It’s been a while since I’ve had time to put photos of some of my most recent models here, so now it’s time to catch up. For some reason not clear to me they are almost all in 1/144 scale. Let’s start with the Anigrand kit of the Nakajima G5N2, a fully resin kit which means it’s somewhat more challenging than your ordinary polystyrene injection moulded kit. This was, so I read, a Japanese adaption of the Douglas DC-4E which was too big for American airlines to be interested in, so it went to Japan where it was used as the basis for a design of a heavy bomber. One of these days I will put this along a similarly scaled Boeing B-17 and I’m sure they G5N will dwarf the B-17. It was not a success, only a handful were made and they were used to carry cargo.
Anigrand 1/144 kits come with three ‘bonus’ kits, usually of subjects related in some way to the big kit. In this case only two of these tiny models survived because our cats made off with a major component of the third and my modelling skills are not sufficient to make a replacement, so it had to go in the bin. There are kits of the two surviving models available in 1/72 and I’d recommend making those if you want to end up with something that looks a bit more than alright. Aichi E16A
Next is a couple of Fokkers. The Fokker F-27-500 is the Eastern Express kit which is, I think, marginally better than the Welsh Models kit of the F-27-500. Decals are by Hawkeye but in the decal sheet the bands down the sides of the fuselage are a few millimeters shorter than they need to be for the Eastern Express kit. This caused only a slight problem and Hawkeye sent me some more decals to solve the problem when I mentioned it.
Both Welsh Models and Eastern Express make a kit of the Fokker 50, the follow-up to the F-27 and looking remarkably like it. I chose the Eastern Express kit because the detailing is slightly better than on the Welsh Models kit but the Southern Skies decals for a Skywest Fokker 50 were designed – as I later found out – for the Welsh Models kit, which caused no end of grief when it came to trying to fit the decals. This, and the fact that I misplaced the decal sheet, caused all kinds of trouble in getting this model finished.
F-Rsin make a very extensive range of resin kits of airliners you’ve never heard of, most of them French. (They also make some injection moulded kits about which I chose to say very little.) This Potez 621 is a delicate little piece of resin moulding in only a few parts, and the ribbing on the wings and fuselage means it has to be assembled with a minimum of handling to preserve the detail. The decal sheet comes with blue side panels for the fuselage but they are very translucent so it is best to paint them on instead. This causes some other difficulties, but they are not impossible to overcome.
I’ve been badgering Peter of Hawkeye decals for a long time for some decals for an IPEC Armstrong Whitworth Argosy. Just after Christmas he sent me a proof set of the decals and instructions which I’ve now used. The decal set is excellent and well researched and will be available in 1/144, and 1/72 for the new Mach 2 kit. I had the option of making this 1/144 Argosy using either the Welsh Models or the Mikro-Mir kits and I chose the Welsh Models kit because the other kit seemed over engineered to me and I thought the Welsh Models kit would be easier to make. This was partly true, but I’m not sure that I made the right decision. I’m also fairly certain that the yellow I chose for this model is too deep in shade, though you can never be sure unless you have a look at the real thing, and there are none of them left.
Moving up to the larger scale 1/72, here’s the Fujimi Aichi D3A2 using Rising Sun decals. It is a fairly straight forward kit to make but I am not a great fan of acrylic paints so I’m not happy with the final appearance of this model. Hopefully the new Taimya range of lacquers will have some good IJA and IJN colours that I can use if I ever get the urge to make more Japanese aircraft of the Pacific War era.
Here are some other models that I made earlier and took to this month’s club meeting: Real Space 1/144 Long March 2F Shenzhou
RPM 1/72 Hotichkiss H39
Sparrow Castings 1/72 Renault R40
Trumpeter 1/72 BAC Lightning F2A of 19 Squadron RAF
This was not a very productive month with a few project being finished off from earlier weeks. The Compass A300-600 was made from a combination of the 1/144 Braz Models fuselage and the rest from the Revell Beluga kit. The decals were from Hawkeye, as usual for Australian airliners.
The Yokosuka R2Y1 is the Fine Molds 1/72 kit made straight out of the box.
The 1/72 Sud Aviation Vautour IIB was also made straight out of the box, though be warned that the undercarriage legs are too short and need radical surgery to bring them to the right length. The metallic finish is the result of airbrushing with about five different shade of AK Xtreme Metal aluminium which I then buffed up with Micromesh.
Toe models that I made earlier are the ancient 1/72 Matchbox Handley Page Halifax B.I and the Matchbox Hawker Tempest F.2.
Let’s start with the last of the Fokker F-27s and Fokker 50s that I’m planning to make. This is the Eastern Express 1/144 kit that comes with Virgin Australia decals. There’s nothing very remarkable about this kit which goes together with a minimum of fuss.
Moving in to 1/72 here are a couple of resin kits. This Castel C.25 originally appeared in Jean Pierre Dujin’s little plastic bags but has, more recently, been re-released by FSC Dujin in a cardboard box with the original Dujin resin parts but also a small etch set that provides some seat belts and a rather splendid decal sheet. Only the most foolhardy of modellers would attempt this colour scheme, and I’m not one of them. Even applying these large decals was something of a test of nerves.
I’d never heard of Croco Models until their kit of the Aero Commander 520 (there is also a kit of the 560) appeared in the Aviation Megastore catalogue. An early Aero Commander has been on my ‘want’ list for decades, and finally here it is. The resin casting is very good but the crash moulded transparencies are very poor by comparison, so the trouble I went to to make the cabin look interesting is lost. There are the usual fit problems, and trying to sand flat the wing and tail junctions with the fuselage – without damaging the control surface corrugations – was a challenge. As well as these civil markings, the kits comes with US Army and US Air Force decals. I’d recommend this kit to anyone who already has some experience with resin kits.
On the military side; I’ve been looking for something to replace my very old Modelmaster Armee de l’Air camouflage paints. I haven’t been happy with the acrylics I’ve seen so I was delighted to see that Hakata had released a set of French colours in lacquers. I am not happy with the green in the set and have chosen a green from the new AK Real Color lacquers instead, but I am delighted by the quality of the Hataka lacquers and will be using them a lot in the future. As a test for these new paints I decided to have a go at making the Bloch 150 series fighters, starting with the RS Models Bloch 151. It has a nice little cockpit, but you can’t see very much of it since it is finished in the French dark blue grey scheme. The Hataka paint flows very nicely through the airbrush and required only two coats for good coverage. I hand painted the other top side camouflage, which would have been a disaster with the old Modelmaster paint. I’m declaring myself well pleased with this new paint and you can expect to see a couple of Bloch 152s, a 153 and a 155 in the forseeable future as a result.
Delving back into the mists of time here are two that I made previously The F-Rsin Bristol Brabazon is the first kit that I paid over $100 for. That seemed outrageous at the time but is becoming more common these days. It is a difficult kit in that the moulding is the wing trailing edges was very uneven and I had to replace them with plasticard. Painting this kit was the first time that I used Tamiya TS-83 and I didn’t read the instructions about using a black base. As a result, the finish is a bit uneven, but the thing does glow fantastically. I have plans to repaint this model one of these days, but I’m not feeling brave enough at the moment.
I don’t quite remember when I made this but it is finished in ye olde Testors Metalizer, which nobody uses any these. I know that it is a difficult paint to use in many ways but on this WB-47 (an ancient Hasegawa kit) it looks fairly realistic for an aeroplane that has seen a lot of flying.
Continuing on my dual themes of Bloch fighters and acrylic lacquers paints, here is the RS Models Bloch 152 painted with Hataka and AK Real Color lacquers. I was as pleased with the finish on this one as I was with the finish on the Bloch 151 last month. Although I had a few decal sets with decals for Bloch I52s the best ones came from the kit which offers four options. I have a second RS Models boxing of the Bloch 152, this one with Vichy and Luftwaffe markings, so I might be make using one of the aftermarket decal sets on it. The Vichy red and yellow striping being a serious pain to achieve successfully and completing a French aeroplane in German marking being too distasteful to contemplate.
This Eduard 1/72 Grumman F6F-5 was another experiment. Eduard kits come highly recommended and as Hannants were offering this one on special I decided to give it a go. It wasn’t too difficult to make and has pretty good details too so I was somewhat impresses. The other experiment was in trying out the AK Real Colour lacquers on it, and again I was very pleased with the result, although I am not convinced that they’ve got the shade of deep blue quite right. The kit comes with markings for two US Navy aeroplanes but I already had a few sets of after market decals for Aeronavale F6Fs so I decided to try one of them instead. I was a little disturbed that the French naval roundels didn’t have the usual anchors superimposed on them but, on checking reference photos, I found that not all Aeronavale F6Fs did. I don’t think the F6F is one of the best looking aeroplanes Grumman ever made, but it sure looks better dressed up in French markings, to my mind anyhow.
Continuing on another theme, here is another Fokker airliner, this time a Revell 1/144 Fokker 100 straight out of the box. It is a nice little kit and not difficult to put together. As usual, the white finished is achieved through application of about seven coats; two coats of Tamiya white primer, three coats of Spartan automotive lacquer and then two coats of Taimya rattle can Pure White. The decals were published by Southern Skies, a small outfit in Western Australia which has produced some other interesting decal sets which are, I think, now increasingly hard to find. This one goes with a Skywest Fokker 50 that I made earlier and a similarly liveried Airbus A.320 that I will get around to making in the coming year or two.
Another theme I’ve been working away on for the past couple of years is a set of Douglas airliners, beginning with a Douglas DC-1 (converted from a CMK DC-2) through the entire line of Douglas airliners, ending with the DC-10. Earlier I made a DC-8-50 series in Air New Zealand livery as that was the type that Valma and I flew to Auckland in in 1974, on our way to the United States for DUFF. We continued that trip from Auckland to Los Angeles in a DC-10 and so it seemed appropriate to make this model also in Air New Zealand Livery. I started this project using the old Airfix 1/144 kit but it was so badly warped and deformed that I had to abandon that and used, instead, the Accurate Airliners full resin kit, which is expensive but also almost worth the additional expense. I’m not sure who made the decals, I bought them from Airliner Hobby Supplies but the decal sheet and instructions don’t say where they came from. These decals are made to fit the Airfix kit and don’t fit precisely on the Accurate Airliners model, which caused some tears before I solved the problem.
Here are two that I made earlier. First is the ancient Revell 1/144 Douglas DC-8-62F in the markings of Flying Tiger, an exclusively freight airline. I think I made this model in the 1990s when the best metallic modelling paint was Testors Metalizer. I’m quite pleased as the result on this model which gives a reasonable rendition of what a slightly weathered and hard worked freighter might look like.
Finally, the Dujin 1/72 Liore et Olivier H.43, a floatplane that you might have seen in the skies over coastal France in 1939 and 1940. This is one of the very limited run and now exceedingly rare resin kits made by Jean Pierre Dujin before his untimely death. This was also a very challenging kit to put together but I’d like to think it does the kits maker’s craft justice. Very few Dujin kits came with decals so these were scrounged from all over the place and I think I might have found the coat of arms on the interweb, copied it, reduced it in size and printed it on decal paper to get it onto this model. I completed this model in late 2009 and I see that the blue in the French roundels had faded quite a bit since then. Domage.
We begin this month with a couple of Airbus A300s, the same airliner but in two different liveries. The first is of the first A300 delivered to TAA in 1981 in a new livery designed for the introduction of the A300s to Australian service. Unfortunately for TAA there was a severe downturn in passenger demand around the time of its delivery, rather than the growth that the airline had expected, so the A300s proved to be a near fatal disaster for TAA. To save the situation some of the airline’s A300s had their delivery delayed and others were leased. One of them was VH-TAA which leased to Condor in Germany for a few months and then to Air Niugini for the rest of the 1980s. The kit used for these models is the venerable Airfix 1/144 kit, which was first published in 1974. It has not been re-released since the early 2000s but copies are still often available from sites such as ebay. Overall is it a good solid kit but nothing special. It has, for example, fine raised detain on the wings and no detail worth speaking of on the fuselage. This would give those who like scribing and re-scribing panel lines a serious workout of their skills. Fortunately for me, I had the Liveries Unlimited corogard wing panels decals instead, which took away the need for any such effort. First, this Airbus A300 as it appeared when it arrived in Australia in 1981 and flew as until 1984. The decals are from Hawkeye and contain a serious error in that the windows do not slant upwards at the rear of the passenger cabin as they should. The work involved in modifying the decals to represent this major feature in the A300 would have been extremely difficult so I did not attempt it. Instead, please pretend that I said nothing.
The decals for VH-TAA when it flew for Air Niugini between 1984 and 1989 with the registration of P2-ANG, also come from Hawkeye. The decals for the ‘Bird of Prey’ scheme come in one complete section for each side and I could only imagine that you were supposed to apply them before attaching the model’s wings first. I took a different approach and cut the decals into three parts as carefully as I could; the upper section, the lower section and the head. Attaching the upper decals first allowed me to line them up fairly well and gave me a guide as to where to place the underside decals and the heads. Applying the decals required a fair bit of patience but turned out better than I expected.
Next is another Revell 1/144 Fokker 100. This model was made more or less straight out of the box with the addition of Ric Warcup decals to portray an Air Niugini one, P2-ANQ which may be, for all that I know, still flying.
And here are three that I made earlier. The Douglas P-70 was a night fighter version of the well used Douglas A-20, or Boston as it was called when it served with the RAF. The kit is as ancient as my Airbus kits, being released by Revell in 1975, and a variation on their A-20C Havoc kit released in 1967. For all that I found it a much more modern feeling kit than the Airfix Airbus kits with a much better feeling for detail. The matt black finish makes this kit an easy one to paint, but I did increase the level of difficulty by making new radar aerials from stretched sprue to replace the parts in the kit.
If my memory serves me right the Hindustan Aeronautics HF-24 Marut was the final design of the legendary German designer, Kurt Tank. I think it is a particularly attractive aircraft so when I stumbled across this Model Alliance 1/72 resin kit I snapped it up. It turned out to be a challenging little kit to make and there is a lot of filler hidden beneath this model’s nice polished metal finish. Because of this difficulty I might not have finished this model, had it not promised to look so delightful when it was completed.
Finally for this month, the 1/72 Heller Dassault Mirage IV. I have never seen one of these aeroplanes live but I imagine it would be a striking sight with size combined with Dassault delta elegance, This kit was released in 1979 when Heller were producing some of the best kits of those times, and still some of the best quality kits ever, in my opinion. This Mirage IV kit is an excellent example of the company’s craft and has been released several times more recently. I’ve got another one stored up so I can make it in bare metal livery. It will be beautiful.
This month’s offerings begin with another two venerable Airfix 1/144 Airbus A.300s, part of a series of five A.300s, all the same airliner but in different liveries. If you want more details about making these, go back and have a look at my offering for June. These are both fairly straight forward models, the only difficulties being filling all the gaps and sink marks you find in kits that were made in the mid 1970s. First is VH-TAA as it appeared in Australian Airlines livery after it came back from flying with Air Nuigini in 1989. It wore this livery until Qantas took over Australian in 1993. The decals for this model are from Hawkeye, with the corogard panels provided by Liveries Unlimited.
Next is VH-TAA as it appeared after Qantas took over Australian in 1993. It continued to fly with Qantas until it was sold to an American air freight company in 1998. It’s history becomes a bit confusing after that and it was observed as a derelict at Adu Dhabi in 2011. I haven’t seen any photos of it after it left Qantas service so I’m not going to concern myself with making models of that airliner in post Qantas service (besides there’s only so many A.300s one can make before going bananas).
Another series I’m making is that of the Bloch 150 series fighters. So far I’ve made the 151 and 152, straight from the RS Models 1/72 box. The Block 153 is not so easy to make, it was an experiment in the hope of improving the qualities of the Bloch 152 by fitting it with an American Pratt & Whitney Twin Row Wasp engine. The experiment did not go so well, the only 153 constructed crashed in testing and no further attempts of this kind were made, development moving on to the Bloch 155 instead.
I had the old HR Models resin kit of the Bloch 153 that dates from some time in the 1990s but it looked to be a very difficult kit to make look as good as the RS Models Bloch 152 so I decided to do what the French did and took the engine off the HR Models kit and stuck it on the RS Models Block 152 kit. The grafting is not entirely successful, but it gives a fair impression of what the Bloch 153 looked like and is interesting to view alongside a Bloch 152. The decals come out of my spared box, the HR Models kit does include them but they blew up as I tried to apply them and, anyhow, the blue and red were far too deep in intensify for a French aircraft of this period. Here’s two I made earlier: There never was such as thing as a French English Electric Lightning but I had one of the very old Airfix 1/72 Lightning F.1A kits and lots of spare French decals. So here is a flight of fancy supposing that the French acquired one Lightning F.1 (I’ve done the conversion from the F.1A back to the F.1) for test purposes. At the time I made this I was using various shades of Alclad II through an airbrush nozzle far too big for it, which is the reason for such a strange looking metallic finish.
Finally, here’s the Matchbox Hawker Tempest that I made back in 1976. It looks as though I had an airbrush by then and was using Micro Sol and Set, and a matt varnish of some sort. Things haven’t really progressed much more since then when you come down to the basics.
Let’s begin this month with the odd one, a little French tank. Many decades ago I was a keen modeller of armour but then decided that life was too short to make tanks and aeroplanes when my main interest is in aeroplanes, so I stopped making tank models. The one exception I allowed myself French tanks in the mistaken impression that there weren’t many of them. I was wrong. This is the Flyhawk 1/72 model of the Renault FT 75 BS, which was a gun mounted on the Renault FT chassis. The plan was to include one of these in Renault FT units to take care of any fortifications they came across, but they were not ready by the end of the war and only about 40 were made. This is the nicest Renault FT kit I’ve made in this scale and I’d make one with the turret too, except that I already have two and don’t need another. The box comes with two kits for this little tank but I don’t know that many people will need two models of this and I gave my duplicate to another club member (who had already ordered this kit and will now end up with three).
This RS Models 1/72 Bloch 155 completes my set of this French fighter. It is a nice little kit that goes together with relative ease, although not with Tamigawa precision. This version of the Bloch fighter would have been the standard production version rather then the Bloch 152 had the war not started when it did and only a handful were ready by the time of the Battle of France. My main trouble with this model is the Hataka French air force paint set and my own inability to read properly. I am almost certain that the vert in the set is not the right shade and substituted a darker green from the AK Real Color range which is probably not perfect either but makes me feel happier about the whole thing. The other problem was that I started off applying the light rather than the dark blue-grey to the top surface and things went downhill after that. Still, it’s a nice looking little fighter.
My recommendation to you is to not buy the Eastern Express 1/144 Boeing 757-200. The word is that it is a copy of the Minicraft kit and has all of its faults – with more thrown in – and none of its virtues. So, if you want to make a 757, Minicraft is a better choice. I’m told that a better choice again is the Accurate Airliners 757 but they are expensive and not always readily available. But if I’d gone straight to one of them I wouldn’t have had to buy aftermarket engines for this kit (because the kit ones are truly awful) which probably brought the total cost of this model up to the cost of an Accurate Airlines kit anyhow. However, I had the nice Wic Warcup decals for the Air Niugini 757-200 and didn’t want to waste them, so if you scrunch up your face and squint as these pictures you might just think this looks a bit like a 757.
Here’s three I made earlier This LaGG3 is the old Red Star kit, a very minimalist kit but at one time the only one available to make a reasonably accurate model of a LaGG. The story I heard was that this, and the three other kits that came in the Red Star box, were the last gasp of the venerable Frog company and they certainly had that feel about them. This is not a bad little kit but I was in the grip of an advanced case of AMS when I made this so it had a lot of additional work done to it before it was completed.
This strange looking little thing is the Huma 1/72 kit of the Flettner F1282, one of the prototypes I believe. You might perhaps call this the first operational helicopter, though the idea of intermeshed rotor blades to overcome rotor torque did not take off in a big way. If I had still been in the grip of AMS when I made this I would have replaced all the kit struts with plastic rod, which would have helped make it a little more fragile.
Like the other two pre-made models this time, this Crown 1/144 Boeing B-17G was made over a decade ago. I would not be surprised if the same molds are still in use for the Minicraft B-17 that you can buy in the shops today. If I had been a bit more serious about this model I would at least have replaced the gun barrel with some thinner plastic rod or stretched sprue. Maybe next time.
The past month has been one of frantic activity, mostly directed towards a history I’m currently writing. Nevertheless, my time at the bench has also been fruitful. Let’s begin with a couple of Airbuses. To complete my set of Airbus A.300s that tell the story of VH-TAA (TAA’s first A.300) I made a model of that airliner in the livery of Condor Airlies, which it wore for only about six months in 1984. Construction of this version of the venerable Airfix 1/144 kit was the same as the four previous ones, the only variation was the Condor decals which I found at Airliner Hobby Supplies in the US (though the instructions say the decals themselves were made in Australia). This is the second time I’ve used Flightpath decals and both times they have disintegrate on me, despite applying a liberal coat of varnish before starting the application process. After that happened to these Condor decals I bought a second sheet and applied two coats of varnish, which still didn’t stop the decals breaking up entirely. My word of advice, don’t use this brand if you don’t have to.
Here, to round out the story, is a picture of all five of my models of VH-TAA.
Having complete all the A.300s I want to make, we move on to Airbus A.310s. The only airline to fly this particular airliner in Australia was the short lived Compass Airlines which only lasted about a year in 1991. This kit is from Revell and dates from 1984 so it is really not much of an improvement on the Airfix A.300. There is no significant surface detail apart from some of the control surfaces and the engines are fairly basic, replacing them might be a good idea if you are really keen. The paints are the same as I used for my A.300s except in a slightly different arrangement. The decals are from Hawkeye, one of their more recent releases and very good. Their decal sheet gives you the corogard panels as well but I decided to use the Liveries Unlimited set that I’ve had for many years instead.
Languishing in my Treasure for many years has been the 1/72 Airfix Hawker Siddeley 125 series 1 (it says ‘Domine’, its RAF name, on the box), which dates from 1968. It is a real relic from the stone age of kit making and the only reason to make it is because there is no other kit of the HS125 series 1 available, or ever likely to be. My fondness for this type is that it was the first aeroplane I flew in; when I was working in the Department of Civil Aviation and staff got to travel in departmental aircraft, on a flight from Melbourne to Sydney and back in 1966. I had wanted to make a model of that aircraft, VH-CAO, for many years but that only became possible when VH-WAL, a member of the Airliner-Civil Aircraft Group, made them. I begged nicely and he sent me a set, and here it is. It’s not one of the world’s great models but I’m delighted with it.
Having spent a lot of my modelling energy of late making complex civil stuff I got the urge to make something simple, military and French, and this is what I found in my Treasure. It is the old Heller kit that dates from 1977, but it’s quality is a lot better than Airfix kits from the same era. My copy was the original boxing so the decals were unuseable, but I had some replacements on a Model Art sheet. The kit offers options for the 500 and 501 versions and, since I’ve already made a 500, I made the 501 this time. It is a relatively simple little kit but also one that is easy to make a mess of, so I took my time. For the aluminum finish I decided to try the Tamiya rattle can Silver Leaf and I quite like the results. This model represents Dewoitine 501 No.181 of 8 Ecadron de cooperation navale, Aeronautique Navale flying at Marignane-Marseille in 1938.
Here are two I made earlier. This MPM 1/72 McDonnell FH-1 Phantom is one of that company’s first offerings and since I’m very partial to anything painted in US Navy deep blue I really enjoyed making this one. If my memory serves me right, I saw one of the real thing at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington years ago, this is but a pale shadow of the real thing.
This Yak-15 is, I think, a very basic Pioneer 2 kit dating from the 1980s. It is really a Yak 3 with a German engine strapped in where the piston engine used to be. It’s interesting.
I’m not a great fan of research when it comes to modelling (I do enough of it in my day job) but I had the decals for this Air Niugini Airbus A.310 and the Revell 1/144 kit to go with it and thought I’d find out when that airline flew this airliner. It turns out that this A.310 flew for Air Niugini and then went to fly for Compass while that air line lasted, before being leased out for another year and then coming back to Air Niugini. Which makes this a model of the same aircraft as the Compass A.310 I completed last month. There is nothing very difficult about making this kit except that the Liveries Unlimited decals makes the same mistake as some other decal sheets do in not having the windows towards the rear of the fuselage slope up slightly. This is not a difficult problem to fix.
In comparison to the A.310 which more or less makes itself, the Founderie Miniature 1/72 kit of the Nord 1500 Griffon II is a serious modelling challenge. The kit was released around 2002 and is quite innovative for its age, having injection molded, white metal, vacformed and etch parts, and a pretty comprehensive decal sheet. It look as though this kit has been based on the original aircraft that is on display at the Musee at Le Bourget. The real challenge of this kit comes from the plastic parts which are not very well formed and require a lot of work. To prevent this from being a tail sitter the nose is stuffed with as much lead weight as I could fit in and I went to a lot of trouble to fill in and shape the interior of the air intake since it is such a prominent part of the original aircraft. The kit provides some good detail for the cockpit but it turns out that I, at least, could not get the ejection seat to fit into it when completed, but these kinds of problems are not unique to this short run kit. As it turns out, the cockpit windows are so small that you can’t see anything inside anyhow. The other major problem was the thin and badly formed lip of the air intake that had to be mostly replaced by small bits of plastic cut and sanded to shape. Despite these and other problems, it turns into a reasonable replica of a unique looking aircraft.
Here’s four I made earlier. This little Matchbox 1/72 Hawker Fury may have been replaced by better kits but when I made it around 1976 it was all there was and was a very good kit, for its time. The metallic finish is Humbrol 11, not what you buy in the tinlet these days but a much shinier version. I so much enjoyed the look of this model when it was finished that I went out and bought more, leading me to where I am today with model making. This is probably also one of the first models I painted with an airbrush.
This little Red Star 1/72 Yak 3 was the only kit of this aircraft when I made it around the end of 1987. It was a very basic kit (which you could only buy in a box with three other kits of Russian aircraft, rumoured to be the last of the venerably line of Frog kits). This is also the high point in my personal case of Advance Modelling Syndrome with a great deal of scratch building to fill in the cockpit and other bits and pieces. After this I decided there is a limit to how much detail one should put into a kit to make a reasonable model. These days you can probably buy at much more advanced kit and lots of resin and etch after market stuff which would make this a muc easier project.
Talking about ‘difficult to make’, the Emhar 1/72 North American F4J-4 fits into that category, but was the only reasonable kit until recently. The decals are after-market.
On the other hand, the Hasegawa 1/72 Kyushu J7W1 is an excellent little kit of this fabulous looking Japanese late war prototype.
First off is the Micro Mir McDonnell Douglas MD11 which has a particular fascination as I flew in one of these to Europe in 1993. The contrast between the Qantas cabin service to Singapore and the Swissair service through to Zurich was remarkable. The kit is big and solid and fairly easy to assemble. It comes with Finnair decals and engines but since I wanted to make the Swissair version I had to get new decals and engines which, fortunately, come in the form of a Welsh Models conversion kit. The most challenging part of the conversion was merging the new tail engine into the kit, which is really not too difficult. What really held me up was the apparently simple choice of the colour of the lower fuselage, it looks black, but not quite, and the decal instructions are no help at all so, eventually, I bit the bullet and used the darkest shade of blue I could find, and it doesn’t look too bad. The end result is a pretty impressive model.
For some time now I’ve been working myself up to making a fewAirbus A.320s in Australian and New Zealand liveries. I stared off with a Welsh Models Air France A.318 some years ago and now it’s time to get going on the rest. I intended to start with the Revell A.319 in the new British Airways retro BEA scheme but then I discovered that there was an A.319 on the Australian register, flown by Sky Traders. It had a very pleasant orange, white and grey scheme which did not require any titles (which would have been beyond my capabilities) so that’s the subject of this model. There is nothing really difficult about these Revell 1/144 A.320 series airliners apart from a little wing modification for the A.319s and A.320s which takes only a few minutes and rudimentary modelling skills. (I see that Sky Traders is now flying a new livery which would be much more difficult to replicate than the scheme that I’ve done here.)
Moving along on my A.320 obsession, here is a Skywest A.320, made possible by a sheet of Southern Skies decals which is now out of print, as far as I can tell. The only thing difficult about this is the blue of the tail which I mixed myself. Southern Skies released decals for three SkyWest airliners, a Fokker 50, a Fokker 100 and this A320. Fortunately for me I mixed enough paint for all three models, but only just, the paint cup on my airbrush ran dry just as I finished painting the tail on this one. Apart from that, this was a fairly routine build.
At a recent local scale modelling club meeting another member and I were talking about the aesthetic values of the current range of European jet fighters. Naturally the Dassault Rafale came out on top of the list and this inspired me to make a model of one. The kit I had in my Treasure was the old Italeri one which was released around the time that the Rafale entered production so I doubt that its appearance reflects the look of current operational Rafales. In any event, the kit offered only the decals necessary to represent the first production Rafale as it appeared at a display at Farnborough, painted overall gloss black which made the process of building this kit so much easier. I think that when I get around to building some operational Rafale models I’ll use the more modern Hobby Boss kits which seem to be well regarded, I wouldn’t recommend this kit for that.
Here are two that I made earlier, both late World War II US Navy as it turns out. This Vought F4U-1D was made from the Hasegawa kit and is about as far as I ever went in detailing a model with the drooped flaps and detailed cockpit – made at a time when there were no aftermarket kits to help with these things. I don’t know if it shows up in these photos, but the surface is lightly crazed all over, my first experience of what happens when you airbrush lacquers over enamels. After all the effort I’d put into this kit I was quite disappointed by the result, but it’s not too bad and it was too late to do anything about it anyhow.
Then there is this Vought XF5U, another Hasegawa kit. These were very difficult to find at the time and I tried my best to make this a lovely looking, as it should be. Unfortunately my skills at the time were not up to it and the surface is very rough. When I completed this there was no such thing as on-line auction sites and I thought I’d never see another of these kits, so I put up with the end result. But looking at this model now I think I might try finding another kit on the internet and see if I can’t make a better model of this one next time.
SA couple of weeks ago I got some new camouflage paints for early World War II French aircraft and wanted to try them out. (see my post on ‘Authentic French Colours’) I grabbed a couple of old Hobby Boss Dewoitine 520 kits from my Treasure, put them together and then tried out the new paint. These are not difficult kits to make and are really good value for money. There is nothing to speak of inside the cockpit, which would put off many, but apart from that they really do look like the aeroplane they are supposed to replicate. If you want something better the RS Models kits are probably the best bet these days, better than the old Hasegawa kits for my money. For this project I used the kit decals which are, all in all, fairly good although the blue looks a little pale to me. First is Dewoitine 520 No 80 flying with the 1st Escadrille of GC I/3 in the period fairly soon after the Armistice with Germany had been signed. The first part of the Vichy Air Force marking had been applied, the white fuselage stripe and white border around the fuselage roundels.
The second of these two Dewoitine 520s is No 248 flying with the 4th Escadrille of GCII/7 in Tunisia in 1941. This one bears the full Vichy Air Force distinctive markings.
Here are some I made earlier A Trumpeter 1/72 BAC Lightning F.6, XS898, in the colours of 5 Squadron, RAF, in 1974.
A Trumpeter 1/72 BAC Lightning F.53 in the colours of the Royal Saudi Air Force at Tabuk Air Base in 1977.
An Airfix 1/72 Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer S.2 in the colours of 800 NAS, Fleet Air Arm, aboard HMS Eagle in 1971.
The prototype Saunders Roe SR.A/1 made from the very old and basic ID Models vacform kit with decals from the spares box.