106 Kit Build Reviews part 2

Handley Page to Yak

For about ten years from 2000 I regularly wrote two page kit build reviews for the Modellers of Ballarat newsletter.  I’ve collected them together and present them, in two parts for convenience.

Handley Page Victor B2 – Matchbox 1/72

Handley Page Victor B2 - Matchbox 72

Hawker Siddeley Gnat T1 – Airfix 1/72

Hawker Siddeley Gnat T1 - Airfix 72

Heinkel He178 – Condor 1/72

Heinkel He178 - Condor 72

Junkers DI – Roden 1/72

Junkers DI - Roden 72

Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu (Rex) – High Planes 1/72

Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu (Rex) - High Planes 72

Leclerc – Revell 1/72

Leclerc - Revell 72

Leduc 022 – Mach 2 1/72

Leduc 022 - Mach 2 72

Lockheed C-5A – Entex 1/144

Lockheed F-117A – Academy Minicraft 1/72

Lockheed F-117A - Academy Minicraft 72

Lockheed L-1011 – Airfix 1/144

Lockheed L-1011 - Airfix 144

Loire 46 – Azure 1/72

Loire 46 - Azure 72.pdf

Loire 130 – Azur 1/72

Loire 130 - Azur 72

Loire Nieuport LN411 Azur 1/72

Loire Nieuport LN411 Azur 72

Martin P5M-2 – Hasegawa 1/72

Mercury Atlas – New Ware 1/144

Mercury Atlas - New Ware 144

Mercury Redstone – New Ware 1/144

Mercury Redstone - New Ware 144

Messerchmitt Me163B – Academy 1/72

Messerchmitt Me163B - Academy 72

Messerchmitt Me163V-1 – Condor 1/72

Messerchmitt Me163V-1 - Condor 72

Messerchmitt Me263V-1 – Huma 1/72

Messerchmitt Me263V-1 - Huma 72

MiG Ye-152A (Flipper) – Crown 1/144

MiG Ye-152A (Flipper) - Crown 144

Mikoyan I-270 – Amodel 1/72

Mikoyan I-270 - Amodel 72

Mikoyan MiG-31 (Foxhound-A) – Condor 1/72

Mikoyan MiG-31 (Foxhound-A) - Condor 72

Mil Mi-6 – Amodel 1/72

Miles Master III – Eastern Express 1/72

Mitsubishi J8M1 – Hasegawa 1/72

Mitsubishi J8M1 - Hasegawa 72

Nieuport 11 – Tolo 1/72

Nieuport 11 - Tolo 72

Nieuport 28 – Revell 1/72

Nieuport 28 - Revell 72

North American Mustang IV – Academy 1/72

North American Mustang IV - Academy 72

North American P-51D – Academy Minicarft 1/144

North American X-15A-2 – Monogram 1/72

North American X-15A-2 - Monogram 72

North American XB-70 – AMT 1/72

Northrop Gamma 2A – Williams Borthers 1/72

Northrop Gamma 2A - Williams Borthers 72

Northrop Grumman B-2A – Revell 1/144

Northrop Grumman B-2A - Revell 144

Northrop Grumman B-2A – Testors 1/72

Northrop YB-49 – AMT 1/72

Polikarpov I-185 – Modelist 1/72

Polikarpov I-185 - Modelist 72

Potez 63-11 – Heller 1/72

Potez 63-11 - Heller 72

Renault FT-17 Char Canon – RPM 1/72

Renault FT-17 Char Canon - RPM 72

Robin DR315 Petit Prince – Dujin 1/72

Robin DR315 Petit Prince - Dujin 72

Rockwell Space Shuttle – Revell 1/144

Rockwell Space Shuttle - Revell 144

Short Sunderland V – Airfix 1/72

Short Sunderland V - Airfix 72

SNCASE SE-100 – Planet 1/72

SNCASE SE-100 - Planet 72

SNECMA 450 Coleoptere – Mach 2 1/72

SNECMA 450 Coleoptere - Mach 2 72

SOMUA S-35 – Heller 1/72

SOMUA S-35 - Heller 72

SPARTA-WRESAT – New Ware 1/144

SPARTA-WRESAT - New Ware 144

Transall C.160G – Heller 1/72

Transall C.160G - Heller 72

Tupolev Tu-16 (Badger-A) – Trumpeter 1/72

Tupolev Tu-16 (Badger-A) - Trumpeter 72.pdf

Tupolev Tu-22M3 (Backfire-C) – Esci 1/72

Tupolev Tu-128 – Amodel 1/72

Tupolev Tu-128 - Amodel 72

Yak-38 – Ace 1/72

Yak-38 - Ace 72

106 Kit Build Reviews part 1

Airbus to Grumman

For about ten years from 2000 I regularly wrote two page kit build reviews for the Modellers of Ballarat newsletter.  I’ve collected them together and present them, in two parts for convenience.

Airbus A300B4 – Airfix 1/144

Airbus A300B4 - Airfix 144

Airbus A330-200 – Revell 1/144

Airbus A330-200 - Revell 144

Airbus A330-300 – Revell 1/144

Airbus A330-300 - Revell 144

Airbus A340-200 Revell 1/144

Airbus A340-200 Revell 144

Airbus A340-300 – Revell 1/144

Airbus A340-300 - Revell 144

Amiot 143M – Smer 1/72

Amiot 143M - Smer 72

Amiot 354 – Mach 2 1/72

Amiot 354 - Mach 2 72

AML-90 – Ace 1/72

AMX-30 – Heller 1/72

Antonov An-32 – Amodel 1/72

Antonov An-32 - Amodel 72

Apollo Saturn V – Airfix 1/144

Apollo Saturn V - Airfix 144

ATR 72 – F-Rsin 1/144

ATR 72 F-Rsin 144

Avro Vulcon B2 – Airfix 1/72

BAC TSR2 – Airfix 1/72

BAC TSR2 - Airfix 72

Bereznyak-Isaev BI – Eastern Express 1/72

Bereznyak-Isaev BI - Eastern Express 72

Blackburn Skua II – Novo 1/72

Blackburn Skua II - Novo 72

Bloch 200 – Smer 1/72

Bloch 200 - Smer 72

Bloch 220 – F-Rsin 1/144

Bloch 220 - F-Rsin

Boeing 377 – Minicraft 1/144

Boeing 377 - Minicraft 144

Boeing 727-200 – East West – Airfix 1/144

Boeing 727-300 - East West - Airfix 144

Boeing 747-200 – Airfix 1/144

Boeing 747-300 – Kepuyuan 1/144

Boeing B-52D – Monogram 1/72

Boeing KC-135R – AMT 1/72

Boeing WB-47B – Academy 1/72

Boeing WB-47B - Academy 72

Bristol Bloodhound I – Airfix 1/72

Bristol Bloodhound I - Airfix 72

CAC CA-15 – CMR 1/72

CAC CA-15 - CMR 72

Char B1 bis – Matchbox 1/72

Char B1 bis - Matchbox 72

Convair B-36D – Hobbycraft 1/144

Convair B-36D - Hobbycraft 144

Convair YF2Y-1 – Mach 2 1/72

Convair YF2Y-1 - Mach 2 72

Curtiss C-46 – Williams Brothers 1/72

Curtiss C-46 Williams Brothers 72

Curtiss P-40N – Hobby Boss 1/72

Curtiss P-40N - Hobby Boss 72

Curtiss XF15C-1 – Pro Resin 1/72

Curtiss XF15C-1 - Pro Resin 72

Dassault Mirage 2000C – Airfix 1/72

Dassault Mirage 2000C - Airfix 72

Dassault Mirage IIIO A3-2 ARDU, A3-100 – Frog 1/72

Dassault Mirage IIIO A3-2 ARDU - Frog 72Dassault Mirage IIIO A3-100 - Frog 72.pdf

Dassault Mirage IIIO A3-3 A3-72 – Frog 1/72

Dassault Mirage IIIO A3-3 - Frog 72

Dassault Mirage IIIO A3-42 A3-60 – Frog 1/72

Dassault Mirage IIIO A3-60 - Frog 72Dassault Mirage IIIO A3-42 - Frog 72.pdf

Dassault Mirage IIIO A3-72 – Frog 1/72

Dassault Mirage IIIO A3-72 - Frog 72

Dassault Mirage IIIO A3-83 90-513 – Frog 1/72

Dassault Mirage IIIO A3-83 - Frog 72Dassault Mirage IIIO 90-513 - Frog 72

De Havilland Canada Dash-8-100 – Hobbycraft 1/72

De Havilland Canada Dash-8-100 - Hobbycraft 72

De Havilland Canads DHC-6 – Matchbox 1/72

De Havilland Canads DHC-6 - Matchbox 72

De Havilland Sea Hornet NF21 – Special Hobby 1/72

De Havilland Sea Hornet NF21 - Special Hobby 72

De Havilland Sea Venom FAW53 – Toko 1/72

deHavilland Hornet F1 – Special Hobby 1/72

deHavilland Hornet F1 - special Hobby 72

Dewoitine 371 – Azur 1/72

Dewoitine 371 - Azur 72

Dewoitine 500 – Smer 1/72

Dewoitine 500 - Smer 72

DFS 228 – Huma 1/72

DFS 228 - Huma 72

Douglas DC-9-10 – Aurora 1/72

Douglas DC-9-10 - Aurora 72

Douglas P-70 – Revell 1/72

Douglas P-70 - Revell 72

Fokker F-27 – East West – Esci 1/72

Fokker F-27 - East West - Esci 72

Gemini Titan II – Real Space Models 1/144

Gemini Titan II - Real Space Models 144

Gloster Whittle E28-39 – High Planes 1/72

Gloster Whittle E28-39 - High Planes 72

Grumman F7F-3 – Monogram 1/72

Grumman F7F-3 - Monogram 72

Grumman F8F-1 – Monogram 1/72

Grumman F8F-1 - Monogram 72

Grumman F11F-1 – Hasegawa 1/72

Grumman F11F-1 - Hasegawa 72

Accurate French Colours?

You might recall that earlier this year I made some Block 150 series fighters and ended up whinging about the colours of paint I was forced by circumstances to use. I’d bought the Hataka acrylic lacquer French World War II set of ‘authentic’ colours and was not happy. Since then this has been nagging on my mind and, a couple of weeks back, I decided that enough was enough and I had to do something about it.

This whole problem began about twenty years ago when I came to the realization that I was not going to make all the kits in my Treasure in my lifetime – even if it was a very long life – and that I should specialize in some category rather than just making models of whatever took my fancy. ‘I know’, I said, ‘I’ll make French aeroplanes.’ Then, in total ignorance of the history of French aviation or the efforts of M Palix and M Dujin to make kits of every obscure French aeroplane that ever existed, I added, ‘There can’t be too many of them’.

Not knowing much about French aeroplanes or what they looked like I went to the Perth Hobby Center – we were living in Perth at the time – and bought me some French aeroplanes and some ‘authentic’ paint in French colours to put on them. The result was a set of the three French fighters at the beginning of World War II, the Morane Saulnier 406, the Bloch 152 and the Dewoitine 520. (The fact that the French entered the war with three fighter types, four if you count the Caudron 714 and five if you count the Curtiss Hawk 75, should have warned me about what I was getting into!)

The kits were from Heller and just on the makeable side of basic, and the paint was from Aeromaster. It was a brand I’d never heard of – still being basically a Humbrol user at that stage – but it was the only source of ‘authentic’ French paint, so I gave it a go. It was okay and I was happy with the results. I followed the kit instructions because there was very little literature that I’d seen about French aeroplanes and, in the period before the interweb really got going, there was no other was of finding out what French aeroplanes at the beginning of World War II should look like.

French Colours e

When we arrived in Ballarat there was no Aeromaster paint with which to continue my excursion into French aviation, but the hobby shop in Sturt Street stocked Modelmaster paints which came in a huge rack and included around eight (as I recall) French ‘authentic’ colours. So I bought them and continued on with my growing interest in French aviation. When I compared these ‘authentic’ colours to those from Aeromaster bottles there were some striking differences, which puzzled me and led me into trying to find out more about what the right colours might be. However, at that stage, there was little reliable information so I learned what I could and pottered on. Generally speaking, I didn’t know whether the Aeromaster or the Modelmaster paints were the more ‘authentic’ but since I only had access to the Modelmaster enamels I resigned myself to a state of genteel ignorance. And when the shop owner decided to get out of the Modelmaster range I bought every bottle of French paint they had which, I assumed, would last me an eternity, so it didn’t matter much.

French Colours f

However, fifteen years later, when I started to run out of some colours, I discovered that it was impossible to buy any more Modelmaster paint in Australia. This was a serious problem because I’d come to rely on Modelaster enamels for just about all my military aviation and suddenly, on the whim of some importer, I was cut off from my supply of the good stuff. This led me into a brief and unfruitful exploration of the failings of acrylic paint (for me anyhow) and then the emerging range of acrylic lacquers which I already had some experience of from my use of the Tamiya rattle can range for airliner models. However, until recently, there has been nothing in that range that was suitable for French aeroplanes, until the Hataka set that I mentioned earlier. I ordered it from BNA with much expectation but was quite disappointed when it arrived and I tried it on those Bloch 150 series fighters.

French Colours g

Which led me to the point I was at a few weeks back. I felt the increasing and undeniable need to make some more French fighters but was unable to do so because I lacked the paint with which to decorate them. However, frustration leads to action.

But first, a quick lesson about French camouflage colours prior to and into World War II. (It took me years to figure this out and I’m giving it to you for free.) Before the Munich Crisis French aeroplanes were generally bare metal (perhaps with a protective transparent varnish) but after that they were painted Gris Bleu Clair (light blue grey) on the lower surfaces and Khaki on the upper surfaces. Towards the end of 1938 more colours were added to those that could be used; Vert (green), Terre de Sienne (earth brown) and Gris Bleu Fonce (dark blue grey). Gris Bleu Clair remained the under side colour but the upper side could have a base coat of Gris Bleu Fonce or Khaki with other colours painted over it in splodges in no particular pattern. (The result was that no two French aeroplanes were identical in camouflage patterns and all the lovely camouflage patterns one sees in books and on the interweb are largely inventions of the artist’s imagination.) There was another colour, Ombre Calcinee (Modelmaster called this Chestnut Brown) which was applied to aeroplanes like night bombers and another colour, Jaune Sahara (Sahara Yellow), which was used in place of one or more of the upper camouflage colours on aeroplanes operating south of the Mediterranean. The rudders of all French aeroplanes were painted in the stripes of Bleu (Blue), Blanche (White) and Rouge (Red) of equal spacing, and that’s about the only thing you can be certain of with French aeroplanes of this period.

After the Armistice the French or Vichy Air Force, which is apparently properly called the Armee de l’Air de l’Armistice, had to apply distinguishing markings which included white bars painted along fuselage sides and around roundels, also a 30 centimeter tricolour band and the empennage and fuselage rear (apart from the rudder) and nose had to be painted yellow, with red stripes that were added later. Some sources say that after the Armistice the French Air Force had matt aluminum undersides instead of Gris Bleu Clair, and others don’t. To add to the lack of uniformity, many of the shades used were mixed from existing paint stocks to suit the local environment in which French aircraft found themselves operating.

Confused? I still am. Most kits and decal sets these days go for a scheme of Gris Bleu Clair underside and Gris Bleu Fonce upperside with Vert and Terre de Sienne randomly over that, but who knows if they are right?

Nevertheless, there appear to be basic colours that were used and none of the three sets of paint I’d used, which claimed to be ‘authentic’, seemed to be that to me. In particular, I could see no point in paying good money for more sets of Hataka lacquers in which I would use only the Gris Bleu Fonce and Gris Bleu Clair and which didn’t include the Rouge or Blue colours which seem to be uniquely French and unavailable in other lacquers. These days there are several sources of possibly accurate information on authentic French colours and, of the ranges I’ve used, I prefer those from Modelmaster, and I would have kept using them had they been available. The only colour out of that range that I might have changed was their Vert, which seems a little bit too dark according to the sources I looked at.

Then I remembered that I’d faced this problem before. After they’d banned the carriage of enamel paints on aircraft and I’d been unable to import the Xtracolous range of airliner colours, I took my precious tins of Airbus and Boeing greys to Darby’s and they made for me colour matched lacquers which I am still happily using a decade or more later. Why not, I thought, do the same thing for French colours.

French Colours a

French Colours b

I gathered together all the existing ‘authentic’ French Modelaster and Hataka paint I had, colour chips, colour information with equivalents such as FS numbers, and models I’d previously made, and made up a list of what I consider to be ‘authentic’ French colours for the eleven basic colours I need. This took several hours and is not completely authentic because I made some slight variations to suit my preferences and the models I’ve already made. For example, the Terre de Sienne is almost identical to the Modelmaster shade and slightly less dark than the sources say it should while the Vert is lighter than the Modelmaster Vert but a little darker than what the original colour might have been.

French Colours c

French Colours d

Feeling still uncertain about my choices I crossed the Rubicon (a small tributary of it at least), went along to Darby’s with my list and collection of paints and colour patches, and ordered eleven one liter cans of paint colour matched to my specifications. They looked at me strangely but ‘the customer is the customer’. Colour matching cost $35 a go and after that the cost of the paint is almost negligible so I fought off the impulse to order two liter cans instead, just in case. (The paint thins to a ratio of 1 part paint to 1.5 parts thinner, giving me 2.5 liters of each, and I don’t expect to live long enough to use all that.) One thing I hadn’t thought of, ‘Matt or gloss?’ they asked. Gloss of course.

A couple of weeks later Darbys rang up, my paint was ready. For my Airbus and Boeing greys, and all the white I use, I thin the paint down, making a bit over half a liter of thinned paint, which I store in 100ml glass bottles that I buy off the internet. This paint is still thicker than most of the acrylic and lacquer paint you buy for modelling these days so it can be thinned again for airbrushing, but I find that it is an excellent paint for my 0.5 Badger Patriot running at about 20 psi and rarely needs more than one coat for good coverage. So, I took the afternoon off and sat thinning paint and putting it into bottles, about seven for each shade. That was until I ran out of thinner and bottles, and had to wait for more to arrive.

French Colours i

Eager to try out my new paint, I took a couple of old Hobby Boss 1/72 Dewoitine 520s out of my Treasure and stuck them together. They are very simple kits and just right for this trial use of my new paint. Painting took around a day’s work for the two models, a little longer for the one with the Jaune and Rouge Vichy stripes of shame. The paint flows beautifully out of my airbrush and dries almost instantly. Touching up using the unthinned paint is a breeze, unlike my experience with other acrylic and lacquer paints. The gloss sheen is just about right, negates the need for a gloss coat before applying the decals, would be ideal for gloss models, and takes a matting coat with no troubles. It’s all that I hoped it would be, though that light shade Vert is going to take a little getting used to.

French Colours h

Models for December 2019

A 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.

December j

December i

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.

December l

December k

Here are some I made earlier

A Trumpeter 1/72 BAC Lightning F.6, XS898, in the colours of 5 Squadron, RAF, in 1974.

December d

December c

A Trumpeter 1/72 BAC Lightning F.53 in the colours of the Royal Saudi Air Force at Tabuk Air Base in 1977.

December b

December a

An Airfix 1/72 Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer S.2 in the colours of 800 NAS, Fleet Air Arm, aboard HMS Eagle in 1971.

December f

December e

The prototype Saunders Roe SR.A/1 made from the very old and basic ID Models vacform kit with decals from the spares box.

December h

December g

Cat in a Box

As a rule our two cats, Tristan and Isolde, get on well together. They chase each other around the house for fun and cuddle up together on the bed, but there is one thing that causes war to break out between them. It is the old cardboard box behind my computer screen. Tristan believes it is his box and Isolde thinks that she should have it. Sometimes, when he isn’t lying in it, she will sneak in and try it on for size, and emerge with a look of smug self satisfaction on her face. But if he’s using it she will either pretend that she couldn’t care less about his box or it will be all out war. Tristan is much bigger than Isolde so the outcome is not often in doubt, but she doesn’t know the meaning of the phrase ‘give up’ and sometimes I have to separate them. On occasions offering Tristan another box works, for a while.

cats acats bcats c








Heritage of the Air in Canberra

I got back from the Heritage of the Air conference in Canberra a few days ago but have been trying to catch up since then. It was an event sponsored by ICOMOS so there was a lot of heritage discussion as well as aviation, which I found interesting, and a good time was had by all as far as I could see. It was held at University House at the Australian National University. Breakfasts and evening drinks were among the highlights of the event. Here are some photos which include one of me with James Knightly, Peter Hobbins and Matt Henderson and another of Roger Mayer talking to Robin Johnson. In addition to this I spent a day at the National Library photographing old fanzines and a few hours doing a bit of work at the Australian War Memorial. The rest of the time I spent walking around looking at things. The city has changed a lot since we left there in 1987 but not so much since we finished the Tax Office history a decade ago.

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In addition to hanging around, I gave a paper on the role of the Council of Defence in establishing aviation in Australia in 1919 and 1920. Here is a copy of what I said. There is a longer version which I will get around to publishing one of these days.

From the Same Root