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  1. Hong Kong Models 1/32 Avro Lancaster Grand Slam Kit No #01E038 839 parts Wingspan 972 mm / Length 664 mm The Hong Kong Models Lancaster has been around for a while now, but HK Models had several projects to release several variants of the mythic bomber This time, we have for review the fantastic Grand Slam. But first a bit of history: RAF 617 Squadron After The Dambusters Raid “After the success of the Ruhr dams raid in May 1943, 617 Squadron was retained by RAF Bomber Command for specialist precision bombing operations. It experimented with new bomb sights, target marking techniques and colossal new 'earthquake' bombs developed by Barnes Wallis, the inventor of the 'bouncing bomb'. An unsuccessful attempt to bomb the Dortmund-Ems Canal from low level in September 1943 resulted in the loss of five aircraft and the death of the Squadron's new commanding officer. Such missions were not repeated, and henceforth 617 Squadron concentrated on high-altitude precision bombing. In the run-up to D-Day, the Squadron attacked factories, V-weapon sites and communication targets in France. Its commander, Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire, pioneered a controversial new low-level target-marking technique. The improved accuracy minimised civilian casualties when attacking targets in occupied territory. In the autumn of 1944, 617 Squadron joined 9 Squadron in attacks with 12,000 lb 'Tallboy' bombs on the German battleship Tirpitz, moored in Norwegian waters. The first two attempts were inconclusive owing to cloud and smokescreens, but on 12 November they found Tirpitz with no protection. Sustaining two direct hits, the ship was shattered by an internal explosion and capsized. PHOTOGRAPHS A Lancaster B Mark I (Special) of 617 Squadron A Lancaster B Mark I (Special) of 617 Squadron releases its 22,000 lb 'Grand Slam' deep penetration bomb over the Arnsberg viaduct in Germany. Arnsberg lay in the eastern Ruhr Valley, not far from the Mohne dam, which had been the target for 617’s first operation in 1943. Now, its strategically important railway viaduct was the objective. On 19 March 1945, an attack by 19 Lancasters of 617 Squadron carrying a mixture of 'Tallboy' and 'Grand Slam' bombs brought it crashing down. Avro Lancaster B Mark I (Special), PB996 'YZ-C', of No. 617 Squadron RAF, flown by Flying Officer P Martin and crew, releasing a 22,000-lb MC deep-penetration bomb (Bomber Command executive codeword 'Grand Slam') over the viaduct at Arnsberg, Germany. © IWM (CH 15375) In the last months of the Second World War, 617 Squadron made further successful strikes against the German rail and canal network, coastal defences and previously invulnerable U-boat pens, using 'Tallboys' and the monstrous new 22,000 lb 'Grand Slam' bomb. Right to the end, 617 Squadron maintained its position as Bomber Command's ultimate precision bombing specialists.” Let´s see. The kit It`s was not the first time I saw the Lancaster box but I`m still impressed with it. The Grand Slam box is just the same size as all others HK Models Lancaster boxes and as always demands respect. As the Dambuster, in the contents only a few things are different from the B.Mk.I. There’s one extra sprue, an extra instruction booklet and extra decals. So before I continues, here`s the link of a full and deep review of the Lancaster Mk I. Now the new sprue. The Gg sprue: It’s a big sprue!! Well it’s also a very very big bomb! So you got a fully 1:32 Grand Slam Bomb and a all new “bomb bay” area. This bomb bay area comes in a single piece. The Grand Slam is impressive. Also you got a new “nose” to replace the front turret that the Grand Slam Lancaster unit didn’t have. The extra booklet As said there is an extra instruction booklet included to build the Grand Slam version. In the booklet it said that all the building is to follow the B Mk. I excepts the steps in the Grand Slam booklet as It tells you at which steps you need to use other parts or perform modifications. In the Grand Slam edition, its starts right on the step 1, with some seat modifications by putting the P42 parts (instead of P3() and exclude the P22. Then jumps right to the step 11, where all the front panels of the bomb bay is deleted (no M17 and Dd18) and some cutting has to be made in the M12 part. The step 12, I figure that part of the bomb bay sidewalls are not include! On the step 15 and 16, the only different is some cutting of the fuselage to accommodate the new bomb bay. The only problem I see here is that HK doesn’t said how much (in length) you need to cut so you have to guide yourself for the instructions picture and that it´s not that easy. The step 19 is the same but a bit more explicit on the new booklet so it’s a upgrade. The step 23, a bubble window is added on the left side of the canopy frame. The step 27 is a big step with a all new bomb bay area and the Grand Slam constructions steps. The steps 35,38, 52 and 57 are all equal: the engine. The only thing is not to put the exhaust/flame covers. Makes sense as for the night bomber, the exhaust flames will be something you need to cover. In the Grand Slam case, being a day bomber that no sense in the exhaust cover. Step 69 shows the small fuselage changes with the remove of the upper turret (with the U1 part, making the upper fuselage straight) and the frontal turret replace by a cover nose (part Hh5) The final steps is a little upgrade from the original booklet with some explicit identification if previous steps. Schemes This kit contains one scheme. - Avro Lancaster special PB996 'YZ-C', of No. 617 Squadron RAF, flown by Flying Officer P Martin and crew The decals for this new version is a single sheet with very good registration and color, a top quality product as expected from Cartograf. Also present is the original Lancaster Mk. I release, where you will take the insignias and stencils. However I would expect to see more options on this release… But here`s it is in action: One point the I was pointed out was that the Grand Slam version used the Lincoln wheels which has a large wheel hub. It’s a detail but a quite visible one but there`s no aftermarket 1:32 Lincoln wheels. Conclusion As all the other version, It’s a quite well researched (pity the wheels) and of course a fantastic addition to all the Lancaster line-up that HK Models is bringing to modelling world. All the news parts have the same injection and detail quality that all others sprues. The decals do have nice registration color, are quite thin but I was really expecting some more options but HK Models also only gave one option in the Dambuster box. If you want a1:32 Grand Slam Lancaster, this is your only option, and a Very Very good one. Very Highly Recommend Francisco Guedes A Very Special thank you to Neil and Hong Kong Models for the review sample. You can get HK Models in Europe on Ak-interactive website.
  2. 1:32 Avro Lancaster Dambuster Hong Kong Models Catalogue # 01E011 The ‘Lancaster Series’ sign on the box of the initial HK Models Lancaster release promised us more. And here it is. First off let me start by saying this is bad news for Iconicair. The company that recently released a resin Dambuster conversion for the Lancaster kit for 47,00 GBP. Available here. What might be useful for your diorama or display is the Iconicair Dambuster Bomb trolley for 39,50 GBP. Available here. This trolley contains a resin MkIII Upkeep mine with smooth service. The HK Models kit contains an Upkeep mine with ribbed service. More on this later… Iconicair's Dambuster conversion: Iconicair's bomb trolley: To understand how the release mechanism works, you shouls really check this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xto6nQ9g_ss To understand it even better, I’d recommend Piotr Forkasiewicz and Mark Postlethwaite’s book: Dambuster Lancaster. It is filled with amazing 3D renderings of the mechanism, structure, profiles and history of the Dambuster. Available for 30 GBP. The kit With the amazing 3D rendered boxart of Piotr and the size (the same as the first Lancaster release) this box demands respect. Upon examining the contents, only a few things are different from the B.Mk.I. There’s one extra sprue, an extra instruction booklet and extra decals. The Gg sprue: The ribbed Upkeep surface. I myself will smoothen this out: The motor that spins the Upkeep mine: The extra booklet: As said there is an extra instruction booklet included to build the Dambuster version. When you start building just follow the B.Mk.1 instructions and keep the Dambuster booklet at hand. It tells you at which steps you need to use other parts or perform modifications. This starts at step 9, in the cockpit. It tells you to install part Gg29. This will be the manual release lever for the Upkeep mine. In reality it was taken from a glider where it was used as towing release lever. What you may want to add yourself is the extra altimeter the Dambuster had on top of the Direction finding indicator. At step 21 you are told to skip the turret on top of the fuselage since the Dambuster version did not carry one. At step 27 things get quite different. The bomb bay. Different doors and a special frame (Transverse frame) that is connected to the Upkeep carrying arms (caliper arms). And also the mechanism that spins the Upkeep mine before it was released. This consists out of a motor and flexible drive belt. Step 27 also tells you to install part Gg24. This is the rear spot light. The dambuster carried two spotlights. One at the front and one at the back. The beams were directed down / left. When the two beams lined up and created two dots next to eachother on the water, the plane was in the right position. The front spotlight was located in the camera port in the nose. The rear spotlight was situated aft of the bomb bay. Interestingly the hole and mount it was in, was already designed in earlier stages to house an extra Vickers gun. The instructions tell you there is lot of debate as per the location of the rear spotlight. Many believe it was housed aft of the bomb bay. And many believe it was mounted under the bomb bay, more forward in position. The instructions lets the modeler choose, but also tell you HK Models believe the aft position is correct. Piotr believes the aft position is also correct, since the lamp would have been much easier to adjust. Step 28 shows how to construct the caliper arms and Upkeep mine. Whereas I really love the detail on the caliper arms (hinges and wiring) and overall shape, I was a bit concerned with the Upkeep mine. The sides represent the Mk.III upkeep mine, but I had questions about the planked, ribbed outer surface. The Dambuster book shows a fairly rough surface. On the other hand I know earlier test version of the Upkeep mine were cladded in wood, but I couldn’t find this same ribbed effect. Neil is convinced this is right. I myself will smoothen the Upkeep. You decide! Schemes This kit contains one scheme. This is Guy Gibson’s ED932 / AJ-G from 617 squadron. RAF, Scampton, UK, May 1943. I would have loved to see a bit more options in this department. A publicity shot of Richard Todd ,who played Guy Gibson's in the Dambusters film, in front of one of the Mk VII's used for the film: The extra Dambuster decals: The AJ-G profile in the Dambuster book: Verdict This kit appears pretty well researched and is a welcome addition to the Lancaster line-up that is slowly being created. The spotlights, caliper arms, bomb bay and decals are nicely done. I myself would have loved to see an additional option for a smooth Upkeep mine surface and maybe more decal options. On the other hand: I would never use a decal on a model this big, and will order my paint masks from Maketar. This will allow me to build any scheme I like anyway. My advice: buy the Dambuster book. Dig in and have some big fun with this kit! Kind regards, Jeroen Peters A Special thank you to Hong Kong Models for the review sample.
  3. Dornier Do 335A-12 Trainer, 'Anteater' Hong Kong Models Well, it had to happen. Not that I'm complaining whatsoever, but despite building the previous incarnations of this beautiful kit, I am now embarking on my THIRD! This time though, it's my all-time favourite version, the two-seat A-12 'Anteater'. I will be building this model for Military Illustrated Modeller, but I will also be posting it here too as it's good to show a wide audience just what this will look like when complete. The HKM Do 335 actually fits together great, and isn't fussy. Nor do they have that god-awful clear plastic for the main parts, and they aren't naturally tail-sitters. The engineering is straightforward and fuss-free. There are some areas which would benefit from a little extra help, and I'll use some Eduard for those. I'll even shoehorn a Yahu instrument panel into the front office. As for the finish, well I think I'll be sticking with what was known, which is the green splinter with metal cowls and undersides. Not really wanting a what-if for this build. The kit itself, of which I have some test shot parts, is almost the same as the previous versions, save for a sprue with a different spine and internal parts, plus a set of car parts for the instructors office that sits higher up. This sprue isn't quite the finished thing, as there are a couple of short-shots on the rear seat stirrups. That's easy to fix. There are also no part numbers applied yet, but that isn't going to be a problem. Whilst I will be building this with the bomb bay doors closed due to being a trainer machine. There is no emphasis on this in delivering an explosive payload. Now, where I really am torn is in posing the panels. This machine looks best with everything closed, but I may leave a rear engine panel open, and maybe the forward cockpit. I really don't want to ruin the lines. Pretty sure at this point that the front engine will be entirely closed up. At the moment, all I have is a test-fitted fuse with the key internals dry-fit together. So.....here we go!
  4. Dornier Do335B-6 Night fighter Hong Kong Models Written by Steven Budd Hong Kong Models' (HKM) ongoing love affair with 1/32 continues unabated with the B-6 night fighter variant of their sumptuous Dornier 335 kit. The 335A version first appeared in 2014, later followed by the heavily armed B-2 Zerstorer and the runners from this release provide the guts of the forthcoming B-6. James Hatch has extensively reviewed and built these and I believe is on the cusp of nailing his third, the A-12 ‘Anteater’ together! New sprues naturally compliment the B-2 parts, which include full radar arrays, exhaust flame dampers, underwing drop tanks, a revised spine and clear part over the radar operator’s position, as well as the necessary additional cockpit and associated appointments. Engineering and fit of the 335 has been widely praised, here and elsewhere, for outright precision and (as Jim has already twice demonstrated) will undoubtedly remain the case with the B-6. Surface detail is sublime, crisp and perfectly weighted. Of the many things that have impressed me, the lack of sink marks is perhaps most prominent (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) and a devotion to quality is apparent with every sprue plucked from the large box. Speaking of the box, if like me, you’re a sucker for punchy, attention grabbing art work, then HKM’s night fighter will certainly have your peepers by the scruff, with its depiction of this nocturnal killer dramatically banking to port, above the cloud base; a ‘hunter’s moon’ hanging in the background. On a different note, the logical assembly sequence puts me in mind of Accurate Miniatures, who based theirs on test builds of around 100 pre-production samples before finally settling on what they felt was the preferred completion route. Neil Yan’s development strategy clearly involves open consultation with Jim and others and no doubt underpins that over-arching sense of real modelling minds having shaped that all important assembly aspect. If it’s options you like, then HKM has you covered, with two complete engines and removable panels to reveal them. Further posable panels and doors sit over the nose gun breeches and bomb bay, should you wish to have it all ‘hanging out’. Cartograf decals will be provided for three aircraft, two marked as ‘What-if’ options: one in RLM76 with patches of RLM75, the second in RLM81, 82, with RLM76 Wellenmuster, with the last in overall khaki (Dornier Do 335 M17, W.Nr. 230017, CEV, Brétigny-sur-Orge, France, 1947). Two white metal weights and etched parts, including seat belts, round out the presentation. This HKM incarnation of the fastest piston engined aircraft of World War II will, like its stablemates before it, be imposing in size, highly accurate and a pleasure to complete. My personal thanks to Jim here, for liaising with Neil to make the pre-production sample available to me - I much look forward to completing it for Airfix Model World in due course. Happy days.
  5. Hi all, This is my HK Models Meteor F.4, converted into a T.7 using the Fisher Models resin set, incorporating the narrow chord intakes that are specific to the majority of T.7 aircraft. I've also added a smattering of Eduard stuff around this build, for landing flaps, seatbelts, wheels and mudguards etc. It's a little worrying when you hack off huge sections of your expensive model kit with a razor saw, but this one built up just beautifully. I've used MRP (Mr Paint) for all colours, such as Sulphur Yellow, Basalt, White Aluminium, Lemon Grey and Syrian AFV Yellow-Brown etc. Also some nice Airscale bezels and decals on the instrument panels. Watch out for this one in the November edition of Military Illustrated Modeller (No.79), due out around mid-October 2017.
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