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  1. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, After a hectic Telford this year, finally arrived home mid afternoon and took the photos of the sprue shots for the forthcoming bomber version of the DH Mosquito, from HK Models. Plenty of slide-moulding on show here, including elevators, ailerons, rudder, flaps, wingtips, and that stunning fuselage and SINGLE PIECE wing! Yes, you read that correctly....the entire wing (except tips, with two options), is ONE part!!! No joints to remove....just a fine moulding seam. Notice optional canopy parts, and choice of cookie and regular bomb load, with the bay doors to suit. There will be a 2 stage engine option, but that's being worked on. What you see here is for the single stage Merlin. Despite plenty of slide moulding genius, this model still has over TWENTY sprues! Enjoy!!
  2. Tally Ho! Despite the 1:32 Do 335B-2 being released soon, and the Do 335A-0 following in the not too distant future (already here with us at LSM!), HK Models has now painted in its plans for the release of the Mosquito (bomber version). There will actually be a few versions of this, and I can't confirm if several versions will be in the same box, but we thought you might like to see some renders of this great looking machine. For all you impatient types, pre-orders will be taken for this at Telford in November, and release looks to be happening in the first half of January 2015! I bet that took you by surprise! Any questions, ask away and I'll get you some answers. Enjoy!
  3. 1/32 Meteor F.4 wheels for HK Kit Eduard Catalogue # 632041 Available from Eduard for 11,25€ Bunny Fighter Club price: 9,56 € We're big Eduard fans here at SP&R, they always seem to know exactly what the particular short comings of a kit are and are usually first across the line in correcting them. The HK kit has been largely well received since its release, we reviewed it earlier this year. We noted several short comings that could be improved (although the undercarriage and wheels weren't one of them!). Fisher and Profimodeller have dealt with most of these and we recently reviewed Eduard's excellent cockpit upgrade. Hot on the heels of this release comes another comprehensive upgrade dealing with the Undercarriage and wheels. Let's get down on the deck and see what's included. This set deals with the nose and main wheels and their related mudguards. The upgrade comes packaged in a plastic blister pack with plenty of foam to protect the parts, this is successful and upon opening it you find the more delicate parts sandwiched between yet more foam. Included are 17 extremely fine flash free Pale grey resin parts and a small set of masks for the wheels, Eduard's clear and concise instruction form the header. I wouldn't describe the wheels and undercarriage of the HK kit as a particular weak point or fault and I struggled to think how they could be improved, upon opening this upgrade set all became clear! One thing I did notice in my original review of the HK kit was that the nose wheel was of the plain hub type seen more on later Meteor variants, period photos clearly show early Meteors had what I would describe as a Spitfire type nose wheel which was spoked and dished. I attempted to correct this on my HK kit using spare parts from the Tamiya Spitfire. You can view the build thread here. Eduard have done a far better job than I possibly could have and I'll be replacing the nose wheel on my kit. The nose wheel is cast in two halves and incorporates some very fine detail on both halves including the wheel nuts and tyre valve, one side is very deeply dished and once removed from the casting block will give a perfect representation of the early type wheel I described earlier; Small locating tabs are incorporated on each halve to perfectly align them when fitting to the tyre. The tyre has perfectly cast tread all the way round with no seam and should need very minimal cleaning up, the side wall has ribbed detail and very clear lettering for the Dunlop branding and even the tyre pressures are readable! To round it off the tyre has a subtle flat spot for extra realism. The main wheels are equally catered for, the HK kit wheels were a good representation to begin with but these take it to another level, the real wheel is a multi-part split rim type and all the nuts that hold it together are crisply cast and they have real depth; again locating tabs are provided to align them with the tyre. The tyres have tread detail to match the nose wheel which again has no seam to clean up, this time they are branded as Goodyear tyres, I'm not sure how accurate this is but it will certainly add plenty of interest and look great with some subtle dry brushing to make it stand out. These again have flat spots although the side wall isn't noticeably bulged. Moving onto the mud guards, admittedly the kit parts could be improved as removing the seam on them does destroy some detail and their thickness isn't quite to scale. The Eduard parts are lovely and thin and naturally seamless, the raised lip along the edges is ridiculously thin as is the raised detail for the rivets. Care will be needed to accurately remove the kit mudguards to allow these to be seamlessly blended with them, while you're at it the front undercarriage leg could use some more compression as the kit part causes the finished kit to sit a little high and gently heating and bending it is one solution to this. The supports for the mudguards are given as separate items and are extremely thin, again a big improvement over the kits. The last piece is a very small block of resin which I believe represents the towing hitch on the main gear. Instructions This is a simple set and construction is therefore straight forward, Eduard's instructions are their usual clearly illustrated type with various colours showing what is to be cut, glued or removed. That said it doesn't explicitly show where the kits mudguards are to be cut for removal but this should be fairly obvious after comparison with the new parts. Conclusion Another winner from Eduard, a simple and Straight forward set that has a big impact on the final sit and appearance of your "Meatbox" As I said at the start, the undercarriage and wheels aren't a particular weakness of this kit but the detail HK are able to offer is restricted by the limitations of injection moulding, Eduard can offer even more detail using 3D printing technology that reaches the parts injection moulding cant. A worthwhile upgrade to an already excellent kit. Highly recommended Our sincere thanks to Eduard for the review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link. Ben Summerfield
  4. Eduard 1/32 Gloster Meteor F.4 Interior Upgrades: 1/32 Gloster Meteor F.4 Interior (32804) 1/32 Gloster Meteor F.4 Interior Zoom (33139) 1/32 Gloster Meteor Seat belts (32816) Designed for HK Models kit. Having recently reviewed the ProfiModeller upgrades for the HK Models Gloster Meteor the reference material I have on hand did not even make it back to the book shelf. As said in that review, the HK Models cockpit is basic but not in dire need of upgrades. This is how the HK Models Meteor is designed. Basic but complete. A perfect base for upgrades and added details. HK Models predicted that several after market companies would jump in and they were right. Fisher Models and Alley Cat made conversions and HGW and ProfiModeller welcome upgrades. And now Eduard joins the party. I’m sure these Eduard interior upgrades are only just the beginning. Wheelbays, Brassin wheels, exterior… Just a matter of time I reckon. I’m getting carried away. Let’s look at these two sets. I’m saying ‘two’, because the Zoom interior is as always a dressed down version of the full interior. For a view on the details in the HK Models kit, check out our review here: http://forum.largescalemodeller.com/topic/2253-132-gloster-meteor-f4/ 1/32 Gloster Meteor F.4 Interior (32804) Peel open the plastic envelope on the bottom and pull out the contents. (I’m saying this because I always used to cut these open on the top and only recently discovered the bottom offers a re-usable flap). One sturdy backing card, instructions, self-adhesive pre-colored PE, brass PE and a small piece of film for the gun sight. The pre-colored self-adhesive fret gives you the instruments panel (backing plate with dials) and front with bezels. Elements for the gun sight. I happen to own a gyro gun sight from a Meteor and I can say this really adds some nice detail. The front switch/dial that lets the pilot select the type (diameter) of target, the upper lens bezels and the selector on the left that lets the pilot select between rockets and guns. Nice… Also on this fret are the rudder pedals and a selection of colourful switches and levers. In a cockpit as black as the Metero’s and possibly one of the most boring cockpits I’ve come across, the smaller details and colours can make all the difference between a black pit and a cockpit. The fret as described above is self-adhesive. This ‘self-adhesiveness’ is something you either love or hate. Personally I rather glue the PE myself. Why? Because the glue that is used by Eduard is a bit on the ‘thick’ side and therefor a bit more difficult to glue without leaving a bit of a space between the part and your plastic. On the other hand, a real plus with this glue, is the rubber cement characteristic it has. It lets you place the part and adjust positioning until right. With superglue this is more difficult. My trick? I glue PE on flat surfaces with a bit of Future. Let it dry and then use very thin superglue (like Zap) and let it run under the PE through capillary function. The ink on the pre-coloured fret is shiny as it always is with pre-coloured PE. No problem, since you can just spray some matt-varnish. On the brass PE fret we find a forward windshield fairing (nice!!). Now this is something that adds some realism with an open canopy. Usually models feature a flat edge to the wingshield, whereas reality shows rails on the sides of the canopy and a fairing on the windshield. This piece really appeals to me. Also on this fret is a full PE seat, a map holder, straps and some other small bits and bobs for the sidewalls. All the above parts are only included in the full interior set and not in the Zoom set. You could say that the Zoom set only offers the Instrument Panel. I can’t quite figure out the price of the Zoom edition, since the Eduard site lists it the same price as the full interior. I’m guessing this set will be about € 10,-. 1/32 Gloster Meteor Seat belts (32816) The seat belts come in a separate pack. A common thing with Eduard and something I’m sure most modellers can appreciate since not every modeller is a big fan of pre-coloured PE seatbelts. They are slightly easier to assemble then fabric ones’, but the trick is to prevent the paint from peeling off when bending it. Heating the PE in order to make it easier and more natural to bend is tricky, since the paint can blacken or catch fire. On the other hand: the detail on these seatbelts is great. Down to the stitching and the serial number / code on the shoulder straps. One thing is for certain: your HK Models Meteor needs seat belts, since none are included in the kit. Instructions The instructions are amongst the clearest you’ll find in PE upgrade sets. Clear and leaving nothing to the imagination. There is a minimal amount of surgery needed with this set (always indicated by red areas) so it’s basicly a matter of following what number goes where. Conclusion: ProfiModeller or Eduard? Compared to the ProfiModeller upgrade there is more detail in this full interior set by Eduard.I guess it’s mostly a matter of what you prefer. If you prefer to have full control of your colours and airbrush the PE yourself, the ProfiModeller set will do. A great feature in the ProfiModeller set is the inclusion of the rear deck under the rear canopy part. This area needs detail and Eduard does not include this. But then there’s the sidewalls and the seat! They need love too, and ProfiModeller does not include them…. Difficult choice… I’d go with both and use the best of both worlds. This Eduard set is a great addition to a potentially Spartan and basic cockpit. Add the seatbelts and you’re almost there… I wish Eduard would have included the canopy sliding rails and rear deck detail. Then it would have been a very complete set. Highly recommended Our sincere thanks to Eduard for the review sample. To purchase directly: 1/32 Gloster Meteor F.4 Interior (32804) € 18,95 1/32 Gloster Meteor F.4 Interior Zoom (33139) 1/32 Gloster Meteor Seat belts (32816) € 11,25 Jeroen Peters
  5. 1/32 Gloster Meteor Engine Profimodeller P32191 (Engine Bay + Engine) Available from Profimodeller for € 46,50 When I spoke to Neil Yan from HK Models at Telford last year we chatted about the Meteor and he explained the strategy behind the rather basic Meteor kit. There are modellers who think the aesthetic lines of their subject get are ruined by opening hatches. They can build the Meteor from the box. Canopy closed. No excess sprues and parts will go to waste with this modeller and as a result the price will stay as low as possible. This is quite an opposite approach from Zoukei Mura for instance. Neil predicted that lots of After Market upgrades would appear for the more prolific modeller that likes to open it all up. I hope this kind of thinking marks a new trend where the modeller can go crazy all he wants. It’s also a way to open the door to modelling for people (re-)entering the hobby, since the prizes stay “low” and the detail and parts count don’t scare them away indefinitely. Apart from opening the gunbay, you can now open up an engine too and show off the amazing Rolls Royce Derwent engine. As an engine that plays an important role in history, AND one that has not been rendered in 1/32 before in detail, it deserves some attention to detail. And that’s just what it got. Don’t expect to saw a hole in your wing where you can drop a chunk of resin in. Countless resin and PE parts make up this engine, making it a feast for the eye. Note: This engine set is for the LEFT WING ONLY. Since the gun bay set is for the left side too, it’s perfect for showing your Meteor with hatches open from one side, and all closed up from the other side. The set comes in a sturdy flip top box that’s filled to the rim with resin, huge photo etch sheets and a rather extensive instruction booklet. It’s not difficult to find photo reference of the Rolls Royce Derwent engine one the net. Many examples found their way to museums and are preserved well in original paint. You’ll see they are two tone: gloss black / aluminium. What’s more difficult is to find photo’s of the engine inside the Meteor, while under maintenance, but I did manage to find you one J 1/1 scale Engine dimensions: 1550 mm (Height), 1250 mm (Width), 2300 mm (Length) Contents You’ll find three separate plastic bags inside the box. One bag of resin. One bag with 5 sheets of photo etch and one small bag with wiring material. Both wiring and tubing. You’ll need a bit of experience with photo etch and resin to tackle this engine. The photo etch contains some larger parts that need delicate handling in order to get into shape. Especially the sheets that make up the intake and rear. This is actually an omission in the kit which does not feature the tube like insides of the engine. So… you’ll need to fashion a similar tube shape for the right engine. Cees Broere used the aluminium of a beer can for his build. This set includes everything you need to make up the interior of the engine bay, intake, engine… The only thing I would have loved to see was either inner detail for the hatch or a whole new hatch from photo etch all together. But that might be nitpicking. The resin needs minimal clean up and the larger parts are casted from the side which means you don’t have to saw through 1,5 cm of resin, causing cross eyed looks from the missus. Instructions Prepare and get out your reference photo’s! I studied the instructions and whilst they are clear and extensive, it can be rather puzzling how and at what angle a part needs to join. That has to do with the style. It shows you the part and an arrow that points at where it goes, but it doesn’t show you the part in place. For some subassemblies schematics are included, but some parts make you look thrice. That’s when reference comes into play. Conclusion Frank Whittle will be proud! A super detailed model of his brainchild (or at least it’s offspring). With some careful planning, studying and preparing this set can turn the basic HK Models Meteor kit into a show-stopper. I can’t wait to start mine. This certainly is a well researched subject and is complete all around. Enabling you to even pose it alongside your Meteor on a metal stand perhaps? One proud Frank Whittle Very highly recommended Our sincere thanks to ProfiModeler for the review sample. To purchase directly, click HERE. Jeroen Peters
  6. 1/32 Gloster Meteor Upgrades Interior – Air Brake – Gun Bay Profimodeller 32195 (Interior) – 32200 (Air Brake) – 32193 (Gun Bay) Available from Profimodeller for: 32195 - Interior: € 7,20 32200 - Air Brake: € 4,30 32193 - Gun Bay: € 17,90 HK Model’s 1/32 Gloster Meteor F.4. A relatively simple kit with limited parts that builds into a nice rendition of the Meteor straight from the box and can also form the base for a super detialed Meteor. For the latter these three sets are a great start. The pro’s of the HK Models Meteor are subtle service detail, great fit and proper dimensions. The Air intakes and canopy could have been better though, but I won’t go into those here. The Czech company ProfiModeller has proven to be a great partner for the new chinese model brand by making upgrade sets for their B25, Do335 and B-17. I really like the way the chop up the detail areas into small bags. One for the interior. One for the Gun bay. Not one huge interior upgrade, but the choice of how far to go. Both in detail, as in budget. The interior This is a need to have in my opinion. The area behind the pilot seat is hard to find reference on. Beleive me, I tried… The HK Models model features a flat undetailed area. This set let’s you build the frame and canopy sliding unit that belongs there. The instrument panel on the HK Models kit is detailed, but could definately benefit from some colored dials and refined detail. I myself am not a huge fan of transparant film with dials that you need to sandwich between PE panels. They lack color and need white paint on the back to make the dials pop. The latest Eduard dials are nice, but still not as sharp in detail as I’d like to see. Profimodeller provides a piece of fine printed card in color that needs to be glued between the plastic kit panel and the PE panel. Last there is a PE gunsight. A prominent feature in the Meteor’s pit. 6 parts make up this instrument. Especially nice detail on the switch that lets the pilot select it’s opponents wingspan in order for the aiming computer to make the correct calculations. The Air Brake If you decide to model your Meteor with the Air brakes open, this is a set that will make a difference. The Air brakes on the Meteor are positioned on top of the wings and below. The fine photo etch does not appear to pose a challenge and personally I love the fine rivets rendered on these parts. Also included in this set is the trim tab on the rudder. Which is a nice detail. The Gun Bay Now this is THE set I was anticipating the most. Truth be told: I started researching this area in order to 3D model and print this section myself. That urge quickly dissapeared when told Profimodeller was ahead of me. The instructions are very clear, which they need to be, since this set means surgery on your model. Cutting out the hatches that cover both the barrels and the rear access area to the gun breeches. A resin tub fits inside, accomodating the two resin guns. Overall nice and delicate detail. Checking the parts with my (scarce) references, all the elements are there. What I love is the panel framing made from photo etch. These will need careful handling and glueing. The same goes for the inner detail / framing of the hatches. Very nicely done. Before taking the saw and scalpel to engage your Meteor, check your references and study the manual. As you can see in the photo’s ProfiModeler provides you with clear and extensive instructions that explain which parts to cut out and what to sand off in order to make this set fit. I myself found it hard to find good photo reference material of the Meteor’s gunbay. Which is the reason I hadn’t started this project myself just yet. That’s why I’m also grateful ProfiModeler provides us with coloring instructions (mostly black J). The resin for the tub that accomodates the gun breeches is nicely cast in cream resin and needs minimal cleanup. The same goes for the two gun bodies. The two grey pieces of resin make up for the gunports that house the blast tubes. The barrels and these blast tubes are turned brass. All the other parts you’ll find in the photo etch fret. Actually the only thing not included is some wiring. In case you’re wondering: i prefer thin lead wire. Easy to bend, easy to glue and more natural to drape. Overal a very complete, well researched and detailed kit. Conclusion Upon getting my Meteor I knew I wouldn’t start mine until some after market sets became available. Actually I was betting on Eduard to treat us first, but ProfiModeller was quick on the ball. As I write this HGW released a set for the seatbelts. Nicely complimentary to this set! The HK Models Meteor is (as said) a nice basic kit straight from the box. I’ve seen a couple of them built and it really doesn’t need that much. Again: not talking about the canopy and intakes here! But if you want to open the canopy and add some detail under her skirt, this is a great way to go. I think it won’t be long till more sets appear on the market (gearbay?) and I hope they will be done by ProfiModeler. Mixed media, clear instructions and great detail. Stay tuned for a review of the ProfiModeller Meteor Engine set. Very highly recommended Our sincere thanks to ProfiModeller for the review samples. To purchase directly, click HERE. Jeroen Peters
  7. Hi all, I couldn't help it. Even with all the builds I have going on... Started work on the Do335. I will build this kit out of the box with almost no additions. Since this goes entirely against my nature, I will build this plane in flight. Gears up. Hatches secured. I took a figure from an old Hasegawa FW190D kit and will modify it to fit. Well... here goes! The scheme I'm going for is the M13 (or M20). An early designated B3 version. Heavily armed and armored. Still doing research on the armament... Anyway... this is what I'm going for!!
  8. Hi folks, I've already started to cut plastic on this one, and as soon as the Revell Spitfire Mk.IIa is completed for deadline, the Do 335 will move ahead at full pace. Does anyone have any schemes to suggest for the Do 335? My reference is severely lacking, so all input here appreciated. This build will be for Military Illustrated Modeller, but I will share progress in this forum.
  9. 1:32 Dornier Do 335B HK Models Catalogue #: unknown as of yet 'First Look' In-Box contents preview There are a number of subjects that you sort of dream will one day be released in 1:32. Just a handful of years ago, it perhaps seemed that those subjects wouldn't see the light of day for the foreseeable. Of course, we perhaps didn't vouch for a company such as HK Models making a big hit in our hobby, in more ways than one. HK Models, in quite a short period, have already brought us a B-17, three B-25 variants, a Meteor, and there is a Mosquito expected, as well as other planned B-17 kits. Apart from the Mosquito, the other releases represent the bulk of planned releases that formed the original Wingscale brand that eventually became HK Models. The Dornier Do 335B represents the first release from HK that has nothing to do with Wingscale, and as you'll see during the course of this preview, the future is looking very bright. LSM has had the privilege of being sent a test shot of the new Dornier Do 335B 'Heavy Fighter'. Being a test shot, this isn't entirely representative of what you're likely to see in the final release. Being in regular contact with HK, I know that tooling revisions can, and are implemented very quickly. Our test shot arrived, crammed into a 1:32 Meteor box, with some protective bubble-wrap. Neil Yan only just managed to fit this kit in this box. I don't know if this box size is indicative of what we'll see with the final release. The test shot doesn't include the decals, instruction manual or the shaped, cast weight which will allow the model to sit on its nose gear wheel, and not become a dreaded tail-sitter. There's little doubt the final box will be larger generally, or certainly deeper in order to fit the extras in there. Neil hasn't given any indication as to whether any photo etch parts will be included in here for things like seatbelts. However, there will be that cast nose weight I just mentioned. I don't intend this to be seen as a review, and as such, I won't be going into the levels of per-sprue detail you are used to seeing on our articles. Slide-moulded hollow control surfaces This kit is certainly no weekend project, and comprises of FIFTEEN light grey styrene sprues (inclusive of a couple of duplicated sprues for engines etc), and one clear sprue. As with the Meteor test shot that we looked at, the Do 335 sprues don't yet have any nomenclature (Sprue A, B, C etc) or parts which are numbered. All part number tags are blank at present. I will be expecting a draft copy of the instructions at some point, and I'll build this one up for you. Test shot sprues are packaged into bubble-wrap, whereas your final kit parts will be in cellophane bags. The largest sprues just about shoe-horn into the Meteor box. In all, this looks an imposing project. Time to take a closer look at what you'll expect from the final release. Leading edge moulded onto upper panels Some ejector pin marks on internal panels It's obvious from the break-down of this model that HK intend to produce further variants of this aircraft. I have been told this anyway, but it is clearly seen in the way that certain parts of the aircraft are modular. A future two-seat machine will easily be facilitated due to the inclusion of the spine as a separate part. It will be easy to fit a smaller fuselage fuel tank into the area to the rear of the pilot, and the inclusion of a new spine, canopy and rear cockpit parts, and there you have it! This 'Heavy Fighter' variant had two 30mm MK103 cannon installed into the wings, and this intruded into the space reserved for the internal, leading edge fuel tanks. To remedy this, auxiliary fuel tanks were installed internally within the bomb bay. HK have also included those tanks in this kit. Nose gear bay, with moulded detail Various bulkheads with pre-moulded detail Some bulkheads have ejector pin marks on one face Wing leading edges, where they have protrusions, can be problematic when it comes to finding a solution to creating these without troublesome and difficult to remove seams. This kits modular approach means that the inboard leading edge panes are moulded as separate pieces, INCLUDING the cannon fairings! This is accomplished via some rather nifty slide-mould technology. A small moulding seal exists around the outside edge of this, but that actually may be quite accurate with the fairing area itself. There must have been some sort of joint here on the real thing. Slide-moulded air intake scoops Even without the spinner in place, and the forward engine cowl/spinner, the Do 335 is an impressively sized model in 1:32. It seems that HK Models have gone 'slide-mould crazy' on this release too, and all for the greater good! Two sets of wingtips are included, one for M-13 and one for M-14 standard, and these are supplied as single pieces! No upper and lower parts to join. The whole parts are slide moulded, and when you consider the depth of the larger wingtips, that is some very impressive moulding. Slide moulded leading edges with integral cannon fairings Control surfaces are also slide moulded. Instead of upper and lower pieces where you need to remove seams, these are moulded as the main surface, with an insert for the leading edge. Very clever indeed. Each engine has an intake scoop. Normally these would be built up as halves, but again, slide-moulding has created these are single pieces that really do have to be seen to be appreciated. There are two sprues in this release of which two each are supplied. These relate to the engine, engine bearers, plumbing and also the exhausts. The latter are supplied as individual parts, with a hollow end and very realistic weld seams. A long tab is included for easy fitting to the engine itself. This model has a fully detailed interior, including bomb bay. No bombs can be seen in this kit though, despite an image on the HKM Facebook page showing one. The bomb is slated for the future 'A' variant, and not this one. I'm pretty sure that the whole bay was taken over by the two auxiliary fuel tanks anyway. Fuel tanks have been moulded with the various pipes etc already in place, just as ZM did with the fuel cells on their He 219 release. I have to say that this looks every bit, if not more refined than that kit Numerous internal bulkheads are included which contain some excellent detail. Unfortunately, it is the case that the reverse of these have some ejector pin marks in amongst the detail. These may be lighter in the final release due to tool adjustment. We'll have to wait and see. Some of these I will add thin plasticard discs into, and skim over with putty. Of course, the cockpit is always a focal point for the modeller, and when you are doing something in this scale, it needs to look correct. Bearing in mind that I have no instructions at the moment, and no way of absolutely seeing exactly what goes into the cockpit, the parts I can identify look very good. The main part of the 'office' is based around a single part tub which has some great console detail. There seems very little need to add any aftermarket to this at all. The parts I can identify as from the cockpit do indeed look very good. We will bring you more information on exactly what is included when we review the full, final product. The only thing I can see which most definitely needs changing are the quite small, thick rudder pedals. Some Eduard or RB Productions parts would look better here. More slide-moulding. This time, hollow, one-piece wingtips This model also presents weighted wheels with separate hubs, amazingly detailed undercarriage bays, and great looking u/c struts. Ejector pin marks on the inside of the main gear doors will be hidden by attaching the strut. There's also no need to worry about removing a seam along the front edge of the wing. The upper panel is moulded with the leading edge in situ, and this butts up against the forward edge of the lower wing panel. This is the sort of technical innovations I like to see on our kits. Surface detail is some of the very best I've seen in this scale. The exterior is indeed riveted, and that riveting is quite complex looking. Panel lines are extremely fine, as are access panels and plates. You can also see some of the finest screw/fastener detail I've seen in any scale, and it is so TINY! The whole exterior is very, very refined, and reminds me very much of the Tamiya Mustang and Spitfire releases, for which I have here and can directly compare. As a general aside, moulding quality is excellent, but some parts have a minimal amount of flash, which is also evident on the sprues too. I'm not at all concerned about this as this is usually just a symptom of the tooling needing a little adjusting. Having seen production standard HK kits, they aren't ay all 'flashy'. I expect this will be the same for the Do 335 when in its production run. Another thing which makes me think that this is just a tooling adjustment issue is that a couple of parts which have thin edges are a little short-shot in the most minor of ways. This was evident on the Meteor test shot, but eradicated on the final product. The only sink marks which are evident are on the rear faces of one propeller, near the pitch collar. This seems to be a 'feature' with many propellers on various kits. If this is seen on the production standard model, you'll need to pop a little filler in there. Most ejector pin marks are in areas which won't readily be seen. However, there are some which are in prominent places and will need to be addressed. These can be seen in the interior of engine cowlings, and also on the interior of the bomb bay doors. A more troublesome ejector pin mark is seen on the compression strut on the undercarriage, but again, I do expect the tooling to be adjusted at this point. The clear sprue exhibits excellent clarity, and sharp, well-defined canopy framing. Strangely though, the two main hood bulges which aided the pilot's rear view, are separately moulded, and attach to the outside of the main canopy, but with no cut out in the main canopy into which the mirrors would fit. I do believe that HK Models is now going to correct this and re-tool it. We should be able to show you this in the final review in the near future. This looks an exciting release, and as soon as we have more news to bring you about this, then you can count on us to do so. Our sincere thanks to Neil Yan of HK Models for this test shot. James H TEST SHOT ASSEMBLY BY HK MODELS
  10. 1:32 Gloster Meteor F.4 HK Models Catalogue # 01E05 Available from Hannants for £71.96 Hong Kong Models (HK) don't do things by half! Despite being the new boys on the modelling scene they jumped right in with both feet releasing the huge B-25J, the forthcoming B-25H, and following up with the even bigger B17F/G! They're not resting on their laurels with the next release, as despite being a single seat fighter it still measures in at a 394mm! Take cover the HK Meteor F.4 is about to strike! The Gloster Meteor F.4 was a natural progression from the wartime F.3 taking advantage of experience gained from the record setting Meteors, bringing improved Rolls Royce Derwent 5 engines, a fully pressurised cockpit and shorter wings to improve manoeuvrability (at the cost of rate of climb). The F.4 served the RAF well from 1947 until it was quickly replaced by the more advanced F.8 in 1950, however it also gave great service to many other air forces including Belgium, the Netherlands, Egypt, Denmark and even saw combat with the Argentine air force. The Meteor F.4 might not seem the most obvious mark of the ubiquitous Meatbox to release first, the wartime F.3 saw plenty of action against the Doodlebugs scoring 13 victories against the V1 menace and would perhaps be a more natural starting point, or even the elegant F.8 with its sleeker lines and multitude of gaudy colour schemes. I believe the reason we have an F.4 is because of the kits Wingscale origins, the Netherlands was one of the largest customers for the Meteor F.4 outside of Great Britain and as Wingscale's owner is Dutch the F.4 was a natural choice. Despite being HK'S smallest offering to date this kit still comes in an impressively large glossy top opening box, the computer generated art work certainly shows the Meteor off from its best angle and features probably one of the most colourful schemes worn by the F.4 in RAF service. Contained within are three large sprues of medium grey coloured plastic containing the main airframe parts, a smaller sprue holding the wing spars and aerials, one clear sprue, and a shaped white metal nose weight. All packed separately in re-sealable bags, Nice touch HK! The nose weight however was free to roam the box and damage whatever it might come in contact with, our example survived undamaged but perhaps some more thoughtful packaging in future releases HK?! A cardboard strengthener is used to stop any weight placed on the box lid crushing the contents, which is again a nice touch. A little bonus is the inclusion of a 1/144th Meteor F.4 which I believe is HK's first release from 2012 and despite being very simple features some beautiful slide moulding. .....Now onto the BIG Meatbox! Sprue A Straight down to business, HK have took a fairly simplistic approach to this kit, other manufacturers (Revell!) would have taken a modular approach to extract the maximum number of variants from commons sprues, HK have gone completely the other direction bucking the trend. The dominant parts on this sprue are the fuselage halves, split vertically they measure nearly the whole 394mm (minus the rudder) and capture the slim lines of the Meteor's fuselage nicely. If you're not a fan of fully riveted models then I'm afraid HK might be another manufacturer to strike off your list as the meatbox is covered! Fear not though as they're are all nicely restrained and of different gauges, I did find some rivets to have some very fine flash almost like a short hair coming from them; most of it could be brushed off by hand so I don't see this being an issue. The cannon ports are moulded open and on the inside have structural ribbing where the cannon barrels would rest (some aluminium tubing from Albion alloys would add some realism here). The tail features some very well done layered panels on the lower tail fairing and they appear overlapped as per the real aircraft, also on this sprue are the ailerons which feature separate trim tabs which can be left pose able if desired as can the ailerons themselves. The intake rings are very nicely moulded separately (despite any grumblings about accuracy) and research shows these were actually made from layered mahogany on the real aircraft, a very jet age solution! Right at the other end of the engine the exhaust are superbly done with some subtle vent detail which will really benefit from your metalcote of choice, they are however open ended and will allow you to look inside the nacelle. The large undercarriage doors are also on this sprue and are nicely curved and bulged in all the right places, on their inside they feature rivet detail but some ejection marks are also present which will require some careful filling and sanding to remove. Were given separate flaps which can be dropped and have full internal detail. Sprue B Again HK have boldly moulded some very large whole pieces, the entire lower wing and engine nacelles are all one piece, even incorporating the main wheel wells and lower airbrake recesses! Have no fear detail hasn't suffered from this approach and the wheel wells are a good scale depth and the ribbing and structure looks spot on, the recesses for the airbrakes will look excellent if you decide to display them open. One thing I did pick up on is that HK have only moulded the cannon linkage ejector ports on one side, I couldn't find a photo or drawing to confirm that the F.4 had them both sides but earlier and later marks did and I believe the armament remained basically unchanged throughout the different marks, the panel they would be on is moulded in the same place as the opposite side so I'm puzzled by their omission. I almost mistook the recess for the foot step for an ejection slot as it is recessed in a similar way, but HK don't provide the step itself which would be simple enough to scratch build. The wings are riveted to the same standard as the fuselage and again some nice layered detail is present where the wings would mate to the engine nacelles. Next up is the large belly tank that characterised the Meteor and was necessary to give it a useable range, on my kit I found that the rivet detail seemed to become slightly shallower and less defined on the sides of the tank, probably due to it being moulded as one whole piece rather than two halves. The rest of the sprue is taken up by the tailplane and elevators which are again all separate with smaller separate trim tabs, this time however they are not designed to be moveable once in place like the ailerons, the rudder you'll be glad to hear is! It is cleverly moulded so that the top and bottom sections are connected and will move together as on the real aircraft, the trailing edge has a lip which you would be forgiven for mistaking for flash but this was a feature of early F.4's. The airbrakes are superbly thin and have full internal and external riveting and I doubt etch parts would be much of an improvement, they will require the attachment parts cutting off if you want to depict them retracted. Sprue C Here we have the top sections of the wings and engine nacelles, interestingly they have the engine covers moulded separately despite no engine being provided, and perhaps they considered providing an engine but decided to leave something for the aftermarket brigade. The aftermarket jumped on the inaccuracy of the front nacelles and air intakes very quickly, to my eye they don't seem to taper enough towards the intake and are almost like the wide breather intakes featured on later F.8's; in all honesty they don't detract from the finished model and you'd have to point out the difference to the uninitiated. Interestingly I am in the process of fitting the corrected fisher air intakes and the line you cut to fit them happens to correspond with a raised rib on the inside of the nacelles, it makes me wonder what HK (Airscale?) originally had planned. Also on this sprue are the parts for the cockpit, at a glance this seems a simple affair but comparing it to walk around photos shows that HK have captured all the salient features of the Meteors coalhole, the seat isn't the best depiction it could have been and I believe the Meteor seat was essentially the same as used in Hurricanes. The instrument panel has some nice raised detail but doesn't have any actual dials and no decals are provided either, the layout is accurate when compared to restored examples so would benefit from some of Airscale's excellent dial decals to bring it up to scratch. Strangely the gun sight has the lens moulded in place in solid grey plastic rather than clear, I expected this to be something that would be corrected in production kits but appears to of slipped through the net. The undercarriage is moulded in halves and looks spot on to me, they locate positively into the wheel well with some large square pegs and should be plenty sturdy enough even with the white metal nose weight, the main wheels are weighted and have the correct hubs which are different on each side, the nose wheel is moulded with smooth hubs which is correct for later F.4'S/F.8'S but research seems to show early examples had a four spoke nose wheel very similar to that seen on spitfires (as can be seen on the Prototype which now resides at the Royal Air force museum Hendon). Lastly we have the blanks which represent the fronts of the Derwent engines, the Derwent being a centrifugal flow type turbojet didn't have an intake as per modern axial flow types and looking down the intake you would only see a jumble of piping and boxes, HK provide a very rudimentary representation of this which would benefit from some more "plumbing"; unfortunately these blanks don't fit flush to the inside of the intake and will allow daylight to show through. To me the main issue with the intakes and nacelles isn't the shape it's the fact that after the intake ring they are wide open, the real aircraft has a duct leading to the face of the engine, Large scale modeller forum member Cees B has come up with a cheap simple solution to this and has used an old beer can to form the inside of the nacelle/intake, this in turn makes the blanks provided perfectly adequate and solves the daylight issue; a very inventive bunch us modellers! http://forum.largescalemodeller.com/topic/2168-dutch-meteor-mk-4/ Sprue D This sprue holds the clear parts, the three piece Malcom hood canopy of the F.4 looks spot on and is superbly clear, the bulged Malcom hood doesn't have any seam and the framing features rivet detail to match the grey plastic parts, as does the framing on the windscreen and rear section. The remaining parts are for the wingtip navigation lights and the pointed navigation light used on the extreme tail, no part is provided for the gun sight lens as mentioned earlier. A nice touch is the inclusion of a slightly tacky film to protect the top of the main hood part from any scratching. We saw this on the B-25H review recently. Sprue E This small sprue holds the parts for the front wing spar which is visible through the intakes and the spine mounted aerials, the main Aerial seems to of had the tip squared off which isn't quite correct but otherwise they are thin and well moulded. Sprue F Lastly we have the moulded nose weight, this is designed to fit in the front undercarriage bay and is located by two small pegs on the inside of the fuselage, it should provide plenty of weight to prevent tail sitting and is a very welcome feature. Instructions HK's style of instructions are basic but clear, printed in black and white on medium quality paper they are efficient with their information. Colour call outs are usefully given by name, FS number, Hobby colour and Tamiya acrylics. Two very colourful decal options are provided, firstly 600 Squadron (city of London) RAuxAF with its famous red/white triangles, this is unusual as it has mismatched roundels as it is transitioning from wartime style to the brighter post war type. The second option is an extremely bright Argentine Air Force example with yellow stripes galore. Decals A relatively small decal sheet is provided for the two options, this is reminiscent of the type Trumpeter/Hobby Boss provide and is in very good register with minimal carrier film, the colours look strong and the more intricate decals like the 600 squadron badge are well printed. Some stencil data is provided for the RAF option but more is given for the Argentine option, you do also get the distinctive walkway lines. Overall they have a satin finish like Tamiya sometimes uses in its aircraft kits. So what do we think? Despite being the RAF's Premier Jet aircraft and the only allied Jet to see service in World War Two the Meatbox hasn't been a popular subject with mainstream manufacturers, Tamiya's simple but accurate 1/48th kit has been the benchmark up to now. HK's approach of a simple easy to build kit rather bucks the trend in today's hyper detail multi option market place, what we have is an extremely buildable largely accurate kit of a neglected subject; straight from the box you will have an imposing model which will certainly stand out on any table. I feel a huge wave of aftermarket parts is sure to follow this kits release as HK have made it very easy for the cottage industry to develop upgrades such as a full engine, Fisher were quick off the mark to release corrected intakes and they are promising an F.8 conversion and more! All that remains to be seen is whether the price will reflect the simple nature of this kit. Head on over to the Large scale Modeller Forum where several builds of this kit are well under way. http://forum.largescalemodeller.com/ Highly recommended. Ben Summerfield Our sincere thanks to HK Models for this retail review sample. To get this great kit directly, click THIS link.
  11. 1:32 B-25H 'Gun Ship' HK Models Catalogue # 01E03 Available from Hannants. Price TBA. This release is the third and final (that I know of) incarnation of HK Models existing B-25 range of kits, with the B-25J 'Glass Nose' and B-25J 'Strafer' being the previous releases from this stable. Our 'Strafer' review can be found here. This kit is essentially a revision of the earlier kit, with an entirely new nose and a few other subtle changes. In comparison with the glass nose B-25J, there is a single NEW tree of parts, SPRUE V, which contains the new Gun Ship nose parts, and replaces the previous nose sprue H of the earlier release. There are also a number of clear parts not present on the B-25H sprue G, which again were for the glass nose kit. Time to delve into this kit and see what's on offer. I am eternally grateful to Neil Yan of HK Models for getting this kit out to us so quickly. Whilst not yet released, the B-25H specific Sprue V does indeed look like final production standard, despite it not being cellophane wrapped as per the remainder of the kit parts, and having a small number of small flecks which don't change the overall quality of things. This is the only unwrapped sprue which was supplied in this box. The kit itself is essentially complete, with the exception of the photo etch fret. This kit was supplied within its protective, compartmented inner box, but minus the actual sleeve, as this hasn't yet gone to print at time of writing this article. Even though I'm pretty sure the new sprue is production standard, we'll treat it as a pre-production sample here. Of course, all other parts are tries and tested sprues from the B-25 kit family. HK's approach to assembling these large birds is a modular one. The instructions start with assembly of these various internal areas, namely upper gun turret, tail gun, cockpit, bomb bay etc, and with the addition of a good smattering of detail which is secured to the internal walls, these modules are then installed into clearly defined areas within the cavernous fuselage halves. Before looking at the kit sprues, here are the specifications for this particular, slightly shorter nose version of this bruiser of an airplane. Wingspan: 643mm Length: 498mm Sprues: 26 light grey sprues and 2 clear sprues Total plastic parts: 563 Photo Etch: 1 single fret, not included in this sample Single decal sheet, providing ONE scheme. Deluxe version of this kit will provide metal landing gear and nose weight. Not included in this sample. For your other kit statistics, HK's box art, which does look pretty awesome, indicates over 500,000 rivets are employed on the surface of this kit. I'm not going to count them, or measure the pitch of them, so don't even ask! Inside the box, sprues are mostly individually wrapped in quite a stiff, clear cellophane sleeve which has an adhesive, re-sealable strip. Where sprues aren't individually packaged, it is because they are the smaller sprues of which there are multiples, such as the wheels and cowl flaps sprues. As an extra protective measure, the tops of the upper turret and rear turret clear parts, have an easy-peel adhesive strip applied to them before they are packed into their sleeve. This should absolutely protect these delicate surfaces from any attrition within the box during transit. It certainly survived Hong Kong Post and our not-so-wonderful ParcelFarce delivery 'service' here in the UK. SPRUE A This was the first sprue which really grabbed my attention when I opened that huge box! Only two parts are moulded here, but in fairness, they are the mammoth fuselage halves. You get a true sense of the size of this model kit at this exact juncture in sprue fondling. In fact, you still need to add a little to the length of the model due to the entire nose section, forward of the cockpit, being a separate module, due to the nature of using common main fuselage parts for all these B-25 kits. The fuselage is a seriously impressive piece of design and moulding, employing slide moulding for the recessed lip around the section where the tail gun fabric gaiter fits. Over the entire fuselage, the most refined of riveting is used, along with superbly sharp and fine panel lines and access ports. Internally, a very good attempt has been made to reproduce the main structural elements throughout the fuselage. This will look superb if you wish to add a little extra detail, as this modeller has done on Large Scale Modeller forums. All module locations are positive, with the bomb bay area having a thinner wall so the module, complete with its own walls, can neatly sit into it. A kit of this size isn't going to escape ejector pin marks. There is a lot of plastic here which needs to be pushed clear of that tooling! Thankfully, a good number of pin marks are hidden behind various other installations and other detail parts. Not all are though, and a few will need either filling, scraping or sanding to eliminate them. Bearing in mind the size of this kit, we really do get off very lightly in this department. An open area exists at the upper tail area where a full span single upper tail plane sits across instead of separate port and starboard components. The wing roots also have an unusual protruding structure onto which the completed wings can be plugged and unplugged, making storage and transport of your finished model a lot easier. That's some seriously cool design work that I wish I'd see more of in general. SPRUES B & C These are wing sprues which are identical, save for one being for port, and the other, starboard. HK's excellent attention to detail with fine riveting and panel lines carries over onto these single part upper and lower panels. There is a stiffening plate on both upper and lower surfaces of the wing, where the outboard panel and its resultant gull wing 'kink' exist. This is beautifully reproduced. The gull wing format of the B-25 is clearly seen here, and as you would expect from a super model this size, landing flaps and ailerons are moulded separately. There are a number of plastic horns/hinges upon which the control surfaces will sit, but apart from the inboard landing flap which looks as though it pivots in between the sandwiched wing to fuselage joint, no other control surfaces are designed to move, thankfully. The roof of the main wheel bay is incorporated into the lower wing surface, but there isn't too much in the way of detail here due to the B-25's gear doors mostly being closed when the aircraft was on the ground. I mentioned earlier that the wings are designed to plug onto the fuselage, and you can see the substantial moulded ribbing and associated structures which allow this feature to work. Despite all of the internal ribbing, both on the wings and the large fuselage parts, no external sinking can be seen anywhere, which can be a trait of such internal features. Moulding is exemplary. SPRUE D \ Both engine nacelles are presented here as halves, along with in the inner landing flaps, rear engine mounting rings, control surface horns/hinges, main undercarriage doors, wing leading edge air intake and other parts associated with the inboard landing flaps. Again, all moulding is perfectly clean, exhibiting no defects, but plenty of fine surface detail which should really pop under a coat of paint. Slide moulding has again been used for several aspects of this sprue such as the engine mounting plates and undercarriage doors. Due to the aforementioned nacelles having all gear bay doors closed, except for the obvious one, whilst on the ground, the nacelle halves have been moulded with all of these doors integrally in a closed position. SPRUE E This sprue is entirely dedicated to the rather large tail section which its twin vertical fins. A single span piece, incorporating the upper fuselage and tail gunner bulge is the largest part here, with single piece port and starboard undersides. Elevators are separately moulded and are designed not to be glued into place, so you can pose these however you wish. Two part fins and rudders are included. All tail structure parts have internal stiffening moulded within them, and again, this hasn't caused any issue with these being visible from the outside by the way of any sinking. My only gripe with the tail surfaces is the rather heavy representation of the fabric which seems to have sunk down quite a way between the ribs, making it look exaggerated. This is a fairly easy fix though if you reduce the ribs down a little with a sanding stick, and finish off with a sponge/micromesh. SPRUE F We now have the first of our clear sprues, containing upper turret, tail gunner and waist gunned glazing, and also wing tip lights, leading edge lights and leading edge light covers. The clarity of these parts is amongst the best I've seen on any injection kit, including the likes of big boys like Tamiya, and those crystal clear parts you see in Great Wall Hobby kits. The actual feel of the whole kit has an air of the standard that GWH have recently shown us, and that is no bad thing. Of course, no flaws to be seen anywhere, and frame representation is excellent, and should be a breeze to mask up. The upper turret and tail gunner glass has that extra protective low tack film applied to the upper surfaces to protect them further. SPRUE G Another clear sprue, and the last one in this particular release. This carries only a single part, which is the main cockpit canopy with superb frame definition. Clarity is again first class. There are two empty spaces where the glass nose variant had its parts moulded. SPRUE I There are a number of smaller sprues in this kit, of which this is one. If you could remove the tail surface to expose the tail gunner position, you'd find that there are two full length ammunition feeds which do indeed run back to their storage box. Those belt feeds are supplied on this sprue, as are fabric MG gaiter for the tail gun position, a full suite of MGs, moulded without their barrels (more on this soon), cockpit main flight console, and parts associated with the upper turret assembly. The belts themselves look superb, and will look effective under a subtle wash so that the individual shells are highlighted. I have heard from a couple of sources that the tail itself is removable. If this is the case, at least you'll be able to show off this work, otherwise, it mostly won't be seen. SPRUE J This is the undercarriage sprue. Here you'll find the rather sturdy looking main gear struts with the oleo scissors semi-moulded in situ. This quite unusual format means that you only have to assemble one part of the scissor, top and bottom, from opposing sides, but does mean that you really can't get this part wrong. You can indeed buy metal undercarriage for this kit, and it might yet be worthwhile, as long as they're not white metal. These parts do look quite rigid, but I would have to see how they fair under test load of a partially assembled model. All wheels on this kit are supplied as traditional half pieces, which does cause a few irritations when it comes to getting rid of seams, especially with the tread on these. I would perhaps advise some Brassin alternatives from Eduard. However, all tyres are supplied 'weighted'. On this sprue, the nose wheel and hub is supplied, as well as various hydraulic lines etc. SPRUE K Another small sprue, but this time you'll find the rear fuselage tail bumper, cheek blister guns with integral feed chute etc. SPRUE L A very tiny sprue which holds the armour plate for the fuselage, just forward of the blister guns. Check your reference to ensure that these were fitted to the machine you wish to model, in case you decide your own scheme. SPRUE M This major sprue holds of the majority of the internal details, by way of a key number of large parts which form the cockpit interior, such as floor, bulkheads, ammunition boxes etc. You will also find the modular bomb bay here, complete with some superb plumbing detail. I've seen this made up in builds of the B-25J and it looks seriously impressive. This can pretty much be built out of box and look quite spectacular, but should you want to detail further, then Eduard do produce a set which will really make this area sing. Other parts here include those for the upper turret and tail gunner positions, such as the armour plating which protects the rear gunner, and the platform onto which the upper turret assemblies are mounted. An instrument panel is to be found on this sprue, but this is for the B-25J, and should NOT be used on this release. There are fundamental changes in the panel layout, with sections of instruments being blanked out on the IP provided on the new sprue, plus as this H variant only has one pilot seat, and no co-pilot, the panel you need to use is fitted out with only one set of pedals suspended into the foot well. One pilot position means that only one control column will be used, unlike the two that would have been fitted to the previous B-25J releases. HK Models have designed the bomb bay doors so that you have an outer skin, and an inner skin which is perforated, as per the real machine. This is a great touch which I do know adds a lot to the finished appearance of this model. SPRUE N (x2) Here you will find the weighted main gear tyres with integral outer hubs and separate inner hubs. You will also a number of cockpit parts including the seat floor mount , control column and separate yoke, and the many levers for the control consoles, all impeccably moulded as separate parts. Take your time and try not to lose any to the carpet monster. Other parts include ammunition boxes, waist gun mounting brackets and internal bomb racks. SPRUE O (x4), Q (x2), R (x2) and S (x2) I have decided to group these sprues together (10 in total) as they all concern the production of those two powerful Wright R-2600 radial engines. The main bones of the engines are provided on the two 'R' sprues, with the double cylinder banks being moulded as single pieces each. This means.....no pesky seams lines to remove amongst those super sharp cooling fins! WHY can't other companies take that approach instead of splitting them into halves? Sprue R also contains the crank case hub and magneto, prop hub, prop blades, forward cowl ring, as well as individual exhaust parts which look quite daunting in their various shapes. These are hollowed out at each end too. Sprue O holds the various pushrod assemblies and ignition wires, again, with a number of different shapes. You need to be observant when it comes to following the instructions here. Internal exhaust plumbing is provided here, as are the numerous pushrod covers. Sprues Q hold the engine nacelle covers, with each engine taking seven parts. These are slide-moulded so as to allow the vents to be produced 'open'. Sprues S are the engine cowl frameworks, complete with the radiator gills moulded in an open position. There is no way to model these closed, unless you undertake some surgery. SPRUE P (x3) Every bomb bay needs a few bombs, and here we have 3 small sprues which will be enough to build a total of SIX bombs which will all neatly install within the detailed bay. These are moulded as halves, with separate stabilizing fins and arming impellors which are both fine and sharp in detail. The only other parts on this sprue are the barrels for the gun blisters. SPRUE V This is the star of the show, with regards to this specific release, and contains the new tooling for that stubby, but heavily armed nose. Whilst the nose looks quite blunt from the side, the real test in how accurate HK have produced this is in looking from above or below. From those angles, the nose should have a more pointed, blunt profile. I'm pleased to report that these does appear to capture that beautifully in reference to my Squadron Walkaround book. The lower half of the nose, complete with that deep and menacing-looking recess for the M4 cannon, is beautifully moulded, with excellent exterior rivet detail. Into the rear of the recess is installed the large cannon barrel. A gun platform is then installed above this onto which the FOUR .50 cal Browning MG's and their ammunition boxes/feeds are installed. Of course, the upper section of the nose can be positioned either in an open of closed position. This section is built up from the outer nose skin, and an insert which locates within which contains all the structural elements. I do have a small gripe with regard to the cannon, and that is because there's no breech to it. The rear of the barrel protrudes into the hollow below the cockpit floor space, which extends through to the rear of the cockpit. If you're a stickler for detail, it would have been nice to have seen this included, as well as the ammunition feeds. I'd sure an aftermarket company will fix that little anomaly soon after release. As I have previously stated, this sprue contains an entirely new instrument panel for this version, as some instruments were deleted from the J variant, and only one set of pedals is installed. That must've made low-level ground attack runs fun! A few other parts exist here for external detail, and a gun sight which sits in front of the pilot. Plastic summary There's nothing to fault here. Virtually zero-flash, no sink marks, minimal issues with ejector pin marks, and all transparencies are flawless. Surface detail is first class, and the model drips in detail within...well, mostly. There are a few areas which could do with some extra work if you like to make things very detailed. This build on Large Scale Modeller will show you those areas I mean. Of course, most of this will be closed up, but this Ave Maria build is a great example of what can be achieved with a great starting kit. The kit .50 cal barrels are pretty run of the mill, missing open barrel ends. I would look to change them for MASTER barrels instead. PHOTO ETCH As stated, my set is missing this, but I can tell you what's on offer. There is some sort of ledge which installs within the bomb bay, plus a set of seatbelts. Looking at these though, I would be tempted to go with an HGW or Eduard set and ditch the kit parts. There are two other curved pieces of PE which I have so far failed to identify. They look like leasing edge wing gates. INSTRUCTIONS This is a sixteen page A4 manual, with construction broken down into 37 assembly sequences. Some of these have sub-sequences, and all black/white line drawings are easy to follow and clearly annotated. In my prototype manual, there were a few basic errors which I have reported back to HK Models for changing. In all, a relatively easy model to build. Colour call-outs are given thoughout assembly with paint reference codes supplied for Tamiya and GSI Creos (Mr Hobby) paints. FS standard codes are also supplied. My copy was supplied as JPG files and what you see are print-outs I used to help with the review. DECALS A small, single sheet is supplied for the single scheme available. These are superbly printed and look fine in all other ways except for them being perhaps a little thick. I don't know how well these respond to setting solutions either. No stencils are given either, which is a little sad for such an expansive airframe. An instrument decal is supplied for the main IP. You can either elect to simply cut this out and tack it into place in the recess in the rear of the instrument panel, or apply it to a piece of suitably shaped plasticard. This aspect of the kit is more than passable. Despite the IP, there are still no cockpit stencils and placards. Consider the Airscale range of decals to satisfy this shortage. The single scheme available is: B-25H, Vikin's Vicious Virgin, 82BS/12BG 43-4208 Conclusion This is the first time I've ever cast my eyes over an HK Models B-25 kit, so it's all been virgin territory for me. I have to say that I am massively impressed by what Neil Yan and his team have achieved with this kit in regards to both design and its relative affordability. This is a large kit, make no mistake, and you'll need to carefully plan where you'll put it as much as you'll need to set aside ready cash. Those factors aside, this has to be one of the very best large scale models I've ever been fortunate to see, let alone have the pleasure of reviewing. Out of box, this will be a show stopper. Add AM to it, and it'll be a killer. I've promised to set aside time this year to build this one and when I do, I'll showcase it on the Large Scale Modeller forums. Very highly recommended James H My sincere thanks to Neil Yan at HK Models for the review sample seen here. Check your countries local distributors to grab one of these beauties.
  12. HK Models 1/32nd scale Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress This model represents ‘Skipper’; a Douglas-built B-17G 42-238129 assigned to the 367th Bomb Squadron, 306th Bomb Group, based at Thurleigh. This aircraft was one of 234 built by Douglas that had both staggered waist gun positions as well as the factory-fitted Cheyenne tail turret, and were delivered in camouflage finish. This particular aircraft entered service on 25th February 1944, and was still on strength with the 306th on VE-Day. The replacement natural metal starboard stabiliser, fin centre-section, both elevators and tail turret were necessary after the bomber was rammed from behind in a taxiing accident at Thurleigh in November 1944. After repair, ‘Skipper’ went on to complete over 100 missions. After hostilities ended, this veteran was transferred to the 398th BG at Nuthampsted on 28th May 1945, before flying back ‘across the pond’ in January 1945 where it resided at Kingman before succumbing to scrap man’s torch on 28th December of the same year. This model has been built more or less out of the box, with only very minor additions. I made the small 'ice windows' on the pilots' windscreens from careful masking and Archer rivets. Aftermarket seat-belts came from Eduard, and a few additional details were added here and there from Evergreen strip where I felt them necessary, such as under the flightdeck floor. I used Eduard’s exterior set which provided some vents and grills omitted by HK, as well as more detailed fuel filler caps. I didn’t use any interior sets, as I felt that the kit parts were perfectly adequate when painted up, and Eduard have used ‘standard’ US interior green on components rather than ‘bronze green’ used on the B-17. I sprayed on the bomb group markings myself, and used the kit decals for the ‘stars and bars’ etc. The ‘Skipper’ name was printed for me, and I used KitWorld’s excellent stencil set. All paints were from Hannants’ Xtracolour range. All in all a very straightforward and enjoyable build… although it’s an expensive model, if you’re a fan of the B-17 it’s a ‘must have’ kit. Was it worth the money? Roll on the B-17F version would be my answer to that! More detail pictures to follow...
  13. B-17 Placards Eduard Catalogue # 32 790 Available from Eduard for 15,47€ Bunny Fighter Club price: 13,15€ Eduard have really gone to town with Aftermarket accessories for the HK models 1/32 B-17G and one of their latest sets is this one, B-17 Placards. The set is packaged in the normal clear envelope with card stiffener, containing one fret of plated and pre painted etched brass. The plated and painted fret measuring 93mm x 59mm contains no fewer than 115 parts. The painting on my sample is perfectly in register and very sharply printed. The set contains information labels, radio equipment faces and even a fist aid box, all of which are dotted all over the fuselage, from nose to tail. Many of the parts go into the cockpit, including sidewall and overhead console detail. There are also details for the bomb aiming equipment and electronic equipment in the nose section. The bomb bay is covered with all the bright red bomb loading instructions at each station included. There are even parts for the tail gun area!! Here are some close up pics, displaying the quality of printing on this lovely little set.. By now you may have noticed that all these parts are included in the various other sets, dedicated to each section such as Bomb bay or Front Interior sets, but this is where Eduard have helped if you want to add a little fine detail to your model, but don't want to go to the expense of all the other sets. This set contains enough to add "that little extra" to your model for a very reasonable cost and with little effort. The instructions in the set come as 4 sides of Black and white printed on A5 paper. I have downloaded the instructions from Eduard's site and printed them out in colour on A4 paper. Sheet 1... Sheet 2... Sheet 3... Sheet 4... To summarise, this set is of no use if you have all the other Eduard sets, but it will be greatly received by those who don't want to spend the time or money on all the other fantastic Eduard sets for their HK models B-17G. Thanks very much to Eduard for supplying this review sample.
  14. B-17 Seatbelts FABRIC Eduard Catalogue # 32 796 Available from Eduard for 18.02€ Bunny Fighter Club price: 15.32€ Here we have Eduard's lovely set of fabric seatbelts for the HK models B-17G. Eduard also make a set of etched seatbelts, so if you prefer that medium, you are catered for with that set. The set is packaged in the normal Eduard fashion, in a clear sleeve containing a card stiffener. The set consists of one sheet of fabric belts measuring 51mm x 83mm with 52 separate parts, and one sheet of plated etched brass measuring 40mm x 35mm with 39 pieces. The set includes enough straps to make 5 full size lap belts as fitted to the cockpit seats, covering the cockpit, nose section leaving two spare, perhaps for the belly turret? There are also two simple lap belts, which the instructions tell you to fit to the navigator and rsdio operators seats. Check your references for the correct placement... The buckles are beautifully etched and plated, so will not require any further finishing, just assemble and apply... Here we can see the great stitching detail on the belts themselves. The instructions are supplied as two A5 black and white sheets. For this review I have printed the instructions out on A4 paper in full colour. All Eduard's instruction sheets can be printed out from their website. Sheet 1... Sheet 2... There is no mention made of screwing the belts up between ones fingers, but it may make the belts look more realistic?? All in all, this set will greatly enhance the very visible cockpit and nose section of the HK models B-17G and are a great improvement over the standard kit parts. Thank you very much to Eduard for the review sample.
  15. Many of the people who look here will already have seen this work on another forum. As I am no longer a member of that particular forum, I thought I'd put up some of the work done here. I will start by saying that this thread is not a kit bashing rant or intended in any way to disrespect the work of HK Models. We are all aware that there are issues with the kit and we are also aware that many people are happy with the way it looks out of the box, I for one am not happy with the appearance, so I am pulling out all the stops to correct it and make it a little more pleasing to my eye. I want to build this model as little Miss Mischief, but may have to change my mind as the NMF will be very difficult to achieve with all the cutting and modifications that are being done to the fuselage. We'll have to wait and see..... The first thing we notice if we want to build LMM (Little Miss Mischief), we need to move the starboard waist window back to create a non-staggered waist window fuselage. The recessed area for the glazing will be very difficult to reproduce, so I have decided to cut the window aperture out, along with a corresponding piece of plain fuselage and simply swap them over.... This is the inside of the fuselage, where I have marked out the lines I will cut. Note I've used the ribbing as a guide to keep everything square. Following some careful scoring and cutting with my razor saw, I have a £250 model with a big hole in the side!! Now, if we turn the cut out part over, we can refit it into the hole and hey presto, job done... No.. note the moulding for the clear part is different top and bottom... We need to cut the removed section in half and replace the front with the rear and vice versa... here's an interior shot to show what I mean. the plastic stock is there to lift the aperture into the correct position and to fill the gaps resulting from the saw cuts. Here we are, a non staggered waist window fuselage.. If you intend to build this kit this mod should be considered as it will really open up your options for the finished scheme, especially if you don't want to build it in NMF.
  16. B-17G guns Eduard Catalogue # 632026 Available from Eduard for 29,95€ Bunny Fighter Club price: 25,46€ Eduard have recently released their resin Gun set for the HK Models 1/32 B-17G, and what a set this is!! The set, numbered 632 026 is supplied in the now common Brassin Packaging as shown here. The set contains a total of 27 resin parts and 24 PE parts on a single fret measuring 23 x 25mm.My sample exhibited no issues with bubbles or warping. There were also no breakages, which is testament to Eduard's packaging, are you listening Aires!! There are four different styles of gun, automatic, left and right loaded and Manually operated, left and right hand loaded. Notice the extremely crisp detail on the breeches and also the cooling holes on the barrel jackets. here I have tried to show the detail on all four faces of the breeches. As previously mentioned, VERY crisp. The Breeches in the HK kit are made in a range of sizes, which is incorrect, then the barrels are also made in a range of lengths to give the guns the right "look". The B-25 suffers the same issue. maybe Eduard will make a set of guns for that kit too?? Now we come to the big feature of this set, it is not just a set of machine guns, but a complete set of replacement and updated mountings. For example, the radio room gun mount in the HK model is very basic. This set fully replaces the mount with a correct replica of the sheet metalwork found on the real aircraft. There are also upgrade parts for the waist guns. All of this is very visible on the finished model. See the instructions for more detail of the replacement mounts. Here is the PE fret, covering the gun sight parts. The instructions are supplied as four sides of A5 paper printed in colour with a painting guide, calling up Gunze colours. In summary, this set is a great addition to enhance your 1/32 B-17G. Not only are the inaccurate oddly sized guns in the kit replaced with accurate renditions of the real guns, but you will also be replicating the mounts more accurately. If there is a small downside to the set, it is that the barrels weren't supplied as separate parts to be added after final assembly. Having said that, it will be a very simple job to cut the barrels off and glue them back to their breeches at the end of your build. You may even decide to drill the breeches and fit brass barrels instead? Thanks go to Eduard for producing this great set and also for supplying the set for this review. These guns will be used on my B-17 build, I may buy another set for my B-25, unless Eduard produce a dedicated set for that kit too?
  17. 1:32 Meteor F.4 HK Models First Look Price: TBA The existence of the HK Models Meteor F.4 has been known for quite some time now, with a few CAD images being released, and more recently a few images on some forums of test shot sprues. With Scale Model World about to spring a week or two ago, Large Scale Modeller arranged a meeting with HK Models at this show, and we enquired as to the possibility of taking a look at a pre-release of this kit. We certainly like to 'take one for the team' in order to bring you key releases, and for this very first foray into injection plastic for the Meteor, well, how could we refuse? This is by no means a review. We have no box. We have some in-development decals, and we also have no instruction manual. What we do have though are FOUR sprues, one in clear plastic, and three in grey styrene. Our packaging? A nice long length of protective bubble-wrap that protected this whilst in a simple flight case from Hong Kong. My sincerest thanks to HK Models for this opportunity. Now, only FOUR sprues, I hear you say? After all, this is a 1:32 jet fighter. Yes, that's right, but don't let that put you off. You still have a respectable parts count, and HK Models have boxed clever with this release, and designed it so that you can purchase an attractive model kit, and build it out of box for a very reasonable price. The kit also has some well thought out secondary engineering which allows the aftermarket guys to bounce in here and produce their sets too, and for you to display it. An example of this is are the upper cowls of the Derwent engines. There are no engines supplied in this kit, but the nacelles have an engine access panel which is moulded as a separate part. Now, all we need is a company to make an engine or an engine insert, and voila! Even though we are told that these sprues are now at final production standard, some are still devoid of any part numbers, or sprue number designation. The first sprue I'm looking at contains the fuselage halves. These are full length pieces which are moulded without a static rudder. Exterior detail is excellent with fine panel lines and restrained riveting which looks in scale to my eye. Depiction of the various panels and overlapped lower tail 'bumper' look correct to me, and certainly very period/reminiscent of this late 1940's aircraft. The nose 'cap' is also a separate part. One area where things could have fallen down is the design of the 20mm Hispano cannon apertures. The Kinetic F-86 Sabre was badly let down in this area. Thankfully, the reproduction of this looks extremely good here with nicely shaped channels and fairings. A little plastic seems to be missing around the sharp end of the fairings due to short-shot-syndrome, but that's no biggie. Despite this being 'production standard', yet the part numbers needing adding, I will presume that these little things will be tidier. Internally, the fuselage has no detail to speak of, with the cockpit being a separate module with its own side walls. Elsewhere on this sprue are the ailerons. These are moulded as upper and lower halves, with a separate trim tab, which can posed due to it being sandwiched during aileron assembly. You'll also find the engine nacelle forward ring and adjustable jet exhaust outlet pipe here too. Lastly, undercarriage doors and landing flaps are to be found on this first sprue. Our second sprue contains the full span lower wing panel, with integral main gear bays. The bays themselves are sharp, with excellent constructional detail and riveting strips. A positive, rectangular socket exists for connecting the undercarriage leg. As mentioned, the ailerons and landing flaps are moulded separately. Wing detail includes some very fine panel line and port access detail, as well as outboard nacelle stiffening strips. Horizontal stabiliser parts are supplied here as upper and lower halves, with the elevator parts being the same. The rudder is a two part affair also. The starboard rudder half has a short shot in one corner, but I'm going to assume that this won't be an issue with the main review, which we'll bring to you when we have the final boxing. To fix for this quick build will require no more than a dab of filler. A large ventral fuel tank is included here too. To fit, you'll need to drill out two locating points on the wing underside panel. The last main sprue contains the upper wing panel halves. As mentioned, these are moulded with the main engine access panels as separate parts, which are included on this sprue too. There is no internal detail on the panel undersides, so perhaps this is another area for the AM guys? Again, wing surface detail itself is very good, with subtle panel lines and riveting. A little of the rear inboard wing edge is a little feathered due to a minimal short shot. Frontal engine inserts, so be seen through the front nacelle opening, are included here. A beefy aircraft needs a sturdy undercarriage, and this is just what the Meteor has. Undercarriage struts, complete with the upper wheel guard, as split into halves, complete with oleo and calipers etc. A clever touch here is that one of the protruding pins which hold the wheel, is scalloped. This is to ensure that the wheels, which are weighted, are held in the correct position with regard to the floor on which they'll sit. Those wheels, which are also are moulded as halves, have some very nice hub detail. Tread pattern isn't an issue here as the Meteor tyres were smooth. One key area for the large scale modeller is the cockpit, and the one supplied here has some excellent detail, built right out of the box. As is quite common these days, this is built as a module which sits in between the fuselage halves. This module includes the very detailed side walls with their avionics consoles. Detail here is certainly no worse than many of today's offerings, and indeed is reminiscent of the high standard we saw in the B25 and B17 kits from the same manufacturer. The instrument panel is superbly defined, with blank instrument faces, presumably for instrument decals. As for the seat, this was a simple affair, and not en ejection unit. No seatbelts are moulded in situ, with me yet again presuming this will be due to their inclusion on the photo etch fret which should be included with the final release. A small short shot on the beautifully detailed control column means that I will need to replace one strut with a short length of plastic rod. The nose wheel created an internal bulge within the cockpit floor area, in between the rudder actuation bars. A gun sight is included, but seems to have its lens moulded in grey. I suggest you clip this off and replace with a piece of clear plastic. There are six parts on the clear sprue. Three of these are the canopy parts, and two are for the wingtip lights. I'm unsure at the moment what the small 6th part is for. But how does this thing fit together? The main components have been remove and assembled here for you to get an idea. All components I tested fit together with no issue. Large parts such as the fuselage and wing sections look to be gapless from our tests, and bringing these large assemblies to each other shows a well-engineered model which should present no problems overall. I predict we'll see a few of these on the stands at SMW 2014, Telford, next year. I'm not going to do a talk through the decal sheet at this stage as it isn't yet completed in terms of ink colour authenticity etc. I can tell you that at least two RAF machines are included, as is a single Argentine aircraft. Whilst I can see no instrument decals here, a number of stencils are included, as are various walkway demarcation lines. Please watch out for our final review in the near future. A BIG thanks to Neil Yan at HK Models for his co-operation with Large Scale Modeller and its staff, and for allowing us to bring this and future releases to you. James H
  18. Hi guys and gals, I've had to keep this under wraps for a few days in case it didn't happen, but I can tell you that at Scale Model World today, the LSM team took possession of the final release sprues of the forthcoming HK Models Gloster Meteor F.4! This is an un-boxed kit, with no manual, and will give us a first look at this pretty damn smart looking kit. We'll give you plenty of photos and a dry fit of the main components for you. In future, we'll also receive the boxed version for you to see. We have a few images of a completed test shot on our Facebook page. The LSM team had a very fruitful meeting with HK Models also, and we'll be bringing you more news and reviews in the future. Exciting times here!
  19. 1:32 B-25J Mitchell No. 16 and 18 NEI Bomber Squadron ML-KNIL/RNEIAAF Limited Run Manufacturer: Dutch Decal Catalogue # 32012 Available from Dutch Decal: www.dutchdecal.nl Celebrating their 25th birthday, Dutch Decal has been around since 1986. It is run by the Dutch graphic designer Luuk Boerman and has been producing decal sheets of aircraft from all Dutch armed forces. Every now and then a foreign nationality slips through. More than 100 sheets have been released to date. Most of them are sold out now but a few much requested sheets will be reprinted in the near future depending on demand. The decal sheets are silkscreen printed and accompanied by English instructions. Dutch Decal sheets come in all scales: 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32. The 1:32 sheets can be identified by the broad black band at the bottom of the packaging. Let´s have a look what we get: In a well packed zipped plastic bag you will find one sheet of decals protected by a folded colourful sheet of paper. On here you will find the various schemes for Dutch B-25J Mitchells. All of these subjects operated in the former Dutch East Indies by the ML KNIL (Militaire Luchtvaart/ Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger) or RNEIAAF (Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force). As you may have guessed this sheet is to be used with the HK Models B-25J model kit. At the time of conception of this sheet it was planned to be used with the Wingscale B-25J kit. Luuk Boerman was co-operating with Wingscale at the time. The Wingscale logo on the booklet proves this. The decals are well printed and register is perfect on our sample, there is no mismatch. The finish is gloss. Covered liveries: The various scheme options are olive drab with grey undersides, The sheet give the Federal Standard numbers as FS34088 for Olive drab and FS36173 for Neutral Grey. Other aircraft have partly removed paint exposing the natural metal finish. And some aircraft in natural metal finish overall. Very dark blue paint: What struck us was the dark tone of blue used in the Dutch nationality roundel. This is very dark, at first we thought this was a misprint. After pointing this out to Dutch Decal, Luuk informed us that this actually is correct. The Dutch roundels were applied at the North American factory where they simply used the same blue paint to apply the American star and bar. Dutch nationality markings: In the colour artwork it can clearly be seen that the former American star and bars have been painted out with a darker colour of green. Over this the Dutch flags were applied. Some had these flags bordered in white to make them better stand out to the population below. The wartime Dutch nationality marking is the black bordered orange triangle. These were removed for service in the Pacific Theatre of Operations because it was felt they resembled the Japanese “meatball” too much. To avoid confusion the Dutch flag was used. After 1947 the flags were replaced by the current tricoloured roundel with the orange dot. Dorsal turret deleted: Also note that only N5 245 carries the dorsal turret just after the cockpit, the others have the turret removed and the hole faired over. This was because after the cease of hostilities there was no Japanese threat and these were deleted. Only N5 245 on this sheet was used during the war, the others post war. Weathered camouflage: It is obvious that these aircraft were worked hard and the paintwork suffered heavily in the hot humid climate. If you like exotic subjects and go to town on heavily weathered liveries then this sheet is right up your alley. The sheet covers 7 individual aircraft: • NA B-25J Mitchell N5-245 “Lienke” No. 18 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Batchelor AB Australia 1945 • NA B-25J Mitchell N5-246 No. 18 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Tjililitan 1st AB Batavia Java Dutch East Indies 1947 (See photo below. Source: See reference) • NA B-25J Mitchell N5-257 No. 16 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Talang Betoetoe 12th AB Palembang Sumatra Dutch East Indies 1947 (See photo below. Source: See reference) • NA B-25J Mitchell N5-264 No. 16 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Talang Betoetoe 12th AB Palembang Sumatra Dutch East Indies 1946-1948. This machine was returned to the Netherlands during 1971 after an official request by HRH Prince Bernhard and is on display at the Military Aviation Museum, Soesterberg. • NA B-25J Mitchell N5-258 No. 16 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Talang Betoetoe 12th AB Palembang Sumatra Dutch East Indies 1946-1948 • NA B-25J Mitchell M4 34. No. 18 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Tjililitan 1st AB Batavia Java Dutch East Indies 1947-1948 • NA B-25J Mitchell M4 51 No. 18 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Tjililitan 1st AB Batavia Java Dutch East Indies 1947-1948 (See photo below. Source: See reference) • NA B-25J Mitchell M-434. No. 16 or 18 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Dutch East Indies 1948 Conclusion: The overall quality and accurancy is spot on. Using our reference we could not find any faults. We tried, honestly. This sheet is available directly from Dutch Decal or the Aviation Mega Store. It's a limited run edition, so If you want it get it while you can. Highly recommended Cees Broere and Jeroen Peters Our sincere thanks to Dutch Decals´Luuk Boerman for providing the review sample used here. Reference used: De nederlandse Mitchells by Gerben J. Tornij ISBN nr 90-9013058-6 This book covers the operational service of the Mitchell in the Dutch airforce
  20. 1/32 B-25J Mitchell "The Strafer" HK Models Catalogue # 01E02 Available from HK Model stockists "The Strafer" With the first half of 1942 looking grim for the Allies, after losing Philippines, Dutch Indies and Singapore to the Japanese Forces. The Allied forces in the South West Pacific fell back to Australia to regroup. Australia would soon become the base of operations for General MacArthur's South Pacific offensive with fresh supplies and troops arriving, to retake the islands that were lost. The decision to intensify Strafing and Bombing missions in the various island campaigns was made by General George Kenney, now the head of the Thirteenth Air Force, due to the low-level attack virtues of the Douglas A-20 Havoc and North American B-25 Mitchells. Roles both aircraft weren't originally designed for. This would be the start of the development of some of the most lethal aircraft fielded against Japanese forces in the South Pacific. Skip bombing tactics were developed which involved a low level approach against the heavy defensive fire of the Japanese ships. General Kenney was dissatisfied with the armament and bombs of the two attack aircraft, as they weren't completely suited to how he wanted to employ them. This is were Captain Paul "Pappy" Gunn came in, one of the brains behind developing Strafer-bombers. Captain Gunn developed a field modification for the A-20 Havoc that put an extra four .50 cal machine guns in the nose, as a bombardier wasn't required on these low level attack runs. This way skip bombing and strafing could be combined in a single aircraft. These modifications were better, but extra fuel tanks had to be installed in the Havoc's bomb bay to increase its range, which in turn reduced its bomb load. By the summer of 1942 A-20s were in short supply as orders for the A-20's were increasing from the Russians. The B-25 Mitchell became the ideal replacement as it had already proved its role. The B-25 had a longer range and could carry a heavier bomb load than the A-20. Gunn came up with field modification for the B-25, with the help of North American Aviation field representative Jack Fox. This field mod put four extra .50 cal's in the nose section of B-25C serial #41-12437 and additional two pairs of .50 cals on external blisters on each side of the forward fuselage. By the summer 1942 Jack Fox issued a memo to all the other North American field reps in the South Pacific Theatre on how to modify the B-25 into a Strafer-bomber. Tactics were worked out and crews trained on a wrecked ship off the coast of Port Moresby, the final result would include a pair of B-25s approaching enemy ships at 1,000-1,500 feet and then drop to 500 feet or lower on the final run in to the target. One Mitchell would open up with its gun battery to suppress the defensive fire while the other Mitchell would drop a string of bombs in a skip bomb attack. After the first pass, the pair returned for a second run, this time switching roles. During the first half of 1943 Strafer-bombers wreaked havoc on Japanese shipping that supported the Imperial war machine. Soon airfields also came under attack by the Strafer-bombers dropping 23-lb fragmentation bombs slowed by parachutes. The Strafer concept was so successful that by September 1943, 175 B-25Cs and Ds had been converted. By that time, five squadrons had been so equipped in the South West Pacific. The Strafer modifications to the B-25C/D led to the B-25G, which was a dedicated factory-built strafer that was succeeded by the more efficient B-25H. However, it was not until the solid-nosed B-25J that the Strafer received the full fire power that brought Havoc on Japanese Shipping. The Kit – Back in May 2012, SPAR's Matt McDougall took a look at the Glass Nose B-25 from HK Model. Most of the Strafer kit is unchanged from the Glass nose version, so we will take a look at the new items within the Strafer kit. If you haven't seen Matt's review please check it out here, so you can familiarise yourself with the common parts that are shared between these kits - Click THIS link for the review. Most of the new parts are located on two new sprues, The first noticeable one is the new solid nose, which is located on its own separate sprue. Some of the rivet detail is very faint compared to the rest on the nose, this is most likely due the limits of the tool and the plastic injection molding process. It will be a easy task to deepen them with a pin to match rivets to the rest on the rest of the nose. The second new sprue contains the components for the nose area. The nose can be either built with the gun bays fully open to display all the firepower contained within the nose or bays closed. The sprue contains the two gun bay doors and the interior framing as separate parts. The framing parts do have some injector pin marks on areas that are easily seen, but these will clean up without any difficulty. Also on the sprue are the eight .50 cal bodies and ammunition cases/tins. One item that is missing are the ammo feed belts to each of the .50 cal's from the ammunition cases/tins. These are quite noticeable in period photographs. These would have to be scratched built or I am sure that a aftermarket company will come to the rescue, if you wish to display the bays open.. The printing of the decals are unchanged from the Glass Nose release, they thick and glossy. Reports from other modellers that I have seen on the internet, that they do go down nicely, but do require some aid from sol solution. I didn't use the decal on my Glass nose build. so I cannot comment from my own experience. Again no airframe stencils markings are included on the sheet, but the Hamilton Standard prop logo's and data are suppliedon the sheet. However there is an aftermarket offering from Kitsworld decals for Stencils, if you do wish to add them to your build. The sheet only carries one marking option for B-25J, 498th Bombardment Squadron (Falcons), 345th Bomb Group, Okinawa, 1945. So What Do We Think? As Matt stated in his review of the Glass Nose B-25J... "There can be only one word to describe this kit .... Epic!" This is indeed correct! It's a huge amount of plastic that you get for the price tag and it does build very easily. I enjoyed my build of the Glass Nose kit (appeared in the October issue of Military Illustrated Modeller magazine) that instantly stuck my hand up for this one... Some AM supplies will aid and improve some areas that are lacking detail. And just remember... This builds in to a big kit! Highly recommended. We are in the process of gathering a few aftermarket items that are upcoming and currently on the market for B-25...And we will be bring you a full build review in the near future! Our sincere thanks to HK Models for the review sample used here.
  21. Here is my HK Models B-25 that appeared in November 2012 issue of Military Illustrated Modeller magazine... Hope you like! Period photo that I worked off -
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