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  1. My bench was looking a bit too sparse with just the Kingfisher on it so I gave into the impulse to start on this kit. I've had it in the stash since it first came out so it was about time. Some of the AM for this build. As seems the current situation, our cat couldn't stay away. I just need to keep her from huffing the glue or she'll never leave. Carl
  2. 1/48 Heinkel He 111H-6 ICM Catalogue # 48262 Available from Hannants for £41.99 The Heinkel He 111 was a German aircraft designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter at Heinkel Flugzeugwerke in 1934. Through development it was described as a wolf in sheep's clothing because the project masqueraded the machine as civilian transport, though from conception the Heinkel was intended to provide the nascent Luftwaffe with a fast, medium bomber. Perhaps the best-recognised German bomber due to the distinctive, extensively glazed greenhouse nose of later versions, the Heinkel He 111 was the most numerous Luftwaffe bomber during the early stages of World War II. The bomber fared well until the Battle of Britain, when its weak defensive armament was exposed. Nevertheless, it proved capable of sustaining heavy damage and remaining airborne. As the war progressed, the He 111 was used in a variety of roles on every front in the European theatre. It was used as a strategic bomber during the Battle of Britain, a torpedo bomber in the Atlantic and Arctic, and a medium bomber and a transport aircraft on the Western, Eastern, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African Front theatres. The He 111 was constantly upgraded and modified but became obsolete during the latter part of the war. The German Bomber B project was not realised, which forced the Luftwaffe to continue operating the He 111 in combat roles until the end of the war. Manufacture of the He 111 ceased in September 1944, at which point piston-engine bomber production was largely halted in favour of fighter aircraft. With the German bomber force virtually defunct, the He 111 was used for logistics. The H variant of the He 111 series was more widely produced and saw more action during World War II than any other Heinkel variant. Owing to the uncertainty surrounding the delivery and availability of the DB 601 engines, Heinkel switched to 820 kW (1,100 hp) Junkers Jumo 211 powerplants, whose somewhat greater size and weight were regarded as unimportant considerations in a twin-engine design. When the Jumo was fitted to the P model, it became the He 111H. German-built He 111s remained in service in Spain after the end of the Second World War, being supplemented by Spanish licence-built CASA 2.111s from 1950. The last two German-built aircraft remained in service until at least 1958. The H-6 variant (the subject of this review) was a torpedo bomber and could carry two LT F5b torpedoes externally. It was powered by Jumo 211F-1 engines, had six MG 15s and one MG FF cannon in forward gondola. The kit I think it would be pretty fair to say that 1/48 Heinkel He 111 kits have been few and far between over the last years. In fact, before the initial ICM He 111H-3 version which was released towards the end of 2017, the last was another re-boxing of the old Monogram kit that dates back to 1994, and seen subsequently under Revell, Hasegawa, and Revellogram labels. It seemed that almost every other German twin had seen some release or other, apart from another Heinkel. Well, when ICM announced that they were to give us a newly-tooled He 111H-3, it was fair to say that many Luftwaffe fans were extremely pleased. The breakdown of the model also invited future versions to be released, and 6 months later, this is exactly what we got. ICM has a reputation for accurate model kits, with plenty of detail inside as well as refined external details. Their Ju 88 kits have seen numerous version releases, both with ICM themselves, and also with Revell and Special Hobby. No one can accuse ICM’s newer kits of having flimsy boxes, as per one German manufacturer. This one comes in a sturdy corrugated cardboard box with a locking tab, and with a separate, glossy product lid sat snugly over this. Box art depicts a France-based machine flying relatively low over the French countryside, towards dusk, with one box edge showing a couple of the FOUR schemes that can be built from this H-6 torpedo-carrying version. Once you cut through the clear disc tabs, remove the lid and open the box, you will find SEVEN sprues of medium-grey styrene and ONE of clear, tightly packed into a single clear sleeve. Normally I don’t like this approach, but there was pretty much no way these were going to rub over each other. The clear sprue was also packed into a separate sleeve within this main one. Now, those 7 sprues are actually common to the previous He 111H-3 release, as a second clear sleeve contains a further FIVE light grey sprues, and a separately bagged clear one. This brings the total sprue count to FOURTEEN! Of course, a healthy parts count is on definitely on the plate here. A heavy 28-page instruction manual lay in the bottom of the box, and tucked within this is a long and narrow decal sheet. This kit contains no PE parts. Sprue A Our first sprue brings us two of the main parts; namely the fuselage halves. It’s impossible to ignore these, so I’ll look at them first. These are very similar to how Revell went about their 1/32 kit, in that the upper forward fuselage is a separate piece, that can of course be an indication of other variants coming our way. Externally, detail is superb and very refined, with evenly and neatly recessed, narrow panel lines and a slightly proud wing root fairing with rivet fasteners. Elsewhere, however, no rivets are depicted. I quite like the difference that a riveted surface creates with a finished project, so will add these myself with a beading tool. The rudder is moulded separately, as is the belly. With the latter, two parts options are provided on this sprue, and those are for a bomb-doors closed, and doors open option. That certainly negates any ill-fitting doors that wouldn’t perhaps sit flush. Perhaps one thing that I’m not keen on are the aerial arrangement runners that are moulded to one of the lower fuselage halves. This makes removing seams a far more difficult task. Easy to fix though: slice off the detail and fit it later when seams are gone. Only a niggle really. Internally, I think ICM have made a very reasonable job of recreating the structural elements of this aircraft, with such detail extending from the nose, back to just aft of the belly gondola. There are some ejector pin marks though, but these are generally shallow enough to simply rub them away with a fibreglass pen, or other lightly abrasive tool. You will note that due to moulding limitations, ICM has had to produce a wing root insert to glue into position within the fuselage, and you might want to blend this in to the surrounding detail. This is the same solution that HK Models used on their 1/32 B-17 Fortress kits. Similar inserts exist for the lower bomb bay walls, but these sit primarily between the two main spar and bulkhead parts that form the basis of the construction. Note also the port and starboard wheel well walls, as well as the ceiling for this area. Fore and aft walls are moulded to the main spars. These walls will provide basic constructional elements and could/should be enhanced further by the modeller, with a little plasticard and wire. I’m not going to really criticise this due to the price of the kit, and the area providing a far more than adequate basis for detailing further. Other parts on this sprue are for the lower gondola, cockpit sidewalls, and radio equipment wall. Sprue B1 & B2 Both of these have the wing upper and lower panels as their main components, moulded with integral landing flaps. I would quite have liked to have seen these separate, and it will take some work for the modeller to achieve. However, the ailerons are separate items, moulded as halves on one of these sprues. As per the fuselage, external wing detail is very refined, with superbly thin and even panel lines and port access details. No rivets here again, except for key lines and those around fuel tank panels and upper nacelle fairings. Internally, positive channels are moulded for the main wing spars, creating what looks to be a very sturdy and unambiguous assembly. Going back to the ailerons, these have very subtle rib and fabric details, and shouldn’t need any toning down. Other flying and control surfaces are moulded here also. These are the stabiliser, elevators and rudder, moulded as traditional halves. These of course exhibit the same finesse as seen generally on external surfaces. Sprue C (x2) Where there are generally multiples of specific components, then these are the sprues on which you will find them. This model is equipped with two complete Junkers Jumo 211 A-3 engines, comprising of almost 20 parts each. I really am very impressed with the detail on these, and they certainly convincing against my reference material, including personal photographs of the 211. As with the wheel bays, just a little lead wiring should be all that’s needed to bring these to life. Unusually, the prop shafts are moulded into the main engine halves, instead of having a separate, captive pin that will allow the props to rotate. I did say this model had a full interior, and further evidence is seen here with multipart bomb bay cages, plus a full complement of eight SC500 bombs that sit within the cage’s vertical cells. Don’t get too excited though, as these AREN’T for use with this H-6 release! Nice additions to your spares box though. Other parts on this sprue include the numerous engine cowl parts, and the forward cowl ring with its characteristic lightening holes. Wheels are moulded as halves, but these aren’t weighted. They also aren’t used, as alternatives are provided on a new sprue, but they still aren’t weighted. Maybe Eduard will oblige us… Sprue D1 Unless it’s tied into more future releases, I admit that I don’t understand the nomenclature of the sprues D1 and D2. They seem unrelated. This particular sprue contains those two chunky main spars, complete with integral fuselage bulkheads and moulded bulkhead and main gear bay details. Note also other internal bulkheads, and for the cockpit itself. ICM has designed a rather tidy main cockpit, that is generally spread over both this sprue and D2, and should look great as it is, out of box. No doubt that Eduard will still be able to persuade us to invest further though. Decals are provided for enhancing the cockpit further, and these are clearly labelled on the instructions sheet. Internal parts on this sprue include the rear cockpit wall, cockpit floor, multi-part pilot seat with head armour, ammunition racks etc. Other parts here include the upper fuselage deck with moulded cupola gun traverse gearing, engine cowl to wing cowl fairings, splayed bomb bay door option, tail wheel that is moulded in situ with strut, and the main gear bay doors. Unusually, these last items have no detail moulded internally. This would definitely need addressing. Sprue D2 Someone at ICM had the foresight to include most of this kit’s more fragile and smaller parts on this sprue, meaning you can safely stash this to one side during the course of building. On here you will find the undercarriage struts and braces, ammunition rack components, rudder pedals and linkages, smaller cockpit components, control yoke and torsion tube, bomb aimer/co-pilot seat, MG mounts, etc. Sprue E This last sprue of generic He 111 parts contains all of the clear components. Where the varying items have sections that aren’t a part of a window etc. then these are frosted. Framing is pretty good, and this shouldn’t be too difficult to mask up for airbrushing. Even easier if Eduard release masks for this kit. What I do note is that whilst the clear areas have a good transparency, these areas look a little rippled, and more so when you look at through them to things in the distance. However, whilst this isn’t particularly good, if you look at things that are in close proximity to the clear areas, then this isn’t as noticeable. I have some faith that this won’t be too obvious when the model is complete, but don’t quote me. The He 111’s famous glazed nose is comprised of three parts. Care will definitely be needed in assembling these. Two options are supplied for the lower gondola glazing, as are weapons too. Note that the instrument panel is moulded here too. I’ve never seen the point of clear IPs, but that might only be my mileage. Instrument decals are supplied for this and other cockpit areas, but you may choose to punch out the individual dials and apply them separately. It certainly makes for a cleaner finish. Sprue E1 This new, clear sprue contains just four parts. Two of these are for the upper gunner position and the options here are for an open glazed area with a retracted canopy, or a closed version. I’m glad to see they provided optional parts instead of having to assemble this. The remaining two parts are for the front and rear of the ventral gondola. The standard of glazing here is actually nicer than the main canopy parts. Sprue G The first of our new grey sprues contains two underbelly sections. One of these is for the torpedo-carrying machine, and the other for the one carrying an external bomb payload. There are some slight differences here. Of course, the ETC racks sit over the He 111s bomb doors, and with this machine, you won’t fit the internal bomb racks. They are showed as not for usewith this release. Two scheme options provided in this kit have the tail with the rear-facing MG. Parts are provided here for that, but you will need to take a saw to the kit and remove the original tail. Maybe a slight oversight in ICM’s original modular design. The last parts are for the new tail wheel strut and ventral gondola. Sprue F (x2) These identical sprues contain the new props and spinners, two-part exhausts (thus hollow!), and external bomb load. Sprues H1 & H2 Not wanting to waste time and cost, of course, ICM has provided the same sprues in this release as for the Ju 88A-4/Torp. After all, they are the same weapons. Just remember that the racks won’t be needed as they are moulded to the underside of the new parts on Sprue G. The torpedoes themselves are moulded as halves, with separate propulsion impellors and a fin modification unit that is similar to the ones that the Japanese used on their torpedoes at Pearl Harbour, allowing the torpedo to operate very close to the water’s surface. Detail on these is excellent, and laden with two of these, this He 111 version should look particularly unusual and menacing. Decals One decal sheet is included, and there is no indication of where it is printed. I am assuming this is a homebrew ICM product. Printing is fairly thin and carrier film is minimal. Everything also appears to be in full register. No swastikas are included. A full set of stencils is included, along with the markings for the FOUR machines. These are: He 111H-6, 3./KG26, Norway, Summer 1941 He 111H-6, Stab I/KG26, Bardufoss, Norway, July 1942 He 111H-6, 8./KG53, Poland, June 1941 He 111H-6, 7./KG27, Russia, November 1941 Instructions I quite like ICM’s approach to the assembly manual, with the result being totally clean in approach and fuss-free. Starting with a history of the type, plus a colour chart for both Revell and Tamiya paints, a full parts plan is then printed, and then 116 constructional sequences. Assembly illustration is very clear, with colour annotation and selective use of shading to make some drawings clearer, such as where the 3D could mess with your mind! The last pages are taken over with a stencil drawing and four colour profiles for the supplied schemes. Decal placement and paint application is clear. Conclusion This appears to be a pretty accurate-looking kit with all the right curves in all the right places, and also a very intuitive and interesting assembly sequence. For example, you can’t build the wing separately to the fuselage, as the through-spars incorporate fuselage interior, and the bomb cells are loaded into the fuselage after main fuselage assembly, complete with the lower belly. Apart from the ripples in the glazing (which I don’t think will be too noticeable when assembled), the quality of this kit really is excellent, and ICM are setting new standards, outside of their Asian counterparts. This is also a kit with serious value for money, coming in at around £40. Plenty of buildability and one of those kits that really excites me. Hopefully, I’ll make a start very soon. My sincere thanks to ICM Model Kits for the review kit seen here. To purchase this one for yourself, click the link at the top of this article.
  3. 1/32 Heinkel He 111P Interior set CMK Catalogue # 5071 Available from Special Hobby for 625 Kč (around £21.50 at time of writing) I struggle to believe that it’s been a whole seven years since I first saw the new-tool Heinkel He 111P kit from Revell. Remember, these were the days before we saw the truly large injection-moulded giants, such as the B-17 from Hong Kong Models, or even their B-25 Mitchell. Revell really were breaking new ground with this and their Ju 88 kit from three years earlier (2008). Revell’s Heinkel He 111 release was quite something, and I remember seeing the parts for the first time, and wondering just how I’d display something of this size! How times change… At the moment, neither of the He 111 kits (P-1 and H-6) are readily available, which is a shame. Apart from the new Technik Ju 88, neither are the other big Luftwaffe hitters either. Hopefully Revell will dig out those tools again before too long as there’s a whole raft of extras available for the Heinkel kit, including this set that I’m looking at today, concerning the He 111 cockpit. CMK call it an ‘Interior set’, but that’s a little ambiguous as it doesn’t contain parts for anything beyond the cockpit (so no bomb bay etc.). I can forgive them though, as it’s pretty clear from this set just what is included as it’s plastered over the artwork on the front of the box. The box itself is fairly small, and not too heavy either, as despite there being a lot of resin, there are no big, hefty parts. Even the larger components are relatively thin. Inside CMK’s familiar yellow and black box, adorned with a sticker with a graphical image of the detail set, are two bags of resin, one fret of colour-printed PE, and an instruction sheet. Unlike Revell’s Ju 88, whose cockpit is excellent out-of-box, the He 111 was always a little lacking, in my opinion, and certainly would benefit from some resin goodies. And here we are! Opening the first zip-lock bag, we are presented with the largest components in this detail set. All of the resin parts are cast in a medium-grey resin, apart from one, and this is the back wall of the cockpit (the largest part in the set). This pale grey part contains the doorway to the bomb bay (blanked off or closed), various trunking/conduit unites and a couple of avionics panels with wiring looms. Lower down is a recess into which the floor slots. As this is a replacement for the kit part, it will need to be thinned a little from the rear, and I think opening up the door would be a nice touch, especially if you have fitted Eduard’s bomb bay set. This cockpit is most definitely enhanced with the door opened. The floor is cast as two parts; the main rear floor, and the starboard projection which includes the bomb aimers cushions for when he lies prone. Some thinning of these parts and casting block removal will be required, but the details are superb, including various conduits and plate details. The prone position has side details, such as a drive chain mechanism. CMK has cast the sidewalls suitably thin, and because of this, you will have to remove not only the casting block, but also some part stiffeners that run along the bottom and top of the sidewalls. Details here include the constructional elements of the fuselage, as well as side consoles, wiring, and more avionics/electrical panels. One of my parts has a very slight warp, but that will easily come out with a quick dip in some hot water for a few seconds. These sidewalls seem to have to be installed once the floor and rear wall is in place, but some careful dry fitting will ascertain the correct and best way to approach this. The last part in this bag is the pilot’s seat. When the casting block is removed, the seat will be fitted to the cockpit using Revell’s kit part. There are seven casting blocks in the second zip-lock bag, as well as three standalone components. One of these is the instrument panel which has a blank face but has the instrument bodies cast on the reverse. Some wiring should be added here as this will clearly be seen in the finished model. For the front, CMK has supplied colour PE parts, courtesy of Eduard. The other standalone parts are……yes, the split door for the cockpit! So glad to see these added, and with the ability to be posed. Now you’ve zero excuse notto fit the Eduard bomb bay. The other components cast on the various blocks include a raft of ammunition saddles, multipart control column and linkages, bomb aimer seat, control panels, constructional elements, central instrument console, rudder pedals, trim wheels etc. It is pretty clear to me that you will need to look at the given kit parts in order to better ascertain the orientation and fitting of the resin upgrades. Other elements of the actual kit are missing in the upgrade illustrations too, such as the extinguisher that fits to the back wall. It’s evident that you need to follow both the kit and resin upgrade drawings with a view to knowing what should and shouldn’t be fitted. Some kit parts that are integral to the resin upgrade, are indeed shown in the CMK instructions, such as the pilot seat mount and rudder pedal assembly (sans plastic pedals). A single PE fret contains a colour-printed multipart instrument panel and various levers for the consoles, plus a set of seatbelts for both cockpit occupants. Quality is everything you expect it to be from Eduard. I find the instructions a little bewildering at times, with some parts not drawn exactly to the shape of the component, or with a level of ambiguity over where things actually fit. I’m afraid you’ll need to do some detective work in areas, but hey, isn’t that supposed to be the fun part for us armchair historians?! Conclusion A great little set with excellent casting and details that far excels what Revell offer in their kit, and at a very reasonable price. Just expect to have to do a little Google Imaging for some things! Highly recommended My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for sending this sample out for us to review. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
  4. 1/48 Heinkel He 111H-3 ICM Catalogue # 48261 Available from Model Kits for Less for £30 The Heinkel He 111 was a German aircraft designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter at Heinkel Flugzeugwerke in 1934. Through development it was described as a wolf in sheep's clothing because the project masqueraded the machine as civilian transport, though from conception the Heinkel was intended to provide the nascent Luftwaffe with a fast, medium bomber. Perhaps the best-recognised German bomber due to the distinctive, extensively glazed greenhouse nose of later versions, the Heinkel He 111 was the most numerous Luftwaffe bomber during the early stages of World War II. The bomber fared well until the Battle of Britain, when its weak defensive armament was exposed. Nevertheless, it proved capable of sustaining heavy damage and remaining airborne. As the war progressed, the He 111 was used in a variety of roles on every front in the European theatre. It was used as a strategic bomber during the Battle of Britain, a torpedo bomber in the Atlantic and Arctic, and a medium bomber and a transport aircraft on the Western, Eastern, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African Front theatres. The He 111 was constantly upgraded and modified, but became obsolete during the latter part of the war. The German Bomber B project was not realised, which forced the Luftwaffe to continue operating the He 111 in combat roles until the end of the war. Manufacture of the He 111 ceased in September 1944, at which point piston-engine bomber production was largely halted in favour of fighter aircraft. With the German bomber force virtually defunct, the He 111 was used for logistics. The H variant of the He 111 series was more widely produced and saw more action during World War II than any other Heinkel variant. Owing to the uncertainty surrounding the delivery and availability of the DB 601 engines, Heinkel switched to 820 kW (1,100 hp) Junkers Jumo 211 powerplants, whose somewhat greater size and weight were regarded as unimportant considerations in a twin-engine design. When the Jumo was fitted to the P model, it became the He 111H. German-built He 111s remained in service in Spain after the end of the Second World War, being supplemented by Spanish licence-built CASA 2.111s from 1950. The last two German-built aircraft remained in service until at least 1958. The kit I think it would be pretty fair to say that 1/48 Heinkel He 111 kits have been few and far between over the last years. In fact, the last was another re-boxing of the old Monogram kit that dates back to 1994, and seen subsequently under Revell, Hasegawa, and Revellogram labels. It seemed that almost every other German twin had seen some release or other, apart from another Heinkel. Well, when ICM announced that they were to give us a newly-tooled He 111H-3, it was fair to say that many Luftwaffe fans were extremely pleased. ICM has a reputation for accurate model kits, with plenty of detail inside as well as refined external details. Their Ju 88 kits have seen numerous version releases, both with ICM themselves, and also with Revell and Special Hobby. The new He 111 was to have a detailed interior as well as bomb bay and two complete engines. The CAD images certainly looked impressive. Well, in November 2017, this kit was finally unleashed on an eager modelling community, and after the festive mail snarl-ups, the good guys at ICM finally managed to get one over to us to take a look at. No one can accuse ICM’s newer kits of having flimsy boxes, as per one German manufacturer. This one comes in a sturdy corrugated cardboard box with a locking tab, and with a separate, glossy product lid sat snugly over this. Box art depicts a France-based machine flying relatively low over the French countryside, towards dusk, with one box edge showing a couple of the FOUR schemes that can be built from this H-3 version release. Once you cut through the clear disc tabs, remove the lid and open the box, you will find SEVEN frames of medium-grey styrene and ONE of clear, tightly packed into a single clear sleeve. Normally I don’t like this approach, but there was pretty much no way these were going to rub over each other. The clear frame was also packed into a separate sleeve within this main one. A heavy 28-page instruction manual lay in the bottom of the box, and tucked within this is a long and narrow decal sheet. This kit contains no PE parts. Frame A Our first frame brings us two of the main parts; namely the fuselage halves. It’s impossible to ignore these, so I’ll look at them first. These are very similar to how Revell went about their 1/32 kit, in that the upper forward fuselage is a separate piece, that can of course be an indication of other variants coming our way. Externally, detail is superb and very refined, with evenly and neatly recessed, narrow panel lines and a slightly proud wing root fairing with rivet fasteners. Elsewhere, however, no rivets are depicted. I quite like the difference that a riveted surface creates with a finished project, so will add these myself with a beading tool. The rudder is moulded separately, as is the belly. With the latter, two parts options are provided on this frame, and those are for a bomb-doors closed, and doors open option. That certainly negates any ill-fitting doors that wouldn’t perhaps sit flush. Perhaps one thing that I’m not keen on are the aerial arrangement runners that are moulded to one of the lower fuselage halves. This makes removing seams a far more difficult task. Easy to fix though: slice off the detail and fit it later when seams are gone. Only a niggle really. Internally, I think ICM have made a very reasonable job of recreating the structural elements of this aircraft, with such detail extending from the nose, back to just aft of the belly gondola. There are some ejector pin marks though, but these are generally shallow enough to simply rub them away with a fibreglass pen, or other lightly abrasive tool. You will note that due to moulding limitations, ICM has had to produce a wing root insert to glue into position within the fuselage, and you might want to blend this in to the surrounding detail. This is the same solution that HK Models used on their 1/32 B-17 Fortress kits. Similar inserts exist for the lower bomb bay walls, but these sit primarily between the two main spar and bulkhead parts that form the basis of the construction. Note also the port and starboard wheel well walls, as well as the ceiling for this area. Fore and aft walls are moulded to the main spars. These walls will provide basic constructional elements, and could/should be enhanced further by the modeller, with a little plasticard and wire. I’m not going to really criticise this due to the price of the kit, and the area providing a far more than adequate basis for detailing further. Other parts on this sprue are for the lower gondola, cockpit sidewalls, and radio equipment wall. Frame B1 & B2 Both of these have the wing upper and lower panels as their main components, moulded with integral landing flaps. I would quite have liked to have seen these separate, and it will take some work for the modeller to achieve. However, the ailerons are separate items, moulded as halves on one of these frames. As per the fuselage, external wing detail is very refined, with superbly thin and even panel lines and port access details. No rivets here again, except for key lines and those around fuel tank panels and upper nacelle fairings. Internally, positive channels are moulded for the main wing spars, creating what looks to be a very sturdy and unambiguous assembly. Going back to the ailerons, these have very subtle rib and fabric details, and shouldn’t need any toning down. Other flying and control surfaces are moulded here also. These are the stabiliser, elevators and rudder, moulded as traditional halves. These of course exhibit the same finesse as seen generally on external surfaces. Frame C (x2) Where there are generally multiples of specific components, then these are the frames on which you will find them. This model is equipped with two complete Junkers Jumo 211 A-3 engines, comprising of almost 20 parts each. I really am very impressed with the detail on these, and they certainly convincing against my reference material, including personal photographs of the 211. As with the wheel bays, just a little lead wiring should be all that’s needed to bring these to life. Unusually, the prop shafts are moulded into the main engine halves, instead of having a separate, captive pin that will allow the props to rotate. I did say this model had a full interior, and further evidence is seen here with multipart bomb bay cages, plus a full complement of eight SC500 bombs that sit within the cage’s vertical cells. Other parts on this frame include the numerous engine cowl parts, and the forward cowl ring with its characteristic lightening holes. Wheels are moulded as halves, but these aren’t weighted. Maybe Eduard will oblige us… Frame D1 Unless it’s tied into future releases, I admit that I don’t understand the nomenclature of the frames D1 and D2. They seem unrelated. This particular frame contains those two chunky main spars, complete with integral fuselage bulkheads and moulded bulkhead and main gear bay details. Note also other internal bulkheads, and for the cockpit itself. ICM has designed a rather tidy main cockpit, that is generally spread over both this frame and D2, and should look great as it is, out of box. No doubt that Eduard will still be able to persuade us to invest further though. Decals are provided for enhancing the cockpit further, and these are clearly labelled on the instructions sheet. Internal parts on this frame include the rear cockpit wall, cockpit floor, multi-part pilot seat with head armour, ammunition racks etc. Other parts here include the upper fuselage deck with moulded cupola gun traverse gearing, engine cowl to wing cowl fairings, splayed bomb bay door option, tail wheel that is moulded in situ with strut, and the main gear bay doors. Unusually, these last items have no detail moulded internally. This would definitely need addressing. Frame D2 Someone at ICM had the foresight to include most of this kit’s more fragile and smaller parts on this frame, meaning you can safely stash this to one side during the course of building. On here you will find the undercarriage struts and braces, ammunition rack components, rudder pedals and linkages, smaller cockpit components, control yoke and torsion tube, bomb aimer/co-pilot seat, MG mounts, etc. Frame E This last frame of parts contains all of the clear components. Where the varying items have sections that aren’t a part of a window etc. then these are frosted. Framing is pretty good, and this shouldn’t be too difficult to mask up for airbrushing. Even easier if Eduard release masks for this kit. What I do note is that whilst the clear areas have a good transparency, these areas look a little rippled, and more so when you look at through them to things in the distance. However, whilst this isn’t particularly good, if you look at things that are in close proximity to the clear areas, then this isn’t as noticeable. I have some faith that this won’t be too obvious when the model is complete, but don’t quote me. The He 111’s famous glazed nose is comprised of three parts. Care will definitely be needed in assembling these. Two options are supplied for the lower gondola glazing, as are weapons too. Note that the instrument panel is moulded here too. I’ve never seen the point of clear IPs, but that might only be my mileage. Instrument decals are supplied for this and other cockpit areas, but you may choose to punch out the individual dials and apply them separately. It certainly makes for a cleaner finish. Decals One decal sheet is included, and there is no indication of where it is printed. I am assuming this is a homebrew ICM product. Printing is fairly thin and carrier film is minimal. Everything also appears to be in full register. A full set of stencils are included, along with the markings for the FOUR machines. These are: He 111H-3, 1./KG53, France, Spring 1940 He 111H-3, Geschwaderstab/KG53, France, August 1940 He 111H-3, KG26, Norway, Spring 1941 He 111H-3, 5./KG27, Russia, April 1943 Instructions I quite like ICM’s approach to the assembly manual, with the result being totally clean in approach and fuss-free. Starting with a history of the type, plus a colour chart for both Revell and Tamiya paints, a full parts plan is then printed, and then 116 constructional sequences. Assembly illustration is very clear, with colour annotation and selective use of shading to make some drawings clearer, such as where the 3D could mess with your mind! The last pages are taken over with a stencil drawing and four colour profiles for the supplied schemes. Decal placement and paint application is clear. Conclusion This appears to be a pretty accurate-looking kit with all the right curves in all the right places, and also a very intuitive and interesting assembly sequence. For example, you can’t build the wing separately to the fuselage, as the through-spars incorporate fuselage interior, and the bomb cells are loaded into the fuselage after main fuselage assembly, complete with the lower belly. Apart from the ripples in the glazing (which I don’t think will be too noticeable when assembled), the quality of this kit really is excellent, and ICM are setting new standards, outside of their Asian counterparts. This is also a kit with serious value for money, coming in at between £30 and £35 locally. Plenty of buildability and one of those kits that really excites me. Hopefully, I’ll make a start very soon. My sincere thanks to ICM Model Kits for the review kit seen here. To purchase this one for yourself, check out your local hobby retailer or online shop. This can be purchased in the UK for £30 (at time of writing) from MJR Hobbies (Model Kits For Less) at https://www.facebook.com/groups/271077163071577/
  5. 1:48 Heinkel He 177A undercarriage set CMK Catalogue # 4176 Available from CMK for €31,80 It's taken me a little time to fathom out this specific detail set. We recently reviewed the He 177 engine set, and of course, this protrudes into the wheel well area of this behemoth. Now we have the undercarriage set itself, with a significant area of overlap. What we'll try to do here is to explain to you this set from two standpoints. The first will be fitting this set without the engine detail set, and then we'll look at what you'll need to do if you wish to install both of these into your MPM 1:48 He 177. As with the engine set we've just looked at, this set in packaged within the same style yellow and black trademark box that we are used to seeing with many of the more intense CMK resin detail sets. This sturdy little box has a top opening flap, and within, there are TWO bags of resin parts, and a single A4 instruction sheet, folded into an A4 size mini booklet. Opening the first, smaller bag, I'm getting a sense of Déjà vu. A quick glance at the instruction booklet does nothing to destroy that impression. The construction of this set starts in the very same way as that of the engine detail set, i.e. in the forward spar area which of course doubles up as the bulkhead section for the engines, but of course.....there are no engines in this set (or so you might think!). Does this make sense so far? The construction of that spar area is about 90% identical to that of the engine set, so you will already appreciate that if you wish to install both sets, you will have a significant number of spare, duplicate parts left over from the first stages of construction. Onto the spare are fitted many of the same parts as the previous sets, including the inner ribs, but now we see a change. Instead of fitting the plastic, outboard ribs that are supplied with the kit, instead a resin rib with an integral gear well roof, is now installed, creating a unit that has both an enclosed inboard and outboard section. Normally, the engines would fit into the centre area. It's at this juncture where you can of course go down two different paths. If you wish to install the engines, then you would fit the engine module to the spar in the same way that you did with the parts in the engine set. However, if you don't want to use the engine set, then the undercarriage set comes complete with a module which represents the rear detail of the engine. It is cheating, but of course, you do need to still see this detail in the wheel well. Unlike the engine set though, no resin exhausts are included here. There is another, larger bag of resin here, and with the exception of a few parts which are used for the 'common' assembly and dummy engine block, the rest are very specific to the undercarriage area itself. The most obvious parts are the replacement wheels. These are 'weighted' and treadles, therefore look correct in that aspect. The hub detail, including the hydraulic line, is perhaps a little rudimentary, but are certainly good enough for this set. I would maybe replace that line with a short length of wire. Replacement undercarriage doors are also included here too, which are thinly cast, with some very nice internal detail. The one issue I have with all of these particular parts is that the casting block connection protrudes onto the exterior face. On the larger door, the inner recess makes the wall so thin that you will need to pay particular care in removing the parts and cleaning them up. Building the kit out of box, the outboard gear doors are moulded closed. Of course, with this set, you can now pose them open, revealing those wheel bays. Parts are also included here for the hot air ducting that fits in these outboard wells. As with the previous set, resin casting is excellent, with everything manufactured in creamy, yellow resin, with the exception of the wheels which are a little darker. Some casting blocks will need careful removal, so take your time. Again, instructions are printed on a single A4 sheet, folded into an A5 booklet. A parts map and colour reference chart (Humbrol), are supplied, and all illustration is given as simple line drawings that are easy to follow. Conclusion With the amount of visual detail generated in the actual wheel bays, I would say that this set is really aimed at those who want to super-detail their model, as the main, outboard gear doors were commonly closed anyway, with the aircraft on the ground. Maybe this set is more applicable if you want to produce a maintenance diorama etc, or if you like to pose your models on mirrors so you can see the detail underneath. The inclusion of the rear engine module is a nice touch though, and the gear doors and wheels to offer something over the standard kit parts. For me, this is still a nice set, and it does make sense for me to add it simply because I'm also going to display the engines. Apart from that, it is a reasonable extra cost to a model that will already cost you €100. If you like the whole enchilada, then go for it! Recommended My sincere thanks to CMK for this review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link. James H
  6. 1:48 Heinkel He 177A-5 engine set CMK Catalogue # 4174 Available from CMK for €31,80 This is hardly a new set, being almost 10 years old now, but when we get the opportunity to take a look at some of the relatively vintage kits and aftermarket products, then we don't shy away from it. That is certainly true when, a decade later, there is still no other kit or aftermarket solution from any other manufacturer. MPM's 1:48 Heinkel He 177 'Greif' is still the only game in town, and even in quarter-scale, cuts an imposing presence. Thankfully, SP&R have been sent not only the 'Hi-Tech' version of this kit (reviewed next week), but also two resin detail sets. Today, we look at the engine set. CMK's He 177 engine set is packed into one of their familiar top-flap opening cardboard boxes, attractively printed in their yellow and black trademark style, and sporting line drawings of the He 177 and a snapshot of the engine installation. Inside that box, we have a single zip-lock wallet containing over 40 pieces of pale, creamy yellow resin, and of course an instruction sheet. Firstly, you need to know that despite this set having two Daimler Benz DB605 engines, only one engine nacelle is catered for. Of course, the He 177 actually had four engines, but coupled in pairs. Two DB605 engines created a single unit designated as DB610. The two engines here are designed to be displayed in one of either wing, therefore there is no provision for having both engine nacelles opened up. The actual engine nacelle was partially buried within the wing of the He 177, with both coupled engines angled, reducing the overall depth of the nacelle so that if could fit within the wing structure without any deep bulges. Of course, this means that displaying the engines will naturally give away a little of the wing interior detail too, and this is of course included within this set. A certain amount of surgery is also required in order to fit this upgrade, but you'll be thankful to know that that aspect is very simple. Essentially, all you need to do is to cut away the two engine cowls from the plastic upper wing part. That's it! I would maybe consider just thinning the edge of the plastic at this point too, making look a little more scale in appearance. Construction centres around the main, forward spar. Depending on whether you wish to fit the engines into the port or starboard wing, spars are provided for both sides, as of course the shape of them is specific to each wing. Make your choice directly at the outset. Two sets of identical resin inner wing ribs are also included, despite only one set being used. This is puzzling, so perhaps you could display the remaining nacelle with the engines removed too? Onto the spar fits a couple of plastic ribs and gussets which are supplied within the kit. A little pipework finished the spar/engine bulkhead section. The spar itself is highly detailed, with much structural detail being exhibited, and of course some wiring and plumbing. CMK haven't supplied complete engines with this, as the forward hub won't be seen. The remainder of the engine actually looks pretty comprehensive, with excellent detail throughout, including the cylinder head blocks and fine ignition wiring. Fuel injectors can be seen underneath the engine, yet this detail won't easily be seen unless you plan to cutaway panels from the underside of the nacelle. Some detail will be seen though the wheel well, however. One side of each engine (opposites) has a block cast to it with two sockets. These sockets glue into a central former which angles the engines properly. This looks a little odd to be because I've seen one of these engines, and the coupling is direct, and not though a reasonably thick wall. I'm assuming that this is here simply to allow the assembly to fit into the host model. Once installed, you really shouldn't notice this at all. Each engine is cast with a supercharger which are fitted to the outside of the DB610 unit. Exhausts are also supplied for this set, and CMK give sets for both sides, so you can match the external detail. Having removed the engine cowl doors from the plastic, you'll need some resin replacements, and of course, they are supplied in this set. These are suitably thin, with internal structural detail. No detail is present externally, but this mirrors the model itself. All resin is superbly cast, with no visible flaws seen on my sample. Casting block connections are so designed for easy removal. One resin cowl door hinge is missing from my set, having been knocked off the casting block, but this is easily replaced with plasticard or PE. A single A4 instruction sheet is supplied, printed in black and white. This starts with a parts plan for identifying the components, and also information on what part of the kit's plastic needs removing. Construction is shown as a series of line drawings, which are all clear to see and should present no problem in following. Colour call-outs are supplied throughout construction, with Humbrol codes being supplied, and a simple colour description too. Conclusion If you like the detail side of building, then I presume that the Hi-Tech version of the He 177 would be the one you'd choose to buy. This set takes increases the detail levels even further, supplementing the resin already in the host kit, and taking your He 177 to another stage. Ideal for dioramas and of course those of us who have a voyeuristic nature when it comes to wanting to pose various cowls and panels in an open state. Everything here appears to be simple enough to build and implement, and well within the capability of most modellers. Highly recommended My sincere thanks to CMK for sending the review sample shown here. To purchase directly, click THIS link. James H
  7. 1:32 Heinkel He 219 'Detail Up Set' Mk1 Design Catalogue # MA-32004 Available from Hannants for £83.40 Revell's Heinkel He 219 kit, released in 2012, was more than a bit of a mixed bag. A concoction of incorrect shapes/angles and spurious detail seemed to show a wanton lack of research from Revell, and the kit has been universally panned on the numerous modelling forums. I may be noExperten on the He 219, but even I could see that things weren't right. However, if you're willing to ignore these issues, the model does actually build up beautifully. Numerous companies have released upgrade and correction sets for the kit, but here's one you may not have heard of before, fromMK1 Design. This release is packaged in a slim, clear plastic box measuring 215mm x 155mm and roughly 15mm deep. Inside the pack can be seen many PE, colour PE, turned brass, resin and white metal parts. Some of the more delicate parts are fixed to the internal card backing, whilst others are bagged into ziplock wallets within the main box. Flip the box over and you'll find a full colour, photographic instruction sheet. Now, let's see how this will improve the standard kit. PE (Part A) This is certainly a wide-ranging set of parts, covering many areas of the airframe, both internally and externally. Revell made a big mistake with the lack of detail on the engine cowl flaps. MK1 have supplied these here as individual PE leaves, which need to be carefully arranged around the circumference of the cowl. I just hope they meet up at the end point! You may need to induce a shallow curve with these. I just can't tell. Inside the engine cowl ring, you will normally see the radiator faces, which under normal circumstances would have a sort of mesh texture. Here, a full set of individual plates has been supplied. Due to the open nature of the texture, consider applying these with Klear/Future, or something similar. CA may look a little messy unless you're very careful. Oddly, seatbelt straps are included here, minus buckles (found on colour PE fret). I can't understand the rationale in making these in regular brass and having to thread nickel-plated buckles over them. Single piece colour PE would have been preferable, or some material such as that used by HGW. Other parts on this fret include weapon pack gun blanking plates and channel caps, undercarriage compression strut jackets, exhaust tube forward grilles, windscreen armour plate, rudder pedals, nose gear bay plumbing and also finishing strips which you will fit into the rear of the stabiliser, before you add the elevators. Colour PE (Part A) I don't suppose it will come as any surprise to see that MK1 have tackled this in the same way that Eduard have with their own colour-printed parts. There is nothing on this fret to say this has been made by Eduard, and the style doesn't look typical of them, but I suppose it is possible. Parts on the colour fret include full cockpit instrumentation, including radio set fascias, and a multi-layer instrument panel, as we see with Eduard releases. A liberal smattering of PE covers everything from oxygen regulators, to other smaller sidewall detail. Quite impressive. Other parts on this fret includes the dipole array from the 219's spine, and a whole series of etch buckles for the belts which are presented on the first, brass fret. Resin Wheels Each of the 219's wheels is presented here as a single resin piece, with integral hub. Tread detail looks excellent, and the hubs are cast with the hydraulic lines in place. It is only the main tires that have a tread pattern, with the nose wheel being smooth. Detail is generally excellent, and of the wheels are very realistically weighted too, which is a vast improvement over the standard kit parts. The wheels exhibit some writing around the flat face. This says 'AVION and 'NACIONAL FIFELLI' (Pirelli?) . That all sounds a little strange to me. There are some tire sizes cast in situ too. I can't vouch at all how the detail is portrayed on these wheels in terms of tread or that odd writing. Perhaps you can make more sense of it? Casting is excellent, and the product appears very high quality. Casting blocks are connected to the parts via a thin wall which falls on the flat, weighted part of the wheel. Turned Brass parts These parts are quite impressive. Revell's exhaust flame damping tubes are a little weak to be honest (but still better than those in the ZM kit), and could do with replacing. MK1 have supplied superbly turned, thin wall brass replacements, complete with their straps, and with holes machined in the side into which he exhaust stubs will locate. A front cap is supplied for these tubes. For a night-fighter such as the He 219, you'll need an impressive radar array. Again, the kit parts are average, but you are limited with injection plastic. This set provides a whole new set of turned metal dipoles for the nose and tail of the aircraft. These look incredibly detailed. Other turned brass parts are included for the gun pack barrels in the belly, as well as for the upper firing MK108 guns too. A metal pitot is also included. White Metal Parts This is the last pack within this set, and contains no less than EIGHTEEN parts, all of which appear to be superbly cast, with no poor surface as seen on many SAC undercarriage sets. Main gear struts and actuators are included, as is the forward nose gear strut, with separate oleo scissor and two-piece fork, where the wheel would be sandwiched. It also appears that MK1 made the same mistake as Revell here and produced the undercarriage struts as they would look without any load, leading the model to sit too high, and with the wrong attitude. A full suite of prop blades is also included, but to me, they seem to lack any proper aerofoil curvature to the rear. The shapes to look right, however, but some fine seams lines could do with being polished away. The last metal parts here are for a replacement radio bank for the rear cockpit, and a simple ballast weight. These will certainly help push the centre of gravity forward and prevent your model being a nose-sitter, but please check the CoG before you seal everything up! Instructions A single, full-colour A4 sheet clearly shows the parts in the kit to be replaced, and where the extra details need to fit to the existing plastic. MK1 have done a very good job of this aspect, with everything being clearly labelled/numbered. Conclusion Like the Revell kit, this upgrade set is a bit of a mixed bag. Some parts have been carried off extremely well, such as the PE parts (with the exception of the seat belts), and the turned brass parts. Others less so. The wheels look great, but the bizarre text on them leaves me puzzled. The white metal parts are a general let-down in several areas. This is also quite an expensive set for what you get, and for me, you'd better channelling your money into the Eduard upgrade sets. Average James H My sincere thanks to KA Models for this review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
  8. I have been working on this over the last few weeks for Military Illustrated Modeller magazine... All a can say its a fantastic kit and its light years a head of the Revell kit! Hopefully I should have this complete in the next couple of weeks, ready for publication once its released! Here a couple of shots to get your mouth watering!
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