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  1. Never did an helicopter model in my modeller life (besides one specifically made for my grandson to play with) until one day, during the first lock-down, I was intrigued by the first picture below. So I started looking around for suitable kit and the best I found was the Dragon UH-1N in 1:35. But there are many important differences between the two subjects: 1) Internal back arrangement is totally different 2) Back doors are different 3) No radome on the roof 4) No winch and several other different details More to follow. Alberto
  2. 1/35 Flettner Fl 282V-6 Kolibri Aircraft Miniatures Series MiniArt Catalogue # 41001 The Flettner Fl 282 Kolibri ("Hummingbird") is a single-seat intermeshing rotor helicopter, or synchropter, produced by Anton Flettner of Germany. According to Yves Le Bec, the Flettner Fl 282 was the world's first series production helicopter. though other writers claim the same for the Focke-Achgelis Fa 223. Flettner’s Fl 282 Kolibri was an improved version of the Flettner Fl 265 announced in July 1940, which pioneered the same intermeshing rotor configuration that the Kolibri used. It had a 7.7 litre displacement, seven-cylinder Siemens-Halske Sh 14 radial engine of 150-160 hp mounted in the centre of the fuselage, with a transmission mounted on the front of the engine from which a drive shaft ran to an upper gearbox, which then split the power to a pair of opposite-rotation drive shafts to turn the rotors. The Sh 14 engine was a tried-and-true design that only required servicing every 400 hours, as opposed to the nearly 27 litre displacement, nine-cylinder BMW/Bramo Fafnir 750hp radial engine powering the larger Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 helicopter, whose outdated design required maintenance every 25 hours. The Fl 282's fuselage was constructed from steel tube covered with doped fabric, and it was fitted with a fixed tricycle undercarriage. The German Navy was impressed with the Kolibri and wanted to evaluate it for submarine spotting duties, ordering an initial 15 examples, to be followed by 30 production models. Flight testing of the first two prototypes was carried out through 1941, including repeated take-offs and landings from a pad mounted on the German cruiser Köln. The first two "A" series prototypes had enclosed cockpits; all subsequent examples had open cockpits and were designated "B" series. In case of an engine failure, the switch from helicopter to autorotation was automatic. Good handling in bad weather led the German Air Ministry to issue a contract in 1944 to BMW to produce 1,000 units. However, the company's Munich plant was destroyed by Allied bombing raids after producing just 24 machines. Towards the end of World War II most of the surviving Fl 282s were stationed at Rangsdorf, in their role as artillery spotters, but gradually fell victim to Soviet fighters and anti-aircraft fire. A total of 24 machines were built. Edit courtesy of Wikipedia The kit When Ukrainian company, MiniArt, announced their new Fl 282 kit, it caught us all pretty much by surprise, despite the companies more leftfield releases. We’ve not exactly been inundated with large scale models of this quirky yet important helicopter, with the only other kit being Anyuta’s 3D-printed 1/18 kit. MiniArt’s release started to trickle into retailers around a month or so ago, and we’ve managed to get our hands on this one from our friends at Modellbau-König (MBK), in Germany. This release is packaged into a box which is perhaps a little bigger than it should be, with the bag of contents rattling around it inside. The box artwork depicts the V-6 machine on the deck of the minelayer ‘Drache’ in the Adriatic in 1942. Box side images show some coloured CAD renders of the Fl 282. Inside the box, EIGHT medium-grey sprues are packed into two bags, and then sealed into a single, heat-sealed bag. Out of those grey sprues, two are duplicates, and a small clear sprue is separately packed within the main bag to protect it from scuffing. A single PE fret is included, and this is packaged into a small cardboard sleeve. Of course, decals are also a part of this release, and the small sheet is also packaged into a separate sleeve, again within the main bag. The kit’s instruction manual is a 12-page A4 publication in a mix of matt and glossy paper, with the glossy leaves containing the various artworks etc. More on that later. Sprue A On this first sprue, we are presented with most of the larger parts of the Fl 282, pertaining of course to the fuselage. The Fl 282’s fuselage was constructed from tubular steel and the majority of it was covered in fabric. This effect is clearly seen in the port and starboard halves, with the forward section being uncovered and the rear portion exhibiting a nicely reproduced taught fabric effect, hinting at the structures below. Other parts on this sprue are the upper deck with forward tubular framework, engine side panels and control surface rods. In order to cater to the multitude of thin frame parts, MiniArt has used a series of small tags for their ejector pins, and these simply need to be snipped off and cleaned up. Sprue Ad We look at the Kolibri these days and appreciate how unusual it is with regards to modern helicopter design. Here, we don’t have a tail rotor assembly and small tail surfaces. Instead we have a propeller rotor buried within the fuselage, and the tail surfaces are reasonably conventional with tubular frames fin, rudder and stabiliser. On this sprue we have a two-part fin with a rather nicely rendered frame and fabric exterior, and a single-piece rudder with those same details. You will also notice the small frames/mass balance for the rudder too. These are very delicate, so care need to be exercised when removing them. This also goes for the other small frame parts on this sprue, of which there are several. Lastly, note the lower belly section with sprung tail hoop skid and also the instrument panel rear enclosure. With that last part, there’s no need to plumb the rear of the instruments, but you will want to look at adding wiring from this unit to other parts of the airframe. Sprue B (x2) Remember, this isn’t a 4-blade rotor, but instead two 2-blade intermeshing rotors. Here you can see the blades for those, moulded with a sag in them so that you don’t need to manipulate the plastic and bend them yourselves. Other parts on here are for the two-part main and nose gear wheels, engine and gearbox parts, and rotor connection areas etc. Whilst the wheels don’t have any flat spots on them for the weighted effect, they are still bulged, strangely enough, in that area. Sprue Be This fairly small sprue contains the tubular cockpit sidewalls and floor, as well as the single piece stabiliser parts. These parts are finely represented with delicate tubular frames and the various fittings. The use of ejector pin tags has been employed again so as to stop the tooling miring the parts. Seams are generally minimal, and sprue gates are thankfully small. Sprue Bd Only two parts are included on this, the only clear sprue in this specific release. Having excellent transparency, these parts are for reflector and lens that mount to the nose gear strut. The reflector itself will sit inside a main light housing. A little lead wire for the power cable, would really set this off. Sprue C Here we have the lion’s share of the engineering that went into the technology that made this thing fly….i.e. engine parts and gearbox/transmission units. You’ll note engine pushrods, transmission housing plates and drive shafts, propeller housing ring, exhaust gases collector ring, pilot seat back with nicely detailed cushion, main gear spreader tubes, nose gear forked strut, etc. A number of bulkheads are also moulded here, including the engine mounting backplate. I don’t think we can call the latter a firewall, in this instance. Note also the transmission/gearbox cowl panels and the plate which separates the brave pilot from the propeller spinning around to his rear. Sprue Ca I admit that the sprue nomenclature is a little confusing here. This is presumably because MiniArt will use other sprues with subsequent kit versions of this model. This sprue contains the engine and hub, more parts for the drive/gearing and transmission units, upper rear fuselage top into which the fin sits, lower fuselage belly, instrument panel with blank instruments (good!), pilot seat base with realistic wrinkles cockpit components, numerous other small frame components, etc. Sprue D This is the last sprue in this release. It appears that the majority of the parts here concern the engine and other ancillary elements. Note the transmission housing, fuel piping, propeller, control rods and their linkages, side panel interior details, and of course, a few more pieces of tubular frame. This is probably the busiest of all sprues, and the parts tend to be either small or fragile, or both. One part is broken from the sprue, but that part is undamaged. Photo Etch Like many kits these days, this one also comes equipped with a fret of PE parts, albeit quite small. Packaged into a cardboard sleeve to protect it from the rigours of the oversized box, this fret contains 11 parts. These make up the seatbelts, frame edge sections, and a small number of parts for the engine. The PE itself is nicely manufactured and left in its bare metal state. Both sides are covered in film which needs to be removed before use. Decals A single, small sheet of decals, printed in the Ukraine by Decograph, is included in this release. Printing is thin, with minimal carrier film and the colours appear to be opaque. There seems to have been an issue with registration with the white borders on the yellow fuel triangles, but these have also been supplied, on the same sheet, as separates, so all is good. Swastikas are supplied, but in a two-part format. Instrument decals are provided as a single panel or separate dials. I would use the latter, and also a punch & die to remove them so as to eliminate carrier film. The schemes provided in this kit are: Erprobungs-und Lehrkommando 20, on board the minelayer ‘Drache’, Trieste, Adriatic Sea, November 1942 Tests on the floating base hydroaviation ‘Greif’, Travemünde, Lübeck Bay, Baltic Sea, August 1942 Erprobungs-und Lehrkommando 20, on board the minelayer ‘Drache’, Trieste, Adriatic Sea, January 1943 Erprobungs-und Lehrkommando 20, aboard the anti-submarine ship KUJ 13, Baltic Sea, April – May 1943 Instructions These are printed as a 12-page, glossy A4 publication, with a scheme profile and blueprintstyle image on the front page, along with a brief resume of the kit contents. Inside the manual, the first thing we are presented with is a proper set of scheme profiles for GF+YF. Please remember that all schemes in this kit are for the same prototype, and generally just vary in base colour, give or take. A parts map is then supplied, complete with a paint chart for Vallejo, Mr. Color, Humbrol, Testors, and an unknown type, with a generic list of colour names too. Construction is shown in clear line drawings over 32 stages, in easy to follow imagery and annotation. The last pages are given over to the remaining scheme profiles. Decal placement is easy to follow and the painting codes are easily referenced. Conclusion Sometimes you come across a subject that you had no real idea you wanted to build, until you see it in the box in front of you. For me, this is definitely one. Yes, I knew of the type, and saw the large scale 3-D printed one, but I never really expected to see it in this scale, in injected plastic. Moulding quality is excellent throughout and whilst the parts count is fairly high (185 parts), the model does look relatively simple to build, and has excellent overall detail. I also think the price point is very attractive. If you are a fan of the esoteric and anything Luftwaffe-related, then you should check out this release. Take a look at our partner shop, MBK, and pick one up soon. HIGHLY recommended! My sincere thanks to the Heike and the good folks at MBK Distribution for shipping this sample out for review.
  3. 1:32 Westland Wessex HC.2 Fly Model Catalogue 32010 Available from Fly for 2066,00 CZK (approx. £55 at time of writing) I’ve said to a few people that the Wessex appears to be typically British in appearance, but is literally only by design, and to be more accurate – RUSSIAN design! Of course, the Wessex was actually a licence-built version of the Sikorsky H-34, built by Westland Aircraft. The Wessex was slightly different to its American-built Sikorsky cousin, in that rotor power was generated by a turbo-shaft engine, rather than the piston engine of the Russian machine. In fact, the Wessex was the first mass-produced helicopter in the world to be powered by a gas turbine engine. Seeing initial production to satisfy a Royal Navy order, the type, having been proved successful, was also then ordered by the Royal Air Force for Air – Sea and Mountain Rescue duties. Of course, the Wessex was also employed for military duties with the RAF, being capable of transport and battlefield support, and saw service in both Hong Kong and Northern Ireland, on extended detachments. The naval HU.5 type saw service during the Falklands Conflict, where 55 Wessex were used to move equipment to frontline units and support battlefield positions. Entering service with the Royal Navy in 1961, it saw a respectable and pretty trouble-free operational period of over 40yrs, with the last Wessex being retired by the RAF in 2003. Other notable operators were Australia, Uruguay, Brunei and Oman. It was also used in a civilian role in Britain for ferrying of crew for North Sea oil rigs in the 1960’s and 70’s, with Bristow Helicopters operating the Wessex 60 type. Just wow! Not only do we get a new helicopter in 1:32 (I hate 1:35!!), but it’s also one of the few I actually like….the Westland Wessex! Serious kudos to Fly Model for not only developing this Holy Grail, but also shipping me one out so quickly. I was asked which version of this I wished to look at, so I opted for the HC.2 RAF version. Fly also produce the naval HU.5 too, with some beautiful colour schemes. However, the options here are also pretty colourful too, as we’ll see later. Packed into a relatively small box (for the model’s finished size), it’s nonetheless crammed with plastic, photo-etch and resin parts. Unusually for a box lid, the subject is shown in photographic form, with an action photo of the HC.2 in operation over a coastline. Also unusually, the photo is portrait in layout, unlike most artwork which is landscape. A nice photo which shows what this kit is all about. The colour schemes, four in all, are shown on the box lid side. A friend was here earlier, drooling over this release, and until he saw the resin bags, he said that the kit seemed to have a fairly small parts count. To a degree, that is true, as much detail relies on all those resin and PE parts, but there are still SEVEN sprues of medium grey styrene, and TWO clear sprues. With the exception of Sprue F, all the others are packed into a single clear sleeve. TWO photo-etch frets are included, a set of paper parts, one large decal sheet and I haven’t even begun to count the many, many resin parts in this release. Like other kits from FLY, the resin is cast by Artillery, and is excellent quality. There are a small number of broken parts in this sample, but we’ll look at that later. SPRUE A (x2) This is the only sprue for which there are two identical items supplied. Essentially, parts that have multiples tend to be moulded here. The main protagonists are the main rotors themselves. A quick note here is that no sprues have part numbers on them. You will need to refer to the parts map in the instruction manual. Being short-run in nature, you also won’t find any interconnecting pins either. You need to align things yourself. Ok, back onto those rotors. These have been represented in their at-rest, drooped stance, with the correct level of droop already set for you. Now, I can’t vouch these drooping more as time goes by, but I can say that Fly’s plastic is quite light, so fingers crossed, you won’t have an issue. These rotors will slip into resin mounts, and then secure to the resin hub. I suggest you pin these with rigid wire to prevent any stressing. Rotor detail is very good too. Two of the four tail rotor blades are also to be found here, and will fit to the main part that is full span. A multitude of parts on this sprue are concerned with the internal ribbing and framing of the crew compartment. This will also be supplemented by photo-etch joint plates. In all, it should look pretty impressive when complete. Other parts that can be seen here are engine exhausts, main gear struts, foot control pedals, and a good number of small external and internal parts such as scoops, vents, and minor hub parts etc. SPRUE B Here you will find various floors and bulkheads, plus the underside of the main fuselage area. This latter parts gives us an idea about what we can expect from the surface detail of this model. Now, if your impression of short-run kits hasn’t been good with regards to details, then this will shatter that illusion. Panel lines are as refined and as you would expect to see on a high-end manufacturer’s release, and as importantly, they are also even. External detail will be supplemented by further resin detail. I can also tell you that the exterior of this model is riveted too, and they look just perfect, as in not too defined to distract, and just enough to perhaps catch a little wash here and there. They are very subtle and only a secondary feature of the exterior detail. Reference I have does show that at least some riveting was actually raised. If you feel you wish to correct this, then I suggest either Archer or HGW positive rivet decals. Attention to interior detail is also very good, with chequerboard panelling on the floor of the upper rotor shaft assembly, and the same attention to on the crew cabin bulkheads. Of particular note here are the circular port details on the cabin floor. This is some of the best detail engraving I’ve seen, let alone on a short-run kit. SPRUE C As you’ll instantly recognise, the tail section halves are moulded here. This not only helps with tooling a large model, but the tail can also be posed in a folded position, complete with internal bulkhead joint detail, such as the rotor drive coupling. Again, I’m impressed by the fine surface detailing. I do note that these parts, as with the main fuselage and nose sections, have a feint patina. Before use, I would perhaps gently buff these with a very fine sanding sponge, followed by a polishing sponge. It’s no biggie at all, and I think would hep things massively, and of course, not damage any other raised detail. Some of that interconnecting bulkhead detail, plus the bulkheads, are moulded here. These will be supplemented by extra plastic and resin detail. There are THREE instrument panel parts moulded here, but only one part (#9) is used for the HC.2 release. Another is for the HU.5, and most tellingly, the last part is described as for ‘other versions’. I wonder is this means we’ll see further versions of this kit. Other sprue parts include tail rotor items, stabiliser, instrument panel coaming and the crew compartment door. SPRUE D Just two parts here; the main fuselage halves. And….totally Wessex! These look just great. I really hope my photos here help to show that external detail. I’ve built a few Fly model kits, and this looks to be the very best of them yet, and that’s including their Ar 234 that I recently built and raved about. Internally, there are engraved lines to help you place the internal frame parts. Note that there are also engraved lines to help with bulkhead placement etc. too. If you buy the other HU.5 version, you will need to open up the side fuselage windows, and there is some faint scribing within the fuse to show you this. SPRUE E Also helping with fuselage breakdown is the moulding of the nose sections as halves. The instructions show these being attached to their respective fuselage halves almost at the very start of construction, so I would do the same and not chance them being fitted later. I would also advise this of the tail section, providing you aren’t displaying it in its folded position. The upper, meshed area of the nose is actually left open, and without the mesh, but there is a resin cover that sits over this and looks very good. Should you wish to display that area without the cover, you will need to fabricate your own mesh and frame. That’s the only real downside here, as I would have liked to se both options provided. Apart from the bare cockpit floor, the rest of this sprue is taken up with various exterior sliding rails for doors etc. external pipework, and also support frames for the main rotor shaft. SPRUE F This sprue is the only grey one to be packed separately, and this is due to the fragility of the parts therein. Moulding also seems slightly more refined, with zero flash, compared to the other sprues. The plastic also looks slightly different (glossy) too. Here, you will find external grab handles, pitot, main rotor plates, and undercarriage damper legs etc. SPRUE CP-A, CP-B These are the clear parts. CP-A contains those blown cockpit side windows that are so familiar, as well as the other openings. Two bulged windows are included for the HU.5, that aren’t for use here. I’ll add my own notes about these possibilities soon though…. CP-B is a single part, namely the main cockpit window. Framing is very good, with none clear areas being frosted. Clarity is very good, but not in the same league as a Trump, Tamiya, HK or other kit that’s not limited run. However, I still don’t think the parts are too bad at all, and I have no problem with them personally. A dip in Klear may improve them further. Plastic Summary Sprue gate attachments should be easy to clean up, and moulding is very nicely executed. Small levels of flash occur in some places, but no actual defects can be seen. For a short-run kit, this is certainly far more than acceptable, and quite impressive. Ejector pin marks are no real issue, and seam lines are minimal. RESIN PARTS I’m really not going to go into naming every part here, but instead do a photographic breakdown of the various supplied components. See that there are parts here that are also HU.5 specific too. Essentially, apart from the box itself, and the decals. The parts included in this release could also build you the HU.5 version. If you wanted to build your own HU.5 scheme from masks or aftermarket decals, then buying the HC.2 kit is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. Even the instructions are common to both kits Take a look at these parts, all produced by Artillery, and you’ll see just how good they are. Casting is excellent, although I do have a very small number of minor breakages that are fixable by me. I’m sure if I ask Fly, they will send out any replacements I should ask for. Detail parts include those for the cockpit, rotor stack, rotor hub, plus other internal and external details. PHOTO ETCH Two frets here, which are again applicable to both the HC.2 and HU.5 kits. These pare packed into a single sleeve, along with some paper parts that we’ll look at next. PE is included for internal cockpit detail and framework stiffener plates, external rails, louvres, various mesh grilles, straps etc. There is a lot of metal here, and you’ll get a better idea of what is offered by looking at the photos of the finished text shot that I’ve included at the end of the article. PE quality is excellent, very small fret connecting tabs, and high quality, sharp detail and detail relief. PAPER PARTS A single sheet is included that feels slightly plasticised. The various crew cabin belts are printed on one side, in the correct blue colour, and the rear of the sheet is also in blue, so no having to paint the rear. You might need to touch up any white edges you see, but that’s no real issue. I think you can also scrunch this material a little to make it look more naturally like fabric. Seatbelts for the cockpit are printed here too, but I’m not too impressed with these. They lack buckles, and look very two-dimensional. DECALS One large sheet is included, and this is pretty comprehensive. Not only does it contain markings for the FOUR included schemes, but a thorough set of stencils. I don’t know where these are printed, but they do look perfectly fine to me, and having used Fly decals in the past, I have no issue with them. They are thin, glossy, have little carrier film, have solid colour, and are in perfect register. My only criticism is that the instrument dial decals don’t have great definition. I would maybe use Airscale for my build. Instructions These are mostly very easy to follow, being printed as a glossy A5 manual. You will need to be careful that you note all the correct HC.2 details, and not mix up with HU.5, due to the manual being used for both releases. Coloured ink is used to denote PE, decals, and clear parts, and the constructional sequences also have some simple colour notation. I would certainly look for some online reference to help you further though. A single full colour sheet is supplied simply for scheme illustration, and this is also high quality with easy decal placement identification and colour notation. Conclusion I love the Wessex. For me, it evokes memories of the 1970s and 80s and it’s one of those copters that just looks ‘right’, and purposeful. Fly have captured that very essence with this release. Detail, both internally and externally, is incredible, and you can guarantee it will build up into a perfect replica of this iconic machine. Apart from a few minor niggles with small, broken resin detail, there isn’t anything to fault here in terms of quality. The external representation of the aircraft is well thought out and executed, and I really can’t wait to tackle it. If there is only one other niggle, I would perhaps wish that there was an option to display it with folded blades, as the full span of this is about 500mm. Maybe look at pinning those rotors with rigid wire so it can be dismantled when not on display. For me personally, perhaps one of this year’s most anticipated releases, and I’m certainly not disappointed. VERY highly recommended. My sincere thanks to FLY for this review sample. To snag one yourself, hit THIS link!
  4. 1:48 Westland Wessex HAS.1 Italeri Catalogue # 2744 Available from Hannants for £29.99 The Wessex helicopter was built by Westland Aircraft under licence from Sikorsky, being a development of their S-58. Where the Wessex varied though was with its engine installation. Instead of the standard piston engine used on the Sikorsky, Westland modified the Wessex to incorporate two Rolls Royce Gnome turboshaft engines. After first flights on the prototype in 1958, the Wessex was commissioned for service in 1961 and was remained in production up until 1970. It was eventually withdrawn from British service in 2003, when a total of 356 had been built. The Wessex served with distinction in a number of frontline campaigns with both the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, seeing service in Northern Ireland, the Falklands campaign, and the Borneo campaign. They were also used in a large variety of roles, such as air-sea rescue, as well as providing flight aircraft for the Royal Family. In their intended military roles, they excelled, providing excellent battlefield support for troop supply. The HAS.1 version which is the subject of this kit, was operated by the Royal Navy, and was designed for anti-submarine warfare. A number of these were later converted to HAS.3 standard advanced avionics. When this one rolled up direct from Italeri, it sort of kindled an interest in Cold War copters that I never really knew I had. I've seen the Wessex in museums, and had always been impressed with it visually, but I never contemplated actually looking at a kit, with a view to building one. I always sort of put it off due to the nature of the rotors, and the space these models can occupy, plus their inherent fragility. Now I had one in my hands, there was no excuse. I could finally take a good look at something without a fixed wing! Italeri pack this into a nice, rigid box with a top lid (take note Revell!), and the artwork shows a couple of these machines flying low over the sea. The side of the box shows the FOUR schemes available for this release, and they do provide a good variety of quite stark differences in colour, so there should be something here to appeal to you. Inside the box, the FIVE sprues aren't individually bagged, except for the clear sprue which is separately packed, and then inserted within a sleeve containing two other sprues. The second bag of sprues contains two identical sprues which include the rotor blades, and also a small piece of plastic mesh. Despite not being individually bagged, the parts themselves seemed not to have suffered, although one part had become detached from its sprue. Apart from the clear parts, the remainder of this kit is moulded in a light grey styrene. SPRUE A This is the largest sprue in the box, and obviously contains the meatier components for the Wessex. In this case, the most obvious are the fuselage halves. The external surface of these parts has a slight texture to them. It's hard to explain. They are smooth to the touch, but most definitely a visible patina. Detail is actually very good, with neatly engraved panel lines, and fine rows of recessed rivets. Notice how the nose, which carries the engines, is moulded as a separate part here, and the inclusion of an integral tail wheel strut. This means you won't have to fit this finicky part, and the moulding itself is detailed and robust. Other detail such as the tail folding hinges are sharp and look very realistic. Internally, there are a number of moulded structures representing the framework, but these are interspersed with a number of prominent ejector pin marks. How easily these will be hidden by the internal floor or other parts, I really can't tell. What is missing here are the various cables which would be clipped around the frames. You'll need some lead wire at the ready to properly detail this. The external lower fuselage is also moulded as a separate part, included on another sprue. A number of holes will need to be drilled from within the fuselage, to allow for the outfitting which is specific to this release. Those hole positions, internally, are moulded for guidance. Despite the forward and upper canopy windows being a single piece which is later fitted, the glazed pilot access side doors are separate, and here, the fragile frameworks are also integrally moulded. Those doors can be posed in either an open or closed position. The question of course is what detail will you see inside this model? Whilst I certainly think that this model can hold its own in most respects, I imagine Eduard will eventually tackle this with their sets. At the moment, the closest they sell is an upgrade for the HAS.3 variant. I can't tell you how compatible that actually is. Still, Italeri do actually provide a reasonable multimedia cockpit of their own here, with a small PE fret inclusion. As for the plastic, let's see. Only a number of cockpit parts exist on this sprue, and those that do, namely the cockpit floor with moulded central console, and the overhead instrument panel (which fits into canopy roof), have some superbly defined and beautifully moulded detail. It really isn't too shabby at all, and will look great with some careful painting and dry-brushing. A blank instrument panel and separate coaming are supplied. Two options are supplied for finishing this. You can either apply a fully printed decal which of course is the easiest route, or you can apply a decal with just the dials, which is then faced with a photo-etch instrument panel. Of course, the latter option is the best, and certainly the most realistic. The instrument decals themselves aren't too bad, but I may use some Airscale decals here for extra authenticity. The main interior bulkheads and floors are included here, and the depiction of both quilted cockpit back bulkhead and upper cargo ceiling, plus the cargo floor with its numerous access panels, are certainly more than passable. The quilting will look good with some randomized highlighting and a subtle wash. Other parts on this sprue include a beautifully moulded exhaust grille for the rear of the turbo/transmission unit. The louvres on this are exceptional, and all moulded 'open', and not solid. You will also find a neatly moulded rear rotor and various parts concerning the turbo and transmission unit. Detail is sharp and very much up to spec with what you would expect from a modern tooling. Italeri have also moulded the main rotor hub as multipart, but one of the vertical pins on mine hasn't been moulded properly, and will require me grafting on either a metal or plastic rod. A very nice touch is the inclusion of the mesh roof which surrounds the point where the rotor drive shaft protrudes. This is moulded as a frame, and onto this fits a photo etch screen. SPRUE B Here you will find the nose of the Wessex, moulded as halves, and including a separate, hinged forward access panel. Into here fits the radiator screen, and the plastic mesh which is included. This needs to be cut to shape before installation, and as it's styrene, regular glue will do the job. Exterior detail on the nose, is excellent, with sharply defined pane lines and access panels. Remember me mentioning the separate fuselage underside? Well, here it is, and this is one seriously detailed part, as the photos here show you. Other sprue parts include the main cargo bay access door (which can be posed open or closed), external plumbing, rail and undercarriage strut parts. SPRUE C This is our clear sprue, and contains all the various canopy and side window transparencies. The internal side glazings are applied from within the fuselage, and you'll need to mask the window off internally in order to hide the bare plastic window rebate. Check out Eduard's masking set for this. The main canopy is excellent, with clearly defined framing and riveting lines. All clear parts have extremely good transparency, and there's nothing here that would unduly worry me. SPRUE D (x2) Unlike some manufacturers, Italeri have realised that modellers hate to have to try and bend the rotors of these machines into a drooped fashion that you see when they are at rest. Here, you'll find the rotors are already moulded with this droop! These parts are also very detailed too; just look at the rotor connection point. One thing I'm unsure of is whether the blades can be fitted in a folded fashion. I imagine it is possible, with a little work. The instructions only show them deployed. As well as some pretty reasonable looking weighted wheels, two rather poor-looking multipart crew seats are included. These will need some prettying up to make them look good, but the inclusion of photo-etch seatbelts will go a long way to helping in this department. The exhausts that protrude from the Wessex's forward side area are moulded as halves, allowing for a nice hollow stack. Of course, you will then have to deal with the internal seams, but this should be relatively easy. The remainder of the sprue is taken over with numerous small parts for both internal and external placement. PLASTIC SUMMARY There really isn't too much to fault with regards to production. A little flash is present here and there, but will be easy to remove. No visible sink marks can be seen either. There are a few niggling ejector pin marks on some key areas, and this is my only real criticism of the overall standard of manufacture. PHOTO ETCH A single fret is supplied, in bare brass. This contains SIXTEEN parts, including the instrument panel, seatbelts, exterior mesh for rotor drive shaft area, and a screen which fits to the external canopy, shielding the rear of the ceiling instrument console. DECALS Just one decal sheet is included with this release, printed by Zanchetti Buccinasco of Italy. These appear to be a little thicker than I am used to seeing, but the printing quality looks great, with minimal carrier film, solid colour and perfect registration. As well as the decals for the four schemes, a full set of very extensive stencils is also included. The four schemes on offer with this release are: H.M.S. Hermes SAR 1970 845 NAS, H.M.S. Bulwark, Borneo, 1962 814 NAS, H.M.S. Victorious, 1961 845 NAS, Asia, 1962 Instructions Italeri's instructions are superbly clear and concise, with all constructional stages being illustrated as easy-on-the-eye line drawings, which incorporate extra views which show you some of the smaller areas of note. Colour codes are given for Italeri's own brand of paint, as well as FS codes, and notation is sprinkled throughout the constructional images. A stencil placement sheet is supplied, as are a page for each of the schemes, although these are printed in greyscale. Colour would have been nice. Conclusion This is actually a very nice kit, and will build into a splendid model of the Wessex without any extra purchases. My reading about the initial 2012 release (under a different marque) shows that the kit is itself thought to be a generally accurate depiction of the Wessex, and from what I've seen with this kit, I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with the levels of detail on offer. I would have liked to have seen an engine with this, and perhaps it is indeed offered by an aftermarket company. I will have to see what's available. It also retails for a very reasonable price, and for what you get in the box, I'd have to say that this is one you really should pick up and try. I think my first helicopter build isn't too far away. Highly recommended My sincere thanks to Italeri for this review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link. James H
  5. 1/35 Cargo Cabin detail set for Trumpeter Mi-24V Hind E Helicopter Part Photo Etch Poland Catalogue number S35-018 Available from JADAR Model.s.c. for USD $21.42 Part, a Polish PE manufacturer for all scales and genre's of scale models, make PE sets for many kits and are well respected in the world of modelling. I have heard of them being described as the Aber PE for aircraft? There's no pre printed parts or self adhesive parts, but the sets they make are very nice indeed. The Trumpeter kit, number 05103. It's one of Trumpeters best large scale kits available in my opinion. PE make four sets of PE for the 1/35 Trumpeter Mi-24V kit, Weapons, Exterior, Cabin Interior and Cockpit Interior. So, onto this set, the comprehensive Cargo Cabin detail set. As mentioned earlier, there's no pre-painted PE or self adhesive parts, but the multi layered construction of the panels and locations for plastic rod here and there will give a very 3 dimensional cabin. The set is delivered in a sealed envelope measuring 85 x 130mm. there are three frets of brass and one small sheet of acetate included along with an instruction sheet. The two larger frets each measure 61 x 122mm. There are more than 500 PE parts in this set, CRAZY!!!. Lets look at some of the detail on those parts. Here we can see the main switch panel located between the cockpit and cabin. This will be visible with the doors open and is very complete. I recommend replacing the PE handles with brass wire. I assume it is deigned so you glue the faces onto the back panel in one piece, then cut away the joining tabs?? here's more detail on fret one, this time looking at the lower half. This is gonna look great painted and weathered!! Moving on to fret 2, we can see all the fuselage ribbing supplied, all with lovely rivet detail, crying out for a wash!! Again, moving down to the bottom half of the fret, yet more gorgeous detail.. Just look at those gorgeous window frames!!! Close up detail of some of the buckles and brackets, the parts above them are mounts for the machine gun rails.. This is the third fret, measuring 61 x 31mm. Note the right side of the fret, marked, spare parts. Thank you Part.. , I wish other manufacturers of PE would do this!! On to the acetate for the cabin windows and some other small parts. A single sheet measuring 28 x 59mm. The instructions are supplied as one off A4 sheet of paper folded in half to give four A5 sides of black and white printed pages. Page one, giving a schematic view of the frets and starting on the assembly of the switch panel and opposite wall. Page 2 covers a selection of sub assemblies and sidewall construction. Similar sub assemblies are covered on page 3, then we start to put it all together into the fuselage. Finishing up with page 4, the final pieces are fitted to the bulkheads and the panels are fitted between the floor and roof of the cabin interior. All in all, this is a lovely set, if a little complex, that will greatly enhance the kit interior, especially if being displayed with open doors. All the buckles, clamps and eyelets will really pop under some weathering and dry brushing. You may have noticed a small amount of flash between some of the more intricate parts, it's actually like gold leaf and is very easily removed. Thanks to my pocket for the set, which I purchased from Model-art.eu.. delivery was £3.50 for four sets, packaging was brilliant and the sets only took 3 days to arrive!!
  6. 1/35 Mi-24v Airframe Stencil data set Linden Hill Decals Catalogue number LHD35003 Available direct from Linden Hill Imports or Hannants for £6.40 The good old 1/35 Mi24v kit from trumpeter has been around for a long time, but is still the best kit out there of the Hind in my opinion. It's one of their best large scale kits to date. Over the years, there have been a few aftermarket accessories made for the kit, one of which being this stencil set from Linden Hill Decals. The decal set covers all the stencils required both inside and outside the airframe, (Note no cockpit stencils are included). The set contains one off sheet measuring 130 x 203mm of beautifully printed decals, all perfectly in register and shaded correctly for what references I have. The sheet is divided up into the relevant sections to include; Air Cleaners, Tail Rotor, Rear Cabin, Weapons Pylons, main Rotor and Fuselage. Soviet and Russian Red Stars are included. The placement guide is printed in black and white on one folded piece of A4 paper. It is well printed and clear, with descriptions and notes of variations across different countries. The back page gives guidance notes, reference suggestions and even kit suggestions. Funny they suggest 1/48 and 1/72 kits but no mention of the Trumpeter kit? Linden Hill claim they get their references directly from the real aircraft, looking at their sets I can quite believe it. they are VERY good!! If you enjoy your models with a Soviet slant, you should give these Decals a try. Their 1/32 Su-27 sets are awesome!! Thanks to my pocket for this lovely set. See my other Mi-24V reviews in this review section.
  7. 1/35 Cockpit Detail set for Trumpeter Mi-24V Hind E Helicopter Part Photo Etch Poland Catalogue Number S35-017 Available from JADAR-MODEL.s.c. for USD$15,40 Part, a Polish PE manufacturer for all scales and genre's of scale models, make PE sets for many kits and are well respected in the world of modelling. I have heard of them being described as the Aber PE for aircraft? There's no pre printed parts or self adhesive parts, but the sets they make are very nice indeed. The Trumpeter kit, number 05103. It's one of Trumpeters best large scale kits available in my opinion. PE make four sets of PE for the 1/35 Trumpeter Mi-24V kit, Weapons, Exterior, Cabin Interior and Cockpit Interior. So, onto this set, the comprehensive cockpit set. as mentioned earlier, there's no pre-painted PE or self adhesive parts, but the multi layered construction of the panels and locations for plastic rod switches and knobs will guarantee a very 3 dimensional cockpit indeed. With the glazing and door open on the finished model, all this work will pay dividends. Once we unpack the small 85 x 130mm packaging we find all this inside. There are over 200 PE parts in this set alone!! The main fret measures 61 x 123mm. Upon closer inspection we can see how 3 dimensional the panels are. they will take some skill to paint, but will look incredible if well done. At the top of the main fret we can see these beautifully etched panels. The centre section of the fret... note the multi layer parts and holes and slots for switch gear. The second, smaller fret measuring 56 x 30mm contains 25 parts and carries on with the beautiful etch work found on the main fret. The clear acetate sheet is printed with all the gauges and dials. It measures 48 x 90mm and has 22 separate parts. Once painted behind with white paint it will really pop. ] The instructions are very small, being made from one sheet of A4, folded in half to give four sides of A5 instructions. There is no colour and the printing could be better, but none of the instructions are illegible. page one, showing the frets laid out and dealing with sub assemblies. Note the bottom left corner shows how the lovely switch panels will be assembled. Moving on to page 2 we can see the main instrument panel coming together and the gunners side panel and pilots starboard console. Page 3 covers the pilots port side panel, more IP work and some canopy details. Page four covers the main assembly of all the parts into the kit fuselage. Surprisingly, no harnesses are included??? In summary, this is a lovely set which will take a lot of work, but will be well worthwhile in my opinion. The fact that there are no belts included is a little disappointing, I guess I'll have to get the Eduard set as well?? Thanks to my pocket for buying this set. I purchased my sets from Model-art .eu.. The postage for all four sets was only £3.50 and they arrived, beautifully packaged in only three days!! Highly Recommended Watch this space for the other three sets reviews.
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