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  1. IPMS/USA Members - due to a delay in the mailing of the latest Journal, we are extending the voting period for Executive Board and Staff members to October 1. Electronic votes and paper ballots postmarked by that date will be accepted. View the full article
  2. Here are the finalized winners lists from the 2021 IPMS/USA National Contest. View the full article
  3. The presentation from 2021 IPMS/USA National Business Meeting held at the National Convention in Las Vegas has been published. View the full article
  4. Here is the preliminary winners list from the 2021 IPMS/USA National Contest. View the full article
  5. Starting on the weekend of August 14th, the IPMS Reviews website will be offline for a major update which will span multiple days and possibly up to a week. During this time the data on the site will be migrated to a new site - one running the latest, supported version of the web software that runs behind the scenes. There are some other technical reasons why this needs to be done, but I don't want to bore folks. View the full article
  6. Review Author: Ron Bell Kagero Publishing This is another in Kagero's series of books that focus on one particular ship, in this case the HMS Invincible. The book consists of one column of text about the ship that is like what you would read on a kit's instruction sheet and 28 pages of line drawings of just about every aspect of the ship from the island down to the various aircraft that served aboard and the individual defense weapons systems. The drawings vary in scale depending on what they are covering, the main island view being in a smaller scale (1/200) than the views of the defensive weapons (1/100 and 1/50) for example. Also included are two separate back printed 27" X 18" sheets. Three sides of these are line drawings of the entire ship in 1/350 scale and one side is a full color three view print of the ship. All drawings are very precise and clear and show great attention to detail. However, no source for the information used to make the drawings is listed so accuracy would not be determined without comparing the drawings to the actual ship. If you are doing a model of the Invincible these drawings could be very useful in making any necessary corrections and/or adding any additional detail. Thanks for IPMS/USA for allowing me to review this book and to Casemate Publications for supplying the copy to review. View the full article
  7. Review Author: Frank Landrus Guideline Publications Guideline Publications is the UK's leading publisher of modelling and hobby-related magazines. With a world-class portfolio of titles and an international Social Media presence, Guideline Publications has a dedicated readership that is constantly expanding into new areas. Nikolay Yakubovich is an aviation engineer and aviation historian in Russia. He has written at least seventeen monographs focusing on Russian aircraft since 2001. These include a Russian hardcover monograph on the Tupolev Tu-16, published on January 1, 2001 all the way to 2019's Guideline Warpaint 124 on the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17. Publishers include Wydawnictwo Militaria, Tseyhgauz, Eksmo Yauza, and of course, Guideline. Warpaint's latest is their standard A4 format softbound publication that is 68 pages, including 6 pages of 1/72 scale line drawings. I counted 107 clear black and white photographs, 49 color pictures, along with 36 of Andrey Yurgenson's color side profiles and two sets of color four-views. Andrey Yurgenson also contributes six pages that features 30 complete line drawings, 3 black and white scrap drawings, all in 1/72 scale. The front cover features an Andrey Yurgenson color side profile of a Rumanian MiG-3 that was captured in 1941. This was the second MiG-3 captured by Escadrila 19. The Russian colors were overpainted with Rumanian camouflage. AAR ace, Captain Constantin 'Bazu' Cantacuzino, flew this MiG-3 to Brasov, where it was used as an 'aggressor' for training purposes. Under a Russian-Romanian cease fire agreement, all captured Russian aircraft were returned by Rumania to Russia. The black and white photograph at the bottom depicts the handover of MiG-3s to the 172nd Fighter Air Regiment The back cover features two color photographs of one of three MiG-3s that were rebuilt/restored by Aviarestorations and is on display at the Russia Air Force 100th Anniversary Airshow in Zhukovsky, Russia, in August 2012. Nikolay Yakubovich kicks off this tome with the development of the MiG-3 from the prototype I-200 fighter design in 1939. The primary competition was the Polikarpov I-185, however, Antyom Mikoyan had a political advantage; his older brother, Anastas Mikoyan, was a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks. Along with Antyom's first deputy, Mikhail Gurevich, Mikoyan was pulled from Polikarpov and set up as their own experimental design bureau when Stalin became disenchanted with Nikolai Polikarpov. Composed of non-strategic materials, the I-200 first flew on April 5, 1940. At that time the only fighter that was faster was the Heinkel He 100, and the I-200 did that without the engine designed for it, the AM-37, which would add 200 hp over the AM-35 that was available. Indeed, as additional prototypes would be tested, this design would be designated the MiG-1 and it was faster than both its contemporaries, the Bf 109F and Spitfire Mk Vb. The MiG-1 was designed to intercept bombers at high altitude (30,000 feet) and could out-climb, and was unmatched at altitude, however, the majority of the air war between Germany and Russia was fought close to the ground where the MiG's advantages were far less. The Mig-3 production also suffered severe quality issues, ending up with the head of the factory being executed. Nikolay Yakubovich covers all of the variants, up to the MiG-9, along with the prototype aircraft up to I-231. Up next is coverage of the MiG operational use and air combat, followed by a technical description. Included are two contemporary evaluations of the MiG-3 that were quite interesting. The technical description chapter includes fourteen photographs from an operation manual that depict the airframe internals, landing gear, and cockpit. The chapters on Camouflage and Markings and In Detail both use color photographs of the three new build (restored/replicas) and museum replicas. The final chapter discusses available model kits, accessories, and decals that are available. The Chapters include: Creating an Aircraft [Page 03] The MiG-3 Versus the Bf 109F Comparative Flight Performance Characteristics for the Protottype I-200 (MiG-1) and Bf 109F Fighters [Table] The MiG-3 Comparative Data for MiG-3s From Different Manufacturing Series with Spitfire Aircraft...[Table] The MiG-3 Versus the Spitfire The IP-201 Biplanes Based on the MiG-.3 The MiG-7 The Principal Flight Performance Characteristics of the MiG-3 Fitted with the AM-38 Engine [Table] The I-210 (The MiG-9) The I-211 The Battle for Altitude The Principal Data for the Prototype Modifications of the MiG-3 Operations and Air Combat MiG-3 1/72 Scale Drawings by Andrey Yurgenson [Page 36] In the Air Defence Forces Aviation Units The 7th Fighter Air Corps In Naval Aviation An Overall Assessment A Short Technical Description [Page 17] Colours and Markings MiG-3 In Detail [Page 64] Modeling the MiG-3 I found a lot of interesting sections, but the one that fascinated me was the contemporary evaluations of the MiG-3 in "An Overall Assessment". One of several evaluations was by pilot D. Kurdyumov who noted that the MiG-3 "was heavy to fly, slow to climb, and in addition, had a very large turn radius, which dispirited us significantly as we were used to the nimble 'swallows', the I-16s." This assessment is probably not surprising as the MiG-3 was designed to fight at high altitudes. Bringing the MiG-3 to the deck as a fighter bomber eliminated most of its advantages. I was able to read this monograph over four days on a road trip. The text is well supplemented with very clear photographs and captions. Andrey Yurgenson provides the color side profiles and the 1/72 line drawings. This is an excellent reference on the MiG-1 / MiG-3 series and would be a valuable addition to your reference library. Whether you are building the 1/72. 1/48 or 1/32 kits, I would consider this edition essential as an aide to your build. There are also no shortage of decals, photo-etch, and resin bits to detail your kit. Unfortunately, there appear to be no currently available kits of some of the other variants, i.e.: the MiG-1, MiG-3, or the radial powered MiG-9. If you own any of the previous releases in the Warpaint series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased. My thanks to Guideline Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great monograph. Highly recommended! View the full article
  8. Review Author: Frank Landrus Specialty Press Bill Yenne has authored over 75 historical books and ten novels to date. He grew up inside Montana's Glacier National Park where his father was the supervisor of backcountry trails. Bill is also a nationally recognized artist and illustrator with his work being showcased in many national magazines and some of his paintings on display in the official collection of the US Air Force. Bill graduated from the University of Montana in 1971 and founded the American Graphic Systems company. He later graduated from the Stanford University Professional Publishing course in 1989. The AGS BookWorks division has produced some 200 large-format, illustrated books. He has contributed to encyclopedias of World War I and II (for you young'ns, this was Wikipedia before the internet came along). He has appeared on The History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, the Smithsonian Channel, C-SPAN, and ARD German Television. Well known for his airpower focused books, Bill Yenne has been the recipient of the Air Force Association's Gill Robb Wilson Award for "...shaping how many people understand and appreciate airpower". You can find Bill Yenne on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Bill-Yenne-Author-453590554784100/ , on LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/in/bill-yenne-b8a9b88 , and at www.billyenne.com . Bill now lives in San Francisco with his wife Carol where they raised two daughters, Azia and Annalisa. Bill Yenne has had a long association with Boeing and the Flying Fortress and brings this new book on the Boeing Model 299. Bill Yenne covers the Model 299 from Boeing's self-funded prototype that first flew on July 28, 1935, to the last of the 12,731 Flying Fortresses that were built. The bulk of the clear photographs are from the manufacturing lines and cover the developments and changes through the numerous production blocks. Coverage of all the changes to the exterior and interiors are detailed through the photographs. An excellent example is in the Page 33 photographs that depict the Model 299 nose turret, both as a bare frame mounted on a jig without the transparency, and as it was mounted on the Model 299, complete with transparencies. The surprise driver, at least to me, is the vision that Boeing management developed to go from manufacturing a four-engine prototype and another dozen service evaluation aircraft to building over 400 Flying Fortresses a month. This in especially highlighted in the first person format when Boeing committed, at a great risk to the future of the company, the funds to manufacture the prototype for $275,000 ($5.3 M today). On top of that, an additional $150,000 of Boeing's funds were committed as the design process went forward. This square soft cover landscape book's cover features fuselage sections on the Vega production floor of Block 5 B-17G in 1943. The rear cover features two photos. Above is the formal rollout of the first B-17F on May 4, 11942 at the Vega factory in Burbank, California' below is B-17F fuselage assembly at Boeing's Plant 2. The first thing you will notice upon opening the book are the exceptionally clear photographs gracing nearly every glossy page. I counted 344 black and white photographs, 39 color pictures, ten black and white illustrations, and eight color illustrations. The Chapters include: Notes on Flying Fortress Designations Notes on Nomenclature of US Military Organizations [Table] Boeing Aircraft Company or Boeing Airplane Company? Acknowledgments About the Author Introduction Chapter 1: Setting the Stage for the Flying Fortress Chapter 2: Boeing of Seattle Chapter 3: Enter the Boeing Model 299 [Page 033] Chapter 4: The Life and Times of the B-17B Chapter 5: The B-17C and B-17D: The Transitional Variants Gathering Urgency for the B-17C A Suddenly Expanding Aircraft Industry Exporting Heavy Bombers Chapter 6: The B-17E Brings Changes in Philosophy and Method Aircraft Turret Development Though 1941 [Page 68] The Sperry Ball Turret The Tail Turret B-17E Radar B-17E Production and Facilities Seattle Plant Expansion: 1941 The B-17E is Born into War Chapter 7: The B-17F and Scaling Up for Production The BDV Committee The Block System Early Block B-17s Introducing the Modification Center Concept Seattle Plant Expansion, 1942 Hidden in Plane Site Enter the Superfortress The Modification Centers in 1942 [Page 105] Royal Air Force Fortresses The Norden Bombsight The Honeywell C-1 Autopilot B-17F Radio Installations The Vega XB-38 Flying Fortress Tokyo Tanks and the Spring 1943 B-17F Blocks External Bomb Racks Seattle Plant Expansion: Early 1943 Middle Block B-17Fs [Page 140] Later Block B-17Fs Chapter 8: The B-17G: The Ultimate Flying Fortress The Bendix Chin Turret The XB-40/YB-40 Flying Fortress Beginning B-17G Blocks Plywood in Flight The Modification Centers in 1943 Late 1943 B-17G Electronics Systems H2X (AN/APS-15) Radar Seattle Plant Expansion: 1943 into 1944 B-17G Blocks of Early 1944 Boeing's Final Flying Fortress Order Gun Position Changes, Waist, Tail and Cheeks The Cheyenne Tail Turret [Page 179] Subtle Variations and the B-17G Blocks of Mid-1944 Highlights of 1944 B-17G Electronics Systems Boeing B-17G Block 80 and Contemporaries Into the Fall of 1944 The Final B-17G Blocks of 1944 The Modification Centers in 1944 The F-9 "Foto" Flying Fortress Early 1945 B-17G Blocks Boeing B-17G Block 110 US Navy Flying Fortresses The B-17H and Other Variants Winding Down the Modification Centers in 1945 Final B-17G Blocks and Concluding Deliveries From Arsenal of Democracy to Desert Boneyards From Factory Expansion to Disposition of Facilities The Last Factories Fade Away Appendix I: Diagrams and Cutaway Drawings [Page 230] Appendix II: All Flying Fortresses by Variant and Block There are a lot of sections that I found quite revealing, like the section on wooing back the Boeing president from 1933 to 1939, Philip "Phil" Gustav Johnson. Phil Johnson was considered a genius in organizing mass production. One of the major outcomes of the 1938 Munich Conference was that America was woefully behind in recognizing the need for airpower. The day after the Conference, General George Marshall and his friend, General Hap Arnold, would formally command the US Army Air Corps, reporting to President Roosevelt. The flood gates for air power had opened. President Roosevelt mentioned the need for 15,000 aircraft, when the Air Corps consisted of some 2,230 ostensibly available. Those in power in Washington D.C. considered this to be irresponsible, but the dice had been cast. Boeing's corporate attorney. Bill Allen, recognizing at what was soon to happen, convinced Claire Egtvedt to bring back Phil Johnson. Bill Allen's proposal surprised Claire Egtvedt, but he quickly came around to supporting the concept. Phil Johnson was close to retirement, but he saw the winds of war and accepted the offer to return to Boeing as its president. Claire Egtvedt moved on to be Boeing's chairman of the board. The next step was for Boeing to expand manufacturing capacity. Bill Allen and Phil Johnson traveled to Washington D.C. to secure Federal loans to expand Boeing's manufacturing capacity. When Hitler rolled into the Netherlands, President Roosevelt went to Congress for funding for 50,000 aircraft. Like many aviation enthusiasts, I have read many books on the Flying Fortress over the last five decades. This was the first book that I can remember reading that actually addressed the B-17 from a block by block development and the manufacturing capabilities that were required to build the thousands of aircraft in World War Two. The modeler is extremely well served with the glossy clear photographs that provide a wealth of detail for all the variants. I really appreciated Bill Yenne's book and his ability to weave in all the factors that came together to make the Boeing B-17 a success story. This should be an essential tome in any aviation library. My thanks to Specialty Press and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book. Highly recommended! View the full article
  9. Review Author: Jason Holt Kagero Publishing The Messerschmitt Me-210/410 is one of a lesser aircraft in the Luftwaffe legacy. The aircraft was designed in the late 1930's with the hopes of it being a multi-use aircraft filling in as a Fighter, Bomber and Reconnaissance platform. The aircraft began as the Me-210, but due to various technical and design problems, it became the Me-410 due to the major modifications to remedy the shortcomings it had. In essence was an entirely new aircraft. There are two surviving examples, one is with the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and awaiting restoration, and the other is on display at Royal Air Force Museum Cosford. The Topdrawings book from Kagero is a 10 page book with a very brief history of the aircraft itself that is provided in both English and Polish. The drawings comprise of the various Me-210 and Me-410 3 view drawings and cross sections represented in 1/72nd and 1/48 scale. They also include comparison line drawing between the two aircraft so the reader can actually see the external differences between them. Most of the line drawings are of side profiles with expanded close up drawings of distinguishing aircraft features. In the center of the book there are period black and white reference photographs and color profiles of two Me-410's. With Kagero books they typically include bonus items such as vinyl masks or decal sheets. With this publishing they included 2 large double sided 3 view line drawing posters. Special attention with these drawings includes armament/cockpit layout as well as a comparison between the Me-210 and the Me-410. These posters are super enlarged drawings that are included in the book itself. I enjoyed this book and would like to thank Casemate Publishers for supplying IPMS Reviewer Corps for this copy. View the full article
  10. Review Author: Blaine Singleton Pen & Sword The Author Darren Neely is the author of several photo survey books on WW2 subjects including Panzer wrecks 21: German Armor and the forthcoming Operation Nordwind in the Images of War series. Contents: The book is divided into four unnamed chapters covering the 3rd at the invasion of Normandy until the end of the war. In the Book The book is hardbound has 4 chapters and 306 pages. Most of the pages have at least two black and white photographs on each of them. Some of the subjects covered in the book include: The menace of the panzerfaust teams and their toll on the 3rd's vehicles. Participation in the Battle of the Bulge The U.S. loosing all of their medium tanks in the battle of Cherain. M-24 Chaffee gets name from Maj Gen Adna R Chaffee the first commander of the Armored Force. The first M-24 tanks were sent to Army field units during the Battle of the Bulge. The introduction and effectiveness of the M-26 Pershing, now the United States had a tank that could take on the Panzers and Tigers (introduced after the Battle of the Bulge). Summary This book is not much of a story book, instead it is filled with black and white pictures of the daily life, movement of the 3rd Armor division. There are two-page descriptions at the beginning of each chapter about the major phases and movement of the 3rd then the rest of the chapters are photographs activities. For anyone interested in the 3rd Armor division or wanting reference photos of vehicles (Allied and German) this is a great book. I want to thank Casemate and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to read and review the book. View the full article
  11. Review Author: Michael Reeves Pen & Sword There is probably no more well-known figure from the Great War, or more written about or discussed, than the infamous Red Baron- Manfred von Richthofen. The original ringmaster of the Flying Circus, his record stands for itself and no plane from that war stands out more from historians down to watchers of Snoopy and his antics in his Sopwith doghouse. This thin book at 157 pages is filled with excellent clear photographs of von Richthofen from his childhood up through his career to his bitter end over enemy lines. More on that later. Going from the table of contents, it doesn't seem like there is much inside with only two chapters and then some appendices, but these two chapters take up the first 127 pages of the book. After a brief introduction, the author details the events leading up to the start of the war and Manfred's early life and time in military school, and then delves into his start in the cavalry and eventual transfer into the Air Service as an observer. After meeting the great Oswald Boelcke in October of 1915, his desire to become a pilot was spurred on, and despite some early mishaps and accidents, he successfully passed his final flying exam and became a pilot on Christmas Day of the same year. Interspersed throughout the informative text are numerous photos taken of Manfred through the many stages of his military career as his fame rose. I never really realized how many photographs were actually taken of him, and nearly all are ones I have not seen before. Chapter two opens up with Manfred at about 40 victories and carries on up to the end at 80, as well as a major head injury in battle. The chapter concludes with a thorough overview of his being shot down and killed. There are many photos of the wreckage and those possibly involved. The chapter concludes with four possible scenarios for how he met his end: Captain Roy Brown, Australian gunner Robert Buie, Australian gunner Cedric Popkin, or an unknown rifleman. There is a following section detailing Richthofen's post mortem that I found fascinating. Finally there are two appendices-- one listing his 80 victories and another listing all of his decorations and awards. A glossary and index completes the book. Conclusion I found this small book to be immensely interesting and informative. There is no end to the wealth of lore and accounts of the Red Baron out there, but this book makes it easy for someone just learning of his exploits to get a pretty good overview of the man and the pilot in one place. As someone who has been interested in WWI aviation for as long as I can remember, this book was great for me as well and almost has me cracking open that Wingnut Wings kit I have been treasuring in my stash. My thanks to Casemate Publishing and IPMS-USA for the review sample. View the full article
  12. Review Author: Gino Dykstra ICM ICM has finally filled a big gap in their ongoing World War 1 Infantry series by releasing a set of early-war Belgian Infantry. Unlike most of the previous sets which displayed figures advancing toward an unseen enemy, this set displays Belgian infantry in what must be the most iconic fashion for the period depicted - fighting from a defensive position. The set includes three infantry figures in the traditional shakos, all crouching or kneeling, two actively firing their rifles and one cocking or reloading his weapon. It also includes an officer figure armed with sword and pistol. The set includes two sprues of equipment suitable for Belgian infantry from 1914 all the way to 1918, when they wore khaki uniforms with helmets. Speaking of equipment, the average modeler might find the supplied gear a bit confusing, so permit me to comment a bit on this. The Belgian Army of 1914 was a mostly volunteer affair and took its influence from two different sources. The uniforms were cut along almost the exact lines of the French uniform of the time, but the equipment was mostly German or German-influenced. Their rifles were German-made Mausers, and much of their personal gear was either German-made or influenced, which is quite noticeable with these figures, who have German-style backpacks, canteens, shovels, and other gear. Only the single cartridge box mounted at the front of the torso are strictly a Belgian design - one that would be dispensed with as the war dragged on. In assembling the infantry figures, there inevitably will be a certain amount of putty work required, simply because of the complex drapery of the coats over the lower legs. This has been handled quite expertly in the molding, by the way. In addition, most of the arms come in multiple pieces to simplify the fitting of the rifles in firing mode. Patience is required to establish the poses correctly, but they certainly look good when completed. The officer, on the other hand, is a bit of a disappointment, at least to me. His right hand, which is holding a diminutive pistol, is definitely undersize as is the pistol itself. I cut off the poorly-molded version and replaced it with the one from the equipment sprue, but it still didn't look right. The molded straps for the sword and other gear are a also bit iffy - the sword mounts much higher on the body than it probably should, and the pistol holster also rides too high. If I was doing the figure over, I'd probably shave the straps off and remake them from lead strip to an appropriate length. As a final issue, the officer's sword, which comes from the equipment sprue, is made up of two ill-fitting pieces which bear little resemblance to the cage hilt shown on the cover art. Speaking of which, the equipment sprues will prove useful to anyone interested in Belgian infantry as they each include no less than three different mess kits, three regular rifles as well as a carbine, two different types of bayonet, late-war helmets, ammunition pouches and other useful bits. The officer's sword, as noted before, is iffy, and despite including three rifles with separate bolts, only two bolts are actually provided on each sprue, which seems a bit odd. Painting the figures is an interesting process, as there is a certain amount of debate about the correct colors. Although officially the coat was supposed to be black and the pants gray, in fact much of the stock in their inventory was French in origin, so that dark blue coats and pants ranging to light blue were not uncommon. About the only regret I have with this particular set is that they didn't include the other distinctive Belgian infantry headpiece, which resembles a top hat with one brim turned up. For my assembly, I replaced the pistol and right hand of the officer, but otherwise the only modifications I made to any of them was to add straps to the rifles. The end result is quite pleasing to my eyes, at least, and fills a real void in my collection. They're going to look terrific fighting in front of my Minerva armored car model. Hats off to ICM for adding this lovely set to their continually amazing line of World War 1 figures, and thanks to IPMS/USA for letting me give these a try. Stay safe, everyone, and happy modeling! View the full article
  13. Review Author: Dick Montgomery Heimdal C'est une magnifique publication, riche en prose et en photographie. Presentee en francais, mon manque de maitrise du francais me fait passer a cote de la qualite de la prose, mais la photographie ne necessite pas de traduction precise. In English - This is a magnificent publication, rich in prose and photography. Presented in the French language, my lack of command of French means that I am missing out on the quality of the prose, but the photography and the captions for the images does not require precise translation. While the book is in the French language, some ability to read and understand French would be extremely helpful. My command of French is, at best, that of a six-year old. But even with a remarkably disappointing ability to speak and write in French, I found that the captions of the photographs were not at all difficult to roughly translate and to understand. When all else fails, one can seek an online translation tool. This publication is the second of three publications that are currently available on the Hiemdal website. Volume 1 covers the story of the 2nd Panzer Division in 1935 through the fighting at Rauray and in the Cheux area in June of 1944. That first << Tome >> was reviewed by IPMS, and that review can be seen at << https://web.ipmsusa3.org/content/normandie-1944-2-panzer-division-tome-1-reformation-et-combats << For those who have a limited French vocabulary, it is possible to follow the text to varying degrees by simply reading the text slowly and using accompanying images to provide helpful guidance as to the meaning of the text. This being the case for this reviewer, the organization of information was presented mostly in chronological fashion, with support from the images, maps, and documents the author had uncovered during the research phase of his preparation for publication. The book goes into remarkable detail about the personalities of those in command. Also covered in detail are descriptions of the vehicles being used by the 2nd Panzer Division and the positive or negative attributes of these weapons. For those who model armor and for those who model figures of German soldiers of W.W.II, this book is rich in reference material. "Tome II" (Volume II) covers the 2nd Panzer Division from July 1 ( 1er juillet) through August 12, 1944 (12 aout 1944). Table of Contents Sommarie (Summary, aka Table of Contents) Transition Page 4 Apres 20 jours de combat (After 20 days of fighting) Page 16 Westlich Caen Panzer en detachement. ( Panzer on detachment) Panther a Noyers Page 32 Jagdpanzer IV - cote 112 (Hill 112) Page 64 Defense Ectot/Hottot Page 70 Stellungskrieg face a face a Caumont (face to face in Caumont) H.K.L Caumont Page 84 La Vacquerie Page 100 Lignes arriere (Rear Lines) Page 116 Kampfgruppe Kohn et Koch Saint-Andre/Saint Martin Page 132 Kampfgruppe Sterz May-sur-Orne Page 150 Front De Vire De Moyon a Tessy-sur-Vire Vers la Manche (Toward the Channel) Page 168 Moyon- la Denisiere Page 186 Le Mesnil-Opac et Troisgots Page 204 Tessy-sur-Vire Page 212 Le couloir des Pz.Kpfw.IV Page 230 Panzer Objectif Avranches Kampfgruppen Schake et von Meyer Zur Avranches Page 252 Le Mesnil-Adelee Page 266 Le Mesnil-Tove Page 280 Vers Falaise Page 302 Annexes Feld-Ersatz-Bataillon 82 Page 304 Regardless of one's ability to speak French, this publication has hundreds of images of the men and equipment that were involved in the combat covered between July 1 and August 12th. Along with these stunning images, there are maps which are of great assistance in gaining a bird's eye view of the fighting. The book also contains a large number of color illustrations of some of the vehicles that are seen in the B&W images. This book is recommended for several reasons. The photographs are stunning. Those who model armor and those who are "figure" fans have a treasure chest of sharply focused, clear, and detailed images available to them. I am of the opinion that it is not necessary to be fluent in French to find this book worthwhile and very enjoyable. Merci a Casemate et Heimdal d'avoir fourni cette excellente publication a IPMS / USA pour examen. (Thanks to Casemate and Heimdal for providing this excellent publication to IPMS/USA for review.) View the full article
  14. Review Author: Rick Taylor Vargas Scale Models Introduction Necessity is the mother of invention. Once the combatants in the Great War settled into the trenches, the Italians faced a desperate shortage of heavy artillery. To help fill this need, Demetrio Maggiora invented a short range 320mm (12.6 inch) mortar powered by acetylene gas. The acetylene was generated in canisters like a miner's lamp. The gas was transferred into a spherical combustion chamber where it was ignited to launch the projectile. The mortar was muzzle loading and had a very short range - just enough to reach the enemy trenches. It was first used in the Second Battle of the Isonzo in 1915 and was only in service for a short time until more capable weapons became available. Review Vargas Scale Models from California USA specializes in interesting and unique subjects from World War One and the Interwar periods in 1:35th scale. All are CAD designed and 3D printed in resin. Sales are direct to the modeler on eBay. The kit is packaged in a small sturdy corrugated cardboard flip top box. Inside are the instructions, and zip-lock bags with twenty 3D printed resin parts cushioned in bubble wrap. The instructions are two pages double sided printed in color. They consist of CAD renderings to highlight the assembly. There is no parts list or painting instructions. No decals or PE are included or needed. The parts are printed in a gray resin. The kit includes the mortar, bipod, acetylene generators, vinyl hoses, six nicely printed mortar bombs, and an optional barrel extension. The nature of the subject calls out for a trench emplacement base. Build Unlike cast resin, there are no pour plugs or mold parting seams to remove. Nor are there pin holes or air bubbles to fill. Unlike styrene, you get lots of detail with a shockingly low parts count. 3D printing does introduce a couple of new steps in the build process. The parts require thorough cleaning with a toothbrush in warm soapy water followed by rinsing in warm water and blow drying with your airbrush. To ensure that the resin is fully cured, lay out the parts in direct sunlight for several minutes. Too long in the sunlight will cause the resin to get very brittle. Some of the parts exhibit 3D print striations. Priming the unassembled parts with an inexpensive rattle can sandable, automotive primer or a good self-leveling hobby primer like Mr. Surfacer 1000 in a rattle can will fill most of these striations. The remaining striations can be sanded out. Once the parts are cleaned up, the assembly is trivial. The instructions are minimal but adequate. Although the parts fit is excellent, dry fit everything before assembly. I used five-minute epoxy to give more working time to align the mortar tube, combustion chamber, and cone. Medium CA was used for the other joints. Painting and Weathering As the parts were primed with gray sandable automotive primer prior to assembly, I pre-shaded the assembled mortar with Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black and highlighted the upper surfaces with Tamiya XF-2 Flat White. From the few period photos, the mortar appears to a slightly lighter shade than the uniforms of the crew. This likely means that they were painted gray green. I used LifeColor UA 213 Grigio Verde Chiaro, thinned 1:1 with a mixture of LifeColor thinner and 10% Liquitex Flow-Aid. I gave the acetylene canisters a base coat of Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey followed by AK Interactive Worn Affects. One canister was airbrushed with Life Color UA 213, while the other was airbrushed with Tamiya XF-65 Field Gray. They were then moistened with water and chipped and scratched to give a very beat up look. The kit includes two lengths of clear vinyl tubing for the gas hoses. I could not get primer or paint to stick to these, so, I replaced the vinyl tubing with Evergreen rod bent to shape. The gas hoses were brush painted with Tamiya XF-57 Buff. With the base color and chipping complete, I applied a dot filer of various Winsor & Newton Winton oil colors and Mona Lisa mineral (white) spirits. After allowing the oils to dry, I airbrushed everything a glossy clear coat of Future. AK Streaking Grime was used as a pin wash followed by a light dry brushing with Winsor & Newton Yellow Ochre. I added a generic Archer data plate and sealed everything up with a matt finish of Testor's Dullcote. Wear points were rubbed with a pencil and/or Uschi Chrome powder. Conclusion This kit highlights how CAD and 3D printing technology can give us good kits of unique and obscure subjects that are not economically feasible in styrene or even cast resin. The kit builds into an excellent replica out of the box. Due to the need for CA glue and epoxy, it is more appropriate for experienced modelers. I highly recommend the kit and hope to see more new Great War and Interwar kits from Vargas. Vargas Scale Models offers their kits for sale on eBay at vargasscalemodels. Thanks to Vargas or providing the review kit. View the full article
  15. Review Author: Brian R. Baker Croco Models HISTORY The Yakovlev UT-3 was designed as a training aircraft to offer instruction to pilots of multi-engined aircraft, gunners, bombardiers, and radio operators. Construction was mainly of wood, with fabric covering and some steel tubing. Imported French Renault 6Q engines were used on the prototypes, but production models probably had a Voronezh MV-6, a Russian copy of the French powerplant. The prototypes first flew in 1938, and some were equipped with armament, 7.62 mm machine guns and bombs, but production models were unarmed. Production began at two plants, No. 272 at Kazan, and No. 135 at Leningrad. Only a small number, around thirty, had been produced when the authorities decided to use combat aircraft for this type of training, so further production was cancelled. There were numerous variants thought about or only produced in prototype form, including some with twin rudders, and some had fixed landing gear while other had retractable units. Most of the variants had only one or two prototypes, and only one civil transport version was built, with seats for two crew members and five passengers. There is really little information available on this aircraft, even on line, although several publications, especially Bill Gunston's The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft, 1875-1995, provide information on the type. INSTRUCTIONS The kit comes in a plain brown box with little marking except for a title, Yakovlev UT-3 (3 version) Scale 1/72, and the originators of the kit, Project: Leonid Shilin (author) and Mike Dolgov (master). The Brand name, Croco, appears in very small print, along with a crocodile cartoon. The box has almost no information other than that. The instruction sheet is 8 1/4" by 5 3/4" in size, containing exploded assembly drawings, viewed from above and below the model, showing how the parts are to be assembled. Part numbers appear in the drawings, but these are not identified anywhere else. There is no other information. I recall reviewing my first Croco kit, a Miles M.8 "Peregrine" and remember the same problems, a lack of information provided with the kit, and since Croco tends to produce kits of unusual and little known airplanes, this can present a problem. There are no three view drawing except for the side view on the box, and no indication as to whether the landing gear should be retracted, lowered, or fixed in position, and there is very little information as to the seat positions. Of course, interior colors require total guesswork. There is a decal sheet included, and this includes ten red stars, some with white outlines, and four red trim stripes, probably for the engine nacelles, although there is no reference to this on the box art or instructions. The decals are of very good quality, and do not require trimming. All in all, the whole thing makes up into an attractive little airplane, and the nice thing is that it is one that has probably never been made into a kit before. But the instructions certainly were only moderately helpful, and much more information should have been provided. THE KIT The kit consists of almost 40 resin parts, and three vacuformed clear plastic parts, including the cockpit canopy, nose transparency, and several small triangular pieces for the front windows on the fuselage sides. I just filled these in with white glue, but the vacuform parts were quite well done. There are extras in case you screw one up. The resin cast parts had adequate surface detail, and required only a small amount of trimming. The problem with the resin parts is that apparently some kind of chemical was used to prevent the resin from sticking to the molds, and all of the parts need to be soaked and washed in a strong liquid detergent to remove this material. Otherwise, paint will not stick to it, and I found that parts had a strong tendency to slip out of my hands because of the slippery surface of the parts. Even after washing the parts, I found that acrylic paint did not adhere well to the surface, and that a lot of touch up painting was required. ASSEMBLY However, assembly was quite easy. The wings came in three parts, with the outer panels attaching to the center section assuring the correct dihedral angle. Mold attachment marks needed to be removed, and in a few cases, filled in. Some filler was required to fill in gaps, but there wasn't a lot of surface detail that needed to be protected. I used super glue for all of the assembly, and it seems to be holding pretty well. The tail assembly looked like it would be a problem, with very small mounting tabs, but they mounted easily and are very secure. The engine nacelles are a bit dicey to attach, but while they needed some filler, they fit in nicely, and the engine cowlings slid right into position with little problem. The propellers, however, were a different issue. They consisted of four blades and two spinners. The idea was to glue a blade to each side of the spinner. Apparently, the props rotated British style, opposite to the American rotation, and the blades didn't look too good. I tried, but ended up using the props from a scrapped Airfix Avro Anson, which were about the right size and the correct rotation. They had no spinners though, but then all airplanes that were built with prop spinners didn't always use them. They look convincing, and since due to lack of information I can't really say that I am building a model of a specific airplane, I was satisfied with the result. The finishing touches on this model are somewhat strange. The landing gear on the box art shows a retractable gear, while some of the information I found online states that some of these planes had fixed gear. However, the box art shows retractable. The instruction sheet shows both landing gear doors closed and in the up position, with a small bracing strut running from the rear of the main gear strut to a position along the center line of the gear doors. The instructions actually say to glue the doors together in the closed position and attach them as if they were closed. I ended up leaving the gear doors open and constructing a longer bracing strut to support the main gear struts. The gear doors would have to be trimmed in front to get them to fit anyway, and there may be a reference on the bottom instruction drawings, although I could not read that particular language. (It looked like Russian). I can think of no reason why designers of this type of airplane would create such a complicated retractable landing gear assembly that allows the doors to fold up and a strut to run through them to brace the main gear strut. There would be no point in this. This is the third issue by Croco of a model of this airplane, versions 1 and 2 coming before this one. There are reviews of these kits online, but they are really not very helpful for the above mentioned reasons. One problem I noticed was that the fuselage top cover, Part No. 17, is provided as a long cover which is attached behind the cockpit windows and runs to a position near the rear of the cabin. The drawings tend to hint that there should be an open space about 4 feet long, but without any trimming, and actual space is less than a foot. I don't know how this happened, but it should have been mentioned in the instruction sheet, regardless of the language. When almost finished, I trimmed the vacuform canopy parts and glued them onto the fuselage with super glue. I trimmed masking tape and taped over the windows, masking off the clear parts. For the triangular windows in the nose section, I filled them in with white glue. You can't see anything inside through those windows, but there isn't anything to see anyway, as the total interior detail consists of three seats, an instrument panel, two rudder pedals, and control wheel assembly. I was rather surprised that the kit included three small venturi tubes and a very nice tailwheel. However, there is a rear step that shows on the box art and in what few photos are available, and this is not included. I had to add this. PAINTING AND FINISHING Once the model was assembled and filled in, I painted it. I have been using acrylic paint recently, and have found it to be a little harder to work with than regular enamels. After several heavy washes with detergent, my spray painting of the basic airframe seemed to work, although some of the paint came off when I removed the masking tape, and I had to do some touch up. When I finished my painting, I sprayed the whole thing with Glosscote, and then applied the kit decals. They were on easily, and then I took care of the small details. For some reason I was unable to locate the positions of the pitot tube for the airspeed indicator and there doesn't seem to be a photo available that shows the position of any radio antenna mast. Certainly, these planes carried radios, but there is no indication where the equipment would have been. So mine is non-radio equipped. Less stuff to go wrong. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS This is not a kit for beginners. It requires a certain amount of skill, and a lot of patience. However, you will wind up with a model of an airplane you've never heard of before, and it will look nice on you model shelves next to other obscure Russian aircraft. Get one of these and try it. You are likely to come out with a very nice model. Recommended, with reservations. Thanks to Croco Models for the review copy. View the full article
  16. Review Author: Dave Morrissette Platz An available set for the Platz/NuNu McLaren MP4/2C is part Ne00001 and is made for kit PN20000. Included in the set are: Four decal sheets covering carbon fiber additions One decal sheet with lettering One decal sheet for additional coloring for the car in orange and yellow Two photoetch sheets with many extra parts One stencil and metal sticky sheet for replicating heat shields One chrome sprue of connectors Also included are multipage instructions and these were done perfectly. Each step in the aftermarket package matches the steps in the kit instructions so as you go along, check both sheets. The carbon fiber decals cover almost all of the entire body and cockpit of the car and are in several colors depending on location. You can see the ones covering the seat in the attached photos. These decals are thick, and I spent time and effort getting them to settle with Solvaset, but they will settle. There are 46 decals of dark carbon fiber and 9 for the seat and cockpit. Unless you leave the body loose or off, many will be hidden. They are a great improvement to the underbody and frame and are visible. Take your time and let them dry and set well before adding the overlapping ones. The sticky aluminized sheet is cut into six parts utilizing the stencils. There are the parts surrounding the engines. Use a sharp knife as the sheets are thick and have some tight trimming. They do provide a nice reflective surface, but none will be seen if the body is glued shut. The two photoetch sheets replace parts such as the front and back wing fins, cooling for radiators and intercoolers, supports for the seat belt and many others. That being said, there are many extra parts left that are not called for such as fasteners. There is a set of buckles for the seat belt. A length of woven belt is provided. I cut this to length and tried to get the buckle material through the belts. They frayed and I gently heated the ends and flattened them and could not get them threaded. They look fantastic but, in the end, I used foil for the belts. There is a sprue of chromed connectors of four different types. These are not mentioned in the instructions. I assume they may be used to plumb and wire things. There was no mention anywhere of these parts. Lastly, there is a decal sheet with lettering not mentioned, several sizes starting with "M" and then a line of indicators. Looking at the real car, it had Marlboro's name on the car six times. Each of these decals is provided with the first letter and then each of the remaining seven letters as individual decals. The decals on the rear fin are split as the fin is split also. So to label this on the car takes a total of 48 decals. The individual letters are aligned with the lettering marks attached to the M which is clever. Not sure if legalities or political correctness made them take six decals and turn them into 48 but they were very prominent on the real car and I added them. This set is very comprehensive and makes the kit really stand out. To me, the markings along plus carbon fiber make the kit really pop. And if you leave the body loose, this is mandatory. Thanks to Platz/NUNU for the opportunity to build it. More pictures are available at the full build of the kit too! View the full article
  17. Review Author: Dave Morrissette Platz A little background about the car the kit represents: It was the MP4/2C that McLaren introduced to the 1986 F1 Grand Prix. The McLaren MP4/2 was designed by John Barnard for the 1984 season. The McLaren MP4/2C was the updated version powered by a TAG-Porsche 1.5 litre V6 twin turbo engine with carbon monocoque chassis. A. Prost and K. Rosberg were the drivers. Rosberg ran a one-off livery in yellow/white, different from the common red/white livery, and was successful in attracting the attention of the fans and had a huge promotion effect. The kit gives you markings to make the car driven by either driver. Looking at the kit, there are 80% new tooled parts to produce the car as in the 1986 Portuguese Gran Prix and includes details such as the suspension and cockpit, as well as the TAG-Porsche V6 twin turbo engine. Inside the box, there are seven sprues including a small clear sprue holding the windscreen and rear light. There are four rubber tires, a set of screws for attaching the wheels and three decal sheets. There is an optional "Detail Up Set and it was incorporated into this "build project" and I will mention it when used. One thing I can say is that the instructions for the detail set were laid out perfectly in the instructions. The steps match exactly the steps in the actual instructions and show replacement parts, etc. Construction starts with the engine, transmission, and suspension. Take note that there are three holes to be drilled out on the transmission. Color call outs are in Gunze colors. One note, the kit is molded with texture for the carbon fiber parts (which is almost everything) and the detail set replaces all of these. Also note that there are many decals to be placed on the engine, turbo's, etc. all through the build. These are denoted by notes indicating decal and number. Assembly was straightforward, but in hindsight I would leave off the rear suspension to allow for alignment. Next is the bottom pan in step 5, and here the detail set kicked in. The entire bottom pan is covered in decals of carbon fiber. Fourteen large ones that need time to settle. There is also photoetch for the nose and exhaust areas and silver stickers to represent the engine pan. The decals do make the parts look great. Once done, the front suspension was added. Next, we turn to the "cockpit". There are lots of decals for carbon fiber including the entire seat and body! It looks great but take your time. I did use Solvaset on the decals and they even resisted that. Also, all of the work here will not be seen if the top is not removable, except the seat. The following steps pull it together by adding the engine and remaining suspension to the body pan, and then adding the cooling system. NOTE- DO NOT add parts M7 and M8 until you add the cockpit to the body. AND BTW, don't forget to add the PE radiators into cockpit sides. I did and they cannot go on after assembly. Nuts! I screwed this up and had to pull them off to get it to fit. Sigh. Follow the instructions!? The tires can be screwed onto their mounting seats. I set this aside to work on the outer shell. I started by building the tail wing and used the photoetch replacement parts and carbon decals. The main shell consists of the front and back parts, and I glued and puttied these together, several parts were added to complete the scoops and cockpit. The sides were added to the top also. In hindsight, I should have added the sides to the bottom and it would have been easier. As for painting, there are two sets of markings, one for either driver. I chose the yellow/white livery of the #2 car. Decals are included for both but I chose to paint the kit and the yellow parts have a clear delineation, so it was easy. Several coats and clear coats later, it was time for decals. The instructions on the un-detail up kit shows a few decals, but this is where the decal up shines. Missing glaringly are the six Marlboro logos. These were added and make a huge visual difference. Once added. I clear coated and let dry for final assembly. With my gluing of the sides to the top, this became difficult so do not do it. I managed to slide things into place around the rear suspension. The body is on pins and is meant to be removable to show off the detailed interior. This project was a bit of a learning experience for me but this kit was a lot of fun and looks really cool! Definitely recommended and so is the "Detail-Up" set. My thanks to Platz/NuNu for the opportunity to review this kit. View the full article
  18. Review Author: Dave Morrissette Twobobs Aviation Graphics TwoBobs has been producing decals for modern planes for a long time and has tons of superb decal sheets available. Several of the latest sheets deal with the 1/48th scale A-10 Warthog and this sheet, 48274 is titled, "A-10A/C Brrrrt to the Future", and provides markings for three A-10's- two A versions and one C version. The markings cover: A-10A 80-0221 in special arctic scheme from Operation Cool Snow Hog 82-1. There is a bonus set of markings for this aircraft in 1/72nd scale included. A-10A 80-0186 from Desert Storm. This aircraft suffered severe damage from an SA-16 during a mission and was quickly repaired and put back into service within 7 days. A-10C 80-0186 from the DARPA/AFRL Persistent Close Air Support (PCAS) program. This is the same SN as the Desert Storm aircraft on this sheet. This aircraft was utilized as an Optionally Piloted Vehicle (OPV) to facilitate testing of some leading edge Joint Terminal Attack Control (JTAC) technology development and testing for this very leading edge program. Many of the technologies developed on this program have been implemented into current JTAC/TACP capabilities. Inside the package are full color instructions with all the needed notes to build any of the three planes. All have left and right profiles along with top and bottom profiles. Color call outs, notes on the specific plane and some history are provided. There is one decal sheet perfectly in register and printed by Cartograf. As a bonus note, there are 1/72nd decals provided for the A-10A Snow hog! One of the things that got my attention was this particular plane. Most A-10's are gray or in the Euro camouflage scheme. From the sheet, a pair of A-10's were deployed to Alaska for Operation Cool Snow hog in 1982 for a close air support role. Experimentally, they had white camouflage added over the normal scheme and it makes it unique, so I had to build it. I used a Hobby Boss kit I had laying around and proceeded to build OOB. There are great notes in the instructions about the paint used. The Pave Penny pod was left off due to non guided bombs but the pylon was left on, etc. Once built and glossed, the decal performed flawlessly. They snuggled into place with only the least coaxing. One easy thing was that the white painted areas had no decals. Once done a quick flat coat and the project was finished. So, great subjects, well researched and cool schemes and flawless decals- what more could anyone ask for! Highly recommended. My thanks to TwoBobs for the opportunity to review this set and build a unique A-10. View the full article
  19. Review Author: Rob Booth HMH Publications In my stash are a couple of old ESCI 1/48 Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets along with the newer Kinetic issue. The Alpha Jet is a beautiful aircraft reminiscent of a dolphin in mid-air, having launched from the water in a playful breach of the surface. The craft was developed as a European trainer jointly by France and Germany. It was perfectly suited for that mission: forgiving, fast, agile and excellent overall vision from the cockpit. The type has served for over 40 years in the training role. Germany used the type as a close support platform. France still uses the Alpha Jet for their colorful demonstration team (Patrouille de France) aircraft, as does Portugal (Asas de Portugal). The Alpha Jet was also used by QinetiQ in the UK by the Test Pilots School, and Top Aces, the German based contract adversary company. Alpha Jets have used by several other nations as the primary and advanced trainer platforms, as well as light attack and CAS roles for their Air Force pilots. Among those air forces are those from Belgium, Egypt, Morrocco, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon and Togo, Thailand and others. For the modeler, the Alpha Jet represents a blank canvas for a multitude of colorful camouflage and markings. I have the excellent decal sheet from Caracal (48044) that would take care of all three of these kits. I also own three other Duke Hawkins HMH reference books. For that reason, I was eager to review this excellent reference offered by Casemate Publishers. This 114 page paperback provides the modeler with a fully-packed and detailed reference photo book on the type. It features 280 walk-around, in flight and specific component photographs of this nimble little jet. The many photos of actual cockpit details and exterior profiles and components will provide good modelling reference. There are outstanding in flight photos of the liveries used by Top Aces, QinetiQ, the Belgian Airforce, the French Air Force (Armee De L'air), the Patrouille de France, the Portuguese Air Force, and the Asas de Portugal. Specific photo sections include: forward fuselage, air intakes, overall fuselage, wing details, cockpits, Martin Baker Mk.10 ejection seat, landing gear, speed brakes, vertical tail, aft fuselage, pylons, and plenty of open-bay maintenance shots. Additional shots of special and commemorative paint schemes are also included. My only negative comment regarding the book is that I wish it included some photos of the aircraft in Luftwaffe service. Highly recommended for modelers interested in the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet training and light attack/CAS aircraft, and reference data. Thanks to IPMS and Casemate Publishing for the opportunity to review this publication. View the full article
  20. Review Author: Chris Smith Platz In 1982 the Federation International de 'L'Automobile (FIA) developed Group A requirements to allow manufactures and individuals to race production model cars. In order to qualify, a process called "homologation", the manufactures had to build 2500 or 5000 cars or under "evolution" rules 500 cars which after inspection and approval qualified the cars to race. The subject of this review qualified under the Evolution, Group A rules by building 500 Volvo 240Ts. An interesting note is that 477 of those cars were stripped of competition equipment and sold as standard Volvo 240 turbos. In order to requalify, Volvo had to identify those 500 owners! Drama aside, the Volvo 240T turned out be a winning platform. Powered by a 340hp, 2.1-liter, intercooled turbo with water injection and weighing in at 2200lbs, these cars were real competitors against BMWs and Austins in its class. This kit replicates the two winning Volvo 240Ts run at the Hockenheim racetrack (about an hour and a half northwest of Stuttgart) in 1986. Volvo won the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC) that same year. The Kit The injected parts come molded in white, black, clear and chrome. There are poly caps to mount the tires and a nice decal sheet. All of the parts are first rate quality. Highlights include open an open grill and sharply molded details. Seat harnesses are included as decals in the base kit. Detail Set I was also provided with the separate detail set that includes photoetch, fabric for seat harness and a nice turned metal jack connector valve ferule. The photo-etch parts include wraps for the fuel tank and intercooler, straps for the seat harness, straps for fire the fire extinguisher, hood and trunk lid hold downs, radiator face, refueling port trim rings, brake rotor facings and windshield wipers. Building the Kit No real issues as the parts fit exactly as they should after cleaning up mold seams. Careful masking and painting will give great results. The body is molded in white, so I just primed it white and finished that with Tamiya pure white with a little blue added. I intentionally did not polish it to a high gloss like I normally would. The interior parts are generally easy to assemble. As with most race cars, the roll cage requires a lot of cleanups to remove mold lines. Make sure you prime it to show where that work is needed. Masking the glass is easy since the parts are all molded with nice edges to mask against. Using the Detail Parts I found it interesting which parts Platz chose to detail in this set. The largest parts wrap the fuel tank and line the inside back interior panel. Both of those are not really needed as the base kit detail is really nice as is. I thought part #18 interfered with the roll cage installation later. The real benefit of the detail set is the seat harness. This is made up fabric belts that thread through numerous PE parts and produces a fantastic harness. Retaining straps for the fire extinguisher top off the interior details. The brake rotor facings are very nice but frankly can't be seen once the wheels are on. The hood and trunk lid hold-downs are very convincing. The radiator face is not a great improvement over the kit part. The last PE detail was windshield wipers. Those parts defeated me once I completely botched folding the first one. The turned connector valve for the jacks is a really nice touch. Finishing Touches The decals in this kit are fantastic! Come off the backing paper easily and settle down with Solvaset. The best example of that are the decals over the rear fender flares. Rubber racing slicks are included and need a little trimming of flash before you push them over the rims. Decals are provided for the tires, and they worked well there as elsewhere. The body snapped onto the chassis, fitting just as well the rest of the kit. Conclusion This is a fantastic kit. The base kit is a pleasure to build as everything fits and the decals work perfectly. The detail set has some nice additions especially the seat harness, but you don't need it build a nice model. However, the price point of the detail set is worth it for the seat harness alone. I would highly recommend the base kit for any modelers, but the detail set should be reserved for those who have some experience working with PE. Thanks to Platz for providing this great kit and to IPMS for trusting me to build it for you. View the full article
  21. Review Author: Rob Booth Brengun Brengun Models is a scale model and detailing parts manufacturer located in the Czech Republic. Their lines include limited production run multi-media kits and exquisitely detailed photo-etched, turned brass and white metal replacement parts for aircraft in the most commonly produced scales. Brengun has produced a set of wheels for any 1/72 scale F/A-18E/F or G Super Hornet kit. There are no instructions, but any modeler familiar with resin parts will have no issues installing these wheels in lieu of the kit parts. A close-up evaluation of the parts (see photos), indicates a simple cut and replace installation that provides realistic scale-detailed wheels with significantly improved appearance to molded plastic kit parts. The photo comparison is to the Hasegawa kit. The Brengun wheels have superior hub, brake and tread detail to those supplied in the Hasegawa kit. Some cautionary advice: for those without basic modeling experience, use CA ("super-glue") sparingly, to assemble and/or attach these parts to your plastic kit, as the usual plastic glues do not react with resin parts. Painting of the of the wheels and tires will be necessary, so check your references, and be sure to prime with the appropriate materials that are compatible with your preferred paints. Overall, this is an excellent replacement set that will lend increased realism to your 1/72 Super Hornet. These sets can be purchased at the Brengun website above. Highly recommended. Thanks to the IPMS Reviewer Corps and Brengun for the opportunity to review this item. View the full article
  22. Review Author: Rob Booth Brengun Brengun Models is a scale model and detailing parts manufacturer located in the Czech Republic. Their lines include limited production run multi-media kits and exquisitely detailed photo-etched, turned brass and white metal replacement parts for aircraft in the most commonly produced scales. Brengun has produced a set of two AGM-88 HARM missiles for any appropriate1/48 scale aircraft kit. The AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) is a tactical, air-to-surface anti-radiation missile designed to home in on electronic transmissions coming from surface-to-air radar systems. It was originally developed by Texas Instruments as a replacement for the AGM-45 Shrike and AGM-78 Standard ARM system. Production was later taken over by Raytheon Corporation when it purchased the defense production business of Texas Instruments. The AGM-88 can detect, attack and destroy a radar antenna or transmitter with minimal aircrew input. The proportional guidance system that homes in on enemy radar emissions has a fixed antenna and seeker head in the missile's nose. A smokeless, solid-propellant, booster-sustainer rocket motor propels the missile at speeds over Mach 2.0. The HARM missile was a program led by the U.S. Navy, and it was first carried by the A-6E, A-7, and F/A-18A/B aircraft, and then it equipped the EA-6B aircraft. RDT&E for use on the F-14 aircraft was begun, but not completed. The U.S. Air Force (USAF) put the HARM onto the F-4G Wild Weasel aircraft, and later on specialized F-16s equipped with the HARM Targeting System (HTS). The HTS pod, used by the USAF only, allows F-16s to detect and automatically target radar systems with HARMs instead of relying on the missile's sensors alone. * The plastic pouch contains six resin blocks for the missile bodies, fins, nose covers and launch rails. Also included are a photo etch fret for the RBF tags and nose cover retainers. A simple graphic detail instruction sheet is included, but any modeler familiar with resin parts will have no issues assembling and installing these resin missiles. A close-up evaluation of the parts (see photos) indicates a simple cut and replace installation that provides realistic scale-detail with significantly improved appearance to molded plastic kit parts. The Brengun missiles have superior detail to those supplied in the Hasegawa Weapons kit. Some cautionary advice: for those without basic modeling experience, use CA ("super-glue") sparingly, to assemble and/or attach these parts to your plastic kit, as the usual plastic glues do not react with resin parts. Painting of the parts will be necessary, so check your references, and be sure to prime with the appropriate materials that are compatible with your preferred paints. Overall, this is an excellent replacement set that will lend increased realism to any 1/48 AGM-88 HARM delivery platform aircraft. These sets can be purchased at the Brengun website above. Highly recommended. *AGM-88 descriptive data from Wikipedia Thanks to the IPMS Reviewer Corps and Brengun for the opportunity to review this item. View the full article
  23. Review Author: Dan Brown Kitty Hawk The HH-60H "Rescue Hawk" was first developed in the 1990s as a rescue variant of the SH-60F "Sea Hawk". Two versions were developed at this time, the HH-60H for the US Navy and the HH-60J for the US Coast Guard. For its search and rescue role it is equipped with long range fuel tanks, a FLIR Sensor and a few defensive countermeasures. It can also support anti-surface operations by mounting up to 4 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles on special pylons. Since it is based on the SH-60F, the HH-60H retained the ability to operate from small flight decks and be folded up to fit in deck hangars. It's last year in service with the Navy was 2019. This new kit from Kitty Hawk is the latest in Kitty Hawk's line of Seahawk variants. The previous version being the MH-60R. The basis for this release is the new tooled kit from Kitty Hawk released in 2019, MH-60L Blackhawk. Several new sprues add parts to cover the many options available for this kit. The kit comes in a large and very colorful box that features an image of the aircraft in standard all grey camouflage. Included in the box are 13 sprues of very light grey styrene, 2 clear sprues, 1 PE fret, separate parts for the main fuselage and a decal sheet. Many of these parts will not be used in the build as there are a ton of extra parts and weapons included from previous versions. The first few steps are dedicated to the cockpit interior. The detail here is up to Kitty Hawk's normal standards. Fine moldings with plenty of detail. The callouts here for the required colors are not complete, in step 1 the cockpit is black but the cargo area should be FS36440. The seat frames in step 3 should be black and I painted the seats Tamiya Khaki. In step 4, the frames should be FS36440 and the seats were painted Tamiya Khaki as well. I no issues with the detail, molding or fit of the parts in these steps. Steps 5 and 6 cover what appear to be some radio and electronic equipment specific to this version. The fit and details of these parts is quite nice, including the PE. However, the color callouts are all wrong. All of the parts in Step 6 should be FS36440 according to my references and the instructions list them as black. They also have all parts in Step 5 as black, but in most cases this should only apply to the equipment on the shelves. All of the shelves and the two upright parts, HH45/46, should be FS36440. Lastly, the fire extinguisher, part HE8, needs to be red. Steps 7 and 8 complete the rest of the forward cockpit area. The detail on the parts here is pretty good, with well modeled detail and good fits. The colors are correct, with callouts for black and the decals fit pretty well over the molded detail. You will have to use Micro Sol to soften the decals and possibly trim them into sections to assist in the fit. In step 9, the upper controls and the rear bulkhead are completed. There is a missing callout for the back of the bulk head, this should be FS36231. The detail here is also pretty good and the decals are nice as well. However, not all the switches were covered but the decals, so I highlighted a few by dry brushing with flat white, red and yellow. Steps 10 through 12 continue the assembly of the interior. In Step 10, part HB24, needs to be painted FS36231. In this step the seat belts are also installed for the pilot and co-pilot seats. These are nicely handled in PE but the instructions aren't very clear on how to install them, so check you references. Also there are no color callouts for them, I used Tamiya XF-54 with Silver Chrome for the buckles. I had no issues with step 11, everything fit very well. The only issue that I had in step 12 was the color call out, the instructions again call for black but the correct color is FS36231. Next up is the build and instillation of the optional 50 caliber gun in step 13. Mostly, the parts in this step go together just fine and the detail is good. I did leave the gun and mount off until final installation as it does hang out the open door and will be easily broken. The only issue that I had here was with the feed belt for the .50 caliber, this is a PE part that you are required to fold and then mold into position. This requires a complex set of curves that I could not make work in PE. You may be able to get this to work by heavily annealing the PE but for the most part the thin PE tends to break. I would absolutely recommend replacing this part with something molded in flexible resin. Lion Roar makes a very nice set in 1/35 scale that you should be able to source. Steps 16 through 17 cover the final assembly of the interior of the fuselage and closing the main section of the fuselage around it. The only issue I had in step 16 was with the paint call outs again, the instructions call for black again but the correct color is FS36231. The fits here are pretty good except with the rear bulkhead of the cockpit, in my example this was a little warped and I had to bend it back into position. You will need to install the rear landing gear while closing up the outer fuselage, I prefer to install it later for easier painting but that is impossible on this kit. Also I left the wheels and tires off until final assembly. In Step 18 there are two parts, drilling holes for exterior details and closing the fuselage around the interior. Both of these parts have issues, for the holes it isn't always very clear where to drill the hole. The instructions are not very clear, so you needed to check your references and do some dry fitting of the parts. Second, the bottom of the main fuselage is a pretty bad fit. I ended up with a pretty big gap that took a lot of putty to fill in. This is partly due to warped parts, both halves of the fuselage in my kit curled in slightly. It also could possibly be due to inference from the interior parts. I had to spend quite a bit of time working on this seam and you will have to be careful, there is a lot of easy to ruin detail on the underside of the airframe. Next up are the engines, this kit does contain the parts to make some very nice representations of the T700 engines but there are some minor issues. For the most part the parts in step 19 are well detailed and molded. I had no major fit issues either but I did have an issue with parts F59/F60. These parts support the engines and are handed, though the instructions give no indication of this. Part F60 must go on the outboard side of the engine and F59 must go on the inboard side, this is because the other end of the part needs to attach to the fuselage. Also for both engines, part F58 on both sprues was molded short, one of the pipes on it is way too short to attach to the mounting point. Next, I found that part F57 interferes with the fit of the engine housing doors, so I felt that it was best to leave it off. Lastly, in step 20 parts HE9 and HE10 are swapped in the instructions. I had no further issues with the next few steps but in step 23, I painted the top of fuselage black and part C44 Metalizer Steel. I also left the assemblies from steps 21 and 22 off until after final painting. In step 25, I left the E1/E5 assembles off until after final painting as these would be able to be seen through the intakes. This turned out to possibly be a mistake, I had huge fit issues between these assemblies, C44 and the engines. I ended up having to shave a huge amount of material off of them and I never got the fit right. It is much easier to install them at this stage but masking could be tricky, I painted them Metalizer Steel based on my references. Finally, I left the doors off until after final painting in this step. Next, I had further fit issues with the engine hatch covers, parts HD31/HD32. There were gaps around these parts that required some minor filling and sanding. I left the light from step 30 off until after final assembly. The exhaust covers in steps 31 and 32, required some filling to hide some seams as well. I painted the insides of these covers black and left them off until after final painting. Steps 33 and 34 cover the assembly of both of the engine intakes. I had some minor fit issues here with some very minor seams that were fairly easy to correct. I chose to paint in inside of the intakes the same color as the fuselage based on my references. The hoist in step 35 is nicely detailed with no major issues but I did leave it off until after final painting. I did have a lot of trouble attaching the intakes to the fuselage in step 36. According to my references there is supposed to be a small gap around the diffuser plate, but I had a lot of trouble getting everything lined up. Especially with my fit issues from step 25. A lot of filler was used here to fill some gaps where these mounted to the rest of the engine housings. I installed part HH65 but left the doors off until after final painting. Next up were the cockpit doors. These are nicely designed and molded with no real issue. I did leave the handles and mirrors off until final assembly and remember to paint the side of the door black to match the rest of the cockpit. Steps 40 and 41 cover the assembly of the front landing gear. I had no issues with these steps at all and only left the wheels and tires off until final assembly. I had no issues in steps 42 or 43 and the next issue I had was in step 44. Parts HF13 and HF11 are some form of antenna; unfortunately they both have square attachment pegs. This requires some modification of the drilled holes from much earlier in order for them to attach correctly to the fuselage. In step 46 I did leave parts C27/28 and C20/21 off until after final assembly. In step 47, the optional mini-guns are assembled. There are two options for assembly and as I intended to use the .50 caliber machine gun from earlier, I only assembled the option from step 48. I had no major issues with these steps except with PE44, this is the part for the very end of the barrels and it is supposed to be round. However, in practice the slits in the parts make it quite difficult to roll these parts into a circle well without annealing. The next area that I need to mention is in step 53 with the drop tanks. These both needed some sanding and filling to fill some seams. I also had some minor fit issues with them in final assembly, the right drop tank needed one of the pins to be removed in order to allow it to attach to its pylon. In step 54, the tail assembly is completed. The only issue I had here was with the main tail assembly, there were some serious seams that needed to be filled and sanded to hide the joint in the parts. Lastly, I intended to fold the tail so I left the horizontal tail planes off until final assembly. There were no issues with the tail rotor in step 55. Step 56 covers the assembly of the main rotor. The detail here is pretty great, the molding is good and all of the fits are awesome. Also, it does look pretty impressive when completed. The top part of the rotor and the rotor blades themselves were painted FS36320. The center drive shaft and the lower parts were painted Metalizer Steel. The main issue that I had with this step was attaching the rotor blades to the central part of the rotor. These are designed to move to allow the blades to be folded, on my example several of the pins that attach the rotors to the central part of the rotor were molded incorrectly or missing. These pins are already fragile, so with the missing pins, I had a couple blades break off during handling. I left the last 4 steps until final assembly. These cover the installation of the tail, the rotor assembly, and the blade locking mechanism. I intended to display the aircraft with everything folded, so in final assembly I had to add the rotor locks and display the tail folded. I had a number of issues with the tail attachment in step 57. The hinges are very fragile and one of my hinges was molded far too short. This assembly was so fragile that I had to reinforce it with scrap PE to avoid the tail falling off. The horizontal tail planes were also very fragile, they needed multiple rebuilds and PE straps to hold them up. The rotor locks have no paint callouts but according to my references they need to be painted red. They were also a pain to assemble. There are no mounting holes for them on the fuselage, just some small rings molded into the skin. Also they are flush mounted, so take your time and use super glue to give everything extra strength. Moving on to the painting and decals. There are four marking options, two in different two-color camouflages, a dark green option and an overall grey. I chose the overall grey for HS-3 'Tridents' but there is an issue with the scheme here. The instructions call for overall H73 Aircraft Grey and this should actually be a tricolor camouflage. There are plenty of references online for this but the underside should be FS36375, center should be FS36231 and the top should be FS36320. I used all Model Master enamel paints for this, which are unfortunately being discontinued. I had no issues with the decals for this kit. The register is great and they lay down perfectly over Pledge Floor Gloss. This is an awesome kit. The instructions only have minor print issues and the only major fit issues are with the engines and the main fuselage. I had a great time with this kit and minor issue aside it was very satisfying to build. I would definitely recommend this kit to an intermediate modeler with some serious shelf space and an interest in modern US navy helicopters. This is not a small build at completion. My thanks to Kitty Hawk and IMPS for giving me the opportunity to review this kit. View the full article
  24. Review Author: Chris Smith PJ Production A type well known to anyone with even a casual interest in aviation history, the Dassault Mirage III is one of the classic early supersonic fighter jets. First flown in 1956, it has served in 14 countries and accrued an impressive combat record most notably with the Israeli Air Forces. Another export customer was the South African Air Force. Two examples of the countries Mirages III EZs are represented in this kit. Seventeen examples of the EZ variant were purchased by South Africa and used between 1965 and 1972. They were used during the African Border War but as an interceptor, the radar system was found wanting. These aircraft are all retired from service today. This is the second build of a Mirage from PJ I've done for this site. I previously built a Swiss two seat example and found it a pleasant build. As for this boxing, you get the High Planes plastic parts, resin details from PJ that include vertical stabilizer, ejection seat, instrument panel with coaming and rudder pedals and a control stick. A small photo etch fret has some antennas and a boarding ladder. Clear parts include canopy in two parts, HUD glass and landing lights for nose gear. Decals are provided for two Mirage's from the same Squadron and base in 1969 and 1980. The early version is bare metal and the later has been camouflaged. Construction is straight forward but because I chose to model the bare metal version, the base finish was going to have to be as smooth as possible. Two issues made that more difficult. The first is the wing top and bottom join lines fall in areas that are difficult to fill without losing most of the details. The second is the replacement resin vertical stabilizer was packed in the bag so small that it deformed it to the right. In spite of my best efforts, I could not get it straight. On the positive side, all the cockpit resin can be dropped in after the airframe is painted. After a few rounds of filling, sanding and scribing, I finally got the black base (Tamiya gloss black lacquer) painted and polished. Bare metal Mirages always look really polished and that's what I was after. The first attempt was High Shine Aluminum from Alclad. That wasn't shinny enough so I buffed it off and reshot with Alclad Chrome. After a clear coat of Testers metallizer sealer, I masked and airbrushed the chromate green panels on the underside. Besides the black radar dome, the rest of the markings are provided on the decal sheet. Speaking of decals, they are a real pleasure to use. Once off the paper and positioned, a dab of Solvaset settled them into the surface perfectly. The landing gear is nicely done. The wheel hubs are nice but the tire tread is very faint. Antennas and data probes are provided as PE parts but I like the profile of the injection parts and used them instead. This was more work than my first PJ Mirage kit mainly because of the bare metal finish. I enjoyed it just as much even though I didn't achieve the finish I saw in my mind. I wouldn't say this is a beginner's kit. The resin parts require some minor surgery to the base plastic but they add detail where it counts. The only other glitch in my sample was the resin seat had a slight twist from top to bottom but in this scale, you have to look really hard to see it. Recommended for those Mirage fans out there or a semi-experienced builder who loves cool early jets. Thanks to PJ Productions for another great sample product and IPMS for the opportunity to share it with you. View the full article
  25. Review Author: Hub Plott Kagero Publishing This book covers the Fiat G.55 from WWII to its post war service. At first glance the book is reminiscent of the Ali d'Italia series being roughly the same size and length but with the entire printed portion in English. The first 62 pages of this book covers the development and use in combat of the G.55 by both the regia Aeronautica, ANR and the Luftwaffe. An interesting story of the one G.55 to appear in British markings is also covered. This aircraft was flown by a defector who also was transporting an escaping OSS agent out. One of the best sections in my opinion covers the post war use of the G.55. The post war Italian AF as well as those of Syria, Egypt and Argentina all used the G.55 and this is the first English language volume I have seen that has detailed this service. For the modeler this provides many interesting schemes to go along with those of its WWII service. There is also coverage of the camouflage schemes used by each user, the different variants to include the G.55N torpedo plane, G.56 which is a G.55 with a more powerful DB engine and the G.59 trainer. The book concludes with the story of the single surviving G.55 at the Museo Vigna di Valle. This aircraft was converted back to G.55 configuration from a Fiat G.59 through an exceedingly long process. A testament to the quality of the G.55 is that per the book, Italian pilots were reluctant to trade their G.55s for Bf-109Gs and German pilots that flew the G.55 much preferred the Centauro to their own country's Bf-109G and Fw 190 for intercepting Allied bombers at altitudes above 23,000 feet. This is a book with informative text. All photos are in B&W but the modeler will find many interesting markings to give them inspiration. I can recommend this to anyone with an interest in WWII, WWII aviation, Italian aircraft of WWI as well as the modeler, all will find something of interest in these pages. My thanks to Casemate for the review sample and to IPMS for the opportunity! View the full article
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