The urge to paint aeroplanes Deep Sea Blue continues and this time goes to extremes with a model of a particularly interesting but flawed aeroplane, the Grumman XF10F. This was a variable geometry fighter designed for the US Navy which was worried that the new jet fighters were flying too fast to land on the aircraft carriers of the time, so if an aeroplane could have a larger wingspan to land on carriers and a swept back wing to fly faster that would solve two problems in one aeroplane. Unfortunately for the Navy the theory didn’t work out as had been hoped and only one XF10F flew before the project was abandoned.
This model was made using the resin Planet 1/72 kit which looks very promising in the box but comes with a couple of problems. As with many kits with decent interiors this one suffers the problem of the parts not fitting very easily and requiring what is euphemistically called ‘attention’. The problem might have been mine in construction but, since there are no locating pins, or even marks, it’s all a bit challenging. Even more challenging is the main undercarriage which has no locating pins or any help in gluing together the various parts of this complicated undercarriage. I did what I could with slow setting epoxy glue and used lots of blu-tac to tack everything together and adjust it until it looks somewhat right. Even so, the fact that the model sits as squarely as it does on its undercarriage is as much luck as my modelling skills. The Dark Sea Blue was provided by SMS which is rapidly becoming my preferred modelling paint. This is a kit that I would only recommend to those with strong masochistic tendencies. (By the way, the canopy on the real XF10F was not tinted, as it the canopy on the model. The celluloid of the canopies had gone yellow with age and by the time I got to the stage of attaching the canopy I was in no mood to crash mould a new one.)
This Heller 1/72 kit of the Dewoitine 510 is one of the little beauties that Heller produced in their golden period. It is no problem to assemble but the areas around the nose will give you trouble if you don’t do something to push out the lower fuselage sides so that the top of the nose sits on it accurately – I used a piece of sprue cut to the necessary length to force the fuselage halves to the necessary width. My kit was the original 1978 boxing so the decals were very old, brittle and yellow so I used instead the newly released Print Scale sheet which offers all kinds of interesting options. I also used some pre-painted etch metal seat belts and the windscreen from the set of Falcon canopies for French aircraft. This model appears in the livery of the French Air Force in 1938, the olive drab colour is of my own devising.
Here is one of those little Anigrand 1/144 bonus kits, this time a model that looks something like a Yak-15. I made it as part of my determination to rid myself of these little bugs, some have ended up in the bin as being not worth the trouble but others don’t look too bad if you’re half blind and your spectacles need cleaning. Still, I like them because they don’t take up much space and they give a sense of scale to bigger aeroplanes like Boeing 747s. The only part of this kit I really wish I’d paid more attention to was the cannons in the nose which are far too prominent, but it’s too late now. I tried out one of the sets of AK Real Color acrylic lacquer for this one but didn’t like the green that came in the set and substituted something a bit darker for the top-side green.
Eight years ago I made some of the nice little resin Dujin 1/72 kits of Caudron racing aeroplanes from the 1930s. These kits would not be to everyone’s liking but so far as I am aware they are the only game in town if you find inter-war racing aeroplanes interesting. At the time I knew next to nothing about these aeroplanes and followed the kit instructions and painted them in a deep blue. Later I began to suspect that this was incorrect and that most French racing aeroplanes were painted a much paler shade of blue which was called French Blue but was not formulated to a standardize shade. Eventually correspondence with some French modellers confirmed my suspicions and we worked out that the Taimya rattle can TS-10 French Blue is likely to be as accurate as anything else.
Having resolved that conundrum, the problem remained of how to make a model of a Caudron racer, in this case the Caudron 362 and 366 to replace the ones that I’d already made. The problem was really where to get replacement decals for the ones that would be destroyed in the stripping and repainting that would be involved. As it turns out, from time to time reissues of the original Dujin kits, now produced by FGM, turn up on ebay and when the Caudron 366 did appear I bought it. The decals that come with the kit include markings for the Caudron 366 as it appeared in 1933 and in 1934 so I planned to make the new kit as one year and repaint the other model in the other year. As it turned out, the original resin parts seemed to be a lot more precise than the later mouldings – I guess that Dujin’s original moulds had a limited life – so I eventually decided to strip and repaint the original Dujin model and reduced the new kit, as they say, to components for later use.
Here are two I made earlier.
This is the ancient Otaki 1/144 kit of the Lockheed C-5A what was released in 1971 and reboxed by Entex in 1976, which is my version. I don’t know what it is like in comparison with the recent Roden version of the C-5A but it is a big solid model and looks pretty much like a C-5. I painted it in the original Euro USAF scheme and used home made decals.
There are several versions of the Renault FT, the one armed with the machine gun is often referred to at eh FT17 to distinguish it from other versions of the FT. This RPM 1/72 is the Renault FT Char Cannon which was fitted with a small cannon in place of the machine gun. This is a nice little kit that I enjoyed making.
Among the oldest kits in my collection was this old 1970s Frog Gloster Javelin FAW.9 which I bought in 1977 or 1978. It’s only taken forty and bit years but, finally, here it is, made. It’s not a bad kit by the standards of the 1970s and, in fact, better than most kits published in that decade. If you want to make a model of the Javelin in 1/72 your options are either this or the only slightly younger Heller kit that was reboxed by Airfix. The challenges are the raised panel lines, the ancient decal sheet, the simplistic cockpit and the generally coarse or non-existent decals. Apart from that this is a fairly decent kit. I expect, however, that modellers who have only been in the game for a decade or so will be shocked by this kit and declare it unmakeable. They’re wrong. Sure, this is never going to be a competition winner, but it looks big and hulking like a Javelin should. The paints are a mixture of AK Real Colour, Tamiya and SMS lacquers and the decals come from Xtrdecal.
Continuing the theme of making the little ‘bonus’ kits that you get with the Anigrand 1/144 resin kits, here is their Waco CG-4A assault glider. It’s not much of a kit really and is very basic, but if you want to have a model of this glider to put alongside your 1/144 Boeing 707 by way of comparison, this is the only game in town. It’s not difficult to make but I wouldn’t advise looking under the wings because you will find that the struts look more like lengths of 6 inch industrial piping than anything you’d put on an aeroplane. So don’t look and then it gives the impression of looking more or less like a CG-4A. The paints are from the AK Real Color range.
The new Arma 1/72 kit of the General Motors FM-2 is getting outstanding reviews and I was tempted to dispose of this Hobby Boss kit of the FM-2 and get the new kit instead. However, this seems to be the month in which I put together generally unworthy kits, so I decided to tough it out and make this one instead. Actually, painted up in some of SMS’s lovely Dark Sea Blue lacquer you can’t see too many of the faults with this kit – to name but one there don’t appear to be any exhaust pipes so if you really want them I advise you get the Arma kit.
Here are three that I made earlier. All of them also fit generally into the unworthy category.
This AMT 1/72 Boeing KC-135R is a big brute of a kit that I remember almost throwing in the bin more than once. Had there been any decals for the French version at the time I made this it would be in French markings, but that’s life.
More of a horror is this 1/72 Hobbycraft deHavilland Canada DHC-7-100. I’m sure that I’ve read an article somewhere explaining how to turn this into a decent model but my main battle was with the engines because they are such a prominent feature of this model.
Not quite so difficult was this Airfix 1/72 BAC TSR-2 which has what they euphemistically call these days ‘fit issues’. Apart from that, this is a reasonable kit of a gorgeous looking aeroplane and, in any case it’s the only injection moulded kit available, if you can find one.
This month found me continuing on the themes of the previous month’s work.
First another model of the Waco CG-4A, this time from Italeri in 1/72. This kit has been in my Treasure trove for many years and I had no great enthusiasm for making it. However, after having completed the little Anigrand 1/144 kit of the CG-4A last month I was interested to see what a larger scale model of it looked like. Not much different from the smaller scale one really. There is more detail here and there but this kit is 45 years old and shows it’s age in several ways, including the cockpit which is more imaginative that you would get in a modern day kit. It is not difficult to assemble and only needed a moderate amount of filler. The nose of the real CG-4A folded up and you can also make the model with the nose up to show the modest interior. There is what could be a hinge to do this if you wanted to make the model that way but the instructions I had – which was for the original release – don’t tell you what those parts are for and, anyway, they were unnecessary since I made the model with the nose down. There are two decal options, for a 1943 invasion of Sicily one or for a 1944 Operation Overlord version, but that comes with the black and white invasion stripes which would have been more work than I was willing to put into this mediocre kit.
Following on the 1950s RAF theme and to make use of the AK Real Color RAF 1950s fighter set that I used to paint last month’s Gloster Javelin, I put together this Xtrakit 1/72 Supermarine Swift FR.5 kit. Long before most of you were born I made the old Hawk kit and thought the finished model was pretty nifty, but kit design and manufacture has moved on a lot since the 1960s with the result that this kit is light years ahead of that old kit. Even so, let me summarize my thoughts about the Xtrakit kit by saying that Airfix now offer a Swift FR.5 and, knowing what modern Airfix kits are like, I reckon you should make one of those instead if you have the option. For example, the ejector seat in the Xtrakit is not one of the high watermarks in kit making so I bought an after-market seat, only to discover that the kit cockpit is too shallow for the seat to fit without major surgery. It was not a good start to what was only a fairly ordinary modelling experience. The kit offers options for two aircraft, one with a High Speed Silver underside ant the other in PRU Blue, so I finally got to use the other pot of paint in the AK Real Colors set.
The highlight of the month was this little Monogram 1/72 Grumman F8F-2, another excuse to use the lovely SMS Dark Sea Blue lacquer paint. This kit dates from the beginning of the 1970s but remained the best kit of the F8F until this year when Hobby Boss released a new kit (which I have yet to see, so I’m being hopeful). This kit is very old in terms of kit philosophy and design but still excellent to outstanding in terms of accuracy and appearance. The only change I made was to substitute some SuperScale decals for the ones in the box.
Here are three that I made earlier.
This Heller 1/72 Potez 63.11 is not one of Heller’s best kits but it does capture something of the strange appearance of this little reconnaissance aeroplane. There is a more recent Azur kit of this aeroplane which should prove to be more detailed and accurate when I can work up the enthusiasm to confront that much more challenging kit. I used Modelmaster enamels on this kit, oh that they were still available today.
I can find no mention of this Entex 1/144 Rockwell XB-1A on the interweb so it obviously doesn’t exist. I made this model in 1980, finished in white paint with a clear gloss varnish. Forty years later the white has turned to yellow; that’s the passage of time for you.
At the height of its powers Monogram made some magnificent and big model kits. This 1/72 Boeing B-52D is one of them. It took a lot of work but it remains one of my favourite builds. By the way, did I mention that the kit makes up into a very big model.
The passion for US Navy aeroplanes in the Dark Sea Blue scheme continues. This time the old Airfix 1/72 McDonnell F2H-2 kit. I remember when this was a new kit back some time in the 1980s and I rushed out to buy it, not realizing that it would take 30 years for me to get around to making it. Still, that’s what kit collections are for, aren’t they? This might have been a reasonable kit in its time but it really shows its age in 2021, but the more recent Sword kit of this aeroplane appears to have completely disappeared. I did manage to get a new ejection seat because the one in this kit looked entirely unconvincing, a new cockpit set might have been nice but none was available and you wouldn’t be able to see it anyhow. The kit decals had become almost unusable so I created them using old Microscale decale sheets which were probably as old as this kit but had aged much more gracefully. Finally, a few coats of primer sanded back with Micromesh and a couple of coats of SMS Dark Sea Blue lacquer, and here it is. Not one of the world’s great models, but looking pretty neat.
After a few months off because of a move the Airbus A.320 production line is running again. These models were made using the Zvezda kits which you can pick up fairly cheaply on-line, so I have a few more to go before the set is complete. I find the Zvezda A.320 kits more complex to put together and the older Revell kit might not be a bad option if you could get some of the earlier kits, but the moulds are getting on now and need a lot of cleaning up to be useful. So Zvezda it is from now on.
Both models are of the same airliner, VH-VNB. The first as it first appeared in Australia flying for Tiger Airways in 2007 and then as it appeared flying for Tigerair in 2016. Since then it has also flown in Virgin Australia, which I will get around to in the next month or two.
Here are three I made earlier
This is a reconstruction I made in the 1980s of a kit that I bought in the 1960s of the experimental Saunders Roe SR.53 composite jet and rocket powered fighter. I bought this Airfix kit as it first appeared in a Series 1 plastic bag, a very basic kit that I improved in a couple of ways when I reconstructed it, but it is still very basic.
Here is another Airfix kit of that Hawker Hurricane I that I made when it first appeared in the 1980s. This one demonstrates what weathering and chipping a model comprised of in that era, which perhaps shows that those aspects of modelling are a matter of taste and fashion, and also why I don’t spend any time on doing it these days.
I don’t know if this 1/72 Testors kit of the Northrop-Grumman B-2 is still around these days. I would hope that there is something better because I don’t remember this as being a great modellimg experience. Still, after a few years in storage and with the details of the struggles forgotten it doesn’t look too bad,
The Airbus A320 production line continues and here is the latest model, the Zvezda 1/144 A.320 in the livery of Virgin Australia. It is the same airliner as the two A.320s I finished last month, registered VH-VNB and this time flown by Virgin Australia in 2019 after it took over ownership of TigerAir. Like most A.320s, it has Airbus grey flying surfaces and white engines and wings so the only real variation is in the livery of individual airlines.
FRsin make an extensive range of resin and white metal airliners in 1/144, some of them more well known than others. I knew nothing about the SAAB 90 until FRsin released this kit and, of course, I had to acquire one. It is a fairly simple kit to put together but the propellers come in five tiny parts that my big fat fingers had trouble with so I used two propellers from my spares box instead. I would not call this one of my most successful models and this is mainly because of the decals which were very fragile and came with white base layers which seem a little too big for the livery decals that go over them. Due to the fragility of the decals I broke a couple of the white underlays and had to apply the livery decals without them, and you can hardly spot the difference. So if you’re making this spare yourself some trouble. The overall colour is Tamiya TS-83 which I recommend for this kind of finish.
Here’s another little French beauty from Adrien Roy who offers a small range of delightful resin inter-was French aircraft including some made by Bernard. This Bernard 74 fighter prototype is a pleasure to assemble with cleanly moulded detail and a nice little decal sheet. The metallic finish comprises three different Tamiya rattle can shades (decanted of course) and Tamiya rattle can French Bleu.
From the Time Vault
Instead of picking a few models at random from my collection to round out each monthly instalment I thought I would go back and look at the earliest models I have in my collection. These are not the oldest models I made which were mainly tanks and larger scale aircraft but I no longer have them.
This Matchbox 1/72 Armstrong Whitworth Siskin IIIA dates from 1974 and is still one of my favourite models. This is partly because of the interesting look of the aircraft itself, partly Matchbox’s simple and honest kit and partly because of the clean silver finish which is Humbrol 11 Silver, but a much better paint than the Humbrol 11 you will buy these days. I was so delighted with how this model looked that I went out looking for more Matchbox kits, with the results below.
This Gloster Galdiator Mk.I also came from Matchbox and I made it in 1975. You can see that I painted it in the same Humbrol 11, I must have bought my first airbrush around this time because it would have been superhuman to get that kind of finish with an ordinary paint brush. I’d made the old 1956 Airfix Gladiator III before this, a truly early and primitive kit, which made this Matchbox kit seem very modern, which it was in 1972 when it was released. I’ve got the new Airfix kit and it will be interesting to see how it goes in comparison to this one.
Another model that I made in 1975 was this Matchbox 1/72 Boeing P-12E which was also released in 1972. (According to Scalemates this is still the only P-12E kit available in 1/72 – if you can find it because Revell doesn’t seem to have re-released it as they have done with many old Matchbox kits.)
Here’s another of Zvezda’s 1/144 Airbus A.320s, this time in the special Air New Zealand livery of ‘Airline to Middle Earth’ that ZK-OJA was decorated in the period around 2004. The decals come from PAS who make some very nice decals of all kinds of desirable airliners. I was not planning to make this particular model until I found myself looking through the PAS on-line catalogue and could not resist it. The model was made straight out of the box and, as usual, finished in Tamiya Pure White rattle can lacquer an Airbus gray for the flying surfaces.
The rest of this batch is all US Navy, beginning with the Mach 2 1/72 kit of the Douglas A2D. This is not a kit to be taken lightly, a fairly decent model can be made from it if you’ve been around the block a few times with challenging limited run injection kits but even then this will test a modellers basic skills severely. I might not have ever got around to making this had I not been overcome with the need to make US Navy aircraft in the Dark Sea Blue colour scheme, and the A2D was manufactured during the period when that scheme was in use. I’m glad that I made it but, to be honest, I’ve made much better models than this one. Do better if you can.
That period immediately after World War II was a period of transition from piston to jet powered aircraft and many weird and wonderful ideas were tried and then dropped out of favour. The A2D, another was the Convair XP5Y flying boat. It used the same turboprop engines as the A2D and the failure of that engine doomed both the A2D and the XP5Y to oblivion even though other factors contributed. Still, the big flying boat is a fine looking aircraft and it is a good thing that Aingrand offer the kit in resin in 1/144. This is a fairly simple kit to make so long as you proceed carefully, the most serious problems is that the propeller blades tend to fall off their spinners if you don’t look at them right and most of the ones here have been reattached using some thin craft wire. Once again the SMS Dark Sea Blue takes a prominent role in finishing this model and making it look so good.
The Anigrand XP5Y 1/144 kit comes with three bonus kits in the box AA-4051. They are little ones in comparison but it is interesting to compare these models with something like the Airbus A.320 in the same scale to see how large the Airbus is or, of course, how small these aircraft were. These kits are very simple in comparison to some of the highly detailed kits now becoming available in 1/144, but they are adequate for this scale.
Douglas A2D-1. It is a bit weird making the same aircraft in two scales at the same time. This one was much easier to put together but it is also lacking a lot of detail.
Douglas F3D-2. A change to the Dark Sea Blue scheme which was superceded by the US Navy’s Light Gull Grey and White scheme in the mid 1950s. The F3D was the only successful aircraft out of this month’s US Navy batch.
Convair YF2Y-1. What’s not to like about a Convair delta, even if the idea of a supersonic jet fighter flying boat didn’t work out.
This month begins with a couple more Zvezda 1/144 Airbus A.320s that are a little unusual. Air New Zealand have painted their A.320s in a number of schemes over the years and this all-black one is one of the more common schemes. The decals come from the Russian company Ascensio but there are not enough white cabin window outline decals so you will need to buy two decal sets if you want to make this model. I think it was worth the additional expense.
This all orange Jetstar A320 scheme has been applied to only one aeroplane as far as I can tell. The orange paint comes from SMS and the decals from Nazca. The white decals are a little translucent and applying a second set over the first to get a better white density but I’ve always had trouble doing that kind of thing so I decided to leave sleeping cats lying, so to speak.
Azmodel offer a whole lot of interesting and intriguing short run injection moulded kits and this is one of them, Unfortunately there are some significant ‘fit issues’, so significant that most modern day modellers would probably declare this kit definitely unbuildable. For us oldtimers who cut their teeth on 1960s Frog, Airfix and Revell kits, however, there is nothing too difficult in making this kit buildable. It is not a show stopper but I think it looks very pretty.
Out of the Time Vault
When I made this Revell 1/72 Morane N in 1975 the kit was already ten years old. It is fairly primitive by the standards of those days but really, apart from a decent cockpit, there’s not much that could be done to make this a more detailed kit. The only decals in the kit were for this Imperial Russian air force and the kit is so old that the white center of the roundels are now as yellow as the fabric colour of the rest of the model. There are more modern kits of the Morane N and one of these days I might get around to making one.
This Matchbox 1/72 Hawker Fury I was released in 1972 and I made it in 1976. The silver is the old fashioned Humbrol 11 which is a lot better then the new version, but probably also more injurious to one’s health. This kit has the serial number PK-1 so it was probably the first kit that Marchbox released and came, as was one of the kit’s selling points, in two different colours of plastic. Revell re-released this kit in about 2010. I see that AZmodel have also released a kit of the Fury but if it is anything like their Hawker Demon kit it might be easier to buy and upgrade the Revell version because I ended up tossing my AZmodel Demon kit in the bin and getting the old Airfix kit with some upgrade parts instead.
Another Matchbox model I made in 1976 was this Hawker Tempest V. The kit came with optional parts to make either the Mark II or the Mark V and some years later I acquired another of these kits to make the radial engined Tempest II. Frog, Heller and Academy have all offered kits of the Tempest V (with reboxings by other brands) and they may well be an improvement on the Matchbox kit, but this was the first kit of this aeroplane to be released.
New this month: Eastern Express 1/144 Convair 880; Zvezda 1/144 Airbus A.320; FRsin Lockheed 18; Dujin 1/72 Centrair C201; Adrien Roy Bernard HV.41. From the time vault: Matchbox 1/72 Westland Lysander I.
The Eastern Express 1/144 Convair 880 is one of the most enjoyable model build experiences I’ve had in months. Apart from the fact that I’ve been wanting to make a Convair 880 for some time because I think it is the most elegant of that generation of airliners, my delight came from the kit itself which is a little gem. The only thing I didn’t like about this kit was the cost but I suppose that airliner models is a niche market and we should be thankful that this kit exists at all.
I experimented with some SMS Aluminum lacquer this time and was not disappointed. The white upper fuselage was painted in the customary Tamiya Pure White. Despite having some aftermarket decals fot Convair 880s I decided to use the decals that come in the TWA kit. The end result is very attractive, I think.
This Zvezda 1/144 Airbus A.320 is, you will have guessed by now, one of a series of A.320s in regional livery. I had not planned to make any outside Australian and New Zealand liveries but I recently discovered that French registered Aircalin A.320s fly out of New Caledonia into destinations including Australia, so I decided to make it too. The Zvezda A.320 is another delightful kit to make (apart from the flaps and slats) and after making perhaps a dozen of them I think I might have figured out all the kit’s little quirks by now. The main colour is Tamiya rattle can pure white and the decals are from Draw Decals.
This Frsin 1/144 Lockheed 18 is one of their range of interesting airliner subjects that I always enjoy. The design of these kits is usually a little simplified but in this scale that is not a great problem and they can always be improved with a little scratch building if that is your inclination. Until I discovered that one of the decal options for this kit was Trans-Australia Airlines I did not know that airline had used these airliners but research shows me that two flew for the airline in north Queensland in 1953-53 for about a year. The kit offers the option of making both aircraft. The main airframe colour is Tamiya AS-12 and the fuselage top is Tamiya Pure White. In summary, a simple but delightful little model
This Dujin 1/72 Centrair C201 is one of a few glider kits that the French kit maker Jean Pierre Dujin produced in his workshop and is one of several hundred kits of otherwise unkitted models that he made. His resin kits are not for everyone but I love them. This Centrair glider is generally a simple model to make but the cockpit detail was rather lacking so I had to build it up a bit since the large canopy is rather exposing. Apart from that, the model is Tamiya Pure White all over (yes, I do go through a lot of it) and the kit decals went on very nicely.
The third model to come out of France this month is Adrien Roy’s lovely little 1/72 Bernard HV.42, a racing hydroplane that did not quite make it into the 1929 Schneider Trophy competition. It is one of a series of inter-was French racing planes that Roy has made. This kit is, like the Dujin kit above, resin, and beautifully cast resin too, which results in delightful kits that can be made into very nice little models. I made a mess of painting this one the first time and had strip it back to bare resin before starting again, but I think it has turned out very nicely.
OUT OF THE TIME VAULT
I made this Matchbox 1/72 Westland Lysander Mk I in 1979. By this time I’d begun using either Humbrol of Model Master ‘authentic’ colours so it looks something like the real thing. In 2021 this might not be the most advanced kit of the Lysander but back then, and with only the old Airfix kit as competition, this was a very nice looking Lysander indeed.
I’ve had these couple of Zvezda 1/144 Airbus A.321s in the works for a while. They are made more or less straight from the box and by now I reckon I’ve figured out their little quirks so that they are not hard to make. The main trouble comes with the slats and flaps that are designed to be shown in three different positions but don’t fit so well when you want to fit them how they spend most of their time, up and clean. Apart from that these are excellent kits and portray what an A.321 should look like very nicely.
Jetstar has four or so A.321s in its fleet in addition to a lot of A.320s. Hawkeye make very nice decals for two different liveries of the A.320 and it is not too hard to convert one of them into decals for the A.321. Because this airliner is longer you need more windows to go alongside the fuselage and a longer orange belly. I bought two of the Hawkeye sets to provide the additional windows and for the orange belly but it turned out that it was easier to mask and paint the orange section rather than to use the decals. The other problem was that the doors of this aeroplane are outlined in white but the Hawkeye decals don’t provide then. Eventually I solved this problem by using the door decals from an Ascension decal set for Air New Zealand all black A.321. The mica silver comes from a Tamiya rattle can and looks very nice.
I was keen to include a Qantas Link A.320 in my set but decals for it are not yet available, so I was delighted to see that Ascensio (a Russian company) have produced decals for the Australia Post A.321 freighter flown by Qantas Freight. The freighter version is simple to make, simply fill in and smooth the fuselage windows and place a small stip of semi-round card in exactly the right place on the fuselage top to replicate the hinge for the large freight door in the fuselage side. Apart from that, making this kit is fairly routine but the result is rather spectacular.
Here is one of those Anigrand ‘bonus’ kits, this one came with the Anigrand 1/144 Republic XF-12 kit and is not terribly well detailed. However it is probably the best kit of the Northrop F-15 Reporter that there will ever be in 1/144. Only a few of these aeroplanes were made so there is little option for colour schemes, which is a pity because I decided to try a new construction technique with this kit and it didn’t work very well, resulting in some unexpected lumps and bumps which the bare metal finish shows off very well.
Earlier this year I wrote about modelling the Grumman F8F Bearcat and mentioned that a Hobby Boss kit of the F8F-1 was due any day. It has now arrived and it is an excellent though simplee kit of this lovely little aeroplane. Print Scale have published a decal set to go with it that includes decals for all the air forces which flew this aeroplane and I chose the Armee de l’Air version for this model.
From the Time Vault
Back around 1980 the French kit maker Heller was at the height of its powers, making excellent kits of popular subjects but also some oddities. Their 1978 release that included kits of the tiny Bachem Ba349 Natter and the Fiesler Fi103R Reichenberg aircraft demonstrated the quality and quirky nature of their kits. I made these two models around 1981, they have been re-released under a couple of imprints and are well worth chasing up.
This little Airfix 1/72 Messerchmitt-Bolkow-Blohm Bo-105 helicopter is so old and obscure that even Scalemates (for source of all knowledge about kits) doesn’t list it. This kit came to me in the old Airfix blister pack and I made it in 1983. It is not one of the high points in my modelling career but it still looks cute.
Beginning with the big scale of 1/72, here is another model made from the recent Hobby Boss Grumman F8F-1s, this time in the markings of the 1st Fighter Bomber Wing of the Royal Thai Air Force in the mid 1950s. The obvious difference between a F8F-1 and a F8F-1B is that the latter replaced the .50 cal machine guns with 20mm cannon, so this is one of the latter too. There’s not much more that needs to be said about this kit than I’ve already written, suffice it to say that I like it. I’m tempted to make some more F8Fs because they are such a good looking aeroplane, but I think it might be time to move on to some F9Fs, which Hobby Boss also make kits for.
I’m always on the look out for kits of Australian made aeroplanes and this one turned up in one of those on-line catalogues. The tiny 1/144 kit of the GippsAero GA8 Airvan is offered by bsd-online and is a very simple and basic resin kit. The trick in making this is in getting the parts to fit together and then trying to make them look something like the real aeroplane. The decal sheet is pretty good but had markings for a German registered machine so I found one with Australian colours instead on the internet. I quite like the look of this model and its small scale forgives the lack of detail which would be highly evident on a larger scale model.
While we’re in resin kits in 1/144 here is another of the Anigrand ‘bonus’ kits. In that box it is said to be a Beech F-2 photo-reconnaissance aeroplane which is a version of the Beech C-45 which is, in turn, a military version of the gorgeous Beech 18 light transport. I gave some thought to trying to find an Australian livery for this one but the ones I found were all too complex for me to do in this scale so I simply used the decals that came with the kit, which are generic but look fairly attractive. It looks more or less like a Beech 18 if you don’t look too hard.
Once more in resin and 1/144 is this F-Rsin Sud Ouest SO.30 Bretagne. This pretty little airliner did not prove very popular because it had to compete with the likes of Douglas DC-3s after the war and so not many were made. The kit is fairly simple to put together but requires more than a little work to bring it up to a reasonable standard with a lot of filling, sanding and reshaping. The overall colour is SMS Aluminum lacquer which is a good and tough paint that gives a good representation of unpainted metal in /144. The decals were a real problem and the colours really need to be more dense to do justice to this model, but I leave the challenge of achieving that to somebody more skilled than I. I’m just happy to have a model of this interesting and pretty little airliner.
Out of the Time Vault
Here is the ancient 1/144 Airfix Sud Aviation Caravelle kit which wasn’t so old when I made this model in 1984. If my memory is correct, this is the first airliner model I completed and, in this United Airliners livery, is probably the first model on which I used after-market decals. It’s interesting to see that the white paint has not yellowed after all these years, many airliners I’ve made much more recently have gone remarkably yellow. On the other hand, the decals have shown signs of decay though it may be the glue that has yellowed rather than the decals themselves.
Another model I completed in 1984 was this Hasegawa 1/72 Sea Harrier FRS.1 in the markings of 899 NAS during the Falklands War. Good kits generally build up into good looking models.
When the Minicraft 1/72 Lockheed PV-1 Ventura was released back at the end of the 1980s it was rated as a very good kit and by modern day standards it is still reasonable but fairly basic. I must have bought this kit fairly soon after it was released and also bought some vinyl masks for the clear parts. By the time I got around to making this the masks had dried and started to lift even while I was painting, so I had to start again with some more modern masks. The decals for this kit came from Red Roo Models to depict a PV-1 soon after they appeared in RAAF service with Australian markings painted over the Stars and Bars. Later more traditional RAAF markings were applied but the PV-1 kept the standard US Navy three tone colour scheme. This was a simple kit but not a real pleasure to assemble.
Looking for a modern day kit of the Lockheed P-38F in 1/72 leads almost inevitably to the RS Models range of P-38s. The F version kit comes with a number of decal options but only for operations in the Pacific where the P-38 was very successful. Therre are many fine little touches with this kit and the end result looks quite attractive, but getting there is a hard slog.
This little 1/144 Anigrand kit of the Lippisch DM-1 is simplicity itself to put together. If it were not for the fact that this little glider holds such an interesting place in aviation history it would hardly be worth making at all. There are no decals for this model, I don’t think that it ever took to the air but it does demonstrate the state of the aviation industry in Germany late in the war and the effect that that had on later developments in aviation.
FROM THE TIME VAULT
I made this Airfix 1.72 Blohm und Voss Bv141in 1987 when I was under the influence of a bad attack of Advanced Modellers Syndrome so there is a fully detailed cockpit, something which Airfix failed to include, and other stuff including panel rescribing and weathering.
I made this 1/72 model of the North American F-82G from the Idea kit which was a direct copy of the old Monogram kit. Although I completed the model in the 1980s the decal sheet was abysmal so I did not complete the model until the late 1980s when I bought a cheap Monogram kit and used the decals from it to complete the model.
Heller were making some of the best aeroplane kits in the 1980s and this 1/72 North American F-86F Saber was one of them. I completed this one using Microscale decals to model John Glenn’s ‘Mig Mad Marine’ F-86.
This little Arctic Decals 1/144 kit of the deHavilland DH-86 had been hanging around my work bench for the past year because I couldn’t work out how to make the decals for it. In the second half of the 1930s several Australian airlines brought this airliner into Australia, in particular Holymans Airways used them in services on Australia’s main domestic routes and Qantas Empire Airways used them on an international service between Singapore and Brisbane. I managed to make the decals for the Holymans version but could not make the Qantas decals. Finally I mentioned this problem to the well known local modeller, Wally, and he said he’d have a go. He’d made the decals for me in a couple of days and here the model is, finally, completed. It is not one of the most accurate 1/144 airliner model, but it’s better than nothing. Thanks Wal.
Another rare kit is Adrien Roy’s 1/72 kit of the Bernard HV.40 racing floatplane. Never heard of it? Neither had I until Adrien offered this kit. It was designed as part of a French entry into the Schneider Trophy around 1930. As with the other kits I’ve obtained from Adrien, this is a little gem of a kit, beautifully moulded in resin. It is not really an easy kit to make – for me it was the problem with getting the fuselage and floats lined up properly – but the end result is a lovely looking little model.
In comparison to the challenge of those two earlier kits, this Hobby Boss 1/72 Vought A-7A was made straight out of the box. About half the plastic in the box is the ordnance to go under the wings but I think that bombs and rockets tend to conceal the aesthetics of the aeroplane itself so I didn’t use them. The challenge with this model was to use old Microscale decals that were not designed to fit on this kit. This involved me in a great deal more effort than you would normally put into a model made straight from the box. I used SMS paints on this model, the Light Gull Grey upper surfaces seem a little lighter than the previous paints in that shade that I’ve used and the Insignia White for the undersurfaces seemed a little more yellowish than any white I’ve used on a US Navy model, but it seems to work to my eyes.
From the time vault
When I made this model of the Douglas F4D-1 from the Airfix 1/72 back in 1988 I was in the grip of Advanced Modellers Syndrome, hence all the moving control surfaces and folded wings. Note how this version of Light Gull Grey, which was probably Modelmaster enamels, is darker than the SMS Light Gull Grey on the A-7A.
This model of the Douglas A-4M, made from the Fujimi 1/72 kit, was made a year later in 1989 and was an experiment in hand painting the multi tone greys that began appearing on US Navy and Marine Corps aircraft around this time. I must have been recovering from my bout of Advanced Modellers Syndrome by this time because there is little additional work done on this model.
The German kit maker Huma produced a good range of the less well known German aircraft, mainly from the Second World War Period. For its time, around 1989, this was an excellent kit with a full and useful instruction sheet and good decals. It was, as I recall, a very pleasant kit to assemble and paint.