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  1. Hello guys, As if I didn't have enough to do already , (with the Catalina underway and the DB605 engine), I Really couldn't resist to build an all time favorite of mine, and in a very large 1/18 scale too. The famous ME 109. It wil be a slow build because I intend to place a DB601 engine in the model, which it is now lacking. Now there is no other engine available in this size other than the DB605, so I ordered a 605, and I will try to convert it into a DB601 which was used in the E4. I will have to cut open the model to get the engine in place, this will be a bit nerve wrecking , as the aircraft is moulded with a complete fuselage and a loose nose cone made in one piece. So in order to get an engine that is visible I have to cut open the nose cone, but also the front of the fuselage. The engine will be completely visible, engine covers taken of, the bottom cowling with the oil cooler visible, (will have to scratch build that one). But enough said, here's the model I will not be doing this version , got some books from the shelve, and I am currently trying to decide what kind of version I will build, I am more leaning towards something like this, visually more interesting with the mottling .... As you can see, it's huge, the detailing is really impressive, look at some loose parts, Very impressive wheels,... Look at the detail of the inner lining of the wheel well, even unpainted it looks like the real deal Cockpit floor also great detail So I started with the model (head on) literally . Got the nose cone out, its a one piece moulding. Where the propellor meets the fuselage is a 1 cm thick piece of resin on the inside that has to come out, so started there, and removed the pour stub from the nose, Still some cleanup to do Then it was time to open up the nose in order to get the engine in withe the cooler, Opened the holes with a drill, there was a huge "blob" of resin directly behind the cowling, so had to sand a lot of it to get a Smoot finish, have to get to almost scale thickness in order for the cooler to fit directly behind the cowling. Butchered the cooler from the DB605, the cooler from the 605 is bigger so I had to cut a piece of, and had to grind the cooler all around because it is tapered and wouldn't fit in the fuselage, here are some pic's, Original db605 coolant tank.... And cut and tapered, (have to fill in the gap on the bottom inside ) , next on the list, this was only for testfitting, But it fits like a glove, the crankshaft also lines up exactly in the middle, Exhausts also line up nicely, That is it for now, more to follow, will be cutting up the nose next .....................can make no mistake there, because I need every part of that nose. Getting pretty nervous to do that, but that's for another time, Cheers, Frank
  2. 1:32 Focke-Wulf Ta 154 ‘Moskito’ HPH Models Catalogue # HPH 32040R Available from HPH Models for €198,- Introduction The Ta-154 is one of those subjects that will sell great, no matter how many were produced during the war or even saw operational theatre. Just like the Ho229. Years ago when returning to the hobby I built the whole range of late war Luftwaffe (night)fighters in 48th scale. Do-335, He-219, Ju-88, Ar234, Ho-229, Ta-152 and the Revell (ex-Dragon) Ta-154. A pretty sweet kit that I spiced up with some Verlinden aftermarket. Who would have thought that not a few, but all of these types would be released in quick succession in our beloved 32nd scale? To be quite honest I would have guessed that Revell would be the most likely candidate to release an injection moulded Ta-154, but it being HPH Models (albeit in resin) doesn’t disappoint. Having seen and held the resin model at Telford Scale Modelworld, I can tell you it’s sleek lines, smooth surface and high nose-stance is something to look at. Not too long ago I reviewed Kagero Publishing’s Monographs 3D edition on the Ta-154, hoping that I would ‘need’ it soon. Well… I guess I do now! Review here. It offers 3D renderings of all essential parts of this plane, serving as a painting instruction as well as a guide for some extra detailing, which never hurts with a resin kit. History I won’t bore you with the entire background and development of the few prototypes that were made, but there are a few remarkable facts worthy of mentioning. As most know the german Moskito was intended to be an answer to the british ‘all’ wooden Mosquito. The Mosquito reaped havoc as a bomber, fighter bomber and fighter, frustrating the Luftwaffe to the max. In 1942 the RLM decided to make more use of “Homogenholz” plywood in airframes and Focke Wulf was the first manufacturer to answer the call. Kurt Tank (Focke Wulf’s Chief Designer) assembled a team and started work on a plane that was suited for multi-role tasks, outperforming the british Mossie in the process. The airframe’s structure was to be 50 % wood, 39 % steel and 11 % other materials. It would be powered by two Jumo 211F engines and be able to carry a maximum of 1000kg of bomb load. Kurt Tank was given three numeral designations for his twin engine design: 152, 153 and 154. Since 152 and 153 were already reserved for his other FW190 projects, it was given the name Ta-154. During it’s development the Ta-154 was surpassed (both politically as design-wise) by the He-219… What also didn’t help was the fact that the factory that produced the special glue that was used to bond the plywood (called Tego-film) was ‘accidentally’ bombed in June 1944 by the Royal Air Force. In September of 1944 the entire project was cancelled and only 50 production aircraft have been completed. A few actually served in Nachtjagdgeschwader 3 and some were used to train jet pilots. The kit As with most HPH Models kits the box is the sturdy transport kind with a removable top. Upon opening it you are treated with a compartimented lay-out filled with bags of resin, photo-etch, HGW seatbelts, an instructions CD, decals, window masks, lead nose weight, leaflets and ofcourse… a small chocolate. The quality of the casting reveals no shrinkage as far as I can spot and a minimum of air bubbles. At least not in places where filling is needed. For a peek in the manual, click this link. To be precise the kit consists of: • Approximately 120 resin parts • 3 clear resin parts for the canopy • 1 clear piece of film • 1 metal wing spar • 23 metal parts for antenna’s • 1 piece of shaped lead for nose weight. • HGW fabric seatbelts • Canopy masks • 1 sheet of photo-etch • 1 sheet of decals • 1 bag of brass Fug parts • 1 cd with instructions (not a fan since my MacBook pro does not accept CD’s…) • 1 chocolate Comparing the fuselage and wings to the HK Models Mosquito shows the size of these two planes is almost identical. The fuselage of the Ta-154 being slightly longer and the wings about the same wingspan. These two will look great head-on in display on the shelf. Cockpit As always, work starts behind the controls. Scrolling through the instructions one can only be impressed with the level of detail that goes in here. Luckily a good handful of photo’s and documentation survived on this part of the Ta-154. 6 whole pages take you through the building steps. The forward seat is reserved for the pilot. The instrument panel consists of sandwiching the instruments on a decal between a resin backing and a photo etch panel. Detail on the dials and gauges is of Airscale quality. Very clear and detailed. The fuse box on the right sidewall takes a decal which will add both detail as challenge! It’s all there, right down to the always lovely HGW sealtbelts… One of the final stages of the build is adding the canopy and I for one love the fact that hinges are supplied. A detail often overlooked. And as stated below by Iceman: I'm glad that HPH stopped using the pre colored photo etch for the instrument panel, like they did on the Me410. Sidewall: HGW seatbelts: Fuselage The two halves line up perfectly and don’t need a lot of cleanup. HPH uses a pretty unique resin casting technique that leaves a tab along the length (bottom) of the fuselage. In my experience this needs a couple of runs with a panel line scriber and you can just snap it off. Four locating pins ensure a proper joining of the two halves. A hole needs to be opened up in order to accommodate the metal round wing spar, that will carry the weight of the model. Fuselage surface detail is minimal, just as with the Mosquito, since this was mostly a smooth wooden wonder. Wings I guess in order to save resin and weight the wings are casted hollow, with an upper and lower side. I’m not a big fan of these kind of resin wings, after a pretty bad experience with the GMF 1/32 Hs129 that will never see the finished light of day because of this reason. However: I have a bit more faith in HPH product, so I’ll save my fears till later on. It’s re-ensuring to see resin vertical spars are incuded as well to prevent the wings from drooping or altering shape over the length. Again: surface detail is minimal, again: due to the wooden construction. Rivet detail around the engine gondola’s is refined, subtle and will look great under some paint. Lovely subtle structure on the control surfaces: Engines The engine gondala’s (Jumo 211 are ofcourse not visible so not included) appear to fit great from the block. As with the wings and fuselage the surface detail is delicate en restrained. Very much up to par with an injection moulded kit. The most daunting part of building the engines are the cowling flaps. The push rods and photo-etch will definitely be a pain, but do-able for someone with limited building experience. When glueing the cowling to the front of the engine, all push rods should align and mate with corresponding holes. This will be fun. Engine details, with spinners, gear doors and coolers, flame dampers, etc.. Beautiful hollow spinner and prop base: Prop blade: Gotta love this oil cooler: Gear No messing about here. These babies will carry a lot of weight. Especially when you see how much the angle of the fuselage is tilted back. It’s great to see many parts in this kit are re-enforced with metal rod. The gear legs are no exception! Detail in the gear bays is sufficient, but could definitely benefit from some additional wiring. Drawings/photographs of these parts I need yet to find. Photographs in the instruction manual give additional information on what goes where. The nose gear looks like a kit in itself. About 20 parts build up to a delicate contraption, that is like the main gear, re-enforced with metal rod. This part after all will carry the impressive lead nose weight! Here's the nose gear leg with re-enforcement: One of the weighted main wheels: Main gearbay detail: This is the only part that was damaged during transport. No biggie: Main gear bay doors: And how do you like this nose wheel bay and hubs? One big nose weight that fits snuggly in the nose: Clear parts As clear as resin comes! Who needs vac-form? After recently using HPH’s clear resin on their Ohka, I can tell you that the clarity is un-evened in any clear resin I’ve ever seen. Just one casting block to remove and you’re good to go. I hope the canopy masks fit a bit better than the ones’ on the Ohka, since they were slightly undersized. I’ll let you know. What I also like is the pre-shaped clear film for the landing light. It makes life just a little bit easier. Small bits and bobs.. After you’ve tackled the intricate engine cowlings and gear you can test your hands on the Fug antenna. As the other delicate and breakable parts, these are re-enforced with metal rod. The aerials themselves are brass, so should be able to survive a small flick or bump. Re-enforced Fug antler: Brass Fug antenna's: Photo-etch fret This sheet carries the cowling flaps, instrument panel, rudder pedals, hinges, base plates for antenna’s, hatches and buckles. The silver coloured photo etch only carries the name HPH, so I have a feeling Eduard is not involved in this. Nevertheless: The detail is as good as can be expected. I’m not a huge fan of this metal photo etch, since it’s a bit more difficult to bend. On the other hand: it is stronger. Schemes / Decals Not a lot of options here! One ‘option’ to be precise. The TQ+XE, a Ta 154 A-0 (W.Nr. 120005). The same scheme I finished this plane in, in 48th scale by Revell. The 3D renderings in the Kagero book show this airframe from every thinkable angle, which helps with laying out the RLM 76/ RLM75 scheme. Reference The books I have on the subject show most of the development photo’s I also encounter on the internet: • Kagero’s amazing Monographs 3D Edition, #51 on the Ta 154 Moskito. ISBN: 978-83-62878-72-7 • The Luftwaffe Profile Series 12, Ta 154 Moskito by Manfried Griehl. ISBN: 0-7643-0911-0 • Wydawnictwo Militaria #110, Focke Wulf Ta 154 Verdict The only game in town if you’re (as me) finally want to build the Moskito in 32nd scale. Beautiful model. No additional extra’s needed. All these points justify the somewhat steep price. It’s an impressive kit that looks very well thought out and engineered. Only building it will tell if this assumption is correct. I would rate this kit a 8 out of a 10. The addition or choice of a different version (V-type or A2/U4?) would have been nice. Other than that the kit looks to be another HPH high quality release. I hope it will have it’s time to shine on the market before Revell (or a different brand) hits us with an injection moulded offering. VERY highly recommended if you are into late war exotic Luftwaffe subjects. My sincere thanks to HPH Models for this review sample. May many more exotic models appear from their hands. Jeroen Peters
  3. 1:32 PBY-5A Catalina 'Limited Edition' HPH Catalogue # 320012L Available from HPH for 600 Euros When this dropped onto the doormat this morning, the first thing I thought was 'yes'! After opening the lid, and spending some time looking through what has to be the single most complex and detailed kit, the second thought I had was 'where do I even begin with this review?' To say it was a daunting task would be a serious misuse of that that statement. 'Just look at all of those parts' and then, 'I need to photograph all of this!'. There's certainly no doubt that whether you're reviewing this, building it, or both, you have a long term project here that needs to be treat with a certain degree of respect. Hauling that lid off the box (again), and delving inwards, let us take a look at what has been a serious labour of love for HPH, and possibly one of the most complicated articles I've ever had to write. HPH's not-insubstantial box is separated internally into compartments, with the top section containing the full length fuselage halves. Below this, another compartment holds the three main wing panels and a couple of bags of resin components, whilst another compartment below this one contains two boxes of carefully prepared and wrapped clear resin parts, and strangely enough, a Belgian 'flight chocolate', in a period wrapper! To the left of these lower compartments is yet another sectioned area, stuffed full of more resin parts, and a ziplock back containing some decals, masks, seatbelts, masks, and a CD which is where you'll find your instruction manual in PDF format, plus a folder with the instructions in JPG format. I'll include a few images from this manual in this review. They certainly will get your mouth watering. All resin components are also supplied in ziplock bags, and the various compartments are stuffed with protective bubble-wrap plastic, and the major components are generously wrapped too. As well as all of the above, it goes without saying that there is a smattering of photo etch in this kit too. Three photo etch frets, produced by Eduard, are included. All are nickel plated, and one is also colour printed. Despite how well HPH have packaged this amazing kit, the PE frets are placed inside the rear of the HGW-produced seatbelt pack, and this package lacks any real stiffeners to protect the parts. Until this is built, I'll add these before carefully packing away. Now, onto that impressive fuselage. This is impressive in both size and how HPH have executed its construction. Externally, the whole fuselage is highly detailed, exhibiting a superb overall finish, supplemented by fine panel lines, an amount of raised panelling, some very subtle riveting and neatly scribed access ports. All glazing apertures are already removed, and no real need for any major clean-up can be seen. Internally, all the former and stringer positions are pre-scribed. If the interior looks a little bare, it's because YOU will need to add the stringer detail yourself, which is supplied on the various resin sheets that are supplied. That in itself will be an undertaking that you shouldn't take lightly, but when complete, will look simply amazing. Some internal stringer work is completed for you, and this resides in the tail area. The only real reason for this being here is just in case you happen to glimpse it through the lower gunner position, or perhaps through the lightening holed in the tail post. That's pretty indicative of the level of detail that is very normal with this kit. Get used to that, and the whole project comes into view a little more clearly. The fuselage is actually of fibreglass construction, and overall it has a very light grey appearance, which is almost white in hue. This sort of acts as a primer, allowing you to check the surface for defects, due to the shiny finish. Being fibreglass too, the parts should be very strong. There are a few feint surface scratched in this coating, but these should be easy to micromesh away. The tailplane joint indicated that this is a butt-joint connection, and you will be advised to perhaps aid this joint by pinning the tailplane to the fuse with thick wire, or metal pins. In fact, looking at the instructions at this moment, this is what they do suggest. The rudder is also provided as a separate part too. When you take a look at the wing sections, you'll seen get a real sense of the size of this beast. I hope you have a large house in which to display this one, or you're contemplating an extension. HPH have broken the wing down into three sections; the centre section incorporating the two rear engine nacelles, and the two outboard wing panels, starting from where the trailing edge tapers to the wingtip. The wings are also of fibreglass construction, and for such a large surface area, they are relatively light in weight. The wing panels also come pre-built, as in the upper and lower wings are already joined, complete with the aileron inserts already cut out (with the gap protected with rigid foam slips), and the outboard wing float retraction points also provided as box inserts which sit behind a resin wing tip rib. How to join these sections though? Luckily, HPH realise that these connections need to be strong, and have created a rigid steel pin location point in each mating face. The pins are supplied in a separate bag, and as you'll see from my mock up image with a wooden rule, this model is no shrinking violet. Even though the wing connection points are very good, these will be covered by a metal strip to the rear, and plastic strip along the remaining joint, rendering the seam totally invisible. Some leading edge seams will need to be eradicated, and any detail lost will need to be replaced, but this doesn't look an onerous job. Surface detail is again excellent, with the same standard of riveting, raised panelling, access port scribing, and all highlighted by the soft white/grey finish imparted by the fibreglass process. Engine rear nacelles look absolutely terrific, with superb panel detail. This is actually supplemented with a little photo etch panelling too. Anyone for resin? - Kilograms of the stuff! HPH state on their website, that this kit contains 'thousands resin parts'. You can probably see from that statement that I can in no way photograph all of this resin. That would be seriously frightening, but I will photograph the various bags and contents, and of course, we'll take a look at some of that key detail and describe the various constructional areas as well as look at those all-important clear parts. That sound ok? Phew, I'm pleased about that! The manual starts by taking you through the seat assemblies, and those which contain the HGW-made seatbelt set. You will notice from the manual that this section also contains drawings for some crew assemblies that you will have to complete later in the construction. That's ok, just keep referring back, and don't forget to add that detail later. After these initial drawings within the manual, the actual construction begins with all stages being supplied in photographic form. For such a detailed model, this is a very welcome bonus, and goes a long way to rid those various stages of any ambiguity that can arise from CAD or line drawings. After all, if it fits in the photo, then it must fit, right? That's a main assumption here. KIT PARTS Before we can rip into detail, you need to insert the various transparent windows into the hull. The instructions say you need to perhaps make a few small adjustments before fitting. Once these are in situ, you should mask them off with the vinyl masks supplied with the kit. Then just as you're settling into a sedate pace, you then enter the second stage of construction: Interior Assembly – ribs, bulkheads and longitudinal strips You have your work cut out here. Looking inside the hull halves, you'll see many scribed lines. These are the location points into which you'll affix the many bulkheads, frames, stringers and longerons that go to produce that characteristic Catalina hull. The stringers themselves are cast onto a series of sheets, complete with their angles shape and riveting. You'll need to measure, cut, trim and carefully apply these so that you don't waste too much. I'm not sure how much spare that HPH have supplied, so err on the side of caution. Where frames exist, these are again cast on sheets, and you can check the part/profile out against the parts list to ensure you get the part you need. Onto those amazing looking bulkheads. HPH have cast the main bulkheads in that same sheet casting pattern, and the forward and rear of these are separate parts, so you much carefully align these, preferably with slow setting CA gel, so that you make no mistake. This is actually a clever way to do the casting, as there are no blocks to remove, and the multi-part assembly will give some rigidity. The bulkheads are simply amazing to look at, as you'll see from the photos in this review. All doorways, plumbing, junction boxes etc are superbly mastered and cast crisply. Certainly no issues over quality in the slightest. You will also need to construct the large wheel bays at this stage too at this stage. Again, dripping with detail. There are some colour call-outs for this kits interior, but the instructions do recommend a few books at the very end of the publication, and you would be well-advised to take note and purchase at least one of them, and preferably the Squadron 'Walkaround' book, which should provide you with all the information you need to get a very accurate portrayal of how to work that interior (and exterior) to its max. After forking out 600 Euros on a kit, surely another 30 Euros for a book won't be a problem.
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