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Found 16 results

  1. 1/48 Junkers Ju 88C-4 Special Hobby Kit # SH48177 Special Hobby for 49,70€ Without a doubt, the Junkers Ju 88 was one of the most versatile and adaptable aircraft to have been used during WW2. Entering service as the war was literally starting (on the day of the Polish attack), the Ju 88 became successful for its numerous famous and infamous roles, starting out as a light bomber/dive bomber, and when losses started to mount around the time of the Battle of Britain, it was moved into other theatres of war, such as North Africa, and against shipping in the Mediterranean with a torpedo-carrying variant. Where it is perhaps best known are for its roles as both a heavy fighter and night-fighter, in which it excelled. The C version, which is the subject of this kit, saw the glass nose replaced with a sheet metal unit, carrying a lethal punch of four fixed guns (1 x MG FF cannon, and 3 x MG17). This was the version which eventually morphed into the deadly Ju 88G, with its revised fin and night-fighting equipment, including spine mounted, upward firing guns and lack of the bola. Many of the C version machines were built from converted A-1 and A-4 airframes, and still retained the ability to also carry bombs. To deceive enemy fighters, a number of these heavy fighters had their noses painted to represent the glazed nose A variants. The kit ICM seem to be favourites for other companies to re-box at the moment, with this latest Special Hobby release also being of Ukrainian origin. ICM’s base kit was first released in 2015, as the A-5, with further subsequent ICM and Hasegawa boxings. However, this is the first time that we’ve seen a solid nose C version of this kit. This quirk is due to the majority of the kit being ICM, coupled with new injection-moulded and resin parts from Special Hobby themselves. So, if you want a recently new-tooled Ju 88 that is a night fighter, then this is one you may well opt to buy. This kit itself is packaged into a fairly large box with an atmospheric artwork of a black 88C at dusk, after an encounter with a Wellington. The lid is quite a tight fit, but when you get this off, the parts within are packaged into a single clear sleeve, with the clear sprue being separately packed. A cardboard shelf sits over one side of the inner box, with the decal sheet and resin parts securely fastened to it, as well as the brand new Special Hobby clear sprue. An A4 colour-printed instruction manual resides in the bottom of the box. As for the plastic itself, there are SEVEN sprues of light grey ICM plastic and one sprue of ICM clear plastic. This is alongside a single sprue of light grey Special Hobby plastic and one extra clear sprue from this company. There are also 24 extra parts, cast in dark grey resin. I know that some modellers can be driven to frustration by the engineering choices that some companies make, but with this kit, ICM has boxed clever. It is designed to accommodate other versions so as to maximise the tooling, but none of this is done to the disadvantage of the modeller. Some very intelligent design work can be seen here, such as the fuselage halves being full length, so no need to graft on different nose versions. The fin is also separate, indicating something from the 88G family, maybe. Wing root fairings are moulded to the fuselage and are tabbed, meaning that the upper wing panels can easily sit on these and provide a positive location point. Another touch of genius is a single piece lower fuse and inboard wing panel section. When this is fitted to the fuselage, and then the wing panels added, the lower seam will be totally hidden under the broad nacelle structure. The nacelles themselves will then locate into the undersides via tabs. If you’ve ever seen the Revell 1/32 kit, you’ll know that there is a sturdy structure within the nacelle that the undercarriage is mounted to. Looking at this model, I think that whilst you may need to fit that mounting structure prior to the nacelle, it appears that you can probably fit the landing gear later, after painting. All control surfaces on this model can be posed, with the rear of the nacelles being separate for this purpose. You may need to fiddle things with this, and I can’t comment further without test fitting this one. Two detailed Jumo211 engines are included in this kit, with the provision to display one/either of them. These really do look very good, with each unit containing around 15 parts per engine, including the firewall and associated plumbing. One scheme that has standard day splinter camo, will use the plastic kit parts for exhausts. For the other two night schemes, a set of resin exhaust flame dampers are included. It does appear that the rear of the resin flame dampers contains a block that represents the visible connection between the damper and the engine. So, all should be good in opening the cowls with these installed. Check your references. The engines must be installed within the nacelle before the whole assembly is offered to the wing. You’ll need to make sure your painting and masking regime is good here. Cowl radiator flaps are presented as open only, so to pose these in the more aesthetically pleasing closed position, you will need to do a little surgery. Propellers are supplied as single piece units, and the spinner comprises of the typical back-plate and front section. If you expect a lot from the cockpit area, in terms of detail, then this won’t disappoint. Whilst there is no specific Eduard sets for this release at the time of writing, some areas could still use some of the sets designed for the ICM release, but you must remember that this model has a number of cockpit changes. Thankfully, Special Hobby has included these as resin parts, so you don’t need to rush to order aftermarket, except for seatbelts, at least. The office area is very well-appointed, with nicely moulded fuselage sidewall details, accompanied by a choice of 2 differently equipped radio rear bulkheads, resin ammunition racks and drums (for the forward guns), resin instrument panel, side consoles with delicately rendered instruments, two-piece control column, rudder pedal assemblies, seats with intricate mounting points etc. The other resin parts within this area relate to the nose weapons pack, including another ammunition box, gunner seat and mount, and the gun unit itself. The latter is mostly made up from parts from the new Special Hobby conversion sprue, as is the solid nose and its firewall. When assembled the cockpit will most certainly be a very busy and visual area. The bola gondola is well-appointed too, with a number of resin parts helping to fit it out. This area is moulded separately to the underside fuselage, and can be fitted later in assembly. ***A quick note here…Special Hobby has incorrectly listed the original gondola parts on Sprue A to be used. This is WRONG! Special Hobby’s new sprue has the parts you SHOULD use. This is backed up on the parts plan at the beginning of the manual, but incorrect numbers are shown on assembly*** Surface detail is everything you would expect from a modern-tooled model, with finely engraved panel lines and port details. There are also no rivets at all, so if you do want them, then you’ll have to get out Rosie. Plastic quality here is excellent with no flaws or obtrusive ejector pin marks. Clear plastic parts, both ICM and Special Hobby, are superb, with excellent clarity and nicely defined frame details. Three options are provided for the rear canopy, with weapon’s placements, and you’ll need to make sure you use the new main canopy provided on the Special Hobby sprue, and not the original ICM part. The resin parts in this kit do more than simply provide the aforementioned conversion parts for the C-4. They also provide enhancements over general kit detail, such as nicely weighted wheels, new tailwheel and mudguard, replacement main gear doors with internal detail missing on kit parts. All parts are nicely cast in dark grey resin, with no flaws. Of course, you will need to remove casting blocks, but looking at these pieces, that won’t be too difficult a task for the average modeller. A Cartograf-printed decal sheet contains markings for THREE markings, with all printing being in solid, authentic colour, with minimal carrier film and also being both nice and thin. Registration is perfect too. As well as markings, a full suite of stencils are included as are instrument decals. The three schemes are: Ju 88C-4, R4+MK, W.Nr.0359, 2/NJG2, Glize-Rijen, May 1941 Ju 88C-4, R4+MT, 9/NJG2, Glize-Rijen, Summer 1942 Ju 88C-4, R4+DL, 3/NJG2, Catania, Sicily, May 1942 Conclusion It’s great to have a modern tool Ju 88C-4 that can now put the maligned Dragon versions out to pasture, plus the poorly-executed Hobbycraft release. This kit has everything; a great cockpit with resin details, two detailed engines and some nice sub-variant options such as the canopy parts. I can’t see anything here that would challenge your average modeller, and the price-point is also very attractive, with this kit retailing for around £45 in the UK (as of time of writing). If you have ever hankered to build the heavy fighter version of the Ju 88, then this blend of both ICM and Special Hobby parts should be high on your purchase list. Highly recommended My thanks to Special Hobby for this review sample. To purchase directly, click HERE
  2. I got my hands on this a few weeks ago and I immediately binned the A29 and the Mossie, new canopy ordered. That said after a through wash I broke out the sprue cutters and got to work. See James Hatch's outstanding review. This is going to be an out of box build. With exception of markings which will be masked and painted. The decals have some spots and are not usable. Details on that later. Test fit looks good. There will some seam work and scribing needed. Obligatory ejector hole fills needed. A little 500 Mr. Surfacer did the trick. Using my shaping tool I addressed the flare racks and flare gun rack. Tedious work. Common variable when working with photo etch. Using Gator Glue The flare racks are secured. Flare gun rack on and done. Port side complete as far as I can before painting. Starboard side ready for paint.
  3. 1:32 Tempest Mk.II ‘HI-TECH’ Special Hobby Catalogue # 32054 Available from Special Hobby for €87,90 Hawker had a reputation for producing superbly stable and rugged gun platforms, such as the Hurricane and Typhoon fighter types. Unfortunately, for the Typhoon, the thick wing section prevented it from operating in format other than for low-level strike and bombing missions, where it was ideally suited, and certainly well-placed for the phase of the war in which it operated. The Typhoon wasn’t without other problems such as a fragile tail unit for which the rear fuselage needed metal plates riveted around the circumference, lest the tail depart the aircraft during violent manoeuvre. Whilst the poor visibility car-door canopy was replaced with a bubble hood, the pilot had to continually wear an oxygen mask due to a carbon monoxide engine leak that was never fixed. Whilst the Typhoon was being introduced into active service, developments were being made to reduce the drag of the thick wing. The design was seen to be so radical in relation to the original airframe that the fighter was given a new name. This was the Tempest, which while outwardly had a very similar appearance to the Typhoon, had a whole new, thin, laminar flow wing that was close to elliptical in planform. Other changes to standard production aircraft were the enlarged fin and strengthened fuselage, flush riveted surface and the shorter barrel Hispano cannon were mounted further into the wing, eliminating the faired barrels that protruded from the leading edge. Whilst this aircraft was fitted with the Napier Sabre engine that produced an appearance that likened it to the Typhoon, this was about to change. Hawker was already designing a new fighter, the Tornado, that was to utilise the 18-cylinder Bristol Centaurus radial engine. After examining a captured Fw 190, the compact system of installation and exhaust layout was mimicked for the Tornado. However, it was decided to transfer the Centaurus engine installation to the more advanced Tempest airframe, creating what became designated as the Tempest II. Production switching along with priority being given to Typhoon production, delayed the Tempest II entering service. A decision to tropicalize all Tempest II production for envisaged conflict in the South East Asian theatre, also added to delays. The war was now coming to an end, and Tempest II orders were now being either cancelled or scaled back. This was the last Hawker aircraft to feature a tubular internal structure, which was synonymous with Hawker machines. There was also an increased length to the Centaurus-powered aircraft, but hardly any penalty in weight due to the absence of the heavy radiator unit that gave the Sabre-engine machines their characteristic lines. Openings on the wing leading edge were introduced. One of these was for a radiator, and the other for the carburettor, thus keeping any drag to a bare minimum. Performance was enhanced in relation to the Napier engine machines, with a faster top speed and higher rate of climb. With the end of the war, and the scrapped plan to deploy Tempest II machines into the Japanese theatre of operations, many service machines began to operate from Allied bases within the defeated and occupied Germany. The Tempest went on to serve with several nations after WW2, with one notable Tempest II operator being Pakistan. The kit Having already reviewed the initial Tempest Mk.V ‘HI-TECH’ kit www.mhmodels.cz). These are finely cut from high quality vinyl that exhibit no post-cutting shrinkage. Hawker Tempest Mk.II British roundel airbrush mask for Special Hobby Hawker Tempest Mk.II Indian & Pakistan roundel airbrush mask for Special Hobby Hawker Tempest Mk.II Hi-Tech imatriculation airbrush mask for Special Hobby Click HERE for details
  4. Hi folks, Here are a couple of images of my finished Yak-3 from Special Hobby, complete with a rather nice pilot figure that was sent to me. Grass mat courtesy of Uschi van der Rosten. All paint is MR PAINT. Hope you like her.
  5. 1:32 Tempest Mk.V Special Hobby Catalogue # 100-32049 Available from Special Hobby for € 52,10 Finally it’s here. The kit Special Hobby has had us waiting for! To be more specific: Special Hobby shared their first rough impression and intention in May 2013. I myself have been eye-balling the first sprues at several hobby shows over the last few years at the Special Hobby stall and could tell this was going to be good. It is true that Pacific Coast Models (PCM) was first on the scene with a limited run kit. Come to think of it Cees Broere and myself also reviewed this kit back in august 2013! It featured resin and photo etch parts, but lacked detail in places (like the gear doors) and was inaccurate in other places (like the wheels). Since the PCM kit includes a lot of resin and PE I thought it would be cool to compare the two. Special Hobby kits are often mistaken for limited run kits, but I have a feeling that with this new standard that image will quickly be shaken off. One small detail: the PCM kit is getting harder and harder to find these days, so on that account alone, you might want to grab yourself a Special Hobby one. I won’t bore you with the usual background on the Tempest, since I reckon that if you’ve made it so far reading this, your interest in the Tempest is probably up to par. Here's a look at some of the teaser shots we had to do with over the past few years Special Hobby offers a pretty wide range of the more exotic subjects in 32nd scale. Yes, other scales too, but this is Large Scale Modeller J. Right of the bat I can tell you that with this kit Special Hobby has entered a whole new league. Where older kits, like the Brewster Buffalo, required persistence and a big jar of elbow grease, this kit offers decent fit, locator pins and 3d engineering. The kit This kit comes in two versions. The basic one (this one, for € 52,10) and the High Tech version (the other one, for € 79,90). Where the basic kit offers injection moulded plastic and decals, the High Tech kit is a very complete package with the additional resin for the cockpit, wheels and wheel wells, HGW harnesses and photo-etch. If you do want some extra detail in places, you can also opt for separate CMK upgrades, like: resin tailwheel assembly, seat (with or without seatbelts), exhaust set, gunsight, early type wheels, late type wheels, early or late guns, control stick, etc… But take my word for it: getting allthese sets separately will cost you more money than simply getting the High Tech kit that also offers these resin parts. Is the standard version on it’s own enough to make a stunning model? Read on… Overall impression The first thing that strikes is the large amount of parts and surface detail that you just wouldn’t expect on a Special Hobby kit. Rivets, fasteners and retained panel lines. All down to the detail you see on the inside fuselage halves that form the cockpit sidewalls (way more detailed than the PCM kit for instance) and the inside of the tail wheel well. Another thing you’ll notice is the leading edges at the base of the main wings are separately. This promises other versions of this kit in the near future. In many ways this kit is superior to the PCM kit. I mean: just look at the shell ejection ports of the wing. No need to cut those out anymore! The rivet detail on the canopy railing is present (not so on the PCM kit) and I can go on an on. There’s locator pins in places (not common most of their kits) and the fuselage halves dry fitted together on the main wing assembly leaves almost no seams. Always a relieve. Fuselage halves. Note the seperate nose, which can fit a Mk.II nose in a different kit version. Look at that surface detail: And here: Versus the detail on the PCM kit: There are quite a number of parts on the sprues that you won’t need for this version (like the rotary engine front, several spade control stick choices, gun barrels and prop blades. A look at sprue D: containing gear doors and rudder: The rudders looks spot on, not suffering from the 'starved cow syndrome': Sprue E: containing the nose: A close up: One more: Located on Sprue H (which you'll see when you scroll down to the wheel well section) is the radiator mesh. Who need PE? Sprue J: containing the exhaust stacks, bulkhead and parts of the wheel wells: With delicate hollow exhausts like these, who needs resin? (Well, I might...) Sprue B: The main wings: Lovely rivet detail here too: The flaps are moulded as one part with the main wings. So if you want to drop these, you'll need to operate! But then again: the Tempest usually had them raised when parked: Sprue C, containing the tail planes, bombs and drop tanks: Close up: The Cockpit Don’t expect anything basic from the basic offering of Special Hobby’s Tempest. The plastic parts that build up the cockpit are over 60! The only thing that I would recommend adding are wiring and HGW seatbelts (which are included in the High Tech kit by the way). First shots of an assembled cockpit from the Special Hobby site: When I compare this cockpit with the PCM offering, I see a much larger part count and detail in the Special Hobby cockpit, even though PCM includes a PE instrument panel, coloured PE seatbelts and levers and some resin parts for the rudder pedals and gunsight mounting. Looking at the crispness of all these plastic parts, I know what a bit of experienced detail painting and weathering can do in this area. I’m seriously impressed with the vast amount of parts and attention to detail. Have a look at the instructions for this part: Sprue I, with most of the cockpit parts: Close up: Special Hobby cockpit sidewalls: Versus the PCM cockpit sidewalls: Wheel bay and gear Again we are overwhelmed by a large part count. 26 parts for the main wheel well alone, followed by another 24 for the main gear itself. The option of 2 different wheel sizes for different schemes are included and I especially like the flattened tyres. Really loving the coloured instruction booklet: A shot of the built up gear from the Special Hobby website: The size of the tyres and the wheelhubs appear accurate to my eye. An area where the PCM kit lacked and Barracuda resin tyres had to be bought to remedie. The geardoors are little gems with accurate detail on the insides. Again: an improvement over the PCM doors, which were basic in detail and not too accurate. The PCM kit did offer a large resin tub with crisp detail, but to be honest, I think the SH plastic wheelbay is easier to work with and about as detailed. The upper portion of the wheel wells is moulded to the underside of the upper wing: Sprue H: containing some of the wheel well parts: ​ Close up: Look at that gear leg: Versus, sorry, the PCM one: Check out the inside of the Special Hobby gear door: Versus the PCM gear door and the real thing. Note the simplified detail and inaccuracy: And here's a look at the PCM resin wheel well. One of the sweetest parts of the PCM kit: This is sweet too, the detail of the Special Hobby inside tail wheel well: Clear parts As provided in the PCM kit the external drop tank attachment points are clear and inside riveted strips come in the form of decals. As said before the canopy is just lovely. The canopy framing features delicate rivets and even some small panels at the rear, whereas the PCM canopy does not. The clarity is super, but I’ll dip them in some Gauzy agent from AK nontheless. Also included on this fret are the small navigation lights sandwiched between the elevators and tail. A detail also included in the PCM kit. Sprue K: The Special Hobby Clear parts: Nice clarity and rivet detail: And again, here's a shot of the PCM clear parts: Schemes The nicely done instructions give us no less than 4 schemes to choose from. Al presented in a 4 way view with Alclad II and Gunze paint numbers. The decals are very nicely printed by Eduard. Great colour and registering of the printing: I especially love the dark blue. Too often this is printed with too much cyan and magenta... Look at those instrument faces. Zoukei Mura can learn a thing or two here... Scheme A: Hawker Tempest Mk.V NV969/SA-A No. 486 (NZ), Sqn. RAF, Fassberg Germany, April 1945 Scheme B: Hawker Tempest Mk.V JN682/JF-Z No. 3, Sqn. RAF Newchurch, Kent, England, August 1944 Scheme C: Hawker Tempest Mk.V EJ705/W2-X No. 80 Sqn. RAF, B80 Volkel, The Netherlands, January 1945 Scheme D: Hawker Tempest Mk.V SN165/ZD-V No. 222, Sqn. RAF, B91 Kluis, Malden, The Netherlands, April 1945 Verdict Wow. Yes, Special Hobby took their time and maybe was a bit quick with announcing this kit (but there are more brands guilty of this), but it sure proves to be worth the wait. After the Yak3 that made Special Hobby raise their own bar, this kit promises great things for their future releases. The execution takes away the immediate ‘need’ for a brand like Tamiya to step in. Four schemes to choose from, full stenciling decals, bombs, drop tanks, flattened tyres, excellent detail, … A solid 9 out of 10. Considering this is still a limited run kit and the basic offering, that doesn’t feel basic in any way! Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to knock the PCM kit with this review, just showing you how Special Hobby is stepping up to the game. Kind regards, Jeroen Peters A Special thank you to Special Hobby for the review sample.
  6. Yeah its arrived, waiting on my desk at work as I walked in this morning. What a nice way to start the day. Wood decals to be ordered from Alex and a plan formulated on how to display the beast. Aaron
  7. Special Hobby

    Sometimes, a kit really grabs you. For me, that grab was the new Yak-3, from Special Hobby. A simple kit, and in some cases, a bit of a diamond in the rough. I don't mean that disrespectfully, but it does need just a few tweaks here and there, and maybe more so that the recent Tempest. It also doesn't have any alignment pins, unlike the new Tempest. It feels a little retrograde, in alignment with previous SH releases.....but better. Does that make sense? This is the scheme I'm going to build. This one is a little different because it has a Tricolour rudder, without the standard Russian star. This kit needs a few tweaks here and there, to aid fit, and when you work out what those tweaks are, then assembly is pretty straight forward. It's not as fraught as it initially looks. As with most things I build these days, here is the rough, taped together kit, minus its tweaks to make it fit better: Looks can be deceiving, and you will need to do a few remedial things to make this fit better. One of them is to reduce the ridge on the upper wing, aiding fuse alignment, by 50%. Do this and all gaps close, magically, with no need for any putty. Maybe a smear of Mr Surfacer, and that's it. Quite neat. The clamp here is to align and secure the underside plate for the rear radiator section. Nothing too traumatic. The cockpit on this model is excellent. I should know, as this is one of my favourite areas, and I like my pits to be comprehensive and engaging. Of course, you can always add more here, but the resin parts included are superb, and you will need to remove the crap moulded radio receiver before you can add the resin replacement. The rudder pedals are also resin, as is the primer pump. The pit fits to the upper wing, but not before you build the undercarriage wells, paint and weather them. Paint on this model is generally from MR PAINT, and here is the Blue-Grey underside work: I'll post more of this when I start to assemble the main components and add some paint. I hope you like it.
  8. 1:32 Yakovlev Yak-3 “Normandie-Niemen” (HiTech) Special Hobby Catalogue # 32067 Available from Special Hobby for 54,90€ Unsurprisingly, the origins of the Yak-3 go back to an original 1941 design for what was to be designated as the Yak-1. At the same time, an alternative design named I-30, was also proposed, which was a smaller version of the Yak-1, carrying a spinner mounted cannon and two synchronised machine guns in the upper cowl. It also carried two wing-mounted cannon. Whilst this machine had metal wings that were fitted with slats for operations from smaller airfields, plus better handling, a prototype with simpler wooden wings, without slats was also flown. Unfortunately, this machine crashed and was destroyed. Due to Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, and raw materials becoming scarcer as Operation Barbarossa snaked through the Motherland, the Yak-3 was shelved. As time progressed, the Yak-1 project did spawn another number of other variants, such as the Yak-7 trainer/fighter and Yak-9 heavy fighter, which, as Russia’s war fortunes changed, allowed for full-scale production. It became apparent that Russia still needed a nimble fighter with a high power to weight ratio, that could take on the best of what the Luftwaffe was flying, and the I-30, or Yak-1M, was revisited. Trials for the new machine began in late 1943, and finally, the Yak-3 entered service in the summer of 1944, as Germany’s fortunes really were fading fast. The Yak-3 had a redesigned wing, and the aircraft was of mixed metal and wood construction, and fitted with a Klimov VK-105PF-2 V-12 liquid-cooled piston engine, delivering 1,300hp. Whilst retaining the spinner cannon and the two cowl mounted MGs, the wing cannon were omitted. With an impressive handling and combat performance that more than matched their Luftwaffe fighter counterparts, the Yak-3 with a top speed of over 400mph, was very much liked by those who flew it, and was said by a French fighter ace, to be superior than the P-51D and Spitfire. The type wasn’t without its problems though, including poor performing glues that cause plywood surfaces to break away, plus an unreliable engine and dodgy pneumatic systems that controlled the flaps, brakes and undercarriage. These were never fully resolved. By the time production ceased, almost 5000 Yak-3 had been built. The type was officially retired in 1952, and served with French, Polish and Yugoslav air forces, as well as its native VVK. The kit Special Hobby seem to be on a bit of a roll at the moment, with the recent review of their long-awaited Hawker Tempest Mk.V. Whilst the Tempest seemed to have been in development for an eternity, the Yak certainly wasn’t so. However, this release has been no less anticipated. Like the Tempest, Special Hobby has released this in their ‘Hi-Tech’ format, meaning that it comes with a number of resin parts and a smattering of photo-etch parts. A set of canopy masks is also de rigueur with this type of release. In all, a pretty comprehensive package that will only benefit from whatever else you decide to enhance it with. The Yak-3 is packaged in the same style and size of box as the Tempest, and as there aren’t as many parts here, things aren’t too tightly packed in there too. I have to admit that I really do like their choice of box artwork, and it’s been much lauded on various internet modelling. The box sides show the various extras afforded by this ‘Hi-Tech’ boxing. Removing the lid is easier said than done. This must be the best fitting box I’ve seen. It certainly takes some effort to remove the lid. Once inside, you’ll find FIVE sprues of medium-grey styrene packed into a single, re-sealable sleeve, a separate sleeve with ONE clear sprue, a CMK blister package containing the resin, photo-etch and vinyl masks, and one last sleeve with two decal sheets. Lastly, a glossy, colour-printed A4 manual completes the ensemble. The “Normandie-Niemen” packaging for this release relates to a regiment of the French Air Force that fought on the Eastern Front. This Group re-equipped with the Yak-3, scoring with it the last 99 of their 273 air victories against the Luftwaffe. SPRUE A Both fuselage halves are included on this sprue, as is the upper gun cowl and two parts of the lower radiator intake channel. Firstly, the overall finish on the parts is good, with delicate surface detail, finely engraved panel lines (where appropriate on a mixed wood and metal aircraft), very fine rivets and fasteners, and well defined stabiliser tab location points. Moulding isn’t done in highly polished moulds, and as a result, the surface is satin in finish. You might find that a gentle buffing of the plastic, and a fine polishing will benefit the eventual paint layer you apply. Inside the fuselage, some very subtle sidewall cockpit detail is included, but this won’t be seen easily through the tubular cockpit tub detail. A couple of ejector pin marks exist in this area, but again, looking at the kit more closely, I’m sure they won’t be seen. Some excellent tail wheel well detail is also moulded, which is nice when you consider you’d really need to pop a flashlight over the area to see it! I think the upper cowl is separate simply because of the bulges and gun troughs that are there, and moulding them in situ would have caused problems with tooling undercuts etc. The cowl looks very good, with more beautifully defined detail such as rivets, panel lines and port access detail. Gun trough fairings are also nicely defined. Please note that none of these parts, here or on other key areas, has any form of locating pin arrangement, unlike the recent Tempest design. This is quite normal for many of the smaller companies producing our kits. I certainly don’t find the lack of these locating aids to be a hindrance. In fact, I usually gently rub the joint faces of these parts over a large sheet of fine abrasive paper first, to ensure a perfect mating joint. SPRUE B This sprue contains the upper and lower wing parts, and the sprue is split simply to allow it to fit within the confines of the box. As you can see, these parts are full span, so there’s no having to determine any dihedral etc. It’s all done for you! You’ll also note that the flaps and ailerons are moulded in situ, which would make it a little harder for you if you wanted to pose these dynamically. It’s certainly no issue for me, as I imagine it wouldn’t be for the majority of those wanting to build this kit. Surface detail is extremely minimal as befits a wooden wing, but the ailerons with their rib and fabric detail, are excellent. The wing fairing is also nicely rendered, with its fastener detail, and the two holes you see in the upper wing are for the wing-mounted fuel gauges. The compasses themselves are supplied as decals that fix to the underside of two clear plastic compass units. The centre section of the upper wing contains the cockpit floor with its foot plates and control stick base. Note that the radiator unit is moulded in place on the lower wing, and of course you need to add the channel parts to this before you fit the upper wing plate as this area would be impossible to access afterwards. We have more metal plate and rivet detail on the undersides, with the centre section and landing flaps exhibiting some clean rivet and panel line detail. Internally, there are recesses for the landing gear bay walls, and the inside of the upper wing contains some nice, sharp details for the ceiling of the bays. Again, I will slightly buff out the surfaces of these parts and give them a subtle polishing before I begin work. SPRUE C Special Hobby has moulded the stabilisers here in the traditional way, with upper and lower tail planes and elevators. As the stabilisers were wooden, no detail is moulded here, but the elevators and the rudder parts exhibit the same nicely rendered rib and fabric detail as the wing ailerons. Other parts here include separate prop blades with a two-part spinner, and a full complement of main undercarriage gear doors, with external rivet detail and internal structural elements, all clean and ready to go! SPRUE D This is the first sprue where we see a number of parts that are designated as ‘not to use’, because this boxing has a number of resin replacement parts. More on those soon. This is very much a ‘detail parts’ sprue, and here you will find three of the four main gear well walls, the main gear struts and tail wheel strut, cockpit instrument consoles, cockpit seat tub and armoured backrest plate, cockpit sidewall instrument panels, upper main instrument panel, tailwheel mounting plate, radiator actuator rods, and numerous other small parts that fit around the cockpit and wheel wells, such as small ribs etc. A small number of parts not for use include the wheels and exhausts. I note that the moulding of this sprue and Sprue E, are done in what appear to be more refined tooling, with the parts have a shiny finish to them, unlike the main pieces (wings and fuse etc.) Detailing on the parts here is also extremely sharp, akin to some of our more mainstream manufacturers. Of note at this juncture is the assembly of the main gear wells. Now, I’m not totally 100% on this, but it appears that you have to follow the instructions in the connection of the main gear struts to the wheel wells, including the gear doors, BEFORE they are fitted to the main wing. There may be a way around this if you want to add the struts later in construction, but for the life of me, I can’t see a way around this. It’s a rather unusual system of construction that will of course make your masking a little harder later on, but until I build this for myself, I won’t know if the construction sequence here is flexible or not. SPRUE E We are now onto the last of our grey sprues, but this one is pretty important as it includes both of the tubular cockpit side walls, and other frames and plates that make up this area. Those walls are moulded with their side console panels, sans instrumentation, as those parts were moulded on the previous sprue. Remember to use a razor saw for these fragile, but beautifully moulded parts. Seems on these, and the main gear door frames, look to be virtually non-existent. I’m very pleased to see that. A good number of other cockpit parts are moulded here such as the single piece control column and torsion bar, trim wheels, levers, rudder pedal bar, rear radio receiver shelf, first aid kit box etc. You will need to modify the rudder pedal bar and remove the pedals themselves, in favour of resin replacements. Other parts here include the remaining gear bay walls, instrument panel coaming and lower instrument panel. SPRUE CP Special Hobby has thoughtfully supplied two canopies with this kit. One of them is a single piece unit, for it you want to pose it closed up. The other is a three-part system that allows us to pose it with the hood slid back. The Yak-3 canopy does look odd, as the only frame lines there are, are around the edges. There is no armoured windshield on this aircraft. Clarity is very good, and the frame lines are defined well enough for us to easily place the vinyl masks for the painting phase. Other clear parts are for the wing fuel gauges, and also an armoured glass panel to the rear of the pilot’s head. Resin Parts If you’ve ever seen a CMK resin set, then this sort of blister pack will be very familiar to you. Here, it contains the resin, PE and vinyl mask set. Resin parts included in this release are for the radio receiver, wheels, exhaust manifolds, machine guns for the upper cowl, rudder pedals, fuel primer for cockpit, and main gear strut locking latches for the wheel bays. The resin used is a mid-grey type, and you will of course need to remove them from their casting blocks. Casting is excellent, as it generally the case with CMK, and the instructions are pretty self-explanatory as to where and how the parts fit. Photo Etch There aren’t too many PE parts here, and they come on a single, small fret. Parts include the seatbelts, control column trigger, tail wheel oleo scissor and gun sight targeting hairs. Production is very good, with nice, small connection points with the fret. Masks Masks are included for the canopy, wheels, armoured headrest and wing compass units. Made from sharply cut vinyl, the quality looks good, with no shrinkage. You will need to use liquid mask or infill the mask areas with some tape, as these are supplied as edges only. Decals Two sheets are included, both printed by Eduard, whose decal quality I’ve always found to be excellent. The larger sheet is a single-colour printing in white, containing the various fuselage arrow flashes, crosses of Lorraine, serial numbers, and kill marks. On the smaller sheet, we have multicolour decals for the national insignia, tricolour rudder flashes, instrument decals, compasses, radio receiver decals, and various stencils. TWO types of compass decal are included, so I suppose you can use which ever you want, as none of them seem to be attributable to any specific machine. Printing is of Eduard’s high standard, being nice and thin, and with minimal carrier film. The colours look good, and they have good density. Importantly, they are in perfect register. The FIVE schemes offered are very similar in appearance, but with some nice little individual touches to them. They are: Yak-3, White 6, 1 Sqn, flown by Lt. Marcel Albert, Normandie-Niemen, Autumn 1944 Yak-3, White Double-Zero, flown by Cdt. Louis Delfino, Normandie-Niemen, East Prussia, 1944 – 45 Yak-3, White 24, flown by Roland de la Poype, Normandie-Niemen, August – December 1944 Yak-3, White 22, flown by Asp. Pierre Douarre, Normandie-Niemen, Le Bourget Airfield, June 1945 Yak-3, White 4, flown by Lt. Roger Marchi, Normandie-Niemen, Lithuania, Summer 1944 Instruction manual This is a glossy, colour-printed 16 page A4 manual, starting with the history of the Yak-3, and the parts plans. These are useful, as the sprues themselves don’t contain part numbers. Construction is split over 45 steps, with clear line drawing illustrations and colour infill to denote key areas. PE and resin parts are clearly denoted, and colour call outs are given throughout, using Gunze-Sangyo codes. The last pages are given over to the scheme illustrations, again supplied in full colour, with easy decal placement guides. Conclusion This kit was most certainly worth waiting for. I get the impression that it will be a pretty quick build, but one that shouldn’t leave you wanting, in relation to the detail on offer here. Moulding is excellent, and the kit has a most impressive office and wheel bay arrangement that more than make up for the Yak-3’s distinct natural lack of detail on the wooden areas. The only awkward thing I see is the gear strut construction and fitting being carried out before the model is completed. That’s probably just my own fears though, and not one that at all deters me from wanting to start this one as soon as I can. In fact, as soon as my P-39 is off the table, this one is going to be started! Highly recommended My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for this review kit. Buy it directly from them by clicking THIS link.
  9. 1/32 Tempest Mk.V “HI-TECH” Special Hobby Catalogue # SH32052 Available from Special Hobby for 79,90€ Unlike Spitfire development, where even major airframe revisions saw the type keep its original name, Hawker’s Typhoon project was different. The Typhoon wasn’t without its problems, such as a seemingly unstoppable leaking of carbon monoxide gas into the cockpit, and of course that tail unit which had broken away completely on some aircraft, ending with a series of reinforcement straps that were designed as a simple fix for this. Like the Hurricane, the Typhoon also had a thick wing section that provided the machine with enough space for heavy armament, fuel tanks and resulted in a steady gun platform that could be used for low-level operations. Unfortunately, the thick wing was responsible for high levels of drag that slowed the aircraft at certain altitudes, and affected climb rates. To fix these problems needed a number of radical solutions which resulted in Sydney Camm and his team taking the Typhoon literally back to the drawing board. The resulting aircraft was sufficiently different enough to the Typhoon, as to eventually merit a name change, and in keeping with Hawker’s use of severe storm condition names for its range of fighters, ‘Tempest’ was chosen. Originally, the type was to have been called Typhoon II. Six prototypes were built, using different engines, resulting in not just the large-intake Typhoon style machine being built, but also a radial machine and a sleek-cowl Griffon-engine Tempest. Other variables including bubble canopy and car-door style canopy (á la early Typhoon), were included. The small tail fin surface of the prototype machines was eventually enlarged too, and the recognisable filleted fin introduced into production machines, as well as the wider span horizontal tail-plane that was seen on later versions of the Typhoon. A wider track landing gear helped with higher landing speeds. What made the Tempest radically different to the Typhoon was the design of a sleeker, laminar flow wing that was designed by NACA in the USA, and implemented on the new Mustang design. The Tempest Mk.V, which is the subject of this kit release, was fitted with a Napier Sabre IIa/b liquid-cooled H-24 sleeve-valve engine, and had wingspan of 41ft, length of 33ft 8in, and a maximum speed of between 432 and 435mph at 19,000ft. Armament was typically Mk.II/V Hispano cannon (x4), and rockets and bombs could be carried externally, as could droptanks for increased range/operational time. The Tempest went through various incarnations, and the later Sea Fury was a development of this, through the Tempest II family, retaining the later Bristol Centaurus engine. The Kit It really does seem like a long, long time since Special Hobby announced their Tempest kit. Of all the comments I’ve been reading online, and from people I know, this does appear to be a highly anticipated release, and offering the modeller an alternative to the PCM kit that was released in 2013. Currently, the PCM kit isn’t really showing up as available from various retailers. When Special Hobby said they would send me a copy of their new kit, I knew I would be in for some enjoyable hours rifling through the box and writing an article. Remember, I’m not generally looking at accuracy here, as this is an out-of-box appraisal that will look at details, possibilities, engineering, options and quality. Special Hobby’s Tempest kit is packed into quite a large, standard type box with a removable lid (take note, Revell!), and adorned with a classy artwork of a V1 being taken down by a victorious machine, piloted by Wing Commander Roland Prosper Beamont. Of course, this is one of the FIVE scheme options provided, and the only one that carries the D-Day invasion stripes. No other profiles are shown on the box lid, but there are some renders of the included resin parts and other items supplied in this HI-TECH boxing. Lifting the lid is difficult due to the tight fit, but once off, you’ll see EIGHT sprues of medium grey styrene, packed into a single clear sleeve, ONE sprue of clear parts that is packed into a separate sleeve, and a cardboard bridge that has TWO bags of resin stapled to it, plus a package with the masks, decals and photo-etch parts. A large colour-printed instruction manual lies at the bottom of the box. SPRUE A Only two parts here, but pretty key ones; both fuselage halves. As Special Hobby have future plans for releasing the Mk.6 and Tempest II, the nose is moulded separately, allowing this tooling to be good for all versions. The kit shows just how far this company have come in the last years, with regards to both moulding, tooling and detailing. You would be hard pressed to differentiate the Tempest from a kit made by a whole multitude of more mainstream manufacturers out there, such as Hasegawa, Revell, Airfix etc. Surface detailing is excellent, with restrained, even rows of rivets, and lots of extremely fine panel lining and port/panel access plates. Edges are sharp where the wing will meet the fuselage etc. and the parts have a nicely polished finish to them that wouldn’t look out of place on a Tamiya release. The rudder is separately moulded, and where the nose cowl parts will fit, the forward fuselage has a moulded bulkhead that will provide rigidity to the proceedings. Internally, those high standards of detail are also evident, with stringer and former representation being both refined and sharp, and with associated rivet detail included. Only one ejector pin mark exists in this area, and this is on the area adjacent to the instrument panel. As no other detail is in the vicinity, removing this will be easy. Some detail is also included around the area of the retractable tail wheel, using the same level of refinement seen in the cockpit area. Note also that this model has locating pins too, unlike some of the other less mainstream model kits. I have to say here too that Special Hobby is NOT a Limited-Run company, but fully mainstream. SPRUE B Wings, glorious wings. These are supplied as a single span lower part, and upper port and starboard panels. Note that the inboard leading edge is a separate part, accommodating the future kits that will have intakes in these places. I have to say that each time I take a look at this kit, I like it more and more. Surface detail is commensurate with that of the fuselage, incorporating full rivet detail (plus double rows, where applicable), finely engraved panel lines, fastener detail, access panels and nicely shaped cannon blisters. All control surfaces are integrally moulded, so can’t be posed without taking a saw to the model. Ailerons are moulded along with very fine actuator arms that really do look very good. Cannon shell ejection chutes are also finely moulded. One thing I like here are the tabs that protrude from the upper panels, and provide a support for the wing to fuselage connection. Actually, there is another purpose for those tabs. If you flip the wing parts over, you will see they form the roof of the main gear wells. These areas contain rib and stringer detail, along with rivets, and this will be detailed further with various rods, pistons etc. All of this will be framed by the gear bay walls that are supplied as separate parts that will be fitted into the recessed area in the upper wing panel. Cannon fairings are separate parts too, and the wing has a small bulkhead within that stops them from being inserted too far within. SPRUE C You will be able to pose the elevators dynamically, as these are moulded separately to the stabilisers. All parts here are the traditional upper and lower halves, and external detail is of the same high standard that we have seen so far, including rivet and fastener detail and trim tab actuators/actuator fairings. Other parts included here are for external drop-tanks and bomb bodies. Bomb fins are separately moulded. Bombs and tanks are moulded as halves also, and with the latter, you will of course need to reinstate any panel line detail that may be lost from seam eradication. The fuel filler cap is nicely engraved, but I think the detail to the rear of this is supposed to represent a pipe, and is instead moulded as a fillet. If this is the case, cut away and replace with a little length of bent, rigid wire. SPRUE D This sprue looks very Eduard-ish in design, with its large radius corners. Here we have the fabric covered rudder, complete with its rib tape detail and metal trim tab. This is the only fabric covered area on the Tempest, and I do like the representation here. The multiple undercarriage door parts are just beautiful…both inside and out, with some great detail there, and no pesky ejection pin marks to worry about. Small tags have instead been placed externally to the main doors, and these just require snipping off, followed by a quick swipe of a sanding stick. Et voila! Other parts here include the upper, chin intake wall and the bomb release fairings. SPRUE E For the first time, the instructions show parts here that won’t be used on this build. Here, that is for a second set of propeller blades. Engine cowl halves are moulded here, as are a number of parts that form the flap section and intake outlet to the rear of the main intake. The exhaust attachment boxes can be found here, and these will just glue internally. A two-part spinner is included, with the back-plate including channels that will precisely angle the propeller blades. There is a little flash on the spinner, but nothing to be concerned about. One thing to note is that the fuselage decking to the rear of the pilot, is included here as a separate part. That’s a nice touch as there is a lot of detail in this area, and removing a seam would have been a pain in the arse. Other notable parts here are the upper and lower parts for the wing leading edge inboard areas, where future kits will have the intakes attached. SPRUE H Quite a few parts here are shown as not for use on this release. These include two sets of balloon tyres, several intake parts, leading edge intake parts, and also a seat back etc. What can be used here are the various undercarriage parts, including well detail, walls and the struts, pistons and rods themselves. Looking at how refined much of the detail is here, I’m going to stick my neck out and say it’s Tamiya-esque. Simply gorgeous details that you’ll bury away in those gear bays. Even the sprung-loaded rods look very authentic and filigree. I am particularly impressed with the gear struts and the detail definition here. Please be careful with the removal of parts from this sprue, as so many of the landing gear parts have some very fine detail protrusions. If in doubt, use a razor saw. Note also the forward cockpit bulkhead and the armoured frame onto which pilot’s seat will fit. SPRUE I A small sprue, but one with perhaps more parts on it than any other. One area that features heavily here is the cockpit. For me, a nicely detailed cockpit is the very heart of a satisfying project, and this cockpit it certainly better than most I’ve seen in quite a long time. Two detailed tubular side frames are adorned with various fixing plates and panels and brackets, and there are numerous console parts, throttle, spacers, torsion rods and linkages etc. The main instrument panel is moulded in three parts; central panel and two angled panels that fit to its sides. Be careful here as there are two different sets of side panels. The instructions clearly show what you should not use. Here you will also find the canopy rails and three different types of joystick grip, although none of these are shown as for use, with resin parts favouring these all along the way. Presumably these, like the seat and other parts, will be used in any future, standard boxing that isn’t classed as ‘HI-TECH’. The plastic parts are actually still very nice, as are the cannon fairings that will also be ditched in favour of the resin extras here. Again, watch out for the numerous parts that won’t be used here, and there are a fair few of them. SPRUE J The last grey styrene sprue. Another bulkhead is supplied here, for the rear of the cockpit, and the exhausts are included as halves. It’s a little disappointing that Special Hobby didn’t include the resin ones they now sell, as part of this HI-TECH offering. I would’ve preferred those to the cockpit seat, for instance. It will take some careful seam removal work on these parts. More wheel well parts are found here, as well as the three-part assembly for the tail wheel, again with some very nice structural detail included. More unused seat parts can be found, so some nice parts for the spares box. Several intake parts are moulded here, as are the bomb sway braces and fins and tail wheel strut. The most obvious part though, the radial engine of the Centaurus, is just there to tease us for the future release. SPRUE K This is the clear sprue, and on my sample, the windscreen has broken free from the runner. It still looks ok to me though. Thankfully, the main hood is still attached. A number of other parts here are drop tank fairings that I think were made from clear acetate or similar. Nice to see these, and they’ll certainly show off that wire modification I mentioned earlier, for the drop tank itself. Finally, note the various wingtip, fuselage, tail and wing-underside lenses for the various lights that were fitted to the Tempest. Clarity is very good, but a little scuffing on my main hood means that I will need to polish it away. Plastic Summary This kit is almost flash and seam free, with nice tight sprue gate points that are generally well placed so as not to cause problems. I can’t see any sink marks either, except for a couple on the reverse of a part, so they don’t count. Ejector pin marks; there’s only two I can see that need removal, and that will take just a few minutes. Plastic quality is excellent, and the quality of the mouldings are very high quality. Resin parts Two bags of parts are supplied here, and these are cast in dark grey resin. These include: Seat Two sizes of main gear wheels (weighted) Anti-shimmy tail wheel Cockpit components (tread boards, pedals, throttle quadrant/levers, control stick/grip, seat, trim wheel, internal windscreen frame) Cannon fairings These parts are also very high standard, with fine detailing. On my sample, the tread boards are slightly warped and will need a dip in hot water, and a stem has broken from the windscreen internal frame. This is an easy fix, fortunately. Casting blocks will generally be easy to remove too, and there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises here. Photo Etch Only a small fret here that includes parts for the fabric seat belts, control grip trigger, whip aerial and mount plate etc. This small stainless fret also contains a small notch that you need to align on the ailerons, and use as a scribing template for the small trim tabs. Seatbelts These are produced by HGW, from their microfiber material, and should need no introduction. Being laser-cut and pre-printed, all you need to do is to snip and assemble. Just remember to peel the backing paper from them first! Masks A small sheet of vinyl masks is included, for the canopy, lights and wheel hubs. These are sharply cut and exhibit no shrinkage. Decals THREE sheets are supplied here, printed by Eduard. The largest contains roundels and fin flashes. Peeling off the protective sheet does seem to have removed some of the very tiniest of specks of ink from them, but this is so small that it probably won’t be noticeable when they are applied. A slightly smaller sheet holds he various serials, codes, emblems, kill markings, and instrument dials for the cockpit. The latter is printed in banks of instruments, and I would be tempted to punch these out to remove their carrier film. Their definition is excellent and they can certainly be used without having to resort to an aftermarket product. The last sheet is mainly stencils, plus the rivet banding for the drop tank acetate covers. Printing is excellent throughout, with minimal carrier film, solid colour and perfect register. The schemes offered are: JN751, R-B, No.150 Wing, flown by Wng. Cdr. Roland Prosper ‘Bee’ Beamont, RAF Castle Camps, April 1944 SN129, SA-M, No.486 (NZ) Sqn. RAF, flown by Sqn.Ldr. C.J.Sheddan, Fassberg, Germany, May 1945 SN228, EDM, No.122 Wing RAF, flown by Wg. Cdr. Evan Dall Mackie, Fassberg, Germany, May 1945 NV724, JF-E, No.3 Sqn. RAF, flown by Pierre Clostermann, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 1945 NV994, JF-E No.3 Sqn. RAF, flown by Pierre Clostermann, Hopsten, Germany, April 1945 Instructions This is printed in a glossy A-4 format, similar to that of Eduard, with a profile on the front page, and a history of the type given in both English and Czech. There are then over two pages dedicated to a parts map, which is useful for knowing the parts not to use, and then we are into the construction. A series of excellent line drawings are annotated with splashes of colour to signify paint and other nomenclature, such as drilling and mask use etc. Illustrations are very clear, and should present no problems. Colour call-outs are supplied throughout construction and refer to both Gunze and Alclad II paints, and the last pages of the manual are given over to the 5 schemes, with each being shown in all 4 planforms. Conclusion This is the kit I’ve been waiting for, for what seems like years! Was it worth that wait though? Absolutely. In fact, this has far surpassed what I even expected this to turn out like. The kit is thoughtfully designed throughout and beautifully recreated in plastic, resin and metal, with good wing loadout options (although the manual tells you that it was really only the fuel tanks that were generally carried during the war), and some seriously eye-catching detail. This is also a very full box of parts and will provide the modeller with a seriously interesting build that will, in my opinion, blow the PCM opposition straight out of the water. I can’t wait to start snipping away at this one. Watch for it in a future issue of Military Illustrated Modeller. Recommended? Damn right!! My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample seen here. To purchase direct, click THIS link.
  10. Evenin' all, I recently started the new 1/32 Special Hobby Tempest MK.V for publication in Military Illustrated Modeller, but thought I'd post an annotated build of it here too. This one will be finished as JN751 (R- , the mount of Wing Commander Roland Beamont. The kit itself has five different schemes, but this one is the only one that has any invasion stripes, so I really couldn't not do it The model will be entirely out of box except for a little lead wire in the wheel bays. The kit is supplied with resin and PE parts as a Hi-Tech edition, and some nice HGW seatbelts too. Check out my review of the kit HERE. Special Hobby did a great job of the wheel bays, with all parts being superbly detailed and offering just as much detail as that of the Tamiya Spit. My only gripe is that they ask you to build the wells into the recesses on the lower wing part. I think that could be a risky practice as those structures need to line up exactly around the edges of the detail moulded onto the ceiling detail of the upper wing panels. I opted to build the well walls on these parts instead. It also allows me to complete the wells fully (including painting) before gluing the wings together, including the various struts and wiring that I added from lead wire. Otherwise, it would've been a little trickier. Chin intake detail is also real nice, and here you can see a number of the parts. Note that the nose is a separate part to facilitate other versions of the Tempest kit, such as the Tempest II with Centaurus engine. Boxes inside each half aid the fitting of the exhausts. The only ejector pin marks that needed dealing with, anywhere, are two in the cockpit area. I painted some Tamiya Thin Cement over them and immediately added some Vallejo Plastic putty. This was sanded down with the use of a fibreglass pen before being finished with sanding sticks. More later!
  11. Well, Im calling this one finished. The Build Log is here: http://forum.largescalemodeller.com/topic/3110-special-hobby-132-buckeye/ Its not perfect but I'm about as done as I can be. Somehow the Carpet Monster collected the Nose Pitot so I need to find a replacement. The tail Pitot snapped too but I have some Albion Alloy on order and once it arrives I will make the necessary repairs. Ive seen pictures of repaired paint patches on Greek Aircrfat so I have tried to do a repair patch on the nose too. Clean paint, no weathering. The RBF Tags are in English, I couldn't find any Greek ones, not even sure the Greek ones are in Greek anyway I hope you like and as usual constructive criticism is much appreciated. Jason.
  12. Special Hobby (SH48162) Supermarine Walrus Mk.I “Battleship Eyes” Product number: 8594071084523 Available here from Special Hobby for € 45,91 Introduction Supermarine wasn’t just famous for it’s Spitfire design. From 1930 right up till the end of world war II it was renowned for building durable and reliable flying boats. In reply of Australia’s request for a reliable flying boat to patrol it’s waters, Supermarine came up with the Seagull. From this Seagull the Walrus was developed in 1933, with the main difference being a more strengthened hull and structure. These were delivered to the Royal Navy that used them from warships as fleet spotters. Hence the name: Battleship’s eyes. When the war broke out, the Walrus was deployed for a wide range of missions. Ranging from Artillery spotter, Air to sea rescue and even bombing mission. Although its principal intended use was gunnery spotting in naval actions, this only occurred twice: Walruses from Renown and Manchester were launched in the Battle of Cape Spartivento and a Walrus from Gloucester was used in the Battle of Cape Matapan. The main task of ship-based aircraft was patrolling for Axis submarines and surface-raiders, and by March 1941, Walruses were being deployed with Air to Surface Vessel radars to assist in this. During the Norwegian Campaign and the East African Campaign, they also saw very limited use in bombing and strafing shore targets. In August 1940, a Walrus operating from Hobart bombed and machine-gunned an Italian headquarters at Zeila in Somalia. The kit The Walrus is one of those subjects that take me back to my early days of modelling. An dofcourse I’m talking about the Matchbox version in 1/72. You know.. the one in 3 different kinds of plastic. Yellow, white and blue. Since I don’t model in 1/48 anymore, my kit would have tob e the HPH 1/32 Walrus. A daunting and expensive kit, but very complete. From this über detailed kit I will look at the 1/48 Special Hobby kit and see what’s what. So here’s the Special Hobby Walrus Mk.1. Special 500 pieces limited edition. First of all: This is a re-release of the older Classic Airframes kit. This means it might come with the flaws and benefits of the ol’ Classic Airframes kit. From reviews and build logs I could find on the Classic Airframes kit there are some steps in the construction that will test your skills. The engine’s housing had no locator points, which means it can be difficult to fit the in total 8 spars that connect to the engine. From what I can see they are now present in the Special Hobby offering. As soon as you’ve mounted the engine it’s smooth sailing, right to the point where the rigging starts J Bear in mind that this is a limited run kit (only 500 pieces made). This means no locating pins through out the model and lots of test fitting before grabbing the glue. On opening the box you are greated by a good deal of grey resin, grey plastic and photo-etch. This kit is very complete. The plastic is limited to only 3 sprues with a total of about 60 parts. All the other parts are featured in resin and photo-etch. Oh my.. Sprue 1: The insides of the hull are smooth, so all the detail comes in resin. Side walls that appear to fit snugly go along the length of the fuselage. Extra interior detail are tiny. Even the compass in the instrument panel comes separately. All the resin is crisp and requires minimal clean up. The seats are delicate and adorned with detailed photo-etch seatbelts. All in all a very complete cockpit. Even the throttles are present and separate, made from photo-etch. Inspection of the plastic surface details reveals fine panel lines and detail. Next up is the construction of the tail. Again very complete. Even the trim tab and control rods are supplied separately and made from photo-etch. Propellors and struts: (no sink marks) Strolling along the instructions, tiny details keep me amazed for a 1/48 kit! The little foot steps on the struts leading to the engine for maintenance. The 3 part photo-etch eye to attach a rope… It’s all there and I can imagine this kit blown up to 1/32 proportions will still make up for a detailed model. Sprue 2: One thing I don’t full understand are the wheels. These are offered in plastic, and might as well have been made from resin with some weight flatteing. No worries. I’ve discovered CMK / Quickboost offers these. Sprue 3: Resin parts: Side walls: Wheel bays: Pegasus Engine: Seats, Runners for rigging, guns, floor, etc.. The machine guns are small treats though. Very delicate and detailed. Handle these with care! Should you break them (or need even more detail), Gaspatch offers some really cool ones’: http://www.gaspatchmodels.com/machine-guns-1-48/ The canopy is very clear and crisp. This for one is a major improvement over the older Classic Airframes offering, since that featured a Vac form one. Well two actually, in case you mess one up. Later Classic Airframes kits I believe also included this canopy. If these moulds are exactly the same as the CA kit, you might need some strips to make the canopy fit the fuselage tight. So watch out in this area. Another thing to watch out for are the runners for the rigging made from resin. There are 16 and watch out… you’ll need all 16, so don’t let the carpet monster snatch one! (4 pics above!) The biggest improvement over the Classic Airframes’ I could find was the photo-etch. The CA Walrus did not include seatbelts, and with this Special Hobby Walrus… it does! The decals have been printed by Avioprint.cz. They register just fine and from experience I know they settle down well. Schemes The first scheme to choose from is the L2228, named ‘Spotter’ or ‘Sportivento’ on board of HMS Sheffield cruiser. The name refers to it’s involvement in the battle of Cape Sportivento. Top side features camo pattern in Light slate grey, Dark slate grey, Extra dark sea grey and Dark sea grey, with a total Sky grey underside. The second scheme supplied features a unknown serial number/9B, on board of the battleship HMS Warspite during the first period of service in the Mediterranean1940-1941. She took part in the battle of Calabria (known in Italy as the battle of Punta Stilo) and battle of Matapan. Top side features camo pattern in Light slate grey, Dark slate grey, Extra dark sea grey and Dark sea grey, with a total Sky grey underside (i.e. same as scheme 1). Conclusion Overall I’m very impressed with this kit. Back when I used to model in 48th scale, Classic Airframes was a brand of choice and so I think it’s great to see a company like Special Hobby re-releasing them and spicing things up where needed. The locating pins on the engine housing for instance and the photo-etch fret with seatbelts. As far as I can tell the resin is from the same moulds as the CA kit. A very complete and very detailed little kit of a venerable subject. Recommended and I’d rate this kit a 7.5. Our sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample. Jeroen Peters
  13. special hobby

    1/32 Bristol M1c “Wartime Colours” Special Hobby SH32057 Available from Special Hobby for € 43,- Introduction I think it was 3 years ago when I walked the stalls at Telford while spotting the 1/32 Alley Cat full resin Bristol monoplane kit. Such a cute subject that would look so cool next to my Fokker Eindeckers! Not being a huge fan of full resin kits, I decided to contain my enthusiasm and wait till I could get this cheap > cheaper. There was one thing about the Alley Cat kit that worried me. The heavy resin wings that have no support other than the rigging. I imagine the EX-line rigging I use would have no to little effect… When I first saw pictures of the Special Hobby kit on the net I got confused. It was mastered with a combination of old fashioned craftsmanship and 3D cat drawings that were 3D printed. Alfred Riedel posted his progress on a model forum and at first I mistook them for the Alley Cat kit. Not expecting two companies to offer this subject! But I should have known better. After all: This didn’t stop companies from dual producing a He219, Do335, Ar196, etc… Some photo's of MPM's mid-time production: The Bristol M1c I wont go into deep detail about the history of this aircraft, but a few facts are in place in order to get an idea of the background of the Bristol M1. This plane came late in the first world war, but did see some action. The M1a and M1b were prototypes, with the M1c being the production type. All in all 125 were built and powered by the Le Rhone 9Ja engine, good for 110hp. It was armed with one Vicker .303 machine gun. It did actually see some action at the end of the first world war on the Macedonian and Middle East front. It performed pretty well, which we can only assume after downing a Fokker DVII! What made the Bristol M1c special was it’s streamlined design. It’s bullet shaped fuse, large propeller hub and elliptical wings. All reducing drag. The position of these wings also made internal rigging obsolete. This plane didn’t only look cool, it was cool. Therefor it is no surprise that this plane was chosen as the personal mount for senior officers… Since the Bristol M1c was developed at the end of the war, it also served as training plane in the inter-bellum. This resulted in a bright array of colour schemes. If colours suit your fancy, you can pick up the “Checkers and Stripes” version of this kit: SH32060. On to the kit! When opening the small box a compact single sealed package is revealed. Four sprues, decals, photo-etch, instruction booklet and some resin and transparent film. I am quite familiar with Special Hobby kits, so I can safely state that detail in this kit is quite above their normal standard. Perhaps as a result of Wingnut Wings raising the bar? Who knows… I have to admit that I sometimes catch myself judging WW1 kits based on the WnW norm. The detail on the fuse (stitchings, crisp lines, surface detail) almost matches that of a WnW kit. Detail is sharp, which can best be judged looking at the Vickers gun, wheels and seat cushion. Bare in mind that not all of this kit was made on a computer. The fuselage was hand crafted, detailed with photo etch and other hand made details. The same goes for the wings. Looking at the model forum Alfred Riedel shared his work, you can see that the cockpit frame, wheels, gear and engine were made with 3D software. See image above. Four sprues give us: • Fuselage, wheels, gear, gun and tail • Wings, ailerons • Engine, prop, cowling • Cockpit, firewall Fuselage Sprue: Wing sprue: The engine is a model in itself. Cilinder heads and pusher rods are moulded separately with crisp detail. Just add your ignition wires and you’re good to go. Cockpit parts: Two resin parts resemble the whicker seat and electrical generator prop. The detail of the resin seat is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Minimal to no clean up is needed, which is good news for a resin part with 50 small holes in it J The photo etch fret provide us with the seat belts, Vickers front end and turn-buckles. This just shows us that no after market is needed for this kit. However: I will replace the seat belts with HGW ones’ and the Vickers gun by an even nicer Gaspatch one. And while I’m at it, I might replace the prop with a real wooden one. But again: none of this is needed to give you a beautiful rendition of the Bristol M1c. A small piece of transparent film is supplied to make the windshield. To be quite honest I think this would be a better option for a number of WnW kits! Much more realistic and clear. There are two options supplied. One for a single Vickers setup, as used in scheme A and B. And one for a different set-up, as in scheme C. Scheme C however is not supplied in this kit. The instruction tell you to visiti the CMK website. www.cmkkits.com, but here I could not find the elusive scheme, called: C4956. If you can.. drop me a line! The decals are clear, true in colour and printed by Aviprint from Czech Republic. The detail is of high quality, which can best be judged by looking at the instruments. Too many times you see decals let down in this area. Another thing I look for is the carrier film. This is kept to a minimum, keeping the decals thin and leaving not too much excess around the edges. The instructions are printed in colour and provide clear views of what goes where. Isometric 3D line drawings were used for these, which beat hand drawn vague route options any day of the week IMHO. I also like how the rigging instructions are worked in between the construction steps, instead of in one last step, like WnW tends to do. This latter method making it sometimes difficult (despite the quality of the drawings) to see what wire originate and goes where… Note: this being an RAF plane, you’ll need flat wire for the rigging, alongside round wire for the control cables. Colour schemes • Bristol M.1c, C4907, RAF No.150 Squadron, Ambarköy Airbase, Macedonia, autumn of 1918. This machine was flown by Lt. K. B. Mosely and shot down n Albatros D.V on june 9th 1918. A few months later Lt. J. P. Cavers shot down to LVG’s in this same plane. • Bristol M.1c, C4918 RAF No.72 Squadron, C flight, Mirjana Airbase, Mesopotamia Spring 1918. Brown fuselage, propeller tips and upper wings. The underside of the wings and wheel hubs in natural linen, grey cowling and spinner. Also note the brown outline along the wings underside natural linen. Conclusion / Verdict Another high quality WW1 kit that keeps raising the bar on WW1 subjects. At the moment it seems WW1 subjects get better treatment than more modern subjects! The plastic mouldings in this kit are superb. No flash to be found. No sink marks or ejector pin marks in annoying places. Upsides: Very complete kit. Great detail. All you need to build a nice model of the Bristol M1c. Downsides: As far I can see: nothing. Only thing I can think of is the mysterious scheme C that is not included and not to be found on the CMK Kits website. From 1 to 10 I’d rate this kit as an 9. Highly recommended Our sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample. To purchase directly, click HERE. Jeroen Peters
  14. 1:32 Bristol M.1C 'Checkers and stripes' Special Hobby Catalogue # 32060 Available from MPM for 36.45 € The Bristol M.1C was probably one of the best fighters that the RFC never had. In an age when biplanes were standard, and the monoplane was treated with suspicion, the M.1C was always going to have its work cut out. Monoplanes had actually been banned by the RFC in 1912 following a flying accident, so the fact that the M.1C was designed at all is quite an achievement. Please remember, however, that the Germans had some particularly stunning successes with their Eindecker machines, until the introduction of the DH.9 countered them, followed by later types with forward firing, synchronised guns. Bristol's fighter was quite different in appearance to machines of the day, with streamlining being a key factor in the type's remarkable speed for this time. The fuselage was almost cylindrical, and a large, domed spinner helped to counter any further drag problems. Wing arrangement was also quite unusual, with these being fitted to the shoulder of the fuselage, and braced from a pylon mounted above the fuselage, and also from below. Unlike the German wing-warping monoplane, Bristol fitted ailerons to their machine, making it far more responsive than the former. Under combat conditions, it was thought to be at least 30mph faster than German fighters. Manoeuvrability was also very respectable too. A 110hp Clerget 9Z rotary engine powered the machine, and armament was provided by the installation of a single forward firing .303 Vickers. First flown in 1916, and introduced in 1917, the life-span of the M.IC was to be short-lived, with only 130 being produced before the project was cancelled. Officially, the reason was due to the landing speed of 49mpg being too high for machines operating from French airfields. Unofficially, it was more likely due to those suspicions that still surrounded the monoplane. Special Hobby have released TWO versions of this kit simultaneously. Today, we look at the attractive 'Checkers and Stripes' release, and in the next weeks, Jeroen Peters will review the 'Wartime Colours' version. Of course, this isn't the first time we've seen the Bristol M.1C here at LSM. Take a look at the resin kit that we reviewed, from Alley Cat. The box for this release is quite small, but is certainly packed full of plastic and other stuff. Just be careful with the decal sheet because it's slightly larger than the box, and needs to be packed with a little thought. Thankfully, this is a rigid, top-opening box too, and with some beautiful artwork. You'd be forgiven for not even thinking this machine was from WW1. In fact, in this release, you won't use the Vickers gun at all as all schemes are for unarmed machines. Hardly surprising when you see how colourful they are. All sprues are packed into the same re-sealable wallet (which never gets my vote!) and also in there is a small zip-lock containing two resin pieces. Thankfully, no damage seems to have occurred to my sample, despite the packing arrangements, and all parts remain on the sprues. There are a total of FOUR sprues, moulded in medium grey plastic. No clear styrene parts here, as the windscreen is included as an acetate part. That printed acetate sheet is placed in a large sleeve with TWO decal sheets and a small fret of photo etch parts. SPRUE A The fuselage here is traditionally supplies as halves, with some gorgeous external detail. Essentially, the fuse was a traditional former and stringer design, and this has been convincingly portrayed, with fairly sharp edges along the stringers, and no formers of course, as the stringers sat proud from the rest of the construction. Hand/footholds are moulded 'open', but the control cable grommets to the rear of the fuselage will need to be opened up with a small drill bit. The forward fuselage looks excellent with its riveted plates and fabric turnover/stitching. A very finely detailed access panel is also moulded in situ. For some reason, the carburettor openings to the rear of these panels are closed-ended. These will need drilling out for extra realism. A very fine cockpit coaming ring is also moulded in situ. Internally, a series of formers and stringers provide some cockpit wall detail, which you will see behind the frames of the cockpit tub. An ejector pin mark is evident in roughly the place where the hole will be drilled through, from the carburettor stubs. This may coincide if we're lucky, but usually, the world doesn't work like that. A lack of connecting pins is also apparent, as tends to be the case for short-run kits such as this. Just make sure you get everything properly aligned before you commit to glue. Stabilisers are moulded separately, as are the ailerons. The former parts are located to the fuselage via small pips. Surface detail perhaps looks a little heavy to me. I'm not sure if cap strips were placed over the ribs inside the tail structures, but that is what the appearance is reminiscent of. It's no deal breaker, and it still looks very good. I would perhaps just reduce this a little with a sanding sponge. The same applies to the vertical fin and separate rudder, also found on this sprue. Special Hobby have provided the wheels with an integrally moulded inner hub, with very nice spoke detail protruding through the canvas. Internally, they've also moulded a single spoke which will be seen then you look through the tyre filling port in the separate outer cover. This is something that Wingnut Wings have been doing for quite a while, and I imagine is the inspiration for this. Other parts on this sprue include the two struts for the upper wing rigging pylon, the pilot's seat cushion and also the Vickers gun, alas not used for this model. The studded seat cushion looks very exaggerated, and the large deep stud holes should be reduced a little with some Mr Surfacer, or similar. SPRUE B Here we find the wings, with their separate ailerons. The surface detail here is very similar to that of the tail, and alternate ribs seem to have that capping strip. As those between don't, I'm assuming that is intentional and correct. I don't have any real reference material for the M.1C to verify or deny this. Surface detail is very good, either way, and the wings are moulded with the rigging cord shrouds in place. You will need to drill these out as there are no rigging holes provided at all. Other detail is good, such as the downwards-viewing ports, and the metal plating at the wing root. The ailerons contain the same surface detail, and will require a little clean-up of excess plastic along their connecting face. A number of hinges seem to be represented here. They can't be locating pips as the wing has no sockets for them. SPRUE C I think Special Hobby did a great job with the Clerget engine in this release. The engine is constructed from forward and rear halves, and separate end caps/rockers are supplied. Detail far surpasses what I have seen on many short-run kits. Some of the crankcase bolt detail might be a little soft in places, but this is made up for by the very sharply defined cooling fins. Again, no locating pins are provided, so you'll need to carefully align the halves. Induction piping is supplied as a separate ring, as are the nine pushrods. There are a few seams evident on the pushrods, and you'll need to par these down. Also separately moulded is the ignition line insulating ring which sits at the rear of the engine. You will of course need some fine wire to rig these to the spark plugs. The plus, moulded to the main engine parts, are a little crude. You could possibly find something useable in the Taurus Models range of resin sparkplugs. Where I think a little PE could have been well-used if the prop hub. The prop itself is very nice, with sharp edges. A little tidying up should be done here, but the hub detail is quite soft. Despite that huge spinner, you will see the hub through the central hole. That spinner is provided here as the main forward section and a framework back plate onto which you'll install a couple of fillets and some PE finishing strips to the prop opening. The cowl is a very simple affair, and is thinly moulded. Other parts on this sprue include the Vickers MG blanking plate, fuel filler port, windscreen head padding and two, as of yet, unidentified parts for which I can only presume aren't for this specific release. SPRUE D This is the smallest of the sprues, but contains a wealth of parts; mostly aimed at the cockpit. There is a distinct feeling that sprue looks to be of a higher quality that usual short-run kits, with the plastic having a different finish, and nice, neat sprue gate attachments. That cockpit is based around two frame sidewalls, a forward engine bay firewall, and a couple of framed to the rear; one of which incorporates the visible face of the main fuel tank. In the Alley Cat kit, this tank was a complete unit, as it can be seen extending through the holes in the cockpit framework. The cockpit is superbly detailed, and one of the best I've seen, outside of Wingnut Wings. A highlight for me is the great looking cockpit floor. A real pity you'll not see most of this through the small coaming aperture. Instrument panels in the M.1C are spread around the pilot, and include a couple of forward facing instruments and other which are situated on a side console. All of these finely moulded parts have blank faces for you to insert the instrument decals which are supplied. Rudder pedal bar, control stick, fuel pressurisation pump all look very good, with perhaps just a little extra plumbing needed to compliment everything. A number of other semi-formers etc are included, and what appears to be a carburettor, but if so, this should have longer tubes which meet up with those on the exterior fuselage. An easy fix. A resin seat is included, and we'll look at that soon. A number of cockpit parts will be included from the PE sheet, and again, that will be in a few moments. You will need to rig the cockpit, but this is very easy as the cables connection can be hidden in the area outside of the cockpit tub, between this and the side walls. A drawing is supplied showing rigging, and you'll be pleased to know that PE turnbuckles are also supplied for the purpose. Oddly enough, another set of pushrods are included here, and slated for use. I can't understand why those exist on the previous sprue. Other parts to be found here are the tail skid, undercarriage V struts and the 2 spreader bars and axle. Plastic Summary. There isn't really anything I can fault here. Yes, there's a little flash and a few seams, but that's to be expected with short-run kits. Detail is generally superb, and there is plenty of it too. I can't see any defects anywhere, such as sink marks, and there are only two ejector pin marks which may need a little removal. There is a little mould release agent visible on some of the parts across a couple of sprues, so if you get this, it would be prudent to wash the sprues in mild detergent before you do any work. RESIN Just two resin parts are included here, and one of these is for the pilot's wicker seat. I'm pleased Special Hobby took this approach as the seat is the one part you're really guaranteed to see in the cockpit. This simply couldn't have been replicated by injection moulding. You'll need to take care to remove this pale grey part from the casting block, but that block has been designed to be easy to remove. The other resin part is a finely cast propeller for what is either a wind generated turbine or a wind-driven fuel pressure pump. PHOTO ETCH This small PE fret contains MANY parts! There are those cockpit items, as well as a framework for the acetate windscreen, and also seatbelts and control horns etc. The real work here are the many, tiny turnbuckles, both single and double-ended. Quality is also very good, and small connector points mean the parts will be easy to remove. DECALS Both decal sheets are printed in the Czech Republic, by Aviprint, and in all, they appear to be very good. Printing is thin, colour is solid, and there is minimal carrier film. Everything is also in perfect register. The largest sheet contains the national markings as well as personal machine emblems etc. The stripes for the spinner and cowl (one machine) are supplied here too, as are a few stencils and those instrument decals. I don't particularly like the instrument decals here, as they look crude. I would replace these with some from the Airscale range. Roundels have holes in them to locate rigging points, and the aileron portions are separate too. That second decal sheet is far more entertaining though, as it contains the ENTIRE checker pattern for the fuselage! No mean feat! Stripes are also included for the tail plane. There are FOUR schemes included. These are: Bristol M.1C, C4995, No.2 Fighting School, Marske Airbase, 1918 Bristol M.1C, C4994, No.2 Fighting School, Marske Airbase, 1918 Bristol M.1C, C5017, No.1 School of Aerial Fighting, Turnberry Airbase, 1918 Bristol M.1C, C5017, South Eastern Area Flying Instructors School, Shoreham Airbase, 1918 INSTRUCTIONS This is quite an attractive, glossy 16 page A5 booklet, with superbly clear drawings for assembly. Parts are also shown in coloured ink, with Gunze paint codes supplied. Where a PE or resin part is required, all is easy to reference. You should have no problems here. Colour profiles are supplied in the rear of the book, for each scheme, plus of course, that rigging drawing. Ignore the title on the front of the manual, where is says 'Wartime Colours', instead of the 'Checkers and Stripes' which is this release. Conclusion In all, a very attractive and highly detailed package which will produce a beautiful replica of this mostly-forgotten about machine. Whilst the PE turnbuckles might tie you in knots, there's nothing here which can really be criticised. How often do you see those included in a kit? Exactly! Price-wise, this is also hard to beat, and gives us a WW1 model that many beginners to the genre can now build. Highly recommended My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for this review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link. James H
  15. 1:32 Morane-Saulnier Type N "RFC Service" Special Hobby Catalogue # SH32017 Available from MPM for 34.43 € Much of the history of Morane-Saulnier's Type N has been recently documented by James H in his review of Special Hobby's 1:32nd Scale version of the French Aéronautique Militaire Type N, and thus I intend commenting on the Type N's appearance for the Royal Flying Corps and the corresponding highlights of the model by Special Hobby (No: SH32017). Nicknamed "The Bullet" the Morane-Saulnier was originally designed as a race plane but when hostilities broke out it was quickly rushed into service with the French Aéronautique Militaire, the 19th Squadron of the Imperial Russian Air Force and 1st, 3rd and 60th Squadrons of the Royal Flying Corp. Here they were equipped with an unsynchronised Lewis gun which was fired through the propeller arc; the propeller itself was protected from damage by way of "deflector wedges" Type N thought to be of 60th Squadron An RFC Type N Equipped with it's Lewis Gun Sadly, this graceful and elegant aircraft was not easy to fly (belying its true racing heritage where instability equates to speed and agility) due to its (a) stiff controls because its wing warping technology and ( it's propensity to nose over on landing due to the high landing speed required. The engine was also prone to overheating caused, in the main, by the attractive "wok" like spinner which give the aircraft much of it's elegance. Although difficult to fly and, therefore unpopular with it's understandably reticent pilots, the N Type compared favourably against the Fokker E.III in almost all respect which lead to the myth of invincibility which surrounded the Fokkers to break down. The Type N's of the RFC saw action over Cambrai and the Somme where No 60 Squadron (having been shipped out to France with the war barely a month old) were badly mauled in the skies above the Battle of the Somme; they were reequipped with more advanced aircraft from there on. Those that survived the early stages of the war with the other two Squadrons were replaced or put out of service due to the shortage of spare parts The Kit I have to say that I immediately fell in love with this little kit the moment I saw it – that is, what there is of it, for it really was a small, uncomplicated aircraft in real life and so it is with the kit. That being said, this short run, low-pressure moulded kit is no push over. It comes in three different media: plastic, resin and photo-etch and will certainly keep the average modeller amused for some while. Definitely not flush with youth this model carries its age very well indeed. We know there will be some flash associated with low-pressure moulding but despite that, and its age, there's not much evidence of anything other then the usual here. The moulding is crisp, the panel lines ahead of the cockpit and around the engine area are sharp and the attempt to replicate fabric strips over the wing ribs is very good indeed. Likewise, the wheel covers are nice and subtle as is the buttoned leather seat cushion. I expect (and I will duly find out) that all these will take paint very well. The plastic components are arranged on three plain grey sprues; the first holding the fuselage halves, the main wing section, seat, "Wok" spinner, cowling and wheels whereas the second sprue houses the inner workings of the aircraft; i.e. the cockpit framework, headrest, wire braces plus rudder and tail surfaces; and the third sprue contains the Lewis Gun (which, in effect differentiates the RFC Type N from it's French counterpart). The Resin parts, cast in a yellowish polyurethane, comprised of the Le Rhone 9C rotary engine, propeller and sundry mounting blocks come packed in a small re-sealable bag and are very nicely cast indeed. There's a little flash to be cleaned away but nothing to write home about. Finally, the Photo Etch fret contains the engine's ignition wiring loom, pedal straps, ammunition belts and feeds, cockpit sides fairings and rigging turnbuckles etc. All are excellently crisp and sharp as by now we would come to expect from this kit. The single sheet of Decals printed by Czech company Aviprint are extremely nice and totally in register, the brightness of the roundels are such that when toned down by the inevitable wash, should show through sufficiently but not gaudily as do some I've seen. This leads us on to the 9 page Instruction Booklet which are printed in black and white. Neat and concise, they lead you logically through all aspects of the build along with a full rigging guide – no complaints there – and include colour callouts from the Gunze paint range plus schemes for 3 different machines; 2 from No 60 Squadron and 1 from No 1 Squadron. Full colour guides are downloadable from www.cmkkits.com Conclusion I said at the very beginning of this review that I fell in love with this kit the moment I laid eyes on it and nothing to date, or anything in this analytical exercise has changed my mind. For its age (consider that it came before the glories of Wingnut Wings) it is an extremely well engineered, cast and moulded scale model of a very attractive war machine that was never intended as such. The aptly named "Bullet" may not have the laurels of a Fokker but in its short service life, it gave them a run for their money and this certainly won't put me off building it for the current Large Scale Modeller Great War Group Build. Recommended, but not for the complete novice. Grant L. Our special thanks go to MPM/Special Hobby for the review sample used here. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
  16. 1:32 Morane-Saulnier Type N Special Hobby Catalogue # SH32006 Available from MPM for 31.95 € For a world in which powered, manned flight was only a decade old, the Morane-Saulnier Type-N monoplane was certainly a design which appeared to be very ahead of its time. This aircraft was actually designed in the months before the outbreak of World War 1, and was actually a racing machine. The aircraft did have a few issues which affected its operation service during the war, and these were the very fast landing speeds which made operations from some airfields, quite tricky. The engine used to also overheat, although the eventual removal of the streamlined spinner did fix that without any real issue with overall performance. The French machines had a non-synchronised Hotchkiss MG mounted in front of the pilot, with defector plates fitted to the paddle propeller. The RFC machines tended to use a Lewis MG instead of the Hotchkiss. There was another issue which plagued the Type-N, or 'Bullet' as the British called it. This was the establishment's dislike of monoplane aircraft. Despite the Bullet being more than a match for the Fokker E.III, it wasn't built in great numbers, and was eventually sidelined in favour of newer biplane types. The N-Type was also quite difficult to fly, and this twitchiness was intensely disliked by the pilots. When the machines were fitted with up-rated engines, the problem intensified. By late 1916, the N-Type was obsolete. The Special Hobby 1:32 Morane-Saulnier Type N certainly isn't a new kit. Why are we looking at this one now though? SP&R and Large Scale Modeller recently partnered up to bring our members and visitors the very latest in news and releases from their MPM/CMK/Azur and Special Hobby brands, and we agreed that as we shall shortly be starting a Great War Group Build on Large Scale Modeller, that it would perhaps be time to air this type of kit again. Not everyone will be acquainted with these earlier releases, and it would be interesting to see how they stack up today. This release, as with other Special Hobby kits, is a limited run, low-pressure injection moulded kit, and as a result, the parts do tend to need a little more preparation before assembly. The style of box for this one is one of the older Special Hobby styles, with a gorgeous artwork of the Type N flying at low level over the French countryside. Inside the box, we have a single re-sealable bag containing THREE light grey styrene sprues. Inside the same bag, but wrapped individually is a pack of resin parts, a single photo etch fret, a clear sprue and a sheet of decals. Despite the sprues not being individually bagged, no parts have suffered in transit with breakage or scuffing. Despite this kit pre-dating the superb WNW initial releases, this kit displays not much less externally, in terms of detail and finesse. This is the first time that I've actually seen this kit, so I'm pleasantly surprised with how this limited run kit looks. In fact, very much so. The first sprue contains the wings, fuselage halves, wheel halves, bulkheads and the engine cowl/spinner parts. The quite aerodynamic lines of the 'Bullet' as superbly captured, and with my limited reference, do look to be accurate in terms of shape and detail. The fabric and stringer fuselage is sharp, realistically representing the tight corners of those stringers that the fabric was doped around. The port side of the fuselage has a laced maintenance panel and this is neatly represented, as are the leather grommets through which control cables pass. Hand and footholds are also nicely reproduced. The forward fuselage panels and stiffeners are crisp, as is the carburetor outlet which just needs a drill bit passing through it to open it up. Internally, the side walls have some stringer and former detail which is sharp, despite not being very deep. A number of ejector pin stumps also protrude. Although there isn't one in the cockpit area, there is one just forward of this, and this should be ground away and the plastic re-polished. The wings are moulded as port and starboard, as a single piece each. The rib and fabric representation is excellent, with nothing really in the way of actual texture, but with a realistically taught looking surface. I think the rib upper and lower edges were capped with a separate strip of either wood or bamboo, as the rib capping does appear to show this. Whichever material was used, the definition is very sharp, and the result looks very pleasing. Rigging point plates are neatly moulded, but I would drill the actual rigging point out a little to make it easier to insert your wire/cord. As the N-Type was a wing warping machine, no ailerons are present, of course. Special Hobby have produced the wheels in halves, and whilst this isn't a problem as such, the canvas and spoke area doesn't look too realistic. You might be hard pressed to find another solution for this, except to perhaps more or less sand down this detail to reduce its effect a little. The engine cowl is moulded as a single piece, and the large bowl-type spinner looks very accurately shaped, complete with some rivet indent detail which I presume is there to support possible internal structure. The pilot seat is a low-back type with an integrally moulded, upholstered cushion. The detail is very nice and certainly more than passable. The second sprue contains the lion's share of the remaining parts for this kit. Here, you will find the parts for the N Type's fully detailed cockpit. This is centered around two side wall structures, complete with instrumentation and ancillary equipment, held together by a series of cross member parts, including rudder pedal bar and control yoke cross member. The cockpit will also be supplemented by a number of instrument faces which are printed onto film, and also photo etch bezels. Seat belts and rudder pedal straps. Parts are included on this sprue for the side wall cockpit fairings. In this release, photo etch alternatives are also included which would exhibit a more scale thickness and appearance. A rather neat looking upholstered bar is to be found here which acts as the pilot's back seat rest. Two upper, forward cowls are included, but for this release, only one option is to be used. The stabilizer of the 'Bullet' was a single piece unit which rotated up/down, and here it is moulded as a single part. The edges exhibit a few seams which will need to be eradicated, as will those on the integral fin/rudder assembly. The fabric and rib structure here is relatively subtle in relation to the rib detail, but I'm not sure how authentic this is. It doesn't look bad at all, and with some neat shading, should be made to look very good. Other parts on this sprue include tail skid assembly, undercarriage 'v' struts and spacer bar (neatly moulded as three tubes), engine induction pipe assembly, prop, etc. The last and smallest grey plastic sprue contains the Hotchkiss machine gun and mounts, ammunition racks and wing warping cable pylon, to name a few. Generally, all moulding is excellent, with only a little flash to remove in places, and the couple of ejector pin stumps to remove from the cockpit. No deformation, sink marks or other defect can be seen. A single clear part is connected to a small sprue gate. This part is for the aircraft windscreen. Clarity is good, but will benefit from a dip in Klear. A bag of resin parts includes the Le Rhone 9C rotary engine, control cable pulleys, ammunition belts, paddle prop and prop mounting plates. These are cast in a pale yellow resin such as is seen in CMK releases, and casting is excellent. All parts should be very easy to remove from their blocks, and no flaws can be found. The engine is cast with integral spark plugs, for which there is a photo etch ignition ring included. The rear face of the engine cylinders do have a casting line present down the length, but this can easily be removed. You also won't see this area when assembled anyway, so it's no deal breaker. The paddle prop will need a little clean up and sanding in order to define the blade edges a little. The single photo etch fret contains the ignition harness, seatbelts, ammunition belt chutes, rudder pedal straps, turnbuckles, instrument bezels and cockpit side fairings. Production is clean and what you would expect from the company which produces CMK resin and etch detail sets. An eight page, black and white A5 instruction manual is included which displays the constructional sequences in line drawings which appear to be easy to follow. The manual starts with a history of the N-Type and also a map of all the kit parts for reference. Colour notation is given throughout the construction in Gunze paint codes. The manual includes a rigging drawing and the profiles for the TWO schemes included in this release. These are: MS 394, probably Escadrile MS.12, 1915 MS 391, Dunkirk, neither unit nor date are known A single decal sheet is included, printed by AVIPRINT. The markings for this machine were very simple, consisting of roundels for the wing upper and lower surfaces, fin flashes, and for one machine, a Tricolor for the fuselage. Printing is nice and thin with only a little carrier film. Registration is also perfect. You will need to trim the fin flash for one machine, but this is indicated with a 'cut line'. Conclusion For a relatively old kit, there certainly isn't much to grumble about here. Very little cleaning up to do overall, and some superbly rendered detail both internally and externally. The N-Type is a very attractive little aircraft, and this kit really does it some serious credit. I would say this kit isn't aimed at a beginner due to the number of small photo etch parts and the fact that a little extra work needs to go into limited run kits in order to maximize their potential. For 'value for money', I would say this kit is pitched correctly. This is very much a kit that does excite me, and I think I'll be building this one soon in the Large Scale Modeller 'Great War Group Build'. Very highly recommended James H Our sincere thanks to MPM/Special Hobby for the review sample used here. To purchase directly, click THIS link.