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Found 32 results

  1. Grunhertz

    Hawker Tempest Mk.v

    Hi all I've put the tiger tank back in the box and I have 2 1/32 kits on the go the first of which is Special Hobby's wonderful tempest kit supplied to me with thanks from Special Hobby and James Hatch thanks guys! So here we go not much to show at the moment but I have started in the very well appointed cockpit will be adding to it over the next couple of weeks So here we go next will be a clear coat and then a little light weathering
  2. 1/48 Miles M.35 Libellula Planet Models Catalogue # 129-PLT270 Available from Special Hobby for 1.231 Kč (approx. £43) Miles’ diminutive M.35 design has always been something that has intrigued me. This was an aircraft that earned George Miles a firm slap on the wrist from the Ministry of Aircraft Production, as it was conceived, designed and built without official sanction. Miles’ intention was honourable with the aircraft being inspired by the unusual tandem-wing Lysander test layout that was being trialled at the time. George Miles saw an opportunity to build an aircraft that could be carrier-borne, but without the usual problems that beset such aircraft, such as wing folding mechanisms and the problem with visibility when landing. As well as improved visibility and no need for complex and weighty wing-fold mechanisms, other advantages of a tandem layout would be lower drag, lower weight and drag factors, and good manoeuvrability. In 1941, Miles requested his designer, Ray Bournon, to come up with such a design, and within only 60 days, the Miles M.35 Libellula (so named after a genus of Dragonfly), took to the air. Now, when we say it took to the air, it was reluctantly. A badly placed centre of gravity prevented the machine from performing as it should, but this was soon corrected. Flying the aircraft on that day was George Miles himself as his test pilot was so concerned about the layout of the aircraft that he declined to fly it. The design which took flight was indeed diminutive, being only just over 20ft in span on both front and rear wings, plus roughly the same in length. It was also had a pusher layout with power being provided by a de Havilland Gipsy Major engine to the rear. The pilot occupied the nose of the aircraft, which sat on a non-retractable tricycle undercarriage, with another helperwheel to the rear of this to protect the propeller on landing. However, as Miles had designed this as an unauthorised, private project, any possibilities that could have arisen from his design, were stamped upon by the ministry, and the type never saw development as a fighter. Undeterred, Miles and Bournon designed the tandem-layout M.39B which was to meet an Air Ministry specification for a high-speed bomber, but this was cancelled in 1944 after two accidents forced the literal break-up of the only prototype. The kit Well, this is a subject you don’t see every day! I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this announced in the Special Hobby newsletter, and knew I just had to have a go at reviewing and building it. Of course, Planet Models is the brand of Special Hobby which deals with whole resin kits, and this is just what this release is, along with a vac-form canopy. The kit itself comes in a small box that is still quite large for such a tiny model, even in 1/48 scale. The tough corrugated box has a product label on the lid with a colour profile of the M.35. Inside, all parts are packed into two heat-sealed clear sleeves that are also sealed in between the main components. A small sleeve contains the vac-form canopies (x2) and a small decal sheet. A small zip-lock wallet holds some white metal parts for the undercarriage. Two A4 sheets are provided for the instructions and colour scheme profiles. All parts in this release are cast in a light grey resin. Generally, the parts are excellent, with nicely recessed panel lines, sharp details (such as the instrument panel etc.), and with little in the way of flaws. In fact, I noted just a couple of pinhead-size air bubbles that I would need to fill as I assembled. A quick lick with a knife, along the top of the heat-sealed wrap, and all of the parts are freed. Of course, there will be the inevitable parts clean-up, but with this kit, that time is thankfully low. In fact, I think it took me just over an hour and half to cut the parts from their casting blocks and trim them with a knife, ready for final assembly. The model breakdown is also so very simple as to possibly be a good first introduction to the world of full-resin kits. The fuselage is cast onto a single block, and presented as halves, with some cockpit wall detail already in place. Tabs are also present, against which the rear cockpit bulkhead will sit. Externally, the fuselage has little detail, save for panel lines. No rivets or any other detail is present. The engine area is open, in readiness for the separate rear cowl, and again, there are tags there to fit the engine bulkhead against. Having built the model, I can tell you that the positions of these are accurate and will aid the closing up of the fuselage. All flying surfaces are cast as individual and complete components, so once you remove a wing or fin from the resin block, and clean it up, you can install it. No fussy upper or lower panels to mate up. The rear wings are cast onto a single block and connected via a narrow web. A thin web of resin also extends to the wingtip and this comes away with almost zero effort. For main sawing, I would advise the use of a razor saw. The rear wings have tabs to install to the fuselage, and also onto which the fins will sit. Ailerons are cast in situ. Surface detail is naturally minimal for such a craft. The forward wings are very similar in their presentation. When it comes to the vertical tail fins, you are best removing these with a sharp knife, angles outwards and away from the part. The reason is that no thin web is present here and the parts are up against the casting block. Fin details are excellent with their rib and fabric representation. They also fit nigh-on perfectly to the rear wings. The remainder of the resin parts are cast across thirteen smaller blocks. These include the engine, engine cowl, intakes, exhaust stubs, cockpit parts, oleo scissors, propeller, pitot, wheels, undercarriage suspension housings etc. A few small pin-hole bubbles exist in some places, but nothing that a dab of CA won’t fill easily. The wheels are supplied as weighted (where they connect to the casting block), and some parts will need a little excess resin removing, such as the engine cowl intake. I will say that whilst the cockpit is quite nice in some respects, it is also very basic. There are no seatbelts, for instance. I used some wine bottle foil to make mine, as well as the rudder pedal straps. Another issue is that the side console parts are way too small. I would say by at least 30%. I fabricated replacements from plasticard and PE instrument dials. It’s a nice easy job, and you won’t see too much anyway, as the canopy is to be fitted in a closed position. For the undercarriage, this kit contains white metal parts. The rear stabiliser undercarriage strut is cast in two parts and includes the wheel. Only a little straightening is needed before glue, and all parts fit to the model with little effort. Casting is very good for their size. Two vac-form canopies are included, just in case you bork one of them whilst working on the model. There isn’t too much frame definition, so careful masking will need to be done to get them right. A single decal sheet is included for the single prototypical scheme. These look to be very good, but I’m questioning the colour density of the ‘P’ symbols. It might be worthwhile substituting these with some from Fantasy Printshop. Note that instrument panel decals are also included, but the Airscale ones would be a much better option. Two A4 instruction sheets are included, containing the simplistic construction illustrations and the colour scheme. As I said, this is a simple kit and the instructions signify that and work perfectly. Conclusion A great little kit which is superbly designed and cast, with the only real quibble being the undersized instrument consoles and lack of seatbelts. This would be a perfect introduction to a full resin kit as it has no nasty surprises afoot, and price-wise, it’s also fairly reasonable. The finished model is quite small and fits in the palm of an average-sized hand, so this will be extremely manageable to display. In fact, it may well get lost on a model club table! My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample seen here. To purchase directly, click the link at the top of the article. Please watch out for this build in the October 2018 issue of Military Illustrated Modeller.
  3. 1/32 Tempest Mk.VI Special Hobby Catalogue # SH32055 Available from Special Hobby for 1.053 Kč (approx. £36) Unlike Spitfire development, where even major airframe revisions saw the type keep its original name, Hawker’s Typhoon project was different. The Typhoon wasn’t without its problems, such as a seemingly unstoppable leaking of carbon monoxide gas into the cockpit, and of course that tail unit which had broken away completely on some aircraft, ending with a series of reinforcement straps that were designed as a simple fix for this. Like the Hurricane, the Typhoon also had a thick wing section that provided the machine with enough space for heavy armament, fuel tanks and resulted in a steady gun platform that could be used for low-level operations. Unfortunately, the thick wing was responsible for high levels of drag that slowed the aircraft at certain altitudes and affected climb rates. To fix these problems needed a number of radical solutions which resulted in Sydney Camm and his team taking the Typhoon literally back to the drawing board. The resulting aircraft was sufficiently different enough to the Typhoon, as to eventually merit a name change, and in keeping with Hawker’s use of severe storm condition names for its range of fighters, ‘Tempest’ was chosen. Originally, the type was to have been called Typhoon II. Six prototypes were built, using different engines, resulting in not just the large-intake Typhoon style machine being built, but also a radial machine and a sleek-cowl Griffon-engine Tempest. Other variables including bubble canopy and car-door style canopy (á la early Typhoon), were included. The small tail fin surface of the prototype machines was eventually enlarged too, and the recognisable filleted fin introduced into production machines, as well as the wider span horizontal tail-plane that was seen on later versions of the Typhoon. A wider track landing gear helped with higher landing speeds. What made the Tempest radically different to the Typhoon was the design of a sleeker, laminar flow wing that was designed by NACA in the USA and implemented on the new Mustang design. The Tempest Mk.V, which is the subject of this kit release, was fitted with a Napier Sabre IIa/b liquid-cooled H-24 sleeve-valve engine, and had wingspan of 41ft, length of 33ft 8in, and a maximum speed of between 432 and 435mph at 19,000ft. Armament was typically Mk.II/V Hispano cannon (x4), and rockets and bombs could be carried externally, as could drop-tanks for increased range/operational time. The Tempest went through various incarnations, and the later Sea Fury was a development of this, through the Tempest II family, retaining the later Bristol Centaurus engine. The Kit It’s hard to believe that this is now the FIFTH incarnation of Special Hobby’s Hawker Tempest kit since it was initially released as a new-tool in 2016. In that time, we have seen three Mk.V kits (Hi-TECH #1, Hi-TECH #2 with resin engine), standard Mk.V, and also a standard Mk.II with the Centaurus engine. We knew a while ago that the Mk.VI would be making an appearance eventually, and here it finally is. One thing we have learned about the previous Sabre-engine variants is that there were a few shape issues with the nose, although I do struggle to really see them, they are there. This release has a newly-tooled sprue with a slightly different layout that caters specifically to the Mk.VI with its leading-edge intakes. I know for certainty that Special Hobby haven’t re-tooled the nose for shape, and this remains identical to the Mk.V release. If it really concerns you, then Barracuda have their resin nose replacement. Special Hobby’s Tempest kit is packed into quite a large, standard type box with a removable lid, and adorned with a superb artwork of a high-speed silverTempest over the sands of Egypt. This is one of the FOUR scheme options provided. As with the other Tempest kits, the lid is difficult due to the tight fit, but once off, you’ll see NINE sprues of medium grey styrene, packed into two single clear sleeves, ONE sprue of clear parts that is packed into a separate sleeve and a set of decals. The new Mk.VI parts are bagged separately to the legacy parts. A large colour-printed instruction manual sits on top of all of the parts. Being a standard release, this kit contains no photo-etch or resin parts. SPRUE A Only two parts here, but pretty key ones; both fuselage halves. The nose is moulded separately, allowing this tooling to be good for all versions. The kit shows just how far this company have come in the last years, with regards to both moulding, tooling and detailing. You would be hard pressed to differentiate the Tempest from a kit made by a whole multitude of more mainstream manufacturers out there, such as Hasegawa, Revell, Airfix etc. Surface detailing is excellent, with restrained, even rows of rivets, and lots of extremely fine panel lining and port/panel access plates. Edges are sharp where the wing will meet the fuselage etc. and the parts have a nicely polished finish to them that wouldn’t look out of place on a Tamiya release. The rudder is separately moulded, and where the nose cowl parts will fit, the forward fuselage has a moulded bulkhead that will provide rigidity to the proceedings. Internally, those high standards of detail are also evident, with stringer and former representation being both refined and sharp, and with associated rivet detail included. Only one ejector pin mark exists in this area, and this is on the area adjacent to the instrument panel. As no other detail is in the vicinity, removing this will be easy. Some detail is also included around the area of the retractable tail wheel, using the same level of refinement seen in the cockpit area. Note also that this model has locating pins too, unlike some of the other less mainstream model kits. I have to say here too that Special Hobby is NOT a Limited-Run company, but fully mainstream. SPRUE B Simply put, here be wings! These are supplied as a single span lower part, and upper port and starboard panels. Note that the inboard leading edge is a separate part to accommodate the various versions of this kit. I have to say that each time I take a look at this kit, I like it more and more. Surface detail is commensurate with that of the fuselage, incorporating full rivet detail (plus double rows, where applicable), finely engraved panel lines, fastener detail, access panels and nicely shaped cannon blisters. All control surfaces are integrally moulded, so can’t be posed without taking a saw to the model. Ailerons are moulded along with very fine actuator arms that really do look very good. Cannon shell ejection chutes are also finely moulded. One thing I like here are the tabs that protrude from the upper panels and provide a support for the wing to fuselage connection. Actually, there is another purpose for those tabs. If you flip the wing parts over, you will see they form the roof of the main gear wells. These areas contain rib and stringer detail, along with rivets, and this will be detailed further with various rods, pistons etc. All of this will be framed by the gear bay walls that are supplied as separate parts that will be fitted into the recessed area in the upper wing panel. Cannon fairings are separate parts too, and the wing has a small bulkhead within that stops them from being inserted too far within. SPRUE C You will be able to pose the elevators dynamically, as these are moulded separately to the stabilisers. All parts here are the traditional upper and lower halves, and external detail is of the same high standard that we have seen so far, including rivet and fastener detail and trim tab actuators/actuator fairings. Other parts included here are for external drop-tanks and bomb bodies. Bomb fins are separately moulded. Bombs and tanks are moulded as halves also, and with the latter, you will of course need to reinstate any panel line detail that may be lost from seam eradication. The fuel filler cap is nicely engraved, but I think the detail to the rear of this is supposed to represent a pipe and is instead moulded as a fillet. If this is the case, cut away and replace with a little length of bent, rigid wire. SPRUE D This sprue looks very Eduard-ish in design, with its large radius corners. Here we have the fabric covered rudder, complete with its rib tape detail and metal trim tab. This is the only fabric covered area on the Tempest, and I do like the representation here. The multiple undercarriage door parts are just beautiful…both inside and out, with some great detail there, and no pesky ejection pin marks to worry about. Only one set of these doors is for use with this Mk.VI release. Small tags have instead been placed externally to the main doors, and these just require snipping off, followed by a quick swipe of a sanding stick. Et voila! Other parts here include the upper, chin intake wall and the bomb release fairings. SPRUE G In previous Tempest releases, this particular sprue was labelled as Sprue E, but Special Hobby has now re-tooled this and provided new nomenclature to distinguish it from the previous kits. Unlike the other Mk.V kits tough, this sprue now contains parts for the wing leading edge intakes that pertained to the Mk.VI. You will also have seen these parts on the engine cowl sprue of the Centaurus radial engine version. Again, the instructions show parts here that won’t be used on this build. Here, that is for a second set of propeller blades. Engine cowl halves are moulded here, as are a number of parts that form the flap section and intake outlet to the rear of the main intake. The exhaust attachment boxes can be found here, and these will just glue internally. A two-part spinner is included, with the back-plate including channels that will precisely angle the propeller blades. There is a little flash on the spinner, but nothing to be concerned about. One thing to note is that the fuselage decking to the rear of the pilot, is included here as a separate part. That’s a nice touch as there is a lot of detail in this area and removing a seam would have been a pain in the arse. SPRUE H Quite a few parts here are shown as not for use on this release. These include one set of balloon tyres and several intake parts for the earlier releases. What can be used here are the various undercarriage parts, including well detail, walls and the struts, pistons and rods themselves. Looking at how refined much of the detail is here, I’m going to stick my neck out and say it’s Tamiya-esque. Simply gorgeous details that you’ll bury away in those gear bays. Even the sprung-loaded rods look very authentic and filigree. I am particularly impressed with the gear struts and the detail definition here. Please be careful with the removal of parts from this sprue, as so many of the landing gear parts have some very fine detail protrusions. If in doubt, use a razor saw. Note also the forward cockpit bulkhead and the armoured frame onto which pilot’s seat will fit. SPRUE I A small sprue, but one with perhaps more parts on it than any other. One area that features heavily here is the cockpit. For me, a nicely detailed cockpit is the very heart of a satisfying project, and this cockpit it certainly better than most I’ve seen in quite a long time. Two detailed tubular side frames are adorned with various fixing plates and panels and brackets, and there are numerous console parts, throttle, spacers, torsion rods and linkages etc. The main instrument panel is moulded in three parts; central panel and two angled panels that fit to its sides. Be careful here as there are two different sets of side panels. The instructions clearly show what you should not use. This also goes for one complete instrument panel, with there being sets for two on this sprue. Here you will also find the canopy rails and three different types of joystick grip, although only one of these is shown as for use. Even if you don’t wish to lavish any resin on this project, the plastic parts are actually still very nice and super with no softness to any of that all-important detail. Again, watch out for the numerous parts that won’t be used here, and there’s a fair few of them, such as the protruding gun fairings. SPRUE J The last grey styrene sprue. Another bulkhead is supplied here, for the rear of the cockpit, and the exhausts are included as halves. I would still prefer the resin exhaust replacements though, as the plastic parts will take some careful seam removal work. More wheel well parts are found here, as well as the three-part assembly for the tail wheel, again with some very nice structural detail included. Several intake parts are moulded here, as are the bomb sway braces and fins and tail wheel strut. The most obvious part though, the radial engine of the Centaurus Mk.II, is just there to tease us to buy that release too! SPRUE K This is the clear sprue. A number of other parts here are drop tank fairings that I think were made from clear acetate or similar. Nice to see these, and they’ll certainly show off that wire modification I mentioned earlier, for the drop tank itself. Finally, note the various wingtip, fuselage, tail and wing-underside lenses for the various lights that were fitted to the Tempest. The windscreen in my sample has come adrift but is undamaged. A very slight scuff mark is also on the main hood, and this will need to be polished out. Clarity is very good, and the parts are suitably thin. SPRUE L This sprue contains enough parts to build EIGHT RP-3 rockets, including their mounting rails, which as I’ve mentioned, are likely profiled to fit onto the Tempest kit. Each rocket is made up from a single-piece body with half of the warhead moulded in situ. The other half being a separate part. The four fins are also separate, but the mounting lugs to the rails are a part of the rocket. Lastly, the rail. The rail is moulded to the mounting points which you may need to modify if you don’t fit these to the Tempest. Moulded detail looks to be commensurate with the many photos of these that can be found online. The only compromise being a solid connection between the rocket instead of the spring-loaded clip that was used in reality. This is also the way Airfix tackled the subject for their superb 1/24 Typhoon. I seem to recall that the only other way of representing such intricate details is with metal, as per the Master 1/24 series. However, these are still very, very good and that detail doesn’t detract. Moulding quality is superb, with all details being sharp, and nothing in the way of visible seam lines. No flash or defects are present. A single decal sheet contains decals for both the A/C3” SAP 60lb, and the A/C3” HE 60lb types. Printing is by Aviprint, and the inks are in yellow and red, with the text being readable and fine. Registration is also perfect, and the printing is thin, with minimal carrier film. Plastic Summary This kit is almost flash and seam free, with nice tight sprue gate points that are generally well placed so as not to cause problems. I can’t see any sink marks either, except for a couple on the reverse of a part, so they don’t count. Ejector pin marks; there’s only two I can see that need removal, and that will take just a few minutes. Plastic quality is excellent, and the quality of the mouldings are very high quality. Decals FOUR sheets are supplied here, printed by Eduard. The largest contains roundels and fin flashes. A slightly smaller sheet holds he various serials, codes, emblems, and instrument dials for the cockpit. The latter is printed in banks of instruments, and I would be tempted to punch these out to remove their carrier film. Their definition is excellent, and they can certainly be used without having to resort to an aftermarket product. A stencils sheet is also included, also with decals for the acetate areas of the drop tanks. The last sheet concerns the rocket decals and is identical to the one they include in the separate rocket set. Printing is excellent throughout, with minimal carrier film, solid colour and perfect register. The schemes offered are: Tempest Mk.VI, NX201/JV-U, ‘Poppet’, No.6 Sqn. RAF, Deversoir, Egypt, 1949 Tempest Mk.VI, NX126/GN-A, No. 249 Sqn. RAF, Habbaniya, Iraq, 1948 Tempest Mk.VI, NX135/V, No. 6 Sqn. RAF, Deversoir, Egypt, 1949 Tempest Mk.VI, NX179/B, No. 6 Sqn. RAF, Deversoir, Egypt, 1949 Instructions This is printed in a glossy 16-page A-4 format, similar to that of Eduard, with a profile on the front page, and a history of the type given in both English and Czech. There are two pages dedicated to a parts map, which is useful for knowing the parts not to use, and then we are into the construction. A series of excellent line drawings are annotated with splashes of colour to signify paint and other nomenclature, such as drilling and mask use etc. Illustrations are very clear and should present no problems. Colour call-outs are supplied throughout construction and refer to both Gunze and Alclad II paints, and the last pages of the manual are given over to the 4 schemes, with each being shown in all 4 planforms. Conclusion I really never tire of seeing new incarnations of this kit, and this is no exception. The ability to now build three different versions of this iconic brute of a fighter and display them together, really is fantastic! The base kit, even without any resin or PE embellishment, has excellent detail. The only thing it’s missing is a set of seatbelts as the plastic parts have no moulded belt options. This doesn’t even register as a blip on what is another fine release of the Tempest. If you do want to add lots of resin goodies etc. then check out our reviews on LSM and head over to the Special Hobby site to see what can be served up. Very highly recommended My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample seen here. To purchase direct, click THISlink.
  4. 1/32 Heinkel He 111 detail sets CMK Catalogue # check article for codes Available from Special Hobby. Links in article. We recently looked at the 1/32 CMK He 111 Interior set, which provides a whole new replacement cockpit for Revell’s large and rather nice kit of this iconic German medium bomber. That set merited a standalone article due to its complexity, as you can see. However, in this article, I will take a look at the other sets available for this kit, again from CMK. Set # 5068,Heinkel He 111P - Wing fuel tanks, 418 Kč (approx. £15) Purchase link This set is packed into one of CMK’s larger blister packs due to the quantity of resin within. I actually couldn’t get it all to fit back in once I’d done the photography for this review. Designed to give the modeller an option to display the two inboard fuel tanks, this set requires some radical butchery of the main lower wing panels, so be prepared. A significant proportion of the plastic will need to be removed between the main gear bay opening and the fuselage. You are supplied with EIGHTEEN pieces of light grey resin, all flawlessly cast, although one fuel bay wing skin panel will need the hot water treatment to correct its shape. The premise of this set is quite simple. Each bay needs to be constructed from a ceiling and four sidewall pieces. All of these are suitably detailed within, bearing in mind that they will be filled with the tanks (2 per bay). Those tanks are nicely detailed, with securing straps and fuel filler points, plus the ribbing that could be seen on the rubber skinning of the tanks. Externally, the main wing bay panel is devoid of detail, as per the kit, but internally has some constructional elements cast into it. Instructions are clear enough with simple line drawings telling you all that you need to know. Details are provided for painting too, with codes given for Humbrol paints. Set # 5069, Heinkel He 111P Fuel filler necks and life raft, 247 Kč (approx. £8.50) Purchase link I must say that this is an unusual concoction for a detail set with a life raft compartment being sold with fuel filling points! Now, as the previous set shows you the wing fuel tanks from below, this set provides the tank fuelling points that exist in the inboard area of the upper wing panels. Instead of removing whole swathes of plastic though, you simply need to drill out the filling points on Revell’s moulded plastic. Underneath these points you will fit a resin box that will have a fuel filler point fastened to. Parts are of course supplied for the fuel filler plates that you drilled out previously. No real clean-up needs to be done on the resin boxes, but the filler ports and access plates are cast onto a block and will need removing and some tidying before you can use them. As for the life raft, this is a very simple mod indeed. After cutting away the relevant plastic on the spine of the He 111 kit, you will secure a compartment within this area, lipped so that it will recess into your newly-cut opening. When the fuse is closed and the compartment painted, a resin life raft can then be dropped into position, all folded with the relevant details such as gas canister and pull/inflation cord. Lastly, a panel is supplied which would cover this area. Casting is again excellent, and this set is packaged into one of the smaller CMK blister packs. Instructions are clear and easy to follow, with suitable Humbrol paint references. Set # 5070, Heinkel He 111P Tail undercarriage strut and bay set, 247 Kč (approx. £8.50) Purchase link If you’re going to super-detail your He 111, you may as well do the job properly. Presented in another blister pack, this set contains just five pieces, cast in light grey resin. Some casting block removal will of course be needed. Once done, this is a very simple set to install. Port and starboard tail wheel well walls are cast various constructional element details, such as longeron and stringers, plus a little plumbing too. Not too much, so you can add more if you feel the need, but this should be good enough for most modellers in the detail stakes. Once these are fitted, painted and the fuselage closed up, the resin wheel form is then fitted to the strut (I suggest pinning this too), and then resin pins are used to fit the tail wheel itself, plus the strut into the bay. As the locating point is quite high in the fuse, this could be a little awkward. I would also suggest you replace the resin pins for this job with some steel pins or rigid wire. The instructions look simple enough to follow, but the proof of the pudding is always in the eating. Looks a great little set, providing all fits well. Set # Q32159, Heinkel He 111H/P Instrument panels, 134 Kč (approx. £4.60) Purchase link Out last set is packaged into a standard sleeve with a cardboard backing. If you don’t wish to fit the entire cockpit set, then this simple upgrade could be for you. This set is designed to replace the Revell instrument panel with something far more presentable. Firstly, a resin panel is supplied, and this simply has rear instrument detail. You will need to add wiring etc. to this yourself. Onto the front of this fits a two-part photo-etch instrument panel, produced by Eduard and printed in full colour. PE quality is excellent, as we’ve come to expect from Eduard. Two other resin parts are included and cast onto a single block. These are for the large central console that fastens into the upper canopy area, and for a small side console. Details are very nice and I think just a little accompanying wire will seal the deal. Again, the instructions are simple but do the job effectively. Conclusion If you want to super-detail your He 111 kit, then whilst Eduard will provide some really nice sets, such as the bomb bay etc., if you want to add resin to enhance your work, then these really are the only sets in town that will give you what you need. Thankfully though, CMK’s work is excellent and straightforward to fit and the price is more than acceptable. All we really need now is for Revell to start moulding their kit again and perhaps we can see more of these sets used on the club and competition stalls. Highly recommended My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review samples seen here. To purchase directly, click the links in the article.
  5. 1/32 Ju 88A Interior set CMK Catalogue # 5026 Available from Special Hobby for 567 Kč (approx. £20 at time of writing) This year marks a full decade since Revell released their spectacular Ju 88A-1 kit, marking what many thought at the time to be a landmark achievement for a mainstream plastic model manufacturer. I pretty much have to agree with them too. Whilst the model didn’t have detailed engines, it did have everything else, including a superbly detailed cockpit. The kit was based on the reconstruction/restoration of a Ju 88A-1 at Gardermoen museum in Norway, and they had the museums best guy on the job, Guttorm Fjeldstad. Having said that, injection plastic moulding does have its limitations, but Revell pushed it to the max with their kit. If you want to take your own Ju 88A-1 kit to the next level, with a super-pimped out interior, then there really is no better an upgrade than that offered by CMK. CMK’s ‘Interior set’ is a little ambiguously named as it provides just the cockpit detail and nothing else, but the cockpit is of course what you bought it for! It also comes in a rather small and pretty heavy box that is crammed full of resin components. The box itself is the same size as that of the simpler Ju 88C conversion I looked at very recently and could probably have benefitted from something slightly larger. A label with a line drawing graphic gives away the contents of this set. Opening the top flap, we are presented with two zip-lock bags of medium-grey resin components, a folded instruction sheet and another wallet with a colour-printed PE fret, protected by a cardboard stiffener. The first zip-lock wallet contains the larger components in this set. Most obvious here are the sidewalls. I first have to say that there is very little that will be used from Revell’s kit as this is almost an entire replacement. If you thought Revell’s parts looked good, then these will astound you. Everything is reproduced here, including the various wiring looms and numerous items missed by Revell, such as the electrical terminations detail on the switch and fuse panel. These parts have a large casting block that runs the entire length of the underside of the sidewalls, but there is a thinner web between this and the part. I will also add, at this point, that these walls will fit straight into the fuselage without any thinning. This set does require some surgery in places, but nothing too intense. The rest of this bag includes the three crew seats with armour and cushion details, a two-part cockpit floor, three blocks of ammunition saddles and a block containing radio sets for the rear wall. Casting blocks should again be pretty straightforward to remove with a narrower portion of waste material holding the part to the block. You will need a razor saw though as the connecting points are still relatively chunky. Our second bag of resin parts contains mostly smaller and detail parts, such as conduits, seat brackets, bomb sight mount and the bombsight itself, electrical panels, rudder pedals and pedal stanchions, map pockets, ammo brackets, levers, control column with wiring detail, fold down seat, fire extinguisher, etc. Unlike the CMK Ju 88 instrument panel, this panel’s rear details are moulded with integral wiring, and it does indeed look good and saves us the work of doing this ourselves. There really will be enough to do without that on top! Also seen are parts for the radio wall, split into two sections. More wiring looms for those radio sets and also mounting brackets for the ammo saddles. A single, colour-printed PE fret includes a multi-layer instrument panel and other instrument units, a full set of crew seatbelts, and the leather straps for the ammunition saddles. Production is by Eduard, and as you’d imagine, the quality is first-rate. I know that some people don’t like pixilation in the colour printing, and that’s valid, but here it’s not really distinguishable. I’m more than happy to use these parts. If there is one slight issue with this kit, it’s the instructions. Whilst they are very good at explaining how things fit together, in some areas they aren’t great at showing where those assemblies fit, and you will need to do some Googling to fathom some areas. As you’ll doubtless do this anyway in order to reference your painting, then this should be no more than a minor inconvenience. The Ju 88A-1 cockpit is well-represented in online image searches. Instructions are printed both sides on a single A4 and A5 sheet. Conclusion This really is an excellent upgrade set to Revell’s Ju 88A-1, but it’s one that requires a little forward planning as you progress through construction, with plenty of dry-fitting before you commit to any glue. As the cockpit is almost entirely sheathed in resin, this is hardly surprising, but the result will be spectacular. In a day where prices are constantly rising and some of the products in our hobby have outrageous prices, this is a very reasonably-prices set for the quantity and quality of resin that you get, and the enjoyment of installing it all. I love it! Highly recommended My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample seen here. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
  6. 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.
  7. 1/32 Ju 88C-2 Conversion set CMK Catalogue # 5027 Available from Special Hobby for 332 Kč (around £11.50 at time of writing) Junkers’ Ju 88 design was perhaps one of the first, true multirole aircraft, in every sense of the word, and the basic airframe was developed, added to and converted into roles ranging from fast-bomber, through to anti-shipping, night fighter, reconnaissance, heavy fighter, and also unpiloted flying bomb. The initial C version was converted from Ju 88A-1 airframes into a heavy fighter/fighter bomber role and dispensed with the usual glazed nose in favour of a solid metal nose through which four guns protruded. The gondola also had a solid front instead of the glazed area. The C version was pretty much the genesis for the later G-series machines we saw, albeit the C still had the Jumo engines and not the BMW radials. CMK’s little conversion set is simplicity itself and enables you to convert the Revell/Promodeller Ju 88A-1 into the rather slick looking heavy fighter version. There are external differences between the C-2 and C-4 machines, including the rear canopy. With the C-2 being converted from the A-1, there was only a single MG in the rear cockpit, whereas the C-4 had double rear-firing MGs, being converted from the A-5. To that extent, it’s possible that you could build the C-4 if you used the Ju 88A-4 kit. My eventual project will be to create a Ju 88C-0, for which there were only a handful converted. In a dusty corner of my attic, I have a complete starboard, forward window frame from a C-0 that crash-landed in Norway due to engine failure. To build that is on my modelling bucket list. Anyway, I digress. CMK’s Ju 88C-2 conversion set is packaged into one of their small and standard yellow boxes with a top-opening flap. A sticker label is attached to the front, showing a photo of a converted nose. Inside the box, a small zip-lock bag contains three main resin parts, plus a casting block with a further four components. A small instruction sheet is included, as is a very small decal sheet. All parts are cast in light grey resin, and the quality of them is excellent, with no flaws or other issues evident. You will of course need to remove casting blocks, or in the case of the new nose, grind down the pouring stuff so that just a small ridge remains that can help with location to the host model. The new nose is a solid piece, which is just fine as there was a metal sheet that divided the cockpit from the nose interior, with just the gun barrels protruding through. External detail is commensurate with that of the host kit, with fine panel lines. A number of latches line the circumference and the muzzle tubes have very fine riveting around them. Underneath the nose will sit a new section that does away with the glazed area of the kit and is located directly next to the new nose. As with the nose section, this is resplendent in fine panel lines, plus some fastener details. The replacement forward gondola is cast as a solid piece with a pouring stub that will need removing. Thankfully, the underside of this is profiled to fit the fuselage. I’ve seen a couple of builds where a little filler has been needed, but nothing too onerous. Detail here consists of a forward fairing that is riveted to the gondola body. Nothing else is needed, unless, like me, you intend on riveting the entire airframe. A little surgery will be needed on the original kit gondola so that you can graft the new section. Four barrels and muzzles are supplied, with hollow-cast ends. These are cast on a single block. I would perhaps try to hollow the muzzles out a little further with some very small drill bits, but a touch of wash in the ends would probably give a good illusion of depth. A small decal sheet is supplied that contains just the fuselage codes and unit badge. Printing is super-thin and has minimal carrier film. Colours are solid, and registration is perfect. I’m unsure as to what style of national markings you would need for this, but you may have to research that yourself and provide them too. The instructions do say that you use the Revell decals, but the Balkenkreuz is depicted as an outline version. Instructions are delivered on a double-sided piece of A5 paper, with one side depicting the parts in the set, and the reverse side showing the conversion and decal placement. Illustration is simple line drawing. No colour codes are given for anything, so reference is essential. Conclusion As I’ve said, a very simple and effective conversion that completely alters the appearance of the glazed nose bomber and turns it into the more menacing-looking heavy fighter version. Conversion itself looks to be a breeze and nothing here should be too difficult even for the newcomer to resin. Maybe a good first conversion project? Highly recommended My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the sample reviewed in this article. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
  8. 1/32 Tempest Mk.V – Engine Cover Panels (for Special Hobby kit) CMK Catalogue # 5111 Available from Special Hobby for 801 Kč (approx. £28 in EU. Other countries may vary) If you’ve not already taken a look at our review of the Tempest V Engine Set, designed for Special Hobby’s rather sweet kit, then click HERE to get an idea of what this set should accompany. Whilst it’s entirely feasible to build the engine and Tempest without the cowl parts, you will of course need the engine if you plan to buy this product. As far as I know, Special Hobby has no plans (as yet) to release the two sets together, but maybe watch out and keep your eye on their schedules. Cowl photo courtesy of Warbirds News This new release (still showing as ‘coming soon’ on their website on 26-2-18) comes in one of CMK’s familiar yellow, flap-opener boxes that are typically used for their more parts-numerous detail sets and carrying a label which shows the contents in their CAD form. Inside this box there are two bags of light grey resin, and a folded A5 instruction sheet. One of these re-sealable bags contains a single resin piece; namely the large, lower chin cowl that also forms the lower circumference of the spinner area. This part is connected to its casting block at the front, with thin resin webs and the fill veins attaching themselves to the spinner and radiator opening part. This was the best way that such a complex part could be cast and there really shouldn’t be any problem with its removal. A deep tongue extends from the casting block, into the void within the main radiator housing. This simply appears to be a mechanism to give some rigidity to the mould when casting. The detail on this part is incredible, with all constructional elements within being minutely captured. It does appear that this isn’t at all designed to be fitted to the host model unless you seriously modify the engine set. I get the impression that this is designed to be used to display alongside the main mode, in a form of maintenance diorama, or simply to show the cowls on the model’s base. Externally, the detail is representative of the host kit, with fine panel lines and riveting. You will need to be super-careful when it comes to the protruding cowl fastener locations, as these look fairly fragile. Our second bag of resin contains nine further pieces which comprise the upper, side upper and side cowl panels, as well as the small panels for the glycol tank access, the radiator shutter and the lower rear panel which meets up with the bully of the Tempest. As with the other part, the interior details are faithfully recreated, including the strengthening strip rivets, which nicely align with the external rivet details, which are of course tiny divots as per the host airframe. Casting blocks are connected with those thin webs and pour veins and will be easy to remove. There’s not really much to say about the instruction sheet, save for the fact it identifies the various panels. Curiously, it shows the various panels being assembled into a hollow sheel, which of course isn’t how you’d pose these. Some text does say, however, that these would just be scattered around whilst the Tempest is in maintenance. Resin casting quality is as good as it gets, with no flaws or distortion in these thin panels. Conclusion Accompanying the engine set, this is a set that is most worthy of your inclusion when your Special Hobby Tempest V hits the workbench. I’m not too good at dioramas, so would simply opt to place these adjacent to the completed model. The interior structures are interesting and worthy of the not insignificant investment that both this and the engine wold cost. Very highly recommended My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the set seen in this review. To buy directly, click THIS link.
  9. 1/32 Fokker D.II “Black & White Tail” Special Hobby Catalogue # SH 32065 Available from Special Hobby for € 39,90 Introduction It must be difficult for any model company to venture into the WW1 aviation realm. With Wingnut Wings keeping their plans close to their chest and being quite unpredictable in their subject choices. The fact that the Fokker D.II is a lesser known subject, does not insure Wingnut Wings not tackling it. I mean: who’d expected a Sopwith Dolphin?? So here we are, looking at the brand new Fokker D.II kit by Special Hobby. This is a kit that has had it’s development shared with the modeling community from the start. This could be a strategy to claim the subject, or just to make us enthusiastic. The Fokker D.II is one of those planes that were too little, too late. With the Allies gaining superiority over the Fokker E-type monoplanes, the German command ordered Fokker to develop a biplane. Fokker designer Martin Kreuzer developed the D.II (also named M.17z type) from the M.16 (not E-type). The D.II was powered by the Oberursal UR.I engine producing 100 HP. That is 20 HP more than the Fokker B.II (which was developed alongside the D.II) which carried the Oberursal U O. One thing that attracts the attention on this plane is that it had wing warping steering controls and thus no ailerons. Just like the Fokker E series. A technique that was more sensitive to damage, but I guess the time stress that rested heavily on the development played a role here. Armament consisted of only one LMG 08 machine gun located on top of the cowling, a little off centre. The production of the D.II was slow, since the Fokker factory at Schwerin did not have enough capacity to cope with the demand. As a result only a few Fokker D.II were seen at the front and this being the more quieter fronts. In the end most of the delivered D.II’s were used for training purposes. One hundred and thirty two aircraft were ordered, but at best only half of this number were available at any one time and by September 1917 most were no longer in use. Still; this is an important subject in the development of fighter aircraft and shows the transition from monoplanes to biplanes in the German airplane development. The Kit Special Hobby is really stepping up their game. Most of the parts were designed in CAD which we saw lovely renders of already in March of 2017. Some parts were (I believe) mastered the traditional way. Like the fuselage halves, rudder and wings. The box is quite small (A4 paper size) and the sprue layout modest. Three sprues, one sheet of photo etch, decals and film for the windshield. The sprues are sharply moulded in easy to work with plastic. I can’t help myself comparing the details to Wingnut Wing kits… When I look at the engine for instance. Special Hobby seem to have tackled the superior moulding techniques from WNW by supplying a lot of intricate detail on the Photo Etch sheet. Very clever. More on that later. Photo etch sheet: Photo's of the main parts before mould making: CAD rendering of the cockpit: CAD renderings of engine and LMG 08: Some more CAD renderings: The Cockpit This area does not hold too many surprises and seems pretty straight forward. The instrument panel appears to be almost non existent and to be honest… in reality it was. Only one guage and otherwise staring at the oil tank. The seat cushion could use some extra love. I would recommend either making your own from Milliput or adding some creases in the leather with a sharp blade. The seatbelts are photo etch, but don’t let that stop you replacing these with HGW harnesses. The detail on the plastic is crisp and all the elements are there, but It will definitely benefit from the addition of details like the control cables. Be warned: reference photo’s for this area of this particular plane is pretty hard to find. The cockpit floor is nicely done will be wood grained, just like the Fokker E-types. I guess the Fokker E-III is a good reference for colour for this pit as well. Overall the colour instruction guide give you a pretty clear guidance. Sprue C: Cockpit floor: Seat cushion: Cockpit frame: LMG 08 gun: Engine: Wheel halves: The wings Since this aircraft was controlled by warping the wings, these parts are fairly simple. No ailerons. No control windows in the wings to check the control cables. The ribbing is done subtly. The ribtapes are crisp and the sack of the linen between the ribs is not overdone. Otherwise known as the ‘starving cow syndrome’ J. Wingnut Wings would have probably added a woven texture in the facric, but I think that in it’s way is maybe too overdone. There is a little bit of flash around the edges of the wings (as can be found on some other parts), but they are easy to deal with. Sprue B, wings: Sprue A: Sprue A, reverse: Prop 1: Prop 2: Prop detail: Rudder: Tail planes: The Oberursal UR.I engine Yes. 24 parts make up the engine. The rocker arms are moulded separately. The wiring harness and spark plugs are provided by means of PE. I myself would use thin wire and perhaps rod for the spark plugs. Other than that: this is a nice section in the kit. The LMG 08 The difference between the LMG 08 and LMG 08/15 is pretty obvious. The front sight is rectangular and the barrel protruding from the cooling jacket is straight and short. I’m saying this because I see a lot of false info on the Fokker D.II armament online. Luckily you don’t need any after market in this area. This is what I meant with Special Hobby being smart. The delicate detail on the gun mainly consists out of PE. The gunsight, cocking lever, cooling jacket, rear sight and ammo. Very very nice… The struts All I have to say about the struts is that I think the wraps are too pronounced. Too thick. No problem. I would recommend sanding them down a bit. Check the photo for reference: The instructions: Other areas of interest - The stitching on the bottom of the fuselage is provided in PE. I prefer this over the usual WnW approach where they are often provided in plastic. - The wheels are split down the middle. Not sure why this method was chose. Couldn’t they have been moulded as single parts? The stitching on the canvas covers are a nice touch. - Rib detail on the tail planes and rudder is subtle. Like the wings, not too overdone. - The elastic bands on the undercarriage are provided in PE. I love this. Might want to use your own wiring here too, but still… nice attention to detail. - Wiring attachment points and fasteners are also provided in PE. Haven’t seen this before, but I can imagine it makes life a lot easier when rigging. Nice one Special Hobby! - The windshield (another nice touch) is provided by film. These windshields are just too thin to mould them out of clear plastic like WnW does. - Two propellors are provided. The prop hubs have great detail. Little bit of flash around the prop edges as you can see in the photo’s. Weird thing is the instructions don’t tell you what prop fits what scheme. But if you look at the instructions I take it A2 belongs to scheme B. - The decals are few and printed by Aviprint. They register and have great detail. The carrier looks thin and delicate, but I'll have to give them a test drive to properly comment on them and see how they respond to softener. Rigging The instruction uses a colour coded rigging diagram in 3D. Lovely. Since the control cables run out in the open and therefore a lot of wiring is in plain sight, this is quite welcome. Schemes The two schemes provided are at the same time the schemes you’ll find most often online. This is a good thing if you’re looking for reference. At the same time, scheme A already warns you that there is a bit of speculation on the accuracy of the colours. A little artistic license will be in place here. Overal: I love the simplicity and smart decisions Special Hobby made when engineering this kit. The quality of the moulding is very good for Special Hobby standards and the instructions are very nicely done. Special Hobby have done their homework on a plane that has not seen a lot of battle and is a bit of an obscure subject. The few rare photo’s that I was able to find show pretty weathered examples, so you still get your chance to add some personality to your kit. The price is about half the price of a WnW kit, and should offer some nice challenges and variation to the spoiled rotten WW1 modellers out there! Highly recommended. My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for sending out this review sample to us. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
  10. James H

    1/32 IAR-80A

    1/32 IAR-80A Azur-Frrom Catalogue # AZUFR8002 Available from Special Hobby for 1300 Kč (approx. £45 in UK) The IAR 80 was a Romanian World War II low-wing monoplane, all-metal monocoque fighter and ground-attack aircraft. When it first flew, in 1939, it was comparable to contemporary designs being deployed by the air-forces of the most advanced military powers. Production problems and lack of available armament delayed entry of the IAR 80 into service until 1941. It remained in frontline use until May 1945. In 1930, the Romanian government issued specifications for a new fighter. Although the government was not anticipating bids from its own aircraft industry, IAR produced several prototypes in response to the tender. A second contest was also fought between the newer IAR 14 and PZL P.24 designs, and once again the PZL design won a contract for another 50 aircraft. Although IAR's own designs had not entered production, they nevertheless won the contracts to build PZLs and Gnome-Rhone 14K engines under license. As a result of these and other license contracts the company had enough money to fund a design shop even, if its designs never saw production. Despite losing to PZL, an IAR design team led by Dr. Ion Grosu continued work on fighter designs. He was convinced that the low-wing design of the IAR 24 represented a better design than the PZL gull-wing design. Once again, the team studied the new PZL fighter looking to incorporate its best features into a new aircraft, and the result was the IAR 80. By April 1941 the Romanians were firmly in the German sphere, and as a result the Germans released more FN guns for their use. These were quickly installed, and the resulting 80A model finally mounted the original complement of six guns. Armoured glass in the windscreen, seat-back armour, and a new gun sight were also added at the same time, along with the newer 1,025 hp (764 kW) K14-1000A engine. The extra engine power proved to be more than the fuselage structure was designed to handle, and it had to be reinforced with a duralumin "belt" just behind the cockpit (in the first 95 A series aircraft built before the fuselage could be modified). Although the IAR 80A had a more powerful engine, the added weight of the guns, ammunition and armour plating reduced the top speed slightly to 316 mph (509 km/h). Nevertheless, the new model was clearly an advancement, and the A model replaced the earlier one on the assembly line starting with the 51st airframe. Eight of these had been completed in time for the invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941. FN guns remained in short supply, so throughout late 1941 and early 1942, guns were stripped from PZLs and observation aircraft for use in the IARs. Edit courtesy of Wikipedia The kit We’ve not exactly been endowed with 1/32 kits of this extraordinary-looking fighter aircraft, which is a real shame. When it comes to WW2 protagonists, I suppose we rarely look at participants in the south-east of Europe. Thankfully, with the foresight of Azur-Frrom, and with help from Special Hobby, the stunning IAR-80A is now with us in a real scale! Of course, this isn’t the first of the line from these companies, with two previous incarnations available from them as the IAR-81C, dating back to 2014. This isn’t a simple incarnation of the IAR-81C though. The fuselage and wings are indeed different. Inside the box, this kit is comprised of six sprues of light grey styrene and a single clear sprue. A packet of small clear parts, another of resin parts, plus a wallet with decals and PE, conclude the contents. Oh yes, an instruction manual too! The clear parts in this release are thankfully packed into a separate zip-lock wallet to protect them. The box for this is very attractive too, depicting an IAR-80A from Escadrila 47 Vanatoare, Grupul 9, after a successful combat against a Russian Yak. That’s also a very tight lid to lift from the box…cue package of parts on the floor when it finally comes apart! Sprue A This sprue is very similar to the previous IAR-81C releases, but not identical. I did believe that there were changes in the length of the fuselage on the IAR-81C, but this new kit has the fuselages at exactly the same length. However, there are detail changes around the cockpit opening, in the area to the rear of the opening. I also note that the wing on this seems to be in a very slightly different position to the previous release. Externally, detail is nice and refined, with subtle and even panel lines, with rivets only seen along those panel lines, and not in between. The stiffening strip which runs from the cockpit to the tailplane is also nicely defined, and with rivet detail. Louvre detail just in front of the cowl position, is also very nice, but open. Internally, cockpit wall detail is excellent and very sharp, with nicely defined stringers and former detail. Please note that as is typical of low-pressure injected kits as this, that there are no locating pins to help you align the parts, so care will be needed (i.e. tape one side and glue from the opposing side!). The rudder is separately moulded, and the stabilisers will fit via the traditional tab and slot method. Also on here are the parts for the engine cowl. This is moulded as port/starboard halves, plus the nose cowl ring. There is a very slight short shot to one of the flaps on the rear of a cowl half, but this will be covered by the PE parts that are supplied and help to improve this area. The propeller blades are also moulded separately here, as is the bulbous spinner. Sprue B Again, at first glance, this looks identical to the previous IAR-81C, but it isn’t. The span of this machine was shorter, and this can be seen in the wingtips on this kit. Everything else looks the same except for the fact that the centreline on this lower wing has no provision for the bomb rack that fits to the previous releases. That lower wing is a full-span part with some exquisite panel line and access port detail. As with the fuselage, rivets are only to be found alongside those panel lines and ports. For me, I will most certainly want to enliven the surface by adding extra rivet lines. The main gears wells are just that…..wells, and they are moulded into the lower wing. As is traditional, the upper wing panels are individual pieces, and exhibit some of the very finest in engraved detail that I have ever seen, and I really do mean that. I just hope they take a wash after paint! The wings are moulded without ailerons and landing flaps, and the remaining parts on this sprue cater to the latter and are moulded as upper and lower halves. The frame and fabric depiction is very nice too. As with the fuselage, there are no locating pins on any parts here. Sprue C This sprue is identical to that of the previous release, and contains the ailerons, stabilisers, elevators and rudder. All are traditional construction, i.e. halves, and moulding is very nice indeed with the same attractive fabric and frame rendition on the control surfaces as I noted on the landing flaps. There are a few ejector pin towers on the reverse side, and you’ll need to snip them off before construction. Sprue D Now, unlike the main airframe components with low pressure injection, these are very different in appearance insomuch as the parts are glossy and extremely sharp with no real flash. I came across this sort of thing on the Special Hobby Tempest kits. The reason for the different moulding technique is due to the nature of the parts with them being intricate and relatively small. A good number of the key cockpit parts are found here, such as the upper tub frame, footboards, multi-part instrument panel, seat sides, optional control sticks with both regular stick grip and spade types, forward instrument panel mounting frame and rear frame etc. Also to be found here are the parts for the engine exhaust, control surface horns, and individual engine pushrods...yup, you’re gonna have to apply them one by one, all TWENTY-EIGHT of them! That’s a little different from the regular approach of attaching them to a central hub. Sprue E The clear parts. Special Hobby have packed these into two little wallets, with the canopy parts in one wallet, and the gunsight lense and wingtip lights in another. Clarity is very good, with no visible distortion. Sprue F Another high-pressure moulded sprue here, with many main parts for the IAR K14-1000A engine. The front and rear radial banks are moulded as halves, and the details are excellent with fine cooling fin reproduction and cylinder head details. You will also find the hub here, plus the main exhaust hub section. It’s such as shame that the beautiful hub and its detail will be totally hidden by the shroud which sits behind the spinner, totally obscuring the aforementioned detail. Talking of spinners, the rear plate is moulded on this sprue. The main gear struts are found here, as are the wheels. There is no weighted effect to the latter, so you’ll need to sort that yourself or purchase the resin wheels from CMK. Hub details on these are very nice, but as they are integral to the wheels, you’ll need to mask them for airbrushing. No masks are included with this release. A couple of inner gear doors are moulded here but not for use, and you will also find a few remaining cockpit parts such as sidewall detail and the main seat part. Of note are a couple of parts here at the edge of the sprue, near the engines. The sprue here is cut-out and the delicate parts in that area have suffered some breakage and will need repair or re-fabrication. These parts concern the instrument panel mounting. Sprue G Here we have our last sprue, and this contains, amongst other things, a longer spinner version that that found on Sprue A. The instructions do state that either can be used, but you might want to look at reference photos of your specific machine before committing to either one. Other parts include replacement inner gear bay doors, alternative instrument panel section, under-cowl scoop, and two headrest parts as an alternative to the part on Sprue F. Resin parts Four casting blocks are supplied here, cast from medium-grey resin. Two of these hold the parts for the exhaust manifolds with nicely hollowed out ends, the engine intake and filter, and the last block holds a series of smaller parts. These are for the gunsight (two included), and the gun barrel stubs/muzzles. Casting is excellent, as you would expect from Special Hobby/CMK. Photo Etch This small fret contains the engine cowl louvres, multi-part pilot harness, interior canopy handle and elevator trim tab actuators. Again, production is excellent, and the belt details will look good under a coat of paint. Decals A single sheet, printed by Aviprint, contains decals for all national markings, serials, insignia, stencils and instrument panel gauges etc. Printing quality is very good, with solid and authentic colour, minimal carrier film and perfect register. The decals also look nice and thin too. There should be no error with these whatsoever as Radu Brinzan was involved with their design. I can certainly rest easy with that as Radu is the go-to guy when it comes to this machine. The four schemes supplied are: IAR-80A – “Anghel”, Escadrila 47 Vanatoare, Grupul 9, Pipera, August 1942 IAR-80A – Escadrila 53 Vanatoare, Mamaïa, July 1942 IAR-80A – “Felicia”, Escadrila 47 Vanatoare, Grupul 9, Pipera, Summer 1942 IAR-80A – “Mamy”, Escadrila 47 Vanatoare, Grupul 9, Pipera, Summer 1942 Instructions I quite like Special Hobby’s instructions format. They are clear, concise and the illustrations are easy to follow. This manual starts with a history of the type, followed by a parts map, indicating those components that aren’t to be used. Constructions is broken down into 24 stages, with clear drawings guiding the way, and the use of colour illustration to highlight painting and parts placement. The last pages of the manual contain the scheme illustrations, with good, clear scheme depiction and decal location shown. Conclusion After the IAR-81C, I was thrilled to see the earlier pure fighter version of this kit being released. It has a swarthy appearance and was, by all accounts, on par with the Fw 190A/F series in terms of performance. This is a superbly detailed kit, but perhaps one that needs just a little more attention and skill than your standard off the shelf kit, due to the main airframe components and the alignment and clean-up required. In all though, this is a superb kit of an important and oft-forgotten fighter type, and Frrom-Azue/Special Hobby (with Radu) have given it the attention it truly deserves. For the price, with both PE and resin, this is a very attractive package. All they need to do is fix the break in the sprue on F, that causes those two parts to fracture. Highly recommended. My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for sending out this review sample to us. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
  11. 1/32 RP-3 60lb SAP/HE British WWII Rocket Projectile Special Hobby Catalogue # SH32075 Available from Special Hobby for 267 Kč (approx. £10) The RP-3 (from Rocket Projectile 3 inch) was a British rocket projectile used during and after the Second World War. Though primarily an air-to-ground weapon, it saw limited use in other roles. Its 60 lb (27kg) warhead gave rise to the alternative name of the "60 lb rocket"; the 25 lb (11.3kg) solid-shot armour-piercing variant was referred to as the "25 lb rocket". They were generally used by British fighter-bomber aircraft against targets such as tanks, trains, motor transport and buildings, and by Coastal Command and Royal Navy aircraft against U-boats and shipping. The "3 inch" designation referred to the diameter of the rocket motor tube. The rocket body was a steel tube 3 inches (76 mm) in diameter filled with 11 pounds (5 kg) of cordite propellant, fired electrically. The warhead was screwed into the forward end and was initially a solid 25 pounds (11 kg), 3.44-inch (87 mm) armour-piercing shell which was quickly supplemented by a 6-inch-diameter (152mm), 60 pounds (27 kg) high-explosive head. Another type of head was a 25 lb (11 kg) mild steel (later concrete) practice head. Once the rocket had been mounted on the rails, an electrical lead (or "pigtail") was plugged into the exhaust of the rocket. Four large tailfins induced enough spin to stabilize the rocket, but as it was unguided aiming was a matter of judgment and experience. Approach to the target needed to be precise, with no sideslip or yaw, which could throw the RP off line. Aircraft speed had to be precise at the moment of launch, and the angle of attack required precision. Trajectory drop was also a problem, especially at longer ranges. On the plus side the rocket was less complicated and more reliable than a gun firing a shell, and there was no recoil on firing. It was found to be a demoralising form of attack against ground troops, and the 60 lb warhead could be devastating. The rocket installations were light enough to be carried by single-seat fighters, giving them the punch of a cruiser. Against slow-moving large targets like shipping and U-boats, the rocket was a formidable weapon. The kit As if loading your Special Hobby 1/32 Tempest kit with resin cockpit parts, undercarriage and wheels, resin engine, gun bays and cowls wasn’t enough, then another very nice set comes along to tempt you further and helping to create one of the ultimate Tempest kits available. This time we have a set which addresses an omission in the original standard and HI-TECH releases of SH’s Tempest kit; namely the rocket ordnance. Of course, these weapons won’t be limited to just the Tempest release, with several WWII types also carrying them, such as the Typhoon, Swordfish, Hurricane, Beaufighter, Thunderbolt and Mosquito, to name a few. Just make sure that the rails/mountings are suitable for whatever type of aircraft you fit them to. This new set is packaged into a reasonably large but shallow box as is befitting a complete, single sprue. Moulded in a light grey styrene, this sprue is further protected by a clear film sleeve. Also within this sleeve are the instruction sheet and a small decal sheet. This set contains enough parts to build EIGHT RP-3 rockets, including their mounting rails, which as I’ve mentioned, are likely profiled to fit onto the Tempest kit. Each rocket is made up from a single-piece body with half of the warhead moulded in situ. The other half being a separate part. The four fins are also separate, but the mounting lugs to the rails are a part of the rocket. Lastly, the rail. The rail is moulded to the mounting points which you may need to modify if you don’t fit these to the Tempest. Moulded detail looks to be commensurate with the many photos of these that can be found online. The only compromise being a solid connection between the rocket instead of the spring-loaded clip that was used in reality. This is also the way Airfix tackled the subject for their superb 1/24 Typhoon. I seem to recall that the only other way of representing such intricate details is with metal, as per the Master 1/24 series. However, these are still very, very good and that detail doesn’t detract. Moulding quality is superb, with all details being sharp, and nothing in the way of visible seam lines. No flash or defects are present. The single decal sheet contains decals for both the A/C3” SAP 60lb, and the A/C3” HE 60lb types. Printing is my Aviprint, and the inks are in yellow and red, with the text being readable and fine. Registration is also perfect, and the printing is thin, with minimal carrier film. A single folded A4 sheet is provided for the instructions. As you would imagine, these aren’t difficult to construct, and the illustrations clearly show everything you need to know. Colour codes are provided for Gunze paints, and the rear of the instructions shows the rockets in colour, providing details for both warhead load-outs. Conclusion A nice and simple set that provides that beautifully detailed RP-3s for your project. The only thing you would need to add are the pigtail fuses that fit into the rear of them. In this scale, I would use the thicker EZ-Line which naturally sags under its own weight. Simple to build and with some nice decals to finish them off, these should look great under the wing of the recent 1/32 Tempest, and I’ll be adding them to my future project for Military Illustrated Modeller magazine. Highly recommended. My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample seen here. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
  12. 1/32 Focke-Wulf Fw 190C (V18) Känguru Conversion for Hasegawa A5/A8 kits Planet Models Catalogue # PLT233 Available from Special Hobby for 1079 Kč (approx. £38) Whilst there is no doubt that whilst Kurt Tank’s Fw 190A series was highly successful, it’s real Achilles heel was its lack of performance at high altitude, whereas its biggest contemporary and competitor, the Bf 109, was a far more capable performer. This lead Tank to look at ways of addressing the altitude performance problem early in the program. In 1941, he proposed a number of versions featuring new power plants, and he suggested using turbochargers in place of superchargers. Three such installations were outlined; the Fw 190B with a turbocharged BMW 801, the Fw 190 C with a turbocharged Daimler-Benz DB 603, and the Fw 190 D with a supercharged Junkers Jumo 213. The aircraft would also include a pressurized cockpit and other features making them more suitable for high-altitude work. Prototypes for all three models were ordered. The C model's use of the longer DB 603 engine required more extensive changes to the airframe. As the weight was distributed further forward, the tail of the aircraft had to be lengthened in order to maintain the desired centre of gravity. To test these changes, several examples of otherwise standard 190As were re-engined with a supercharged DB 603 to experiment with this engine fit. These were the V13 (W.Nr. 0036) with the 1,750 PS 603A, the similar V15 and V16, with an 1,800 DB603E being fitted to the latter after a time. With this engine, the V16 was able to reach 450 mph at 22,310ft, which was a considerable improvement over the 400 mph at 17,060ft of the basic A models. V18 followed, the first to feature the full high-altitude suite of features, including the pressurized cockpit, longer wings, a 603G engine driving a new four-blade propeller, and a Hirth 9-2281 turbocharger. Unlike the experimental B models, V18 had a cleaner turbocharger installation, running the required piping along the wing root, partially buried in the fillet, and installing both the turbocharger air intake and intercooler in a substantially sized teardrop shaped fairing under the cockpit. This "pouch" led to the "Känguruh" (Kangaroo) nickname for these models. V18 was later modified to the V18/U1, with a "downgraded" 603A engine, but a new DVL turbocharger that improved the power to 1,600 PS at an altitude of 35,105ft. Four additional prototypes based on the V18/U1 followed: V29, V30, V32 and V33. It is the V18 which is perhaps the most interesting, and the subject of this conversion set review. The kit Planet Models’ Fw 190C/V18 ‘Känguruh’ conversion set is packed into a reasonably large box, as befits the full fuselage replacement that it contains. The box lid has a large sticker with a product label attached, showing a rather sleek-looking 190C. This is quite a nice angle to see this at, as other angles would show the aircraft to be a little clunky in places, but still a very interesting aircraft in the evolution of the 190 series. Whilst it is generally said that the Fw 190D-9 was the aircraft that went on to be the genesis of the Ta 152 development, the Fw 190C, with its wide-chord fin, is also said to be an important step towards what was to become perhaps Germany’s most impressive piston-engine fighter. As stated on the label, this conversion contains fuselage halves, exhausts, main gear wheels, coolers, propeller, vac-form sliding hood, and decals. You will of course need a Hasegawa Fw 190A-5/A-8 kit which will donate its wings, cockpit, gear struts, stabiliser etc. All components within this conversion are packed into heat-sealed sleeves, with the fuselage halves being separate items in themselves. It’s these parts that I’ll be looking at first. The overhaul of the fuselage on the 190C/V18 was so extensive that it required an entirely new fuselage. As with the original kit, these are supplied as halves, and they pretty much exhibit the same standard of detail that is seen on the original kit parts. By this, I mean fine panel lines and port access details. There is no riveting. When I come to build this, I will river the whole airframe, including the wings and this new fuselage replacement. The instrument coaming and forward upper fuselage areas are cast integrally with the remainder of the fuselage. You can clearly see the wing root fairing into which the turbocharger pipework will recess, as well as the intake that sits below the annular radiator. The tail fin is also wide-chord, as with the Ta 152, yet the fuselage isn’t extended as was seen on the 190D series, despite the length of the nose. Presumably the intake under the bellow helped to offset the change in the centre of gravity. Also note that the rudder is cast separately. Internally, there is no detail as this would come from the Hasegawa cockpit parts. There is a very small stub on the underside of the fuselage, which is a remnant of the casting block, so this will be a breeze to remove. Other parts in this release include the long turbocharger pipes that tuck under the wing root fairings and exhaust further down It doesn’t appear that the wing root gun bay wing-moulded detail needs to be modified, so all looks good there! Of course, there is the large intake which sits below the belly of the 190, in P-51 style, and there is a small section of plumbing which needs to be fitted here, stretching to the fillet that separates the main gear bay. There is a new part which fits between the bays, and to fit the large intake itself, some plastic will need to be trimmed from the belly plastic that is moulded to the rear of the main, lower wing panel. It all looks quite simple to execute. A small intake grille fits within the belly intake, as does a separate part that fits into the nose intake area. That belly intake is provided in halves, so there will be a seam to remove, as with the fuselage. This machine was designed to be armed, and although there appears to be no wing guns, the fuselage ones were still installed. Evidence of this is shown on the forward nose cowling, where the gun ports are actually found, unlike other 190 series where there were channels on the upper cowls for this purpose. With the 190C, the cowl changes meant that these were now embedded within the cowls due to the change in depth of the nose. Note also how angular the nose cowl is, unlike the large curved radius of the A-series machines. This gives the 190C quite an unusual appearance. Radiator details are cast within the main nose ring cowl. Of course, a new 4-blade Hirth propeller is included, along with a new spinner, again giving a highly unusual feature for the 190. A set of main gear wheels are also supplied to replace the Hasegawa plastic. Resin quality is very good, with everything being cast in an unusual shade of grey. Where casting blocks remain, then they will be easy to remove. Where they are already removed, then final clean-up will just consist of removing a resin tag or thin resin web. There is a little flash to remove in places, and a slight scratch will need to be buffed out on one fuselage half. Many people dislike vacform parts, but that’s what you have here for the pressurised cockpit rear hood with its canopy framing. Planet Models supply TWO canopies, just in case you make a mistake, but they really aren’t as difficult as you’d imagine. To cut these, I fill the interior with Blue-Tack which makes the part more rigid. A brand-new scalpel blade is used to cut the plastic, with Dymo tape being used as a guide. It would only take a few minutes to complete this task. Vacform clarity. No masks are supplied with this release, so you’ll need to mask it using your own methods. Lastly, a single, small decal sheet is supplied for the V18 prototype. This consists of the national markings, split swastika, and prototype codes. A couple of small stencils are included for the wings. You may need to supplement this with kit stencils, but I don’t know if this would be historically accurate. Printing is excellent, with the decals being nice and thin and having minimal carrier film. Registration is void because the decals are either black or white, with no multicolour elements. Two A4 instruction sheets are supplied and folded into A5. A history of the 190C is supplied, and a photo of the parts, with identifier numbers. Twelve black and white images are included which shows construction of the model, along with notes as to which resin part is which. Annotation clearly indicates the Hasegawa plastic. When it comes to sawing and modifying the plastic, you will need to measure things yourself as no dimensions are supplied. Conclusion For me, this is a very exciting conversion set in that it really recreates a transitionary and evolutionary change between the A and D versions, and Tank’s attempt to push the metaphoric envelope with his design so it could be operated at high altitude. There’s no doubting the historical significance of the C-series birds, despite them not really being at the forefront of our attention, or indeed print articles etc. Planet Models has created a rather nice set which should easily convert the Hasegawa Fw 190A-5/A-8, and as this is quite a simple conversion, it should be ok for those who have limited but some resin experience. All in all, an excellent and relatively inexpensive conversion set. Highly recommended My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review kit shown here. To purchase this directly, click THIS link.
  13. 1/32 Hawker Tempest Mk.V – Engine Set (for Special Hobby kit) CMK Catalogue # 5110 Available from Special Hobby for 1.964 Kč (approx. £68 in EU. Other countries may vary) The Napier Sabre was a British H-24-cylinder, liquid-cooled, sleeve valve, piston aero engine, designed by Major Frank Halford and built by D. Napier & Son during World War II. The engine evolved to become one of the most powerful inline piston aircraft engines in the world, developing from 2,200hp in its earlier versions to 3,500hp in late-model prototypes. Photos courtesy of NASM The first operational aircraft to be powered by the Sabre were the Hawker Typhoon and Hawker Tempest; the first aircraft powered by the Sabre was the Napier-Heston Racer, which was designed to capture the world speed record. Other aircraft using the Sabre were early prototype and production variants of the Blackburn Firebrand, the Martin-Baker MB 3 prototype and a Hawker Fury prototype. The rapid introduction of jet engines after the war led to the quick demise of the Sabre, as there was less need for high power military piston aero engines and because Napier turned its attention to developing turboprop engines such as the Naiad and Eland. The kit First of all, you need to know that this kit is designed specifically to fit the recent 1/32 Hawker Tempest Mk.V kit from Special Hobby, although there’s nothing stopping you building this as a standalone model in itself, complete with aircraft firewall. This is definitely a very nice inclusion to the growing line of aftermarket components for that particular kit. CMK’s engine set is presented in quite a reasonable-sized corrugated box with a large glossy product label on the reverse, showing some nice CAD images of the Napier Sabre. There’s actually a reason why a box this large has been used, and that is to cater to the sheer volume of resin within, with a parts count that in excess of 100 components. This is also a pure resin kit, with no PE needed. Inside the box, all light grey resin parts are packed into a single sleeve which has been heat sealed to create four compartments. You will need to slice open to access, and I suggest you then bag the resin into individual zip-lock bags, based on their original grouping. Of course, I’m not going to go through every single resin part and try to name and ID it against photos, but I have included a series of images here, courtesy of the NASM, which show a prime example of this powerful aero engine, for you to judge for yourself. Accompanying these are the various CAD images from Special Hobby, along with my own photos of the various resin parts. I have broken these down into a couple of images per heat sealed compartment, along with other useful detail images. Now, as you would expect, this set doesn’t just provide the engine. It also includes all of the associated pipework to plumb this into your Tempest kit, via the amazingly detailed resin firewall. Also to be found in this set is the large radiator that defined the Series V Tempest marques, plus the glycol tanks that sit inside each cheek of the cowl, adjacent to the radiator sides. Attention to detail is first class, with some of the most intricate detailing on the main engine block, including ignition plugs, down to beautifully hollow exhaust stubs. Casting is about as flawless as you can expect with a set with this number of parts, and also what must be quite intricate pouring techniques involved. There is barely even a pin hole to be seen. When it comes to seams (paring lines), these are also extremely minimal, with the engine block having the most obvious, but in an area where it will never be seen. Even this is still easy to remove and is mostly covered by other assemblies. Casting block connections should be easy to navigate in order to remove them from the parts. CMK seem to have done the same thing as Eduard with the piping, having thin webs to connect the parts to the blocks, with thicker veins of resin that punctuate the webs. In all, there should be no problem except for the sheer work in removing so many parts and cleaning them up. The instructions are easy to follow with their line drawings and selective use of coloured ink to denote faces that need to be glued. Colour references are also provided throughout assembly, with those colours being specified on the last page of the manual. The last two pages show more CAD images, but in colour so as to make painting even easier. There are only four colours that really need to be used, with black being the main hue. This means that most of this can first be assembled and painted before the need to add parts of other colours. Other smaller painting, such as the ignition plugs and lines, can easily be painted post-assembly. Conclusion Along with the gun bays and cockpit upgrades, this has simply got to be the ultimate aftermarket set for the Tempest V. With everything thrown into the mix, you have the recipe for a seriously impressive model. This set is most definitely not aimed at the novice, but I would say is more suited to those with plenty of resin experience due to the complexity of the set. A nice bit of work is essentially done though, when it comes to mating this to the Tempest, as the host kit comes with a separate nose, meaning this should just plug and play! A seriously impressive and high-quality product that is reflected in the price. One for both the detail connoisseur and Tempest enthusiast alike. Very highly recommended Check out our review of the engine cowl set too, here!! My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for supplying this review item. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
  14. 1:32 Tempest Mk.V Nose Correction Set Barracuda Studios Part # BR32334 Available from Barracuda Studios for USD$24.95 About a year ago Special Hobby released it’s long awaited and highly anticipated 1:32 Hawker Tempest Mk.V. This release was met with many positive overviews. However, there is plenty of angst on several shape issues and fidgety construction. Regardless of the shape/fit issues this kit is a winner with plenty of detail and beautifully engraved panel lines and rivets. James Hatch reviewed SH Hawker Tempest Mk.V “Hi-Tech” kit, SH Hawker Tempest Mk.V “Hi-Tech 2” kit and Jeroen Peters reviewed SH Hawker Tempest Mk.V standard kit. I have the “Hi-Tech kit” and started it awhile back. It’s been an enjoyable build regardless of the fidgety cockpit and wheel well construction giving me fits. Be advised you must pay close attention to the instructions as some parts have unique and perhaps impossible fit characteristics. Then that nose! Immediately, the spinner (prop hub) and radiator opening were hit with incorrect shape reports. Spinner too bulb like and the radiator opening too large. To most modelers the difference is hard to notice and Special Hobby’s Tempest Mk.V builds into an imposing WWII fighter with beautiful detail and splendid scheme options. My cockpit complete with only plumbing to be added and the nose with its nasty multi-part construction in final stages of construction, Roy Sutherland announced in late October 2016 a nose correction set for the SH Hawker Tempest Mk.V will be available late 2016. I immediately binned this build waiting for Roy’s replacement set. Sadly, several other Barracuda projects delayed the release of this correction set. Sad for me. However, not for the 1:48 B1 builders. I regularly checked with Roy on the release status. Finally the release announcement came on 31 August 2017. I placed my order and Roy confirmed I was the 1st to acquire this set. This set is designed to correct the nose, radiator, prop and spinner on the otherwise superb Special Hobby Tempest. Before we move forward I need to give a huge kudos and atta boy to Roy Sutherland. The initial release has some mold imperfections. I relayed this data to Roy and he immediately executed, at great expense, a recall. After the imperfections were addressed and fixed all previously shipped Nose Replacements were replaced. The replacement has a black check inside the nose. This process was nothing short of the quality and dedication to Roy’s business model of Barracuda Studios. First Glance Opening the package reveals typical Barracuda mold quality. Smooth surfaces and finely replicated detail duplicating the detail on the original Special Hobby kit. Instructions must be downloaded from Barracuda Studios website. Be sure to print propeller alignment page at 100%. Nose Pour Stub Removal Pour stub removal will require significant patience, at least for me. The following is how I successfully removed the pour stubs. Skill-sets will vary so take into consideration your ability and my recommendations. Safely removing the nose pour stub will require significant sawing and sanding. To prevent crushing the nose like an egg during the sawing/sanding efforts I recommend inserting two internal braces cut from sprue trees. This photo was shot after I successfully removed the nose pour stub. Note, the black check (indicating this is the updated corrected nose) just port of the spinner hole. I will glue at least one of these internal braces when I'm ready to mount nose to fuselage. These will act as spreader(s) to combat any future "resin warp" that may occur. The Nose pour stub is significant. Instructions will ask you to cut through the stub between the spinner and radiator opening. I decided to thin the pour stub with my rotary tool. The pour stub is thinned between the spinner and radiator opening is now a bit manageable, for me. I stepped outside for this grinding procedure. A lot of dust during this process. PRO TIP - Returning to my bench I dampened a towel and placed on bench surface. This controlled the dust, from sawing and sanding, going all over my bench. The pour stub at the radiator opening was very easy to remove. I once again exercise patience. After placing some tape to protect against damaging the fine surface detail I grinded and sawed away the pour stub on the nose. I carefully begin to saw just above the cut line. I do this because I cannot saw straight if my life depended on. This way I will control complete removal by sanding. I start my cut at the 12 o'clock position then move to 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock. I do a few cuts each position around the clock then repeat. It's tedious but it works for me. With saw cuts as deep as I can manage I begin the slow and careful process of removing the pour stub. Using my cutters I carefully remove as much as the block as I am comfortable with. Then the sanding begins. Using a very stiff 120 grit sanding stick (do not used the soft Flexi or Squadron sanding sticks or you might risk uneven sanding) I begin to work away the remains of the pour stub. Holding the nose I carefully rotate and sand a few strokes at a time. BE PATIENT. As I get closer to completion I switched to finer grits 240, 320 sand a few strokes check, repeat then... finish with a 400 grit. Remember I used very stiff sanding sticks. A wet paper towel is laid on my work area to collect the dust. Respirator a must! Spinner and Spinner Backplate Sanding complete I drill the Spinner plate pilot hole with a 1.1mm drill. Then enlarge with a 7/64 inch (approx 2.77mm for those across the pond) drill bit. The spinner backplate is easy to clean. Take care with the back and alignment pin. Sand carefully with a stiff sanding stick, small slow strokes and checking after each stroke will assure even sanding control. Cleaning the spinner is and equally easy task. Take your time and sand carefully. Match the spinner with the spinner backplate and try some test fitting. Some minor surface putty work needed. The radiator opening is due for its cleaning. The hard work is now done. Prop Jig A clever prop jig is included. When you print the instructions be sure your printer is set at 100%. I tried aligning with my PropMaster tool and the proper prop angle could not be achieved. So use supplied jig. Prop aligned on the spinner backplate. Be sure you print the instructions at 100%. Spinner fitted. You will have to paint backplate and inside spinner. Prop blades must be attached before you mount the spinner. Radiator Test Fit The radiator parts will have to be carefully sanded around the edges to fit inside the nose. With my rotary tool using a fine tip grinder bit I carefully smoothed out some snug areas inside the radiator opening for the front radiator piece to fit. Again, sand in small increments and test fit, test fit and test fit. It will fit. Take your time. Nose Comparison Here are some side by side comparison shots of the Special Hobby nose and Barracuda's nose replacement. Prop blades are also corrected. Nose Test Fit The replacement nose fits very well and I see minimum putty and sand work will be required. Remember this is a test/dry fit with tape. Be assured some love will be needed when executing the final glue and attachment. Verdict If you never worked with resin this may be a daunting task. However not impossible. I cannot emphasize the importance care and patience when removing the pour stub from the nose. Otherwise, cleaning of spinner plate, spinner and propellers are very straight forward. The detail and fit are quite nice. Instructions must be downloaded and are clear as crystal. Study them and prepare. If you want a correct nose, spinner and propellers for your already very nice Special Hobby Tempest Mk.V this beautiful offering from Barracuda Studios is a must. Very Highly Recommended Thank you Roy Sutherland!
  15. I got my hands on this a few weeks ago and I immediately binned the A29 and the Mossie, new canopy ordered. That said after a through wash I broke out the sprue cutters and got to work. See James Hatch's outstanding review. This is going to be an out of box build. With exception of markings which will be masked and painted. The decals have some spots and are not usable. Details on that later. Test fit looks good. There will some seam work and scribing needed. Obligatory ejector hole fills needed. A little 500 Mr. Surfacer did the trick. Using my shaping tool I addressed the flare racks and flare gun rack. Tedious work. Common variable when working with photo etch. Using Gator Glue The flare racks are secured. Flare gun rack on and done. Port side complete as far as I can before painting. Starboard side ready for paint.
  16. 1/32 Tempest Mk.V “HI-TECH 2” Special Hobby Catalogue # SH32070 Available from Special Hobby for approx. 79,00€ Unlike Spitfire development, where even major airframe revisions saw the type keep its original name, Hawker’s Typhoon project was different. The Typhoon wasn’t without its problems, such as a seemingly unstoppable leaking of carbon monoxide gas into the cockpit, and of course that tail unit which had broken away completely on some aircraft, ending with a series of reinforcement straps that were designed as a simple fix for this. Like the Hurricane, the Typhoon also had a thick wing section that provided the machine with enough space for heavy armament, fuel tanks and resulted in a steady gun platform that could be used for low-level operations. Unfortunately, the thick wing was responsible for high levels of drag that slowed the aircraft at certain altitudes, and affected climb rates. To fix these problems needed a number of radical solutions which resulted in Sydney Camm and his team taking the Typhoon literally back to the drawing board. The resulting aircraft was sufficiently different enough to the Typhoon, as to eventually merit a name change, and in keeping with Hawker’s use of severe storm condition names for its range of fighters, ‘Tempest’ was chosen. Originally, the type was to have been called Typhoon II. Six prototypes were built, using different engines, resulting in not just the large-intake Typhoon style machine being built, but also a radial machine and a sleek-cowl Griffon-engine Tempest. Other variables including bubble canopy and car-door style canopy (á la early Typhoon), were included. The small tail fin surface of the prototype machines was eventually enlarged too, and the recognisable filleted fin introduced into production machines, as well as the wider span horizontal tail-plane that was seen on later versions of the Typhoon. A wider track landing gear helped with higher landing speeds. What made the Tempest radically different to the Typhoon was the design of a sleeker, laminar flow wing that was designed by NACA in the USA, and implemented on the new Mustang design. The Tempest Mk.V, which is the subject of this kit release, was fitted with a Napier Sabre IIa/b liquid-cooled H-24 sleeve-valve engine, and had wingspan of 41ft, length of 33ft 8in, and a maximum speed of between 432 and 435mph at 19,000ft. Armament was typically Mk.II/V Hispano cannon (x4), and rockets and bombs could be carried externally, as could droptanks for increased range/operational time. The Tempest went through various incarnations, and the later Sea Fury was a development of this, through the Tempest II family, retaining the later Bristol Centaurus engine. The Kit This isn’t the first time that Special Hobby has released the Tempest Mk.V in its flagship HI-TECH format, with the original kit being released only in 2016. Since then, there has been a standard edition, as well as the Centaurus-powered Mk.II kit that we also reviewed here on LSM. Along with these releases has been a flurry of their own aftermarket sets, such as the weapons bays and strengthened resin struts etc. However, the demand for the first HI-TECH release was so high that Special Hobby decided to reintroduce it, but with some changes that would set this aside from the original. This includes not only FIVE new marking schemes, but also a brand new resin Napier Sabre engine. This is cast as the upper section with the complete cylinder blocks and ancillary equipment. We’ll look at this in a while though. Special Hobby’s Tempest kit is packed into quite a large, standard type box with a removable lid (take note, Revell!), and adorned with an attractive artwork showing a Fassberg-based Tempest II taking off. No other profiles are shown on the box lid, but there are some renders of the included resin parts and other items supplied in this HI-TECH boxing. Lifting the lid is difficult due to the tight fit, but once off, you’ll see EIGHT sprues of medium grey styrene, packed into a single clear sleeve, A cardboard bridge straddles the sprues, and this has the decals and clear parts stapled to it, plus a package with the masks and photo-etch parts. A large colour-printed instruction manual lies at the bottom of the box. Also in this release is a large yellow CMK box that contains THREE bags of resin parts. SPRUE A Only two parts here, but pretty key ones; both fuselage halves. As Special Hobby has utilised some of this tooling for releasing the Tempest II and future Mk.6, the nose is moulded separately, allowing this tooling to be good for all versions. The kit shows just how far this company have come in the last years, with regards to both moulding, tooling and detailing. You would be hard pressed to differentiate the Tempest from a kit made by a whole multitude of more mainstream manufacturers out there, such as Hasegawa, Revell, Airfix etc. Surface detailing is excellent, with restrained, even rows of rivets, and lots of extremely fine panel lining and port/panel access plates. Edges are sharp where the wing will meet the fuselage etc. and the parts have a nicely polished finish to them that wouldn’t look out of place on a Tamiya release. The rudder is separately moulded, and where the nose cowl parts will fit, the forward fuselage has a moulded bulkhead that will provide rigidity to the proceedings. Internally, those high standards of detail are also evident, with stringer and former representation being both refined and sharp, and with associated rivet detail included. Only one ejector pin mark exists in this area, and this is on the area adjacent to the instrument panel. As no other detail is in the vicinity, removing this will be easy. Some detail is also included around the area of the retractable tail wheel, using the same level of refinement seen in the cockpit area. Note also that this model has locating pins too, unlike some of the other less mainstream model kits. I have to say here too that Special Hobby is NOT a Limited-Run company, but fully mainstream. SPRUE B Wings, glorious wings. These are supplied as a single span lower part, and upper port and starboard panels. Note that the inboard leading edge is a separate part, accommodating the future kits that will have intakes in these places. I have to say that each time I take a look at this kit, I like it more and more. Surface detail is commensurate with that of the fuselage, incorporating full rivet detail (plus double rows, where applicable), finely engraved panel lines, fastener detail, access panels and nicely shaped cannon blisters. All control surfaces are integrally moulded, so can’t be posed without taking a saw to the model. Ailerons are moulded along with very fine actuator arms that really do look very good. Cannon shell ejection chutes are also finely moulded. One thing I like here are the tabs that protrude from the upper panels, and provide a support for the wing to fuselage connection. Actually, there is another purpose for those tabs. If you flip the wing parts over, you will see they form the roof of the main gear wells. These areas contain rib and stringer detail, along with rivets, and this will be detailed further with various rods, pistons etc. All of this will be framed by the gear bay walls that are supplied as separate parts that will be fitted into the recessed area in the upper wing panel. Cannon fairings are separate parts too, and the wing has a small bulkhead within that stops them from being inserted too far within. SPRUE C You will be able to pose the elevators dynamically, as these are moulded separately to the stabilisers. All parts here are the traditional upper and lower halves, and external detail is of the same high standard that we have seen so far, including rivet and fastener detail and trim tab actuators/actuator fairings. Other parts included here are for external drop-tanks and bomb bodies. Bomb fins are separately moulded. Bombs and tanks are moulded as halves also, and with the latter, you will of course need to reinstate any panel line detail that may be lost from seam eradication. The fuel filler cap is nicely engraved, but I think the detail to the rear of this is supposed to represent a pipe, and is instead moulded as a fillet. If this is the case, cut away and replace with a little length of bent, rigid wire. SPRUE D This sprue looks very Eduard-ish in design, with its large radius corners. Here we have the fabric covered rudder, complete with its rib tape detail and metal trim tab. This is the only fabric covered area on the Tempest, and I do like the representation here. The multiple undercarriage door parts are just beautiful…both inside and out, with some great detail there, and no pesky ejection pin marks to worry about. Small tags have instead been placed externally to the main doors, and these just require snipping off, followed by a quick swipe of a sanding stick. Et voila! Other parts here include the upper, chin intake wall and the bomb release fairings. SPRUE E For the first time, the instructions show parts here that won’t be used on this build. Here, that is for a second set of propeller blades. Engine cowl halves are moulded here, as are a number of parts that form the flap section and intake outlet to the rear of the main intake. The exhaust attachment boxes can be found here, and these will just glue internally. A two-part spinner is included, with the back-plate including channels that will precisely angle the propeller blades. There is a little flash on the spinner, but nothing to be concerned about. One thing to note is that the fuselage decking to the rear of the pilot, is included here as a separate part. That’s a nice touch as there is a lot of detail in this area, and removing a seam would have been a pain in the arse. Other notable parts here are the upper and lower parts for the wing leading edge inboard areas, where future kits will have the intakes attached. SPRUE H Quite a few parts here are shown as not for use on this release. These include two sets of balloon tyres, several intake parts, leading edge intake parts, and also a seat back etc. What can be used here are the various undercarriage parts, including well detail, walls and the struts, pistons and rods themselves. Looking at how refined much of the detail is here, I’m going to stick my neck out and say it’s Tamiya-esque. Simply gorgeous details that you’ll bury away in those gear bays. Even the sprung-loaded rods look very authentic and filigree. I am particularly impressed with the gear struts and the detail definition here. Please be careful with the removal of parts from this sprue, as so many of the landing gear parts have some very fine detail protrusions. If in doubt, use a razor saw. Note also the forward cockpit bulkhead and the armoured frame onto which pilot’s seat will fit. SPRUE I A small sprue, but one with perhaps more parts on it than any other. One area that features heavily here is the cockpit. For me, a nicely detailed cockpit is the very heart of a satisfying project, and this cockpit it certainly better than most I’ve seen in quite a long time. Two detailed tubular side frames are adorned with various fixing plates and panels and brackets, and there are numerous console parts, throttle, spacers, torsion rods and linkages etc. The main instrument panel is moulded in three parts; central panel and two angled panels that fit to its sides. Be careful here as there are two different sets of side panels. The instructions clearly show what you should not use. Here you will also find the canopy rails and three different types of joystick grip, although none of these are shown as for use, with resin parts favouring these all along the way. Presumably these, like the seat and other parts, will be used in any future, standard boxing that isn’t classed as ‘HI-TECH’ The plastic parts are actually still very nice, as are the cannon fairings that will also be ditched in favour of the resin extras here. Again, watch out for the numerous parts that won’t be used here, and there are a fair few of them. SPRUE J The last grey styrene sprue. Another bulkhead is supplied here, for the rear of the cockpit, and the exhausts are included as halves. It’s a little disappointing that Special Hobby didn’t include the resin ones they now sell, as part of this HI-TECH offering. I would’ve preferred those to the cockpit seat, for instance. It will take some careful seam removal work on these parts. More wheel well parts are found here, as well as the three-part assembly for the tail wheel, again with some very nice structural detail included. More unused seat parts can be found, so some nice parts for the spares box. Several intake parts are moulded here, as are the bomb sway braces and fins and tail wheel strut. The most obvious part though, the radial engine of the Centaurus, is from the Mk.II release, and not for use here. SPRUE K The clear sprue. Of course, you will find the main canopy parts here, with their nicely-defined framing lines which will make things easier for masking. A number of other parts here are drop tank fairings that I think were made from clear acetate or similar. Nice to see these, and they’ll certainly show off that wire modification I mentioned earlier, for the drop tank itself. Finally, note the various wingtip, fuselage, tail and wing-underside lenses for the various lights that were fitted to the Tempest. Clarity is very good, with no flaws at all present. Plastic Summary This kit is almost flash and seam free, with nice tight sprue gate points that are generally well placed so as not to cause problems. I can’t see any sink marks either, except for a couple on the reverse of a part, so they don’t count. Ejector pin marks; there’s only two I can see that need removal, and that will take just a few minutes. Plastic quality is excellent, and the quality of the mouldings are very high quality. Resin parts Unlike the two bags of resin included with the original HI-TECH release, there are now THREE bags, packaged into one of CMK’s yellow resin accessory boxes that they use for the more comprehensive sets. In these bags, you will find: Napier Sabre engine and ancillary equipment and plumbing Detailed engine firewall with fittings Hollow stub exhausts Thin, three part engine cowls with internal details Two sizes of main gear wheels (weighted) Anti-shimmy tail wheel Cockpit components (seat, tread boards, pedals, throttle quadrant/levers, control stick/grip, seat, trim wheel, internal windscreen frame) Cannon fairing stubs These parts are also very high standard, with fine detailing. There are a total of 63 resin parts in this release (with one shown as not for use), cast in a combination of light and medium grey resin. Casting blocks will generally be easy to remove too, and there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises here. The engine is mounted on a resin plinth that sits within the cowl area. No chin radiators are included with this release, but I have seen something on Special Hobby’s Facebook page which shows a complete Napier Sabre with the radiator fitted. Maybe a release we’ll see soon. Photo Etch Only a small fret here that includes parts for the fabric seat belts, control grip trigger, whip aerial and mount plate etc. This small stainless fret also contains a small notch that you need to align on the ailerons, and use as a scribing template for the small trim tabs. Seatbelts These are produced by HGW, from their microfiber material, and should need no introduction. Being laser-cut and pre-printed, all you need to do is to snip and assemble. Just remember to peel the backing paper from them first! Masks A small sheet of vinyl masks is included, for the canopy, lights and wheel hubs. These are sharply cut and exhibit no shrinkage. Decals THREE sheets are supplied here, printed by Eduard. The largest contains roundels and fin flashes. A slightly smaller sheet holds the various serials, codes, emblems, kill markings, and instrument dials for the cockpit. The latter is printed in banks of instruments, and I would be tempted to punch these out to remove their carrier film. Their definition is excellent and they can certainly be used without having to resort to an aftermarket product. The last sheet is mainly stencils, plus the rivet banding for the drop tank acetate covers. Printing is excellent throughout, with minimal carrier film, solid colour and perfect register. The schemes offered are: SN222, JF-E, “Le Grand Charles”, No.3 Squadron, Fassberg (B.152), Fl/Lt. Pierre Clostermann, Late April – Early May 1945 EJ750, JBW, No.122 Wing, Wg/Cmdr. J.B. Wray, Volkel (B.80), late 1944 (this machine shot down an Me 262!) EJ762, JJ-F, No.274 Sqn, F/L D.C. Fairbanks DFC and Two Bars (12.5 victories), Volkel (B.80), October 1944 SN206, 5R-B, No.33 Sqn, F/O G.A. Rens, Quackenbrück (B.109), May 1945 SN330, J5-H, No.3 Sqn, Sqn/Ldr Robert Cole DFC and Bar, Wunstorf, British Occupation Zone, Germany, 1946 Instructions This is printed in a glossy A-4 format, similar to that of Eduard, with a profile on the front page, and a history of the type given in both English and Czech. There are then over two pages dedicated to a parts map, which is useful for knowing the parts not to use, and then we are into the construction. A series of excellent line drawings are annotated with splashes of colour to signify paint and other nomenclature, such as drilling and mask use etc. Illustrations are very clear, and should present no problems. Colour call-outs are supplied throughout construction and refer to both Gunze and Alclad II paints, and the last pages of the manual are given over to the 5 schemes, with each being shown in all 4 planforms. Conclusion I didn’t think the original HI-TECH release could’ve been matched by Special Hobby, but then again, I wasn’t expecting them to release this kit with this superb resin engine. As they saw this as a new release now, and not a reintroduction, this is why they went further and replaced the marking schemes too. A superb kit with nicely moulded plastic and fine details, along with a whole box of resin goodies that will keep you at your bench for more hours than you are probably allowed! Add to this the PE and fabric seatbelts too. The only way I can see this being bettered is if you add the CMK and their ‘Quick & Easy’ edition aftermarket stuff too, such as the weapons bays, struts, leading edge cannon fairings etc. Example of engine from Special Hobby Facebook page Recommended? Without a doubt. Get one whilst you can! My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample seen here. To purchase direct, click THIS link.
  17. Special Hobby 1:32 Yakolev Yak-3 "Onward to Berlin" Following the German attack against the Soviet Union, it's soon become clear Soviet fighter aircraft lacked performance against the invading German types. The German attack came during a period when the new Soviet types were just being introduced into both production and service. Types such as the Yak-1, Lagg-3 and Mig-3. Apart from the Mig-3 high altitude aircraft, all the other types were inferior to German machines. Soviet designers were struggling with the storage of high quality raw materials, insufficient equipment, poor performing engines and lastly with directives from the Communist leaders. The Yakovlev design bureau were developing new subtypes based on the Yak-1 fighter, trying to meet the VVS requirements. However, all the versions that emerged from the Yak-1 development, which was designated as Yak-7, were still lacking in performance compared with their German contemporaries. In 1942, a new fighter type known as the Yak-9 was introduced. This type, originating from the Yak-7 seven, was the first of the Yak heavy fighters family. Simultaneously in 1941, a new type was being developed. A nimble and light weight design with smaller dimensions and of mixed wood and metal construction. It utilised a new wing design as well, with a shorter span and the oil coolers moved to the wing root. This type was latter to be known as the Yak-3 and formed the light weight family of Yak fighters. Of interest is that the Yak-3 designation had already been used by the Yakovlev bureau. However it belonged a heavier armed fighter prototype built back in 1940 which, had not progressed be on the prototype stage. This second Yak-3 also had it quite tough from the outset, and development was not easy. The acceptance trials not being completed until October 1943. The new Yak was equipped with the Klimov M105PF – 2 engine. However, because of poor performance and production standards, the overall weight exceeded the limits specified for the test aircraft, which meant that the first production aircraft were armed with only one 20 mm cannon firing through the propeller shaft and 12.7 mm machine gun mounted in the forward fuselage above the engine. Later production machines received the full designed armament of 120 mm cannon and two 12.7 mm machine guns. The new machines were not introduced into service until 1944, and the first units to receive them were the elite units of the VVS plus the French volunteer unit known as the Normandie Niemen regiment. This French unit made its return to France in June 1945 and the Yak-3 remind with them and in service with the new France Airforce for some time after the war. Besides the Soviet and French Air Forces, the Yak-3 saw service with Poland and Yugoslavia. The Yakolev bureau tried to develop the type further, but with no great success because of lack of dedicated engine development. It was only after the war that a small series of Yak-3 M–107 planes were produced. This type was fitted with a Klimov M-107 engine and was of an all metal construction and metal skin. Yet another version appeared, the Yak-3RD with a rocket engine mounted in the rear fuselage. Also the Yak-3 M–108 and the Yak-3U appeared, all of the types failed to progress further than the prototype stage. The Yak-3 fighter is considered amongst some to be one of the best World War II fighter types of soviet design and is the one of the very best to see action over the eastern front. Hot on the heels of their non Hi Tec version of the Hawker Tempest Mk.V. Special Hobby have released a similar version of their Yak-3. It comes like the Tempest in a similarly style of box and as there isn’t any resin or Photo Etch parts the box isn’t too full. Once you get the very tight fitting box lid off, you’ll find five sprues of grey styrene packed into a plastic bag, a separate, smaller bag contains one clear sprue, and lastly there is one bag with two decal sheets be very careful when opening the bag with the decals in as there is a very small plastic bag stapled to it containing a gun blanking piece for one of the decal options. At the bottom of the box is a lovely glossy, colour A4 manual. Sprue A This has both the fuselage halves, the upper gun cowl and two parts of the lower radiator housing. The overall finish on the parts is good, with nice surface detail with finely engraved panel lines (there isn’t too much detail to be seen as the aircraft is of metal and wood construction). The moulding has a satin finish rather than a super smooth finish found on other kits. You might want to give the surfaces a light buffing before applying any paint to the kit. Inside the fuselage there is some sidewall cockpit detail, but not much as the cockpit is inside of a tubular framework. There is also some tail wheel-well detail moulded in the rear of the fuslage. The cowl that covers the machine guns looks very good, and has some lovely detail such as rivets and panel lines Sprue B This sprue has the upper and lower wing, and the sprue is split into two parts to allow it to fit more easily in to the box. As the wings are moulded in full span there will be no issues trying to judge the right dihedral etc. Both flaps and ailerons are moulded in, which would which would require you to cut and reposition them should you wish to pose the aircraft on a base or diorama. Surface detail once again is very minimal as the wing is of wooden construction. However, the ailerons have good rib detail. The wing fairing is nicely blended and has well defined fastener detail. There is two holes in the upper wing, these are for the wing mounted fuel gauges. They are supplied as decals that you fix to the underside of two clear plastic lenses (located on the clear parts sprue). The centre section of the upper wing has the moulding for the cockpit floor with foot plates and control column base. The radiator housing is moulded on the lower wing, and you will need to add the radiator parts before fitting the upper wing as none of this area will be assessable after the wing halves have been cemented. There is more detail on the wing undersides, these are the recesses for the main great wheel well walls, and the inside of the upper wing has detail for the upper surfaces of the wells. Sprue C This has the horizontal stabiliser and elevators, all moulded in the conventional way. The elevators and stabilisers are of a two part construction of upper and lower halves. Once again as the horizontal stabiliser are of wooden construction there is no detail moulded on them. However, the elevators and the moving rudder part has the same ribbing detail as the ailerons. Also on this sprue are the separate propeller blades along with a two part spinner, and the main undercarriage doors, once again with very good rivet and internal detail. Sprue D Contains is the ‘smaller parts’ sprue, on here you will find some of the main gear well walls, the undercarriage ‘legs’, the tail wheel strut, instrument panel, cockpit seat tub and the seat backrest. Also there is the cockpit sidewall panels, main instrument panel, tailwheel mounting plate, radiator actuator parts, and other small parts for the cockpit and wheel wells. There is also parts for the wheels and exhausts. Sprue E This has the cockpit tubular assembly, control column and numerous other small parts for the cockpit and the forward walls of the main gear wells. Before moving onto the clear parts sprue, it is with noting that the kit styrene does seem to be of quite a soft nature. I don’t remember other Special Hobby kits styrene being quite this soft. However with out digging a box out from the stash I’m not sure and I may well be wrong. Sprue CP Sprue CP has the aforementioned clear parts. The canopy of which there are two option one to have the cockpit canopy open the other to have it in the closed position. There is also the two clear parts for the wing fuel gauges, again mentioned earlier. Decals The decals are on two sheets, both very finely printed by Cartograf, and as expected the decal quality is excellent. The larger sheet is a colour sheet with the various markings along with some very nice silver printed borders for the red stars.,The smaller sheet has the the red stars mentioned above, instrument decals, stripes for the tail of one option, the wing fuel gauges and various ‘stencils’. There are three schemes offered in this boxing and they are: Aircraft 15 flown by, Lieutenant Semyon Rogovol of the 64th Guards Fighter Regiment, 4th Guards Fighter Division, 2nd Baltic Front, Autumn 1944. This aircraft was presented to Rogovol by sailors of the Alum River Flotilla located in the Far East. Aircraft 114 flown by Senior Lieutenant Valentin Gregoryevich Ernokhin of 402nd Fighter Regiment, 256th Fighter Division, 1st Belorussion Front, Spring 1945. Aircraft 10 flown by Colonel Boris Nikolaevich Eryomin, Deputy Commanding Officer of6th Guards Fighter Division, 2nd Ukrainian Front, Spring 1945. This aircraft was being Eryomin’s second was paid for by Ferapont Petrovich Golovatyi and was an early production machine with one cannon and one machine gun. Instruction Booklet The instruction booklet is a glossy, colour printed 16 page A4 affair, that started with the history of the Yak-3, the sprue ‘maps’. The construction is listed in 36 steps, with very clear line illustrations with the paint numbers for Gunze-Sangyo paints. The last pages of the instructions are the three scheme illustrations, in colour, with the decal placement guides. The lat three pages of the booklet contain some more of special Hobby’s offerings, several of which have caught my eye! A PDF of the instruction booklet can be seen here. Also in my box but not included in the kit was a replacement resin radio by CMK. Nice crisp moulded replace meant for the kit part. Two Vacform Canopies for the Yak by MH Models, one for an open cockpit and one for a closed canopy. Both come with inner and exterior masks and look very thin and clear This boxing of the kit is well worth waiting for as it give a cheaper and easier option than the Hi Tec boxing as it omits the Resin and Photo etch parts of the previous boxing. I highly recommended this kit. My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample
  18. 1/48 Junkers Ju 88D-2/D-4 Special Hobby Kit # SH48178 Available from Special Hobby for around €44,73 Without a doubt, the Junkers Ju 88 was one of the most versatile and adaptable aircraft to have been used during WW2. Entering service as the war was literally starting (on the day of the Polish attack), the Ju 88 became successful for its numerous famous and infamous roles, starting out as a light bomber/dive bomber, and when losses started to mount around the time of the Battle of Britain, it was moved into other theatres of war, such as North Africa, and against shipping in the Mediterranean with a torpedo-carrying variant. Where it is perhaps best known are for its roles as both a heavy fighter and night-fighter, in which it excelled. The C version, which is the subject of this kit, saw the glass nose replaced with a sheet metal unit, carrying a lethal punch of four fixed guns (1 x MG FF cannon, and 3 x MG17). This was the version which eventually morphed into the deadly Ju 88G, with its revised fin and night-fighting equipment, including spine mounted, upward firing guns and lack of the bola. Many of the C version machines were built from converted A-1 and A-4 airframes, and still retained the ability to also carry bombs. To deceive enemy fighters, a number of these heavy fighters had their noses painted to represent the glazed nose A variants. The kit ICM seem to be favourites for other companies to re-box at the moment, with this latest Special Hobby kit, along with their recent Ju 88C-4 release, being of Ukrainian origin. ICM’s base kit was first released in 2015, as the A-5, with further subsequent ICM and Hasegawa boxings. However, this is the first time that we’ve seen a ‘D’ version of this kit. This quirk is due to the majority of the kit being ICM, coupled with new injection-moulded and resin parts from Special Hobby themselves. So, if you want a recently new-tooled Ju 88 that is marketed as the Photo Recon/Tropical version, then this is one you may well opt to buy. This kit itself is packaged into a fairly large box with a nice painting of a Ju 88 being pursued by a P-40. The lid is quite a tight fit, but when you get this off, the parts within are packaged into a single clear sleeve, with the clear sprue being separately packed. A cardboard shelf sits over one side of the inner box, with the decal sheet and resin parts securely fastened to it, as well as the brand new Special Hobby clear sprue. An A4 colour-printed instruction manual resides in the bottom of the box. As for the plastic itself, there are SEVEN sprues of light grey ICM plastic and one sprue of ICM clear plastic. This is alongside a single sprue of light grey Special Hobby plastic and one extra clear sprue from this company. There are also 8 extra parts, cast in dark grey resin. I know that some modellers can be driven to frustration by the engineering choices that some companies make, but with this kit, ICM has boxed clever. It is designed to accommodate other versions so as to maximise the tooling, but none of this is done to the disadvantage of the modeller. Some very intelligent design work can be seen here, such as the fuselage halves being full length, so no need to graft on different nose versions. The fin is also separate, indicating something from the 88G family, maybe. Wing root fairings are moulded to the fuselage and are tabbed, meaning that the upper wing panels can easily sit on these and provide a positive location point. Another touch of genius is a single piece lower fuse and inboard wing panel section. When this is fitted to the fuselage, and then the wing panels added, the lower seam will be totally hidden under the broad nacelle structure. The nacelles themselves will then locate into the undersides via tabs. If you’ve ever seen the Revell 1/32 kit, you’ll know that there is a sturdy structure within the nacelle that the undercarriage is mounted to. Looking at this model, I think that whilst you may need to fit that mounting structure prior to the nacelle, it appears that you can probably fit the landing gear later, after painting. All control surfaces on this model can be posed, with the rear of the nacelles being separate for this purpose. You may need to fiddle things with this, and I can’t comment further without test fitting this one. Two detailed Jumo211 engines are included in this kit, with the provision to display one/either of them. These really do look very good, with each unit containing around 15 parts per engine, including the firewall and associated plumbing. One scheme that has standard day splinter camo, will use the plastic kit parts for exhausts. For the other two night schemes, a set of resin exhaust flame dampers are included. It does appear that the rear of the resin flame dampers contains a block that represents the visible connection between the damper and the engine. So, all should be good in opening the cowls with these installed. Check your references. The engines must be installed within the nacelle before the whole assembly is offered to the wing. You’ll need to make sure your painting and masking regime is good here. Cowl radiator flaps are presented as open only, so to pose these in the more aesthetically pleasing closed position, you will need to do a little surgery. Propellers are supplied as single piece units, and the spinner comprises of the typical back-plate and front section. If you expect a lot from the cockpit area, in terms of detail, then this won’t disappoint. Whilst there are no specific Eduard sets for this release at the time of writing, some areas could still use some of the sets designed for the ICM release. I would at least recommend some seatbelts, at least. The office area is very well-appointed, with nicely moulded fuselage sidewall details, accompanied by a superbly equipped radio rear bulkhead. Unlike the previous C-4 nightfighter release, there are no resin ammunition racks and drums, resin instrument panel with this release. However, the model already comes with nicely detailed side consoles with delicately rendered instruments, two-piece control column, rudder pedal assemblies, seats with intricate mounting points etc. When assembled the cockpit will most certainly be a very busy and visual area. The bola is moulded separately to the underside fuselage, and can be fitted later in assembly. Surface detail is everything you would expect from a modern-tooled model, with finely engraved panel lines and port details. There are also no rivets at all, so if you do want them, then you’ll have to get out Rosie. Plastic quality here is excellent with no flaws or obtrusive ejector pin marks. Clear plastic parts, both ICM and Special Hobby, are superb, with excellent clarity and nicely defined frame details. Three options are provided for the rear canopy, with weapon’s placements, and you’ll need to make sure you use the new main canopy provided on the Special Hobby sprue, and not the original ICM part. To convert this model to the D-2/D-4 standard, some surgery will be required. This involved cutting away the plastic at the rear fuselage area of the wing centre section, and grafting into it a new fuselage section that is moulded in clear plastic, incorporating the clear windows for the downward-facing cameras. This unit is built up as a tray, with stanchions and brackets inside onto which are mounted the camera units. The difference between the D-2 and D-4 versions are nil. On the real aircraft, there was a tropicalisation within the engine units, with no external signs of variant change. I suppose the only real way of telling was if the aircraft was in desert camouflage! The resin parts in this kit do more than simply provide the aforementioned conversion parts for the D-2/D--4. They also provide enhancements over general kit detail, such as nicely weighted wheels and new tailwheel and mudguard. Unlike the previous C-4 version, this kit doesn’t supply the replacement main gear doors with internal detail missing on the kit parts. That is a shame, but I’m sure those can be purchased separately. All parts are nicely cast in dark grey resin, with no flaws. Of course, you will need to remove casting blocks, but looking at these pieces, that won’t be too difficult a task for the average modeller. A Cartograf-printed decal sheet contains markings for THREE markings, with all printing being in solid, authentic colour, with minimal carrier film and also being both nice and thin. Registration is perfect too. As well as markings, a full suite of stencils are included as are instrument decals. The three schemes are: Ju 88D-4, 7A+GH, 1.(F)/121, North Africa Ju 88D-2, 4N+FH, 1.(F)/22, Norway Ju 88D-2, F9+15, long-range reconnaissance squadron, Royal Hungarian Air Force Conclusion It’s great to have a modern tool Ju 88D-2/D-4, and one whose base plastic can now put the maligned Dragon versions out to pasture, plus the poorly-executed Hobbycraft release. This kit has everything; a great cockpit, two detailed engines and the excellent camera conversion set. I can’t see anything here that would challenge your average modeller, and the price-point is also very attractive, with this kit retailing for around £38 in the UK (as of time of writing). If you have ever hankered to build a tropicalized version of the Ju 88, then this blend of both ICM and Special Hobby parts should be high on your purchase list. Highly recommended My thanks to Special Hobby for this review sample. To purchase directly, click HERE
  19. 1/32 Tempest Mk.V “HI-TECH” Special Hobby Catalogue # SH32052 Available from Special Hobby for 79,90€ Unlike Spitfire development, where even major airframe revisions saw the type keep its original name, Hawker’s Typhoon project was different. The Typhoon wasn’t without its problems, such as a seemingly unstoppable leaking of carbon monoxide gas into the cockpit, and of course that tail unit which had broken away completely on some aircraft, ending with a series of reinforcement straps that were designed as a simple fix for this. Like the Hurricane, the Typhoon also had a thick wing section that provided the machine with enough space for heavy armament, fuel tanks and resulted in a steady gun platform that could be used for low-level operations. Unfortunately, the thick wing was responsible for high levels of drag that slowed the aircraft at certain altitudes, and affected climb rates. To fix these problems needed a number of radical solutions which resulted in Sydney Camm and his team taking the Typhoon literally back to the drawing board. The resulting aircraft was sufficiently different enough to the Typhoon, as to eventually merit a name change, and in keeping with Hawker’s use of severe storm condition names for its range of fighters, ‘Tempest’ was chosen. Originally, the type was to have been called Typhoon II. Six prototypes were built, using different engines, resulting in not just the large-intake Typhoon style machine being built, but also a radial machine and a sleek-cowl Griffon-engine Tempest. Other variables including bubble canopy and car-door style canopy (á la early Typhoon), were included. The small tail fin surface of the prototype machines was eventually enlarged too, and the recognisable filleted fin introduced into production machines, as well as the wider span horizontal tail-plane that was seen on later versions of the Typhoon. A wider track landing gear helped with higher landing speeds. What made the Tempest radically different to the Typhoon was the design of a sleeker, laminar flow wing that was designed by NACA in the USA, and implemented on the new Mustang design. The Tempest Mk.V, which is the subject of this kit release, was fitted with a Napier Sabre IIa/b liquid-cooled H-24 sleeve-valve engine, and had wingspan of 41ft, length of 33ft 8in, and a maximum speed of between 432 and 435mph at 19,000ft. Armament was typically Mk.II/V Hispano cannon (x4), and rockets and bombs could be carried externally, as could droptanks for increased range/operational time. The Tempest went through various incarnations, and the later Sea Fury was a development of this, through the Tempest II family, retaining the later Bristol Centaurus engine. The Kit It really does seem like a long, long time since Special Hobby announced their Tempest kit. Of all the comments I’ve been reading online, and from people I know, this does appear to be a highly anticipated release, and offering the modeller an alternative to the PCM kit that was released in 2013. Currently, the PCM kit isn’t really showing up as available from various retailers. When Special Hobby said they would send me a copy of their new kit, I knew I would be in for some enjoyable hours rifling through the box and writing an article. Remember, I’m not generally looking at accuracy here, as this is an out-of-box appraisal that will look at details, possibilities, engineering, options and quality. Special Hobby’s Tempest kit is packed into quite a large, standard type box with a removable lid (take note, Revell!), and adorned with a classy artwork of a V1 being taken down by a victorious machine, piloted by Wing Commander Roland Prosper Beamont. Of course, this is one of the FIVE scheme options provided, and the only one that carries the D-Day invasion stripes. No other profiles are shown on the box lid, but there are some renders of the included resin parts and other items supplied in this HI-TECH boxing. Lifting the lid is difficult due to the tight fit, but once off, you’ll see EIGHT sprues of medium grey styrene, packed into a single clear sleeve, ONE sprue of clear parts that is packed into a separate sleeve, and a cardboard bridge that has TWO bags of resin stapled to it, plus a package with the masks, decals and photo-etch parts. A large colour-printed instruction manual lies at the bottom of the box. SPRUE A Only two parts here, but pretty key ones; both fuselage halves. As Special Hobby have future plans for releasing the Mk.6 and Tempest II, the nose is moulded separately, allowing this tooling to be good for all versions. The kit shows just how far this company have come in the last years, with regards to both moulding, tooling and detailing. You would be hard pressed to differentiate the Tempest from a kit made by a whole multitude of more mainstream manufacturers out there, such as Hasegawa, Revell, Airfix etc. Surface detailing is excellent, with restrained, even rows of rivets, and lots of extremely fine panel lining and port/panel access plates. Edges are sharp where the wing will meet the fuselage etc. and the parts have a nicely polished finish to them that wouldn’t look out of place on a Tamiya release. The rudder is separately moulded, and where the nose cowl parts will fit, the forward fuselage has a moulded bulkhead that will provide rigidity to the proceedings. Internally, those high standards of detail are also evident, with stringer and former representation being both refined and sharp, and with associated rivet detail included. Only one ejector pin mark exists in this area, and this is on the area adjacent to the instrument panel. As no other detail is in the vicinity, removing this will be easy. Some detail is also included around the area of the retractable tail wheel, using the same level of refinement seen in the cockpit area. Note also that this model has locating pins too, unlike some of the other less mainstream model kits. I have to say here too that Special Hobby is NOT a Limited-Run company, but fully mainstream. SPRUE B Wings, glorious wings. These are supplied as a single span lower part, and upper port and starboard panels. Note that the inboard leading edge is a separate part, accommodating the future kits that will have intakes in these places. I have to say that each time I take a look at this kit, I like it more and more. Surface detail is commensurate with that of the fuselage, incorporating full rivet detail (plus double rows, where applicable), finely engraved panel lines, fastener detail, access panels and nicely shaped cannon blisters. All control surfaces are integrally moulded, so can’t be posed without taking a saw to the model. Ailerons are moulded along with very fine actuator arms that really do look very good. Cannon shell ejection chutes are also finely moulded. One thing I like here are the tabs that protrude from the upper panels, and provide a support for the wing to fuselage connection. Actually, there is another purpose for those tabs. If you flip the wing parts over, you will see they form the roof of the main gear wells. These areas contain rib and stringer detail, along with rivets, and this will be detailed further with various rods, pistons etc. All of this will be framed by the gear bay walls that are supplied as separate parts that will be fitted into the recessed area in the upper wing panel. Cannon fairings are separate parts too, and the wing has a small bulkhead within that stops them from being inserted too far within. SPRUE C You will be able to pose the elevators dynamically, as these are moulded separately to the stabilisers. All parts here are the traditional upper and lower halves, and external detail is of the same high standard that we have seen so far, including rivet and fastener detail and trim tab actuators/actuator fairings. Other parts included here are for external drop-tanks and bomb bodies. Bomb fins are separately moulded. Bombs and tanks are moulded as halves also, and with the latter, you will of course need to reinstate any panel line detail that may be lost from seam eradication. The fuel filler cap is nicely engraved, but I think the detail to the rear of this is supposed to represent a pipe, and is instead moulded as a fillet. If this is the case, cut away and replace with a little length of bent, rigid wire. SPRUE D This sprue looks very Eduard-ish in design, with its large radius corners. Here we have the fabric covered rudder, complete with its rib tape detail and metal trim tab. This is the only fabric covered area on the Tempest, and I do like the representation here. The multiple undercarriage door parts are just beautiful…both inside and out, with some great detail there, and no pesky ejection pin marks to worry about. Small tags have instead been placed externally to the main doors, and these just require snipping off, followed by a quick swipe of a sanding stick. Et voila! Other parts here include the upper, chin intake wall and the bomb release fairings. SPRUE E For the first time, the instructions show parts here that won’t be used on this build. Here, that is for a second set of propeller blades. Engine cowl halves are moulded here, as are a number of parts that form the flap section and intake outlet to the rear of the main intake. The exhaust attachment boxes can be found here, and these will just glue internally. A two-part spinner is included, with the back-plate including channels that will precisely angle the propeller blades. There is a little flash on the spinner, but nothing to be concerned about. One thing to note is that the fuselage decking to the rear of the pilot, is included here as a separate part. That’s a nice touch as there is a lot of detail in this area, and removing a seam would have been a pain in the arse. Other notable parts here are the upper and lower parts for the wing leading edge inboard areas, where future kits will have the intakes attached. SPRUE H Quite a few parts here are shown as not for use on this release. These include two sets of balloon tyres, several intake parts, leading edge intake parts, and also a seat back etc. What can be used here are the various undercarriage parts, including well detail, walls and the struts, pistons and rods themselves. Looking at how refined much of the detail is here, I’m going to stick my neck out and say it’s Tamiya-esque. Simply gorgeous details that you’ll bury away in those gear bays. Even the sprung-loaded rods look very authentic and filigree. I am particularly impressed with the gear struts and the detail definition here. Please be careful with the removal of parts from this sprue, as so many of the landing gear parts have some very fine detail protrusions. If in doubt, use a razor saw. Note also the forward cockpit bulkhead and the armoured frame onto which pilot’s seat will fit. SPRUE I A small sprue, but one with perhaps more parts on it than any other. One area that features heavily here is the cockpit. For me, a nicely detailed cockpit is the very heart of a satisfying project, and this cockpit it certainly better than most I’ve seen in quite a long time. Two detailed tubular side frames are adorned with various fixing plates and panels and brackets, and there are numerous console parts, throttle, spacers, torsion rods and linkages etc. The main instrument panel is moulded in three parts; central panel and two angled panels that fit to its sides. Be careful here as there are two different sets of side panels. The instructions clearly show what you should not use. Here you will also find the canopy rails and three different types of joystick grip, although none of these are shown as for use, with resin parts favouring these all along the way. Presumably these, like the seat and other parts, will be used in any future, standard boxing that isn’t classed as ‘HI-TECH’. The plastic parts are actually still very nice, as are the cannon fairings that will also be ditched in favour of the resin extras here. Again, watch out for the numerous parts that won’t be used here, and there are a fair few of them. SPRUE J The last grey styrene sprue. Another bulkhead is supplied here, for the rear of the cockpit, and the exhausts are included as halves. It’s a little disappointing that Special Hobby didn’t include the resin ones they now sell, as part of this HI-TECH offering. I would’ve preferred those to the cockpit seat, for instance. It will take some careful seam removal work on these parts. More wheel well parts are found here, as well as the three-part assembly for the tail wheel, again with some very nice structural detail included. More unused seat parts can be found, so some nice parts for the spares box. Several intake parts are moulded here, as are the bomb sway braces and fins and tail wheel strut. The most obvious part though, the radial engine of the Centaurus, is just there to tease us for the future release. SPRUE K This is the clear sprue, and on my sample, the windscreen has broken free from the runner. It still looks ok to me though. Thankfully, the main hood is still attached. A number of other parts here are drop tank fairings that I think were made from clear acetate or similar. Nice to see these, and they’ll certainly show off that wire modification I mentioned earlier, for the drop tank itself. Finally, note the various wingtip, fuselage, tail and wing-underside lenses for the various lights that were fitted to the Tempest. Clarity is very good, but a little scuffing on my main hood means that I will need to polish it away. Plastic Summary This kit is almost flash and seam free, with nice tight sprue gate points that are generally well placed so as not to cause problems. I can’t see any sink marks either, except for a couple on the reverse of a part, so they don’t count. Ejector pin marks; there’s only two I can see that need removal, and that will take just a few minutes. Plastic quality is excellent, and the quality of the mouldings are very high quality. Resin parts Two bags of parts are supplied here, and these are cast in dark grey resin. These include: Seat Two sizes of main gear wheels (weighted) Anti-shimmy tail wheel Cockpit components (tread boards, pedals, throttle quadrant/levers, control stick/grip, seat, trim wheel, internal windscreen frame) Cannon fairings These parts are also very high standard, with fine detailing. On my sample, the tread boards are slightly warped and will need a dip in hot water, and a stem has broken from the windscreen internal frame. This is an easy fix, fortunately. Casting blocks will generally be easy to remove too, and there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises here. Photo Etch Only a small fret here that includes parts for the fabric seat belts, control grip trigger, whip aerial and mount plate etc. This small stainless fret also contains a small notch that you need to align on the ailerons, and use as a scribing template for the small trim tabs. Seatbelts These are produced by HGW, from their microfiber material, and should need no introduction. Being laser-cut and pre-printed, all you need to do is to snip and assemble. Just remember to peel the backing paper from them first! Masks A small sheet of vinyl masks is included, for the canopy, lights and wheel hubs. These are sharply cut and exhibit no shrinkage. Decals THREE sheets are supplied here, printed by Eduard. The largest contains roundels and fin flashes. Peeling off the protective sheet does seem to have removed some of the very tiniest of specks of ink from them, but this is so small that it probably won’t be noticeable when they are applied. A slightly smaller sheet holds he various serials, codes, emblems, kill markings, and instrument dials for the cockpit. The latter is printed in banks of instruments, and I would be tempted to punch these out to remove their carrier film. Their definition is excellent and they can certainly be used without having to resort to an aftermarket product. The last sheet is mainly stencils, plus the rivet banding for the drop tank acetate covers. Printing is excellent throughout, with minimal carrier film, solid colour and perfect register. The schemes offered are: JN751, R-B, No.150 Wing, flown by Wng. Cdr. Roland Prosper ‘Bee’ Beamont, RAF Castle Camps, April 1944 SN129, SA-M, No.486 (NZ) Sqn. RAF, flown by Sqn.Ldr. C.J.Sheddan, Fassberg, Germany, May 1945 SN228, EDM, No.122 Wing RAF, flown by Wg. Cdr. Evan Dall Mackie, Fassberg, Germany, May 1945 NV724, JF-E, No.3 Sqn. RAF, flown by Pierre Clostermann, Copenhagen, Denmark, June 1945 NV994, JF-E No.3 Sqn. RAF, flown by Pierre Clostermann, Hopsten, Germany, April 1945 Instructions This is printed in a glossy A-4 format, similar to that of Eduard, with a profile on the front page, and a history of the type given in both English and Czech. There are then over two pages dedicated to a parts map, which is useful for knowing the parts not to use, and then we are into the construction. A series of excellent line drawings are annotated with splashes of colour to signify paint and other nomenclature, such as drilling and mask use etc. Illustrations are very clear, and should present no problems. Colour call-outs are supplied throughout construction and refer to both Gunze and Alclad II paints, and the last pages of the manual are given over to the 5 schemes, with each being shown in all 4 planforms. Conclusion This is the kit I’ve been waiting for, for what seems like years! Was it worth that wait though? Absolutely. In fact, this has far surpassed what I even expected this to turn out like. The kit is thoughtfully designed throughout and beautifully recreated in plastic, resin and metal, with good wing loadout options (although the manual tells you that it was really only the fuel tanks that were generally carried during the war), and some seriously eye-catching detail. This is also a very full box of parts and will provide the modeller with a seriously interesting build that will, in my opinion, blow the PCM opposition straight out of the water. I can’t wait to start snipping away at this one. Watch for it in a future issue of Military Illustrated Modeller. Recommended? Damn right!! My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample seen here. To purchase direct, click THIS link.
  20. 1/48 Junkers Ju 88C-4 Special Hobby Kit # SH48177 Special Hobby for 49,70€ Without a doubt, the Junkers Ju 88 was one of the most versatile and adaptable aircraft to have been used during WW2. Entering service as the war was literally starting (on the day of the Polish attack), the Ju 88 became successful for its numerous famous and infamous roles, starting out as a light bomber/dive bomber, and when losses started to mount around the time of the Battle of Britain, it was moved into other theatres of war, such as North Africa, and against shipping in the Mediterranean with a torpedo-carrying variant. Where it is perhaps best known are for its roles as both a heavy fighter and night-fighter, in which it excelled. The C version, which is the subject of this kit, saw the glass nose replaced with a sheet metal unit, carrying a lethal punch of four fixed guns (1 x MG FF cannon, and 3 x MG17). This was the version which eventually morphed into the deadly Ju 88G, with its revised fin and night-fighting equipment, including spine mounted, upward firing guns and lack of the bola. Many of the C version machines were built from converted A-1 and A-4 airframes, and still retained the ability to also carry bombs. To deceive enemy fighters, a number of these heavy fighters had their noses painted to represent the glazed nose A variants. The kit ICM seem to be favourites for other companies to re-box at the moment, with this latest Special Hobby release also being of Ukrainian origin. ICM’s base kit was first released in 2015, as the A-5, with further subsequent ICM and Hasegawa boxings. However, this is the first time that we’ve seen a solid nose C version of this kit. This quirk is due to the majority of the kit being ICM, coupled with new injection-moulded and resin parts from Special Hobby themselves. So, if you want a recently new-tooled Ju 88 that is a night fighter, then this is one you may well opt to buy. This kit itself is packaged into a fairly large box with an atmospheric artwork of a black 88C at dusk, after an encounter with a Wellington. The lid is quite a tight fit, but when you get this off, the parts within are packaged into a single clear sleeve, with the clear sprue being separately packed. A cardboard shelf sits over one side of the inner box, with the decal sheet and resin parts securely fastened to it, as well as the brand new Special Hobby clear sprue. An A4 colour-printed instruction manual resides in the bottom of the box. As for the plastic itself, there are SEVEN sprues of light grey ICM plastic and one sprue of ICM clear plastic. This is alongside a single sprue of light grey Special Hobby plastic and one extra clear sprue from this company. There are also 24 extra parts, cast in dark grey resin. I know that some modellers can be driven to frustration by the engineering choices that some companies make, but with this kit, ICM has boxed clever. It is designed to accommodate other versions so as to maximise the tooling, but none of this is done to the disadvantage of the modeller. Some very intelligent design work can be seen here, such as the fuselage halves being full length, so no need to graft on different nose versions. The fin is also separate, indicating something from the 88G family, maybe. Wing root fairings are moulded to the fuselage and are tabbed, meaning that the upper wing panels can easily sit on these and provide a positive location point. Another touch of genius is a single piece lower fuse and inboard wing panel section. When this is fitted to the fuselage, and then the wing panels added, the lower seam will be totally hidden under the broad nacelle structure. The nacelles themselves will then locate into the undersides via tabs. If you’ve ever seen the Revell 1/32 kit, you’ll know that there is a sturdy structure within the nacelle that the undercarriage is mounted to. Looking at this model, I think that whilst you may need to fit that mounting structure prior to the nacelle, it appears that you can probably fit the landing gear later, after painting. All control surfaces on this model can be posed, with the rear of the nacelles being separate for this purpose. You may need to fiddle things with this, and I can’t comment further without test fitting this one. Two detailed Jumo211 engines are included in this kit, with the provision to display one/either of them. These really do look very good, with each unit containing around 15 parts per engine, including the firewall and associated plumbing. One scheme that has standard day splinter camo, will use the plastic kit parts for exhausts. For the other two night schemes, a set of resin exhaust flame dampers are included. It does appear that the rear of the resin flame dampers contains a block that represents the visible connection between the damper and the engine. So, all should be good in opening the cowls with these installed. Check your references. The engines must be installed within the nacelle before the whole assembly is offered to the wing. You’ll need to make sure your painting and masking regime is good here. Cowl radiator flaps are presented as open only, so to pose these in the more aesthetically pleasing closed position, you will need to do a little surgery. Propellers are supplied as single piece units, and the spinner comprises of the typical back-plate and front section. If you expect a lot from the cockpit area, in terms of detail, then this won’t disappoint. Whilst there is no specific Eduard sets for this release at the time of writing, some areas could still use some of the sets designed for the ICM release, but you must remember that this model has a number of cockpit changes. Thankfully, Special Hobby has included these as resin parts, so you don’t need to rush to order aftermarket, except for seatbelts, at least. The office area is very well-appointed, with nicely moulded fuselage sidewall details, accompanied by a choice of 2 differently equipped radio rear bulkheads, resin ammunition racks and drums (for the forward guns), resin instrument panel, side consoles with delicately rendered instruments, two-piece control column, rudder pedal assemblies, seats with intricate mounting points etc. The other resin parts within this area relate to the nose weapons pack, including another ammunition box, gunner seat and mount, and the gun unit itself. The latter is mostly made up from parts from the new Special Hobby conversion sprue, as is the solid nose and its firewall. When assembled the cockpit will most certainly be a very busy and visual area. The bola gondola is well-appointed too, with a number of resin parts helping to fit it out. This area is moulded separately to the underside fuselage, and can be fitted later in assembly. ***A quick note here…Special Hobby has incorrectly listed the original gondola parts on Sprue A to be used. This is WRONG! Special Hobby’s new sprue has the parts you SHOULD use. This is backed up on the parts plan at the beginning of the manual, but incorrect numbers are shown on assembly*** Surface detail is everything you would expect from a modern-tooled model, with finely engraved panel lines and port details. There are also no rivets at all, so if you do want them, then you’ll have to get out Rosie. Plastic quality here is excellent with no flaws or obtrusive ejector pin marks. Clear plastic parts, both ICM and Special Hobby, are superb, with excellent clarity and nicely defined frame details. Three options are provided for the rear canopy, with weapon’s placements, and you’ll need to make sure you use the new main canopy provided on the Special Hobby sprue, and not the original ICM part. The resin parts in this kit do more than simply provide the aforementioned conversion parts for the C-4. They also provide enhancements over general kit detail, such as nicely weighted wheels, new tailwheel and mudguard, replacement main gear doors with internal detail missing on kit parts. All parts are nicely cast in dark grey resin, with no flaws. Of course, you will need to remove casting blocks, but looking at these pieces, that won’t be too difficult a task for the average modeller. A Cartograf-printed decal sheet contains markings for THREE markings, with all printing being in solid, authentic colour, with minimal carrier film and also being both nice and thin. Registration is perfect too. As well as markings, a full suite of stencils are included as are instrument decals. The three schemes are: Ju 88C-4, R4+MK, W.Nr.0359, 2/NJG2, Glize-Rijen, May 1941 Ju 88C-4, R4+MT, 9/NJG2, Glize-Rijen, Summer 1942 Ju 88C-4, R4+DL, 3/NJG2, Catania, Sicily, May 1942 Conclusion It’s great to have a modern tool Ju 88C-4 that can now put the maligned Dragon versions out to pasture, plus the poorly-executed Hobbycraft release. This kit has everything; a great cockpit with resin details, two detailed engines and some nice sub-variant options such as the canopy parts. I can’t see anything here that would challenge your average modeller, and the price-point is also very attractive, with this kit retailing for around £45 in the UK (as of time of writing). If you have ever hankered to build the heavy fighter version of the Ju 88, then this blend of both ICM and Special Hobby parts should be high on your purchase list. Highly recommended My thanks to Special Hobby for this review sample. To purchase directly, click HERE
  21. Hi folks, Here are a couple of images of my finished Yak-3 from Special Hobby, complete with a rather nice pilot figure that was sent to me. Grass mat courtesy of Uschi van der Rosten. All paint is MR PAINT. Hope you like her.
  22. 1:32 Tempest Mk.V Special Hobby Catalogue # 100-32049 Available from Special Hobby for € 52,10 Finally it’s here. The kit Special Hobby has had us waiting for! To be more specific: Special Hobby shared their first rough impression and intention in May 2013. I myself have been eye-balling the first sprues at several hobby shows over the last few years at the Special Hobby stall and could tell this was going to be good. It is true that Pacific Coast Models (PCM) was first on the scene with a limited run kit. Come to think of it Cees Broere and myself also reviewed this kit back in august 2013! It featured resin and photo etch parts, but lacked detail in places (like the gear doors) and was inaccurate in other places (like the wheels). Since the PCM kit includes a lot of resin and PE I thought it would be cool to compare the two. Special Hobby kits are often mistaken for limited run kits, but I have a feeling that with this new standard that image will quickly be shaken off. One small detail: the PCM kit is getting harder and harder to find these days, so on that account alone, you might want to grab yourself a Special Hobby one. I won’t bore you with the usual background on the Tempest, since I reckon that if you’ve made it so far reading this, your interest in the Tempest is probably up to par. Here's a look at some of the teaser shots we had to do with over the past few years Special Hobby offers a pretty wide range of the more exotic subjects in 32nd scale. Yes, other scales too, but this is Large Scale Modeller J. Right of the bat I can tell you that with this kit Special Hobby has entered a whole new league. Where older kits, like the Brewster Buffalo, required persistence and a big jar of elbow grease, this kit offers decent fit, locator pins and 3d engineering. The kit This kit comes in two versions. The basic one (this one, for € 52,10) and the High Tech version (the other one, for € 79,90). Where the basic kit offers injection moulded plastic and decals, the High Tech kit is a very complete package with the additional resin for the cockpit, wheels and wheel wells, HGW harnesses and photo-etch. If you do want some extra detail in places, you can also opt for separate CMK upgrades, like: resin tailwheel assembly, seat (with or without seatbelts), exhaust set, gunsight, early type wheels, late type wheels, early or late guns, control stick, etc… But take my word for it: getting allthese sets separately will cost you more money than simply getting the High Tech kit that also offers these resin parts. Is the standard version on it’s own enough to make a stunning model? Read on… Overall impression The first thing that strikes is the large amount of parts and surface detail that you just wouldn’t expect on a Special Hobby kit. Rivets, fasteners and retained panel lines. All down to the detail you see on the inside fuselage halves that form the cockpit sidewalls (way more detailed than the PCM kit for instance) and the inside of the tail wheel well. Another thing you’ll notice is the leading edges at the base of the main wings are separately. This promises other versions of this kit in the near future. In many ways this kit is superior to the PCM kit. I mean: just look at the shell ejection ports of the wing. No need to cut those out anymore! The rivet detail on the canopy railing is present (not so on the PCM kit) and I can go on an on. There’s locator pins in places (not common most of their kits) and the fuselage halves dry fitted together on the main wing assembly leaves almost no seams. Always a relieve. Fuselage halves. Note the seperate nose, which can fit a Mk.II nose in a different kit version. Look at that surface detail: And here: Versus the detail on the PCM kit: There are quite a number of parts on the sprues that you won’t need for this version (like the rotary engine front, several spade control stick choices, gun barrels and prop blades. A look at sprue D: containing gear doors and rudder: The rudders looks spot on, not suffering from the 'starved cow syndrome': Sprue E: containing the nose: A close up: One more: Located on Sprue H (which you'll see when you scroll down to the wheel well section) is the radiator mesh. Who need PE? Sprue J: containing the exhaust stacks, bulkhead and parts of the wheel wells: With delicate hollow exhausts like these, who needs resin? (Well, I might...) Sprue B: The main wings: Lovely rivet detail here too: The flaps are moulded as one part with the main wings. So if you want to drop these, you'll need to operate! But then again: the Tempest usually had them raised when parked: Sprue C, containing the tail planes, bombs and drop tanks: Close up: The Cockpit Don’t expect anything basic from the basic offering of Special Hobby’s Tempest. The plastic parts that build up the cockpit are over 60! The only thing that I would recommend adding are wiring and HGW seatbelts (which are included in the High Tech kit by the way). First shots of an assembled cockpit from the Special Hobby site: When I compare this cockpit with the PCM offering, I see a much larger part count and detail in the Special Hobby cockpit, even though PCM includes a PE instrument panel, coloured PE seatbelts and levers and some resin parts for the rudder pedals and gunsight mounting. Looking at the crispness of all these plastic parts, I know what a bit of experienced detail painting and weathering can do in this area. I’m seriously impressed with the vast amount of parts and attention to detail. Have a look at the instructions for this part: Sprue I, with most of the cockpit parts: Close up: Special Hobby cockpit sidewalls: Versus the PCM cockpit sidewalls: Wheel bay and gear Again we are overwhelmed by a large part count. 26 parts for the main wheel well alone, followed by another 24 for the main gear itself. The option of 2 different wheel sizes for different schemes are included and I especially like the flattened tyres. Really loving the coloured instruction booklet: A shot of the built up gear from the Special Hobby website: The size of the tyres and the wheelhubs appear accurate to my eye. An area where the PCM kit lacked and Barracuda resin tyres had to be bought to remedie. The geardoors are little gems with accurate detail on the insides. Again: an improvement over the PCM doors, which were basic in detail and not too accurate. The PCM kit did offer a large resin tub with crisp detail, but to be honest, I think the SH plastic wheelbay is easier to work with and about as detailed. The upper portion of the wheel wells is moulded to the underside of the upper wing: Sprue H: containing some of the wheel well parts: ​ Close up: Look at that gear leg: Versus, sorry, the PCM one: Check out the inside of the Special Hobby gear door: Versus the PCM gear door and the real thing. Note the simplified detail and inaccuracy: And here's a look at the PCM resin wheel well. One of the sweetest parts of the PCM kit: This is sweet too, the detail of the Special Hobby inside tail wheel well: Clear parts As provided in the PCM kit the external drop tank attachment points are clear and inside riveted strips come in the form of decals. As said before the canopy is just lovely. The canopy framing features delicate rivets and even some small panels at the rear, whereas the PCM canopy does not. The clarity is super, but I’ll dip them in some Gauzy agent from AK nontheless. Also included on this fret are the small navigation lights sandwiched between the elevators and tail. A detail also included in the PCM kit. Sprue K: The Special Hobby Clear parts: Nice clarity and rivet detail: And again, here's a shot of the PCM clear parts: Schemes The nicely done instructions give us no less than 4 schemes to choose from. Al presented in a 4 way view with Alclad II and Gunze paint numbers. The decals are very nicely printed by Eduard. Great colour and registering of the printing: I especially love the dark blue. Too often this is printed with too much cyan and magenta... Look at those instrument faces. Zoukei Mura can learn a thing or two here... Scheme A: Hawker Tempest Mk.V NV969/SA-A No. 486 (NZ), Sqn. RAF, Fassberg Germany, April 1945 Scheme B: Hawker Tempest Mk.V JN682/JF-Z No. 3, Sqn. RAF Newchurch, Kent, England, August 1944 Scheme C: Hawker Tempest Mk.V EJ705/W2-X No. 80 Sqn. RAF, B80 Volkel, The Netherlands, January 1945 Scheme D: Hawker Tempest Mk.V SN165/ZD-V No. 222, Sqn. RAF, B91 Kluis, Malden, The Netherlands, April 1945 Verdict Wow. Yes, Special Hobby took their time and maybe was a bit quick with announcing this kit (but there are more brands guilty of this), but it sure proves to be worth the wait. After the Yak3 that made Special Hobby raise their own bar, this kit promises great things for their future releases. The execution takes away the immediate ‘need’ for a brand like Tamiya to step in. Four schemes to choose from, full stenciling decals, bombs, drop tanks, flattened tyres, excellent detail, … A solid 9 out of 10. Considering this is still a limited run kit and the basic offering, that doesn’t feel basic in any way! Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to knock the PCM kit with this review, just showing you how Special Hobby is stepping up to the game. Kind regards, Jeroen Peters A Special thank you to Special Hobby for the review sample.
  23. wackyracer

    Yak Attack

    Yeah its arrived, waiting on my desk at work as I walked in this morning. What a nice way to start the day. Wood decals to be ordered from Alex and a plan formulated on how to display the beast. Aaron
  24. James H

    Yak-3

    Sometimes, a kit really grabs you. For me, that grab was the new Yak-3, from Special Hobby. A simple kit, and in some cases, a bit of a diamond in the rough. I don't mean that disrespectfully, but it does need just a few tweaks here and there, and maybe more so that the recent Tempest. It also doesn't have any alignment pins, unlike the new Tempest. It feels a little retrograde, in alignment with previous SH releases.....but better. Does that make sense? This is the scheme I'm going to build. This one is a little different because it has a Tricolour rudder, without the standard Russian star. This kit needs a few tweaks here and there, to aid fit, and when you work out what those tweaks are, then assembly is pretty straight forward. It's not as fraught as it initially looks. As with most things I build these days, here is the rough, taped together kit, minus its tweaks to make it fit better: Looks can be deceiving, and you will need to do a few remedial things to make this fit better. One of them is to reduce the ridge on the upper wing, aiding fuse alignment, by 50%. Do this and all gaps close, magically, with no need for any putty. Maybe a smear of Mr Surfacer, and that's it. Quite neat. The clamp here is to align and secure the underside plate for the rear radiator section. Nothing too traumatic. The cockpit on this model is excellent. I should know, as this is one of my favourite areas, and I like my pits to be comprehensive and engaging. Of course, you can always add more here, but the resin parts included are superb, and you will need to remove the crap moulded radio receiver before you can add the resin replacement. The rudder pedals are also resin, as is the primer pump. The pit fits to the upper wing, but not before you build the undercarriage wells, paint and weather them. Paint on this model is generally from MR PAINT, and here is the Blue-Grey underside work: I'll post more of this when I start to assemble the main components and add some paint. I hope you like it.
  25. 1:32 Yakovlev Yak-3 “Normandie-Niemen” (HiTech) Special Hobby Catalogue # 32067 Available from Special Hobby for 54,90€ Unsurprisingly, the origins of the Yak-3 go back to an original 1941 design for what was to be designated as the Yak-1. At the same time, an alternative design named I-30, was also proposed, which was a smaller version of the Yak-1, carrying a spinner mounted cannon and two synchronised machine guns in the upper cowl. It also carried two wing-mounted cannon. Whilst this machine had metal wings that were fitted with slats for operations from smaller airfields, plus better handling, a prototype with simpler wooden wings, without slats was also flown. Unfortunately, this machine crashed and was destroyed. Due to Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, and raw materials becoming scarcer as Operation Barbarossa snaked through the Motherland, the Yak-3 was shelved. As time progressed, the Yak-1 project did spawn another number of other variants, such as the Yak-7 trainer/fighter and Yak-9 heavy fighter, which, as Russia’s war fortunes changed, allowed for full-scale production. It became apparent that Russia still needed a nimble fighter with a high power to weight ratio, that could take on the best of what the Luftwaffe was flying, and the I-30, or Yak-1M, was revisited. Trials for the new machine began in late 1943, and finally, the Yak-3 entered service in the summer of 1944, as Germany’s fortunes really were fading fast. The Yak-3 had a redesigned wing, and the aircraft was of mixed metal and wood construction, and fitted with a Klimov VK-105PF-2 V-12 liquid-cooled piston engine, delivering 1,300hp. Whilst retaining the spinner cannon and the two cowl mounted MGs, the wing cannon were omitted. With an impressive handling and combat performance that more than matched their Luftwaffe fighter counterparts, the Yak-3 with a top speed of over 400mph, was very much liked by those who flew it, and was said by a French fighter ace, to be superior than the P-51D and Spitfire. The type wasn’t without its problems though, including poor performing glues that cause plywood surfaces to break away, plus an unreliable engine and dodgy pneumatic systems that controlled the flaps, brakes and undercarriage. These were never fully resolved. By the time production ceased, almost 5000 Yak-3 had been built. The type was officially retired in 1952, and served with French, Polish and Yugoslav air forces, as well as its native VVK. The kit Special Hobby seem to be on a bit of a roll at the moment, with the recent review of their long-awaited Hawker Tempest Mk.V. Whilst the Tempest seemed to have been in development for an eternity, the Yak certainly wasn’t so. However, this release has been no less anticipated. Like the Tempest, Special Hobby has released this in their ‘Hi-Tech’ format, meaning that it comes with a number of resin parts and a smattering of photo-etch parts. A set of canopy masks is also de rigueur with this type of release. In all, a pretty comprehensive package that will only benefit from whatever else you decide to enhance it with. The Yak-3 is packaged in the same style and size of box as the Tempest, and as there aren’t as many parts here, things aren’t too tightly packed in there too. I have to admit that I really do like their choice of box artwork, and it’s been much lauded on various internet modelling. The box sides show the various extras afforded by this ‘Hi-Tech’ boxing. Removing the lid is easier said than done. This must be the best fitting box I’ve seen. It certainly takes some effort to remove the lid. Once inside, you’ll find FIVE sprues of medium-grey styrene packed into a single, re-sealable sleeve, a separate sleeve with ONE clear sprue, a CMK blister package containing the resin, photo-etch and vinyl masks, and one last sleeve with two decal sheets. Lastly, a glossy, colour-printed A4 manual completes the ensemble. The “Normandie-Niemen” packaging for this release relates to a regiment of the French Air Force that fought on the Eastern Front. This Group re-equipped with the Yak-3, scoring with it the last 99 of their 273 air victories against the Luftwaffe. SPRUE A Both fuselage halves are included on this sprue, as is the upper gun cowl and two parts of the lower radiator intake channel. Firstly, the overall finish on the parts is good, with delicate surface detail, finely engraved panel lines (where appropriate on a mixed wood and metal aircraft), very fine rivets and fasteners, and well defined stabiliser tab location points. Moulding isn’t done in highly polished moulds, and as a result, the surface is satin in finish. You might find that a gentle buffing of the plastic, and a fine polishing will benefit the eventual paint layer you apply. Inside the fuselage, some very subtle sidewall cockpit detail is included, but this won’t be seen easily through the tubular cockpit tub detail. A couple of ejector pin marks exist in this area, but again, looking at the kit more closely, I’m sure they won’t be seen. Some excellent tail wheel well detail is also moulded, which is nice when you consider you’d really need to pop a flashlight over the area to see it! I think the upper cowl is separate simply because of the bulges and gun troughs that are there, and moulding them in situ would have caused problems with tooling undercuts etc. The cowl looks very good, with more beautifully defined detail such as rivets, panel lines and port access detail. Gun trough fairings are also nicely defined. Please note that none of these parts, here or on other key areas, has any form of locating pin arrangement, unlike the recent Tempest design. This is quite normal for many of the smaller companies producing our kits. I certainly don’t find the lack of these locating aids to be a hindrance. In fact, I usually gently rub the joint faces of these parts over a large sheet of fine abrasive paper first, to ensure a perfect mating joint. SPRUE B This sprue contains the upper and lower wing parts, and the sprue is split simply to allow it to fit within the confines of the box. As you can see, these parts are full span, so there’s no having to determine any dihedral etc. It’s all done for you! You’ll also note that the flaps and ailerons are moulded in situ, which would make it a little harder for you if you wanted to pose these dynamically. It’s certainly no issue for me, as I imagine it wouldn’t be for the majority of those wanting to build this kit. Surface detail is extremely minimal as befits a wooden wing, but the ailerons with their rib and fabric detail, are excellent. The wing fairing is also nicely rendered, with its fastener detail, and the two holes you see in the upper wing are for the wing-mounted fuel gauges. The compasses themselves are supplied as decals that fix to the underside of two clear plastic compass units. The centre section of the upper wing contains the cockpit floor with its foot plates and control stick base. Note that the radiator unit is moulded in place on the lower wing, and of course you need to add the channel parts to this before you fit the upper wing plate as this area would be impossible to access afterwards. We have more metal plate and rivet detail on the undersides, with the centre section and landing flaps exhibiting some clean rivet and panel line detail. Internally, there are recesses for the landing gear bay walls, and the inside of the upper wing contains some nice, sharp details for the ceiling of the bays. Again, I will slightly buff out the surfaces of these parts and give them a subtle polishing before I begin work. SPRUE C Special Hobby has moulded the stabilisers here in the traditional way, with upper and lower tail planes and elevators. As the stabilisers were wooden, no detail is moulded here, but the elevators and the rudder parts exhibit the same nicely rendered rib and fabric detail as the wing ailerons. Other parts here include separate prop blades with a two-part spinner, and a full complement of main undercarriage gear doors, with external rivet detail and internal structural elements, all clean and ready to go! SPRUE D This is the first sprue where we see a number of parts that are designated as ‘not to use’, because this boxing has a number of resin replacement parts. More on those soon. This is very much a ‘detail parts’ sprue, and here you will find three of the four main gear well walls, the main gear struts and tail wheel strut, cockpit instrument consoles, cockpit seat tub and armoured backrest plate, cockpit sidewall instrument panels, upper main instrument panel, tailwheel mounting plate, radiator actuator rods, and numerous other small parts that fit around the cockpit and wheel wells, such as small ribs etc. A small number of parts not for use include the wheels and exhausts. I note that the moulding of this sprue and Sprue E, are done in what appear to be more refined tooling, with the parts have a shiny finish to them, unlike the main pieces (wings and fuse etc.) Detailing on the parts here is also extremely sharp, akin to some of our more mainstream manufacturers. Of note at this juncture is the assembly of the main gear wells. Now, I’m not totally 100% on this, but it appears that you have to follow the instructions in the connection of the main gear struts to the wheel wells, including the gear doors, BEFORE they are fitted to the main wing. There may be a way around this if you want to add the struts later in construction, but for the life of me, I can’t see a way around this. It’s a rather unusual system of construction that will of course make your masking a little harder later on, but until I build this for myself, I won’t know if the construction sequence here is flexible or not. SPRUE E We are now onto the last of our grey sprues, but this one is pretty important as it includes both of the tubular cockpit side walls, and other frames and plates that make up this area. Those walls are moulded with their side console panels, sans instrumentation, as those parts were moulded on the previous sprue. Remember to use a razor saw for these fragile, but beautifully moulded parts. Seems on these, and the main gear door frames, look to be virtually non-existent. I’m very pleased to see that. A good number of other cockpit parts are moulded here such as the single piece control column and torsion bar, trim wheels, levers, rudder pedal bar, rear radio receiver shelf, first aid kit box etc. You will need to modify the rudder pedal bar and remove the pedals themselves, in favour of resin replacements. Other parts here include the remaining gear bay walls, instrument panel coaming and lower instrument panel. SPRUE CP Special Hobby has thoughtfully supplied two canopies with this kit. One of them is a single piece unit, for it you want to pose it closed up. The other is a three-part system that allows us to pose it with the hood slid back. The Yak-3 canopy does look odd, as the only frame lines there are, are around the edges. There is no armoured windshield on this aircraft. Clarity is very good, and the frame lines are defined well enough for us to easily place the vinyl masks for the painting phase. Other clear parts are for the wing fuel gauges, and also an armoured glass panel to the rear of the pilot’s head. Resin Parts If you’ve ever seen a CMK resin set, then this sort of blister pack will be very familiar to you. Here, it contains the resin, PE and vinyl mask set. Resin parts included in this release are for the radio receiver, wheels, exhaust manifolds, machine guns for the upper cowl, rudder pedals, fuel primer for cockpit, and main gear strut locking latches for the wheel bays. The resin used is a mid-grey type, and you will of course need to remove them from their casting blocks. Casting is excellent, as it generally the case with CMK, and the instructions are pretty self-explanatory as to where and how the parts fit. Photo Etch There aren’t too many PE parts here, and they come on a single, small fret. Parts include the seatbelts, control column trigger, tail wheel oleo scissor and gun sight targeting hairs. Production is very good, with nice, small connection points with the fret. Masks Masks are included for the canopy, wheels, armoured headrest and wing compass units. Made from sharply cut vinyl, the quality looks good, with no shrinkage. You will need to use liquid mask or infill the mask areas with some tape, as these are supplied as edges only. Decals Two sheets are included, both printed by Eduard, whose decal quality I’ve always found to be excellent. The larger sheet is a single-colour printing in white, containing the various fuselage arrow flashes, crosses of Lorraine, serial numbers, and kill marks. On the smaller sheet, we have multicolour decals for the national insignia, tricolour rudder flashes, instrument decals, compasses, radio receiver decals, and various stencils. TWO types of compass decal are included, so I suppose you can use which ever you want, as none of them seem to be attributable to any specific machine. Printing is of Eduard’s high standard, being nice and thin, and with minimal carrier film. The colours look good, and they have good density. Importantly, they are in perfect register. The FIVE schemes offered are very similar in appearance, but with some nice little individual touches to them. They are: Yak-3, White 6, 1 Sqn, flown by Lt. Marcel Albert, Normandie-Niemen, Autumn 1944 Yak-3, White Double-Zero, flown by Cdt. Louis Delfino, Normandie-Niemen, East Prussia, 1944 – 45 Yak-3, White 24, flown by Roland de la Poype, Normandie-Niemen, August – December 1944 Yak-3, White 22, flown by Asp. Pierre Douarre, Normandie-Niemen, Le Bourget Airfield, June 1945 Yak-3, White 4, flown by Lt. Roger Marchi, Normandie-Niemen, Lithuania, Summer 1944 Instruction manual This is a glossy, colour-printed 16 page A4 manual, starting with the history of the Yak-3, and the parts plans. These are useful, as the sprues themselves don’t contain part numbers. Construction is split over 45 steps, with clear line drawing illustrations and colour infill to denote key areas. PE and resin parts are clearly denoted, and colour call outs are given throughout, using Gunze-Sangyo codes. The last pages are given over to the scheme illustrations, again supplied in full colour, with easy decal placement guides. Conclusion This kit was most certainly worth waiting for. I get the impression that it will be a pretty quick build, but one that shouldn’t leave you wanting, in relation to the detail on offer here. Moulding is excellent, and the kit has a most impressive office and wheel bay arrangement that more than make up for the Yak-3’s distinct natural lack of detail on the wooden areas. The only awkward thing I see is the gear strut construction and fitting being carried out before the model is completed. That’s probably just my own fears though, and not one that at all deters me from wanting to start this one as soon as I can. In fact, as soon as my P-39 is off the table, this one is going to be started! Highly recommended My sincere thanks to Special Hobby for this review kit. Buy it directly from them by clicking THIS link.
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