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  1. 1/32 I.A.R.80 decals RB Productions Catalogue # RB-D32021 Available from RB Productions for €14,75 Romania’s I.A.R.80/81 was certainly as advanced, if not more so, than many contemporary fighter aircraft of that period, yet it is one which I imagine is far less known than those operated by other belligerent countries during that conflict. If anyone is best-placed to research and design a set of decals for the I.A.R.80, it’s Radu Brinzan. Having already written two books on this subject (which are superb, indidentally!), Radu is incredibly knowledgeable about this specific type, and being Romanian himself, it’s most certainly a passion. RB Productions have released decals for the I.A.R.80/81 before, with sets being available for the I.A.R.80-M (modified 80/s1 series machine) in all main scales, but this one concentrates specifically on the I.A.R.80, and what appears to be the earlier machines. Whilst the forthcoming I.A.R.80A to be released by FRROM would be the ideal candidate for the 1/32 version of these decals, you source the initial Azur/FRROM release. To utilise these on the I.A.R.80A though, you would need to make a small modification to that kit. As the I.A.R.80A was fitted with 6 guns, you would need to delete the outboard gun and associated access panels on each wing. NOW you can use this set safely! RB Productions new decal set (available in 1/32, 1/48 and 1/72), comes in a re-sealable clear sleeve, with an attractive, folded A4 sheet with the EIGHT schemes printed in full colour. Print quality is superb, and very sharp, depicting five fuselage profiles on the front, and a further three within. Each of these is provided with a small paragraph of specific information next to the image. Each profile is also annotated with key colour details, as well as the main colours themselves being given in Lifecolor and FS codes. To use other makes, you’ll need to cross-reference. Inside the sheet, a further opposite side profile is given for the standard camouflage application, with notes on stencilling and weathering. Four images are supplied of the upper and lower wings, and you will need (quite easily) to tie the correct one to the specific scheme profile you will choose. Dimensional information is included for wing stripes. The back page shows the camouflage scheme in planform, with the wraparound fuselage paintwork. A single decal sheet is included, printed by Fantasy Printshop in the UK. My experience of their decals is that they are as good as the main contemporary manufacturers, and every bit as good as Eduard’s own in-house production, which incidentally, I very much like. I’ve found they also work well with decal setting solutions, where required. Printing is also flawless, with the decals being nice and thin, and having minimal carrier film. Colour reproduction is excellent and everything is in perfect register. One thing I do know is that Fantasy Printshop are sticklers for quality! As well as the various national marking styles that were applied to these machines, a seriesof stencils is also included. In fact, two sets are included, meaning it’s perfectly possible to build at least two models from this sheet (more, if you don’t count the stencils!). The supplied marking options are: I.A.R.80, No.2 of Escadrila de Experienţe, August 1940, Pipera I.A.R.80, No.3, Şc.Vt/Flt.3Vt., Galaţi, October 1943, flown by Elev Av. Ciobănaş Andrei I.A.R.80, No.9 of Gr.8Vt/Flt.2Vt., flown by Adj.Stg.Av. Vasile Niţă, March 1941, Tirgşor I.A.R.81-C, No.17 of Esc.41Vt./Gr.8Vt, flown by Adj.Stag.Av. Florian Budu, July 1941, Bârlad I.A.R.80, No.22 of Esc.42/52 Vt., Gr.1 Vt, flown by Adj.Stag.Av. Gheorghe Firimide, July 1941, Bârlad I.A.R.80, No.26, March 1941, I.A.R. Braşov I.A.R.80, No.42 of Esc.42/52 Vt., August 1941, Sturzeni and Sărata/Salz I.A.R.80, No 44 of Flt.2Vt./Gr.8Vt., March 1941, Tirgşor Conclusion Radu has chosen some beautifully varied machines here in terms of styles of Romanian markings used, and in colourful terms also. Certainly a very welcome accompaniment to the Azur/FRROM kit. A very well researched product that is printed in superb quality by Fantasy Printshop. There really is nothing NOT to like here! Highly recommended My sincere thanks to RB Productions for the review set seen here. To purchase directly in 1/32, click HERE.
  2. 1:32 Fokker Eindecker wing conversion set For Wingnut Wings E.II/E.III/E.IV kits RB Productions Catalogue # RB-P32032 Available from RB Productions for €55,01 World War 1 modellers spend so much time creating painting and finishing effects that make their plastic creations look like fabric covered, timber airframes. But, what if you actually wanted to show those interior structures for real? What if you wanted to build a skeletal or semi-skeletal version of your subject? What if you wanted to create a diorama of a crashed or damaged aircraft? I’m sure we’ve all thought of the possibilities, but unless you’re endowed with amazing talents and plenty of time, it’s pretty much beyond the scope of most modellers. Well, RB Productions must’ve been thinking along those lines, and have now released a set for the WNW Fokker Eindecker kits; specifically for the E.II/E.III and E.IV releases. E.I machines had a shorter span and aren’t compatible. This set is erroneously called a ‘wing conversion set’, where to most accurately name it, I’d call it a ‘skeletal wing replacement set’, as nothing is actually converted. It simply replaces the plastic wings, tail plane and rudder with photo-etch ribs, spars and cap strips etc. This would be ideal for showing the model in a factory diorama etc. If you want to go further and make a framework fuselage, Radu has included instructions for you to be able to do that too. However, that isn’t the actual remit of this kit, so let’s look further. RB Productions’ Eindecker wing conversion set is packed into a sturdy but very shallow corrugated box, with a CAD render image of the completed parts on the lid. Inside, several folds of bubble-wrap cover two small zip-lock bags, each containing a single PE fret. Underneath this is a piece of thick black paper that covers a large zip-lock wallet in which there is the main PE fret and a card stiffener that has a copy of the box artwork printed on it, and TWO download links. One of these is for the PDF instruction manual, and the other is a reference PDF with many colour photos of an actual Eindecker airframe. Very useful indeed! Lastly, two lengths of plastic rod are included, of different diameters. This is quite an unusual review simply because of the nature of the product, but I’ll certainly try. WINGS Every constructional element of the Eindecker wing has been meticulously recreated here. Construction starts with the front and back spars, and as PE is of a certain thickness, the spars will be made from photo-etch laminations. To help you get everything in the correct position, some PE ‘keys’ have been supplied. Slow cure glue is also suggested for this construction, and the use of clamps to keep things together along the length of the parts. Getting this right is imperative. To hide those laminations, cap strips are added to the spars, and all parts are numbered directly, so you can’t get them mixed up once removed from the fret. Ribs are provided as three parts; leading edge, main, trailing edge, and of course, these accurately represent the structures of the real thing, or this would be a pointless task! All rib parts interlock at the spars, creating a solid joint whose parts are correctly placed. Remember to occasionally lay the structure flat to ensure that you don’t in-build any warp. This can still be tested flat, despite the wing having an under-camber. Onto the wing, you will now add some fitments, such as rigging points, tread-plates, internal/wing-warping wires and bracing turnbuckles, compass, gimbal and housing, and anchor points and plates for the wing warp mechanism. You will need short lengths of the styrene rod that is included in this set too. To help define the various constructional elements within the wing, the instructions use colour ink on the CAD drawings, making everything plainly obvious. Whilst the wings look terribly complex structures, this set has been engineered and explained so as it won’t cause the modeller any headache. TAILPLANE & RUDDER Construction of these is again faithful to the original machine, with the separate ribs hugging the main spar/tail post items. The ribs are made as single pieces, whereas they would have been upper and lower elements on the real machine. The overall appearance will look no different though. Those spars will be made from the styrene rod that is included. If I’m honest, I would prefer a length of brass tube here, but I’m sure this solution will work just fine. As per the original, you will need to fit control cable horns, and other associated fitment hardware from the PE sheets. FUSELAGE This set is designed to be fitted to the Wingnut Wings fuselage, but if you actually want to have a totally skeletal machine, then drawings are supplied of the fuselage frames, and how to cut the kit fuselage so that you can graft it onto the forward section of the plastic fuselage parts. This would look incredible, and I think this set really deserves that level of attention in order to get the very best from it. You will need to reference the internal bracing etc. so that you get this as accurate as possible. INSTRUCTIONS/REFERENCE The instructions are a joy to read, and totally comprehensible, despite the complexity of the structure. I don’t feel that anything here will be difficult to build. Now, an important mention is made of priming the parts before assembly, due to their fragility etc. It is also suggested that you use an adhesive such as Gator Glue etc. The reason for this is because the wing and tail structures could flex slightly due to weight etc. This would cause CA glue to crack. Another option is to solder the parts, if you have those skills. I’m a big fan of the reference material supplied here too. This contains not only further links to online reference, but also a suite of superb colour photos of a surviving Eindecker, with great reference showing the internal inter-rib tapes etc. Conclusion Certainly one of the most original and innovative PE sets I’ve seen in a long while, and one that I’ve always dreamed of eventually seeing. Radu’s design and production are excellent, and whilst not a cheap set, the cost probably doesn’t even reflect the actual work that’s gone into designing this excellent release. All you need is a Wingnut Wings E.II, E.III, or E.IV, and you’re ready to go! Very highly recommended My sincere thanks to RB Productions for sending over this review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
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