction, a low powered but reliable powerplant, and excellent flying characteristics. It so impressed Soviet authorities that it was produced in very large numbers, over 30,000 being completed by Russian and foreign factories and maintenance units between 1928 and 1953, and the last ones weren't built in Poland until 1959. The PO-2 served mainly as a primary trainer at first, but eventually was pressed into service as a crop duster, military liaison aircraft, med and general supply aircraft, and later as a reconnaissance and light bombing type. During the war, many were used by units made up of women pilots and ground crews, who were very effective in harassing the Germans by making night attacks and keeping them awake. They were called the "Night Witches", and certainly played an important part in the conduct of the war. A number of PO-2's have survived, where they are either displayed in museums or are flown by enthusiasts wishing to preserve the aircraft's history. An internet source lists 36 basic designations for the type, although some are duplications since during the war, the airplane was redesignated from U-2 to PO-2 in honor of the designer, Nikolai Polikarpov, a practice which recognized the efforts of creative designers in the Soviet Union. For example, the Soviet I-26 fighter was later redesignated Yak-1 honoring its designer, Yakovlev, for the same reason. REFERENCES: Aside from the internet, there aren't too many references available on the aircraft, and even on line, there are few photos available. There was a book published by Kagero entitled Polikarpov Po-2, which included 44 pages, 175 photos, color information, and a set of Polish decals in 1/72 and 1/48 scale. The book is based on an example on display in the Polish aviation Museum, and is written in Polish and English. Basically, it gives a lot of information on the museum aircraft, and the excellent color photos illustrate all of the major details of the aircraft. There are two side profile drawings of the museum aircraft, and several color photos of a Polish civil flying example, SP-YPB. If you are looking for detail, this is an excellent resource, but if you are looking for various color schemes and markings carried by the aircraft, you won't find these here. There are some sites on line with a lot more information, and even the instructions in various kits of the aircraft have more information on different aircraft that this book does. One good source uis Wings Palette. Seeing as how there were numerous variants of the aircraft, there must be hundreds of possible color schemes and markings for the aircraft. Good luck on that one. INSTRUCTIONS: The instruction sheet for this model consists of 12 8 1/2 x 11 inch pages of text and drawings. The text is in Russian and English, and the drawings are mainly pictorial, with little if any text required. The drawings are large, clear, and very useful during the assembly process. The last two pages provide good 1/72 scale color drawings showing the four aircraft for which decals are provided. All are armed attack aircraft, and one features skis and snow camouflage. One good feature is the inclusion of the flying and landing wire and the control cable positions, as this airplane had a lot of each. They used to say that if you put a bird in between the wires in a biplane, and it got out, there was a cable or wire missing. That would certainly be true with this airplane. One problem with the instructions is that the drawings are confusing. The engine is shown as being entirely "gunmetal grey" in the side view color drawings, while the instructions show a mixture of gunmetal, steel, and gunship grey. The engine on the color photos of the airplane in the Kagero book shows a silver crankcase with black cylinders and a dark green propeller. The really confusing part is the undersides of all four of the aircraft for which decals are provided. These are shown in the side views as being black with some sky blue details, while in the underside views in the instructions, the undersides of all of the airplanes are painted a sky blue shade, typical of Russian aircraft of that era. I am not aware of Soviet night attack aircraft being painted black underneath, but it stands to reason that they probably were. This is an area that suggests more research. THE KIT: This kit was originally issued around 2013, and I know this because I built one and wrote the review for this website during that year. Maybe this amounts to justification for what we reviewers do, because I noted a couple of problems with the 2013 kit, which was numbered #72241, and comparing the two kits, I found that the producers had completely redone the moldings, correcting the major error, which had the prop rotating in the wrong direction. I noticed this because I've hand propped real airplanes all my life, and this one just jumped out at me. It is nice to know that kit producers pay attention and want to get it right. The original issue from 2013 that I built was #72241. I've seen references to a #72242 for the same airplane, and this one is #72243, which says that there have been two reissues. I haven't seen #72242, so I can't comment on it. The main sprue has 56 parts, the small armament sprue has 31 parts, and the clear sprue has two windshields. There is almost no flash, and the detailing is extremely well done, with the wing fabric being better than I've seen in a long time, and excellent cockpit interior sidewall detail just waiting for superdetailing. There are a lot of small detail parts, but if you are careful, they shouldn't escape, and the effect will be tremendous. This kit is very well done, and was a pleasure to build. And the propeller turns in the proper direction. One problem I encountered with the basic airframe assembly is that the seats, which consist of 6 parts each, are quite flimsy, and their attachment points to the cockpit floor, which is located on the lower wing center section, are very weak. However, the whole thing went together OK, and once the seats were installed and the fuselage halves were joined, there was no problem. ASSEMBLY: The kit goes together pretty easily. The fuselage halves match up and required very little filler. I had to use pretty heavy clamps to get the lower wing section to stay in place, and the vertical and horizontal tail units were very thin, although they lined up perfectly. The wings and tail unit lined up perfectly, and after painting, the upper wings were attached to the airframe using superglue in the little holes provided for the mounting struts. The struts themselves, while very nicely done, required considerable trimming, as they each had several attachment points on the leading edges of the struts. In fact, the underwing skids, about 1/2 inch long, had four attachment points that needed to be trimmed, and one of mine broke off, with part of the unit escaping. I replaced them with plastic rod bent to the appropriate shape. Although the landing gear struts went on easily, the same can't be said for the skis. I suspect that the wheels would have gone on more easily, but the skis had very tiny holes on the mountings, which were supposed to attach to the very small tabs on the landing gear strut. The problem was to get the ski mounted in the correct position, as my model was to be sitting on the ground, or snow. I tried regular Tenax cement, but I had to devise a jig to hold the airplane in the right position, and the Tenax was not fast drying enough to hold it in place. I finally tried super glue, and this worked, but it took a long time (overnight) to dry. Once dry, the gear is very fragile, and must be handled with extreme care. The wire bracing helped. PAINTING AND FINISHING: Unless you intend to paint the entire airplane one color, I would suggest doing all of the major painting before attaching the upper wing. The airplane is fragile enough that applying and removing masking tape on the airframe would be very critical, and you are just about assured that something will break. In the case of the snow-camouflaged PO-2 that I built, the undersides were sky blue, the upper surfaces were white, and the wing and landing gear struts were Russian green. I realize that most of those snow camouflage schemes probably had green showing through due to weathering and wear and tear, but I just painted mine white and let it go at that. DETAILING AND RIGGING: Once the airplane is completely assembled, the details can be added. The instructions state that the small details, such as the control horns for the elevator cables, located on the fuselage sides even with the cockpits, and the small venture tubes on the fuselage sides should be installed at an early stage of assembly. I waited until the plane was completely assembled, and added them just before I installed the rigging wires and control cables. I used my tried and true method of using unstranded electronic wire for these, and it was really not as difficult as it looks. White glue dabs held the wires and cables in place, and wires make it look like a real biplane. Fortunately, all of the flying and landing wires on this airplane are single wires, so there are no parallel wires to consider. However, the rudder and elevator control cables are parallel, but you can get away with single wires if you want to. The windshields are very tiny, and attach just ahead of the cockpits. They had small tabs on the bottom, but there were no corresponding mounting holes in the fuselage ahead of the cockpits, even though it shows on the instructions. I just trimmed off the little pegs and mounted the windshields without them. There is another clear plastic piece, part # D2, which is a window located on the right wing root, and which was there to allow one of the crew members to use a bomb sight. There is a part, #A2, which apparently is the bombsight, which mounts on the right side of the fuselage. My clear part didn't fit properly, and flew away when I tried to mount it in the wing, and I never found it I , however, filled the small hole with clear plastic filler, and it looks OK. The PO-2 in the Polish museum just has an open space, so there were variations on this detail. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: There are several kits of the Russian U-2/PO-2 biplane in 1/72 scale listed in the Burns Guide, , including ABC, Ace, A-Model, Frog, KP, Omega, and Ursus, and the ICM kit has been around for at least 7 years. I have only built the KP kit, and it is a totally acceptable kit, so don't throw any away if you have them. The revised ICM kit is probably the best available at the moment, and although it is not intended for inexperienced modelers, it is certainly buildable, and I would recommend it highly. This is a very important airplane in the history of aviation, considering that over 30,000 were built, and certainly should be represented in any collection of 1/72 models, covering the thirties, forties, fifties, and even later periods. I have built 5 so far, three KP kits and 2 ICM kits, covering military versions and even a crop duster variant. The kit has a lot of potential, and is certainly worth getting several of. Thanks to ICM for the review sample. View the full article
  14. It is with great disapointment that the IPMS Reno, "High Rollers", today must announce the cancellation of our 21st show scheduled for October 3rd, 2020. We are planning on going forward with a show in 2021 and will make announcements on this in the near future. Should you have any questions please email our chapter contact: Douglas E Summers at [email protected] View the full article
  15. Review Author: Dick Montgomery Casemate Publishers Being an aficionado of the history of the aircraft and persons involved in aviation during World War I, this book became a "must have" after reading some of the reviews describing the book. I must say that I was not disappointed in any way, and in fact found this "photo history of the Lafayette Escadrille" one of the most compelling "reads" I've experienced in many a year. The story of The Lafayette Escadrille is laid out in photos, quotes from letters written by the pilots, and historical records of the time. The author spent a year travelling to universities and museums, as well as the actual geographic locations described in great detail in the documentation uncovered during the research phase for the book. The author captured images of some of the buildings frequented by the men of the Lafayette Escadrille and the comparison of historical images and the modern images taken by Ruffin are remarkable. The text reveals that all was not "civilite' and "camaraderie" within this group of aviators, and that resentments toward each other and toward their French "commandant d'escadron" were not only present but obvious to the men involved. The personalities and possible motivations of those who sought to join the "Escadrille" are covered in dramatic and personal detail as are the fates for each of the aviators. The air war was brutal and bloody, as well as a platform for gallantry and honor. The text, often supported by excellent black and white images, help to bring the story of these young men and their machines to life. The paperback version (the version being reviewed) is 194 pages in length with appendices, a list of archival sources, a bibliography, and an excellent index. Table of Contents Foreword Preface Acknowledgments Introduction Prologue 1 A n All-American Idea Takes Shape 2 The Escadrille Americaine Is Born 3 First Blood 4 Into the Grinder 5 Season of Discontent 6 The Battle Continues 7 The Best and the Bravest 8 Misery in the Somme 9 Mac Goes West 10 The Heartbreak of Ham 11 Chaudun and Beyond 12 Hard Times at Senard 13 From Falcons of France to American Eagles 14 Aftermath Epilogue Appendices Selected Bibliography Archival Sources Museums Index I can say, without equivocation, that this publication is the most thorough and detailed historical narrative of the Lafayette Escadrille that I have had the opportunity to study and read. This book is highly recommended due to the excellent maps, large number of stunning black and white images, and detailed coverage of the subject. Thanks to Casemate for providing this copy for review by IPMS. View the full article
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