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  1. 1:48 Me 163B Komet Gaspatch Models Catalogue # 20-48236 Available from Gaspatch Models for €36,00 The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet was a German interceptor aircraft designed for point-defence that is the only rocket-powered fighter aircraft ever to have been operational and the first piloted aircraft of any type to exceed 621 mph in level flight. Designed by Alexander Lippisch, its performance and aspects of its design were unprecedented. German test pilot Heini Dittmar in early July 1944 reached 700 mph, an unofficial flight airspeed record that was unmatched by turbojet-powered aircraft for almost a decade. Over 300 Komets were built, but the aircraft proved lacklustre in its dedicated role as an interceptor and destroyed between 9 and 18 Allied aircraft against 10 losses. Aside from combat losses, many pilots were killed during testing and training, at least in part due to the highly volatile and corrosive nature of the rocket propellant used in later models of the aircraft. This includes one pilot by the name of Oberleutnant Josef Pohs, who was dissolved by the rocket fuel following an incident that resulted in a ruptured fuel line. It has been claimed that at least 29 Komets were shipped out of Germany after the war and that of those at least 10 have been known to survive the war to be put on display in museums around the world. Most of the 10 surviving Me 163s were part of JG 400, and were captured by the British at Husum, the squadron's base at the time of Germany's surrender in 1945. According to the RAF museum, 48 aircraft were captured intact and 24 were shipped to the United Kingdom for evaluation, although only one, VF241, was test flown (unpowered). Adapted from Wikipedia The kit Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting a rocket-powered interceptor to be on Gaspatch’s release schedule but seeing as it’s been over 30yrs since the last 1:48 Komet graced shop shelves with the Dragon/Trimaster (and oft-released by other companies since), I certainly won’t complain. A few years ago, I built the 1:32 Meng kit and found it fiddly, ill-fitting and not a wonderful experience to build. Gaspatch already have a reputation for wonderfully designed kits, so a Komet was an exciting prospect. The kit itself comes in a box which I would say was perhaps a little too big for such a diminutive aircraft, but one which suited their previous kit releases. A nice, simple Komet artwork adorns the box lid, with the SIX schemes available shown along the box edges. With the tabbed lid opened up, the kit’s FOUR grey styrene sprues and ONE clear sprue are seen, packaged into a single, re-sealable sleeve (with the clear sprue in another smaller sleeve to protect it). Gaspatch are known for their 3D-printed guns, so they’ve used their technology to create some 3D-prrinted resin parts for this release too, namely a couple of assembly jigs and a bracket (plus spare) that sits in front of the armoured inner windscreen. Masks are also supplied, as well as two decal sheets, a PE fret, and a colour-printed, 24-page instruction manual. Work begins in the cockpit, and it’s clear from the outset that Gaspatch have seen how fiddly the Meng kit was and decided to better it. The rear cockpit bulkhead is moulded in clear plastic. This is so you can use the supplied masks on the quarterlight windows and then simply paint the rest in RLM66…no glue anywhere near those small window areas! The cockpit itself is a multimedia affair of both styrene and PE. PE is used for the pilot seat rails which must first fit to the clear bulkhead, and with the two-part seat installed, PE seatbelts are then added. With the main tub connected to the bulkhead, the two pipes from the console fuel tanks can be installed. Between the tub and bulkhead. These were omitted from the Meng kit. The console looks perfect too, and the securing straps are also nicely represented. Rudder pedals are separate to the bar, and straps are supplied in PE. Cockpit sidewall detail really is exquisite, with a combination of plastic and PE parts, moulded with details that wouldn’t look amiss on a larger scale kit. The kit doesn’t come with a Walther rocket engine, but the spine of the model is represented by detail below those panels, including the ammunition saddle and feed, and filler cap. The quarterlight window ledges are also fitted to the interior spine unit which can be painted first before fitting the fuselage. The spine panels can be positioned either opened or closed. I admit I also prefer how Gaspatch has approached the landing skid assembly on this model. The details look far more refined than the larger Meng kit, with an option to pose the skid in both extended or retracted position. Parts detail really is excellent throughout, including the actuating mechanism. With the fuselage closed up, the Komet’s MK108 cannon can be fitted. Here’s where the 3D printed jigs are used. These are sat around each gun, holding it in the correct position on the exposed wing root, until the glue is set. Electrical firing boxes and ammunition belts then connect up to the cannon on what is already a beautifully detailed internal wing root area. Lots of lessons seemingly learned from the fussiness of the recent, larger scale kit of this aircraft. PE control surface linkages are also included, which are of course seen when the gun bay panels are open. The fuselage is moulded with separate nose cone and rudder, and the rudder has a very subtle fabric finish. Amazing that an aircraft like this even used fabric to cover control surfaces! Wing construction is quite traditional with both being separate and consisting of upper and lower panels. These trap the control surfaces in place when glued together. On the underside, the air brake panels are supplied as PE parts. For the undercarriage, a choice of faired and un-faired tail wheel is supplied, and of course, the main gear dolly is present. Both weighted and unweighted tyres are supplied, with separate hubs. The clear sprue is quite small but the canopy is nicely thin and everything has excellent clarity, including that armoured windscreen. Overall, the finish of the parts is of the highest quality, with nice surface textures where appropriate, including ports, panel lines etc. PE is also extremely high quality with good detail and narrow connection gates. Decals One main sheet of decals is included, and a smaller one which just contains the swastikas as halves. All decals are printed by Cartograf, and are nice and thin, with good, solid colour and minimal carrier film. Everything is in perfect register too. Instrument and stencil decals are also included. The SIX schemes are: Me 163B, W/Nr:191916, JG400, Brandis, April 1945 Me 163B, W/Nr:191659, JG400, 1945 Me 163B, White 14, JG400, Brandis, February 1945 Me 163B, W/Nr:191477, EJG2, Spring 1945 Me 163B, W/Nr:130061, Air Ministry 203 Me 163B, VF241, captured UK, post-war Instructions These are provided as a 24-page colour affair, with the first pages having a parts map and a colour guide. That guide is referenced throughout the build, so you’ll always have the part colour info at hand. Colour photos and illustrations also depict painting. The Komet itself is split over 14 constructional sequences in CAD/shaded style images, with PE etc. being easy to denote. The last pages show each scheme in full colour. Conclusion Simply a great little kit of a gorgeous little and ballsy combat aircraft. Quite small in 1:48, but with no less detail in than something you’d expect from a larger scale kit. The addition of the jigs for mounting the guns is a great idea, and the inclusion of masks for both the interior and exterior of the canopy is something I wish we’d see more of as standard. Now, I do know what Gaspatch are doing next, and it will be amazing, and this little model has really set the bar to a new level. Just a great kit! My sincere thanks to Gaspatch Models for the kit reviewed here. To buy directly, click the link at the top of this article.
  2. Please help me with feedback on GasPatch turnbuckles. I’m sure there’s been plenty of discussion. To my chargrin I have missed any posts on this topic. I’m planning to plunge into my WNW stash in near future. I’ve studied GP offerings and I’m kinda clear on turnbuckle selection. To save me time and angst researching walk around images I’m asking for some feedback. My questions are for the following a/c: D7 Alb Dh9 Snipe I’m aware the turnbuckles on the Camel are concealed. Does the same go for it’s cousin the Snipe? I see specific Alb turnbuckles. Another question is scale. Are 1:48 turnbuckles better for 1:32 a/c? Are the guns worth considering? I’m certainly open to scratch building turnbuckles with good coaching or links where to find. Thanks for your assist.
  3. 1/48 Henschel Hs 123B-1 Gaspatch Models Catalogue # 48096 Available from Gaspatch Models for €45,00 The Henschel Hs 123 was a single-seat biplane dive bomber and close-support attack aircraft flown by the German Luftwaffe during the Spanish Civil War and the early to midpoint of World War II. It proved to be robust, durable and effective especially in severe conditions. It continued to see front-line service until 1944, only to be withdrawn due to a lack of serviceable airframes and spare parts. Henschel was a German locomotive manufacturer. Soon after Hitler's rise to power, Henschel decided to start designing aircraft, one of the first being the Hs 123. The aircraft was designed to meet the 1933 dive bomber requirements for the reborn Luftwaffe. Both Henschel and rival Fieseler (with the Fi 98) competed for the production contract requirement, which specified a single-seat biplane dive bomber. The first prototype Hs 123, the Hs 123V1 was cleared for its maiden flight on 1 April 1935, and General Ernst Udet, a World War I ace, flew the first prototype on its first public demonstration flight on 8 May 1935. The Hs 123 was intended to replace the Heinkel He 50 biplane reconnaissance and dive bomber as well as acting as a "stop-gap" measure until the Junkers Ju 87 became available. As such, production was limited and no upgrades were considered, although an improved version, the Hs 123B was developed by Henschel in 1938. A proposal to fit the aircraft with a more powerful 716 kW (960 hp) "K"-variant of its BMW 132 engine did not proceed beyond the prototype stage. The Henschel Hs 123 saw service in the Spanish Civil War, as part of the Condor Legion, and despite being generally superseded by types such as the Ju 87, the Hs 123 limped on into the invasion of Poland, followed by the advance of the Low Countries, although operational numbers were by now quite low. Despite this, the Hs 123 took part in operations over the Eastern Front, and served with distinction. The year was 1944, and when the advantages of the type over other front line aircraft was pointed out, a suggestion to restart production was made. It was too late, as all tooling was dismantled in 1940, and by now, even the successor to the Hs 123, the Stuka, was pretty much long in the tooth. The Hs 123 was operated by Germany, China, and Spain, with the latter finally retiring the type in 1953. The kit This kit has been in gestation period for quite a while now, with Gaspatch’s stall at Telford Scale Model World advertising the forthcoming kit in 2015. Getting the information together to produce an accurate kit of the Hs 123 was not an easy task, as this isn’t a well-documented aircraft in terms of drawings, and the existing ones are inaccurate for various reasons. Nonetheless, Gaspatch has produced what they claim to be a precise model of this important aircraft, with a caveat relating to small differences between batches and manufacturer. The kit itself comes in a very attractive and extremely robust, single-piece corrugated box, with a beautiful satin finish. The box lid has lid tabs to lock it into the main body. The kit I have here is the B-1 variant, suffixed ‘Adolf Galland’ on the lid. Gaspatch also released the A-0 kit at the same time. The Galland scheme is actually one of FIVE schemes available in this B-1 kit. A history of the type is printed on the reverse of the box, leaving the manual solely for construction and painting detail. Inside the box, there are a total of SIX individually wrapped dark grey styrene sprues, and a single, small clear sprue. These are accompanied by a small photo-etch fret, a tiny vinyl masking sheet, cardboard jig, and a single Cartograf-printed decal sheet. Lastly, a very attractive A5 manual is included, printed in full colour, adorned with a copy of the box artwork on the front page. Gaspatch sent us the B-1 version of this kit, but have just released two versions of it, with the other being the earlier A-1 variant with a metal and fabric upper wing as opposed to the all-metal wing of the B-1. All other sprues are the same, but as the different wing sprues have different nomenclature with A-1 wing sprue being Sprue A, our review of this particular release starts at Sprue B. Apart from the wing and decal sheet, of course, everything else in the two kits is identical. This is a release that I feel needs me to abandon the usual sprue by sprue blow of events, in favour of looking at the detail and what is offered in terms of options etc. This is what will really sell these particular releases. If you ever got the opportunity to see the first injection moulded Gaspatch kit, the Salmson, then you were in for a foretaste of what you’d see with these new releases. Construction typically starts with the cockpit, and the level of detail here sets the pace for the rest of kit. Whilst this mostly a plastic affair, numerous photo-etch parts complete the scene, such as throttle quadrant linkages, levers, seatbelts, rudder pedal straps and respirator container. Next to Eduard’s beautiful Bf 109G series, this possibly has one of the nicest cockpits I’ve seen in 1/48. Remember, I’m a large scale builder normally, so 1/48 usually has to be pretty good to enthuse me, and this does. The two part instrument panel really is superbly detailed, as is the port side console with its various equipment details. Instrument gauge faces are moulded blank, to facilitate the decals that are supplied for this. Panel detail is of course supplemented by some fine internal fuselage wall mouldings, forward instrument panel bulkhead, pilot seat bulkhead, separate floor section for the rudder pedal assemblies (the cockpit itself doesn’t have a main floor as the bottom of the fuse forms this). Again, the various internal details are excellent, with the control stick fitted with its linkage, and tank on the forward bulkhead, finely detailed seat with multipart mounting brackets, oxygen tank and regulator etc. There is also a parcel shelf to the rear of the pilot, with the fuselage being supplied with a separate door for access to this area, creating some nice display possibilities. Also moulded separately to the main fuselage halves are the upper cowl and the section to the front of the cockpit. This is quite a neat design as the upper instrument panel is fitted directly to this before assembly to the airframe, avoiding having this part sandwiched in between the fuse halves, and the aggravation that could cause. Note that the headrest and fuselage fairing are separate. This is due to the A-1 version having marking options where this isn’t fitted. All schemes in this release will use those parts. Cockpit doors on both sides are separate parts, and can of course be posed either open or closed. The upper wing is composed of two, full span parts, along with separate ailerons. Detail as per the fuselage, is extremely fine, with excellent panel line detail etc. The lower wings have fabric details too, which I personally think has been beautifully rendered. This fabric and rib detail of course carries over onto the elevators, and rudder. The latter is fitted with a separate trim tab that can be posed, although you will need to alter the photo-etch linkage if you decide to fit it any way other than in line. As this model can be built with or without the undercarriage spats, Gaspatch saw fit to provide two lower wing options to suit. Holes are cut into the upper and lower wings so that the stout main struts can plug straight into them. There’s certainly nothing flimsy about this part of construction. Of course, as this was a dive bomber too, it was fitted with dive brakes. These are separately moulded and can be posed either up or down. They also have the visual indicator tab which sticks up through the upper wing skin when the brakes are deployed. Another very nice touch. As previously mentioned, the undercarriage can be built with or without spats, and the construction for both is very different. Thankfully, Gaspatch haven’t tried to create a set of struts that can be hidden in the spats. Both use entirely different components to illustrate these options. You can use full spats or just use the upper spat part, or build without any spats at all. Wheels are also supplied weighted too, so no need to fix that yourself. Two different types of wheel are included. To help you with the addition of the undercarriage to the lower wing, a laser-cut cardboard jig is included. I don’t know how necessary this is, but its addition certainly can’t do any harm to proceedings. The BMW 132Dc engine comprises of around a dozen parts, not including the exhaust arrangement, which adds another six parts to the assembly. Engine detail is very fine, with nicely represented cooling fins and central hub. The induction piping is a separate piece. This engine is to be shrouded by the characteristic cowl with its cylinder head bulges. Gaspatch have done a beautiful job of the moulding here, but the cowl comes in NINE parts! I’m confident that it will fit perfectly, having seen test shot builds online, but it could be a little fiddly. Munitions are supplied of course, and these include bombs for the undersides of the lower wings, and a fuel tank which sits centrally under the fuselage. The bombs may be left off the model and the mounting racks fitted separately. Clear parts are supplied for the windscreen and wingtip lights. A vinyl mask set is included which has parts for both the inside and outside of the windscreen. It’s not often you see that in a kit. Moulding quality here, and across the rest of the kit, is exceptional and flaw-free. Ejection pin marks won’t hinder you either as they’ve been placed with some thought. Photo Etch There are over forty PE parts on the single brass fret that comes with this kit. As well as the cockpit parts (levers, linkages, respirator case, rudder pedal straps, seatbelts), there are also included the trim tab links, lifting point strengthening rings, gun sight reticule and point, external fuel tank valve etc. Production quality is excellent, with small, thin tabs holding the parts in place. Decals A single decal sheet is included, printed by Cartograf. This includes the markings for all FIVE of the supplied schemes, and also includes swastikas, albeit as halves. Stencil and instrument decals are also to be found here. Printing is first class, being nice and thin and with solid and authentic colour. Carrier film is minimal and everything is in perfect register. The schemes included are: 10(Sch)/LG2, Balkans, April 1941, Operation Marita 10(Sch)/LG2, Balkans, April 1941, Operation Barbarossa Blue 4 of Erg.St/LG2, Russia, Winter 1941-42, Operation Barbarossa 4 (Sch)/LG2, flown by Adolf Galland, Septamber 1939, Poland 7 (Sch)/G1, Eastern Front, August 1942 Instructions These are among some of the best that I’ve seen, being printed in full colour, with specific inks denoting PE and new part application etc. Printed in an A5 format, with a satin finish, construction is shown over 19 building stages, including rigging, and includes images of the painted interior to show you how to finish the various assemblies. No manufacturer codes are given, with a simple RLM chart supplied instead. The last pages show the various schemes and their decal placement etc. Conclusion What a great little kit! I think I’ve been waiting to see this since 2014, and the wait has been well and truly worth it. Along with Eduard, the Gaspatch releases are really setting new standards for 1/48 scale modelling, with details that wouldn’t be amiss in a model of a larger scale. There are some great options here too, including the spats, and the schemes are varied. The price is also very attractive too, with this being around 35E or cheaper. I’m so glad that it was Gaspatch who decided to release this one, as it’s perhaps one of the most iconic Luftwaffe types that operated in the early stages of the war, and these guys have done it proud! Highly recommended. My thanks to Gaspatch Models for the sample seen here. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
  4. Wingnut Wings Gotha G.V 904/16 'Erika' So this is going to be my biggest project to date and I'm actually looking forward to it! As you can see this will be Gotha G.V 904/16 'Erika' build with the aircraft being prepared for a night sortie over London. I have no photos of the actual plane being prepared so some creative license will be used unless something comes to light. There are several firsts, including the incredible conversion kit by the talented Ron Kootje - I was one of the lucky few able to purchase the limited runs of his conversion kits and its going to be a very large undertaking, especially as I also have all the detailed parts by Taurus models. It will be my biggest kit built yet and I have no idea where I will keep it once completed! There are several other bits a pieces but I'm going to hold off from talking about them for now. As you can see absolutely nothing is started yet - a totally clean build from the start!
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