Sunday, 21 May 2017

new 1:32nd scale Revell Spitfire IXc - UF-Q MJ 250 601 Sqd - build review in-box first look

Decided to give Revell's new and re-vamped 1:32 Spitfire a go. Here is the box and some sprue shots of the new IXc. Bought two - the first one just £19 at the RAF Manston history museum shop. Got the second kit when I saw the nice decal options including the overall silver UF-Q of 601 Sqd. See photos below.

And some progress on the cockpit after a few hours work in the garden. I've read some pretty scathing reviews of this kit - but there's no pleasing some people is there? For the RRP of £22-26 you do get a lot of plastic for your money, even if the cockpit is not that detailed (missing the seat back armour) and there are no seat-belts, not even as decals. Below; picture from Der Lingener's build review on britmodeller.

To answer a query I had on the IX seat colour (the Revell instructions suggest interior green) I found this on the Spitfire site forum , ".. in Paul Monforton's Spitfire Mk IX/XVI Engineered, photos of all Spitfires IX/XVI presented in the book - restored as well as preserved in original condition - show that the same red-brown plastic seat as was used as on the earlier Spitfire models. It was produced from an early composite plastic called SRBP - Synthetic Resin-Bonded Paper and was left unpainted. The seat backing though had a leather cushion, colored dark brown on the only shown preserved seat which had this feature left in (worn but) original condition..".

Below;  the other kit decal option, UF-Q MJ250 in natural metal finish,

UF-Q MJ250 in natural metal finish, only the fabric areas were painted silver. The armour cover over the fuselage fuel tank is darker in colour.  In the foreground is MJ 532 in Day Fighter finish with the Sky band over painted apart from behind the serial number.

It appears that 601 Squadron were the only operators of MJ 250. During the summer of 1944 MJ 250 was flown by two Polish pilots attached to 610 Squadron from 318 (Polish) Squadron. F/Lt Zdzisław Uchwat bombed a road junction at Cagli on 15 July and tanks and other vehicles in the Cagli area on 17 July. F/Lt Jerzy Hamankiewicz on 3rd August bombed gun emplacements near Florence and escorted 12 Marauders bombing a bridge north of Ferrara on 14 August.

".....First instinct on seeing that picture and it's never changed despite claims that its a camo upper cowling. It's stripped bare metal and the engine exhaust, weathering has caused the look of the slightly darker cowling. Compare the cowling to the one on the machine in the foreground with the camouflaged finish.. There is no comparison ...."

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

RN Phantoms of 892 Sqn (Airfix new tool colours and markings options)

With the forthcoming release of the new Airfix RAF/RN F-4 Phantom, the 892 Sqn nose flashes are bound to be a popular choice of markings. This small article looks at the variations. The Queen's Silver Jubilee markings were applied in June 1977 to celebrate the 25th year of Queen Elizabeth's reign. The red, white and blue nose flash extended from the tip of the radome to the nose number, with a break in the middle for the superimposed yellow-gold figures 77 topped by a five pointed crown and was applied to nearly all the squadron's then current aircraft. The exception was XV 568 which had the rounded Prince of Wales crown, applied for his own Royal visit to RNAS Yeovilton, Prince Charles having completed his Royal Navy period of service by then. Rather than remove the markings after the Jubilee and air display season was over, the '77 and crown' motif was replaced by 892 Sqn's badge and that version was retained until the Phantoms left the Navy in November 1978. Please note some of the images that follow are in my collection, others are not. Please contact me for credit and/or removal. The composite image below is courtesy Patrick Martin.

Bow catapult launch (Gordon Lewis)

"..The front wheels remained on the deck with the nose extended, as a naval air mechanic I used to have to extend the nose for launch and the control switch was in the left undercarriage bay, the Buccaneers nose wheel left the ground when pulled back on the launch hooks.." Richard Fagg on the British Phantoms FB Group

Above, Queen's Jubilee scheme 1977 at that year's Prestwick Airshow (Terry Hughes photo)
British F-4 undergoing sea trials on HMS Eagle - Joe Wilkinson in the foreground on the tractor. According to Joe this is probably the aircraft currently on display in the FAA museum now repainted as XV586 - see above.  (pic via Joe Wilkinson)

(Above) FG. 1 XT 867 (152/VL) with 767 NAS, probably during the early 70s - note the 'yellow bird' emblem on the tail fin, otherwise known as the 'ten ton budgie'.. The Naval Air Squadron 767 was established to train FG. 1 pilots between 1969 and 1972. Note the extended nose oleo of 152/ VL on approach..(unknown photographer, photo print in my collection)

  "..the undercarriage just sags under its own weight until it touches down, then compresses. Hooks weren't routinely used for airfield landing unless the 'chute candled and they dumped it for a go-around.." (Charlie Brown)

" Everything drops when the weight is off the wheels. For carrier ops the nosewheel extended to give better angle of attack on launch. 1/2 flap for take off and full flap for landing. The leading edge flaps came down for both..On the FGR2 we didn't have the extending nosewheel although it might have been useful on a QRA launch from Stanley! We also landed into the cable. It was a 600 foot pull out not too dissimilar to The Ark. The oleos extended under gravity. so what you see on landing is normal. I think the early FG1s had the extending nose wheel but Badger Bolton will pitch in. A few of the Navy mods were retained such as the slotted stabilator but most were slowly phased out."

Dave Gledhill in response to a question of mine on the British Phantoms FB group..

Below; Chris Bolton photo via Mike Young

The SNEB rocket (French: Societe Nouvelle des Etablissements Edgar Brandt) is an unguided air-to-ground 68 mm (2.7 in) rocket projectile (RP) manufactured by the French company TDA Armements, designed for launch by combat aircraft and helicopters

Decal options for the new-tool Airfix RAF/RN FG.1 Phantoms on this blog

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Fujimi RAF 'Silver Jubilee' RN F-4 Phantom FG.1 in 1:72 - we'll be happy if Airfix can match this!

I decided that it was about time - ahead of the forthcoming release from Airfix of a new 1:72nd scale RAF F-4 Phantom FG.1 - to build the Fujimi British 'Toom' - apparently one of the Top 100 model kits that you absolutely must build, according to a feature in SAM a few years ago. While availability of these is patchy, they do crop up on ebay now and again and there's always Hobby Link Japan. So I have a few in the stash. There was also a limited reissue a few years ago. This is a kit that has aged very well, so as well as starting the kit, I'll take a quick look at its history.

The Fujimi kits have been around since 1988. They must have have been state-of the-art back then . They look pretty good in the box even now; recessed panel lines, neat detail, good quality decals, a full stores package - and centre-line gun pod for the RAF version - and they capture most of the nuances of the F-4K/M airframe perfectly. The Fujimi kits have been released in many different boxings, usually correctly representing the particular airframes covered (e.g. with slotted stabilators or not, and different tail fins - with RWR or without).

 There were four kits issued originally (Firebirds, Shark Teeth, Silver Jubilee and Yellow Bird), then two special editions with some white metal and etched brass parts to improve the cockpit, Alcock and Brown and the 25th Anniversary scheme worn by XT 597 (raspberry ripple, including a new Doppler radome).

These were followed by four re-issues of the original releases; same decals, new box art and various upgrades to the molds - e.g. separate flaps, corrected auxiliary inlet doors (see below), better detailing on the jet pipes and so on. Vinyl wheels are supplied in the newer editions (see below) although I guess I'll be employing the plastic versions.

Those were followed by three limited editions, all using the upgraded molds and new decals (Black Mike, Bye Bye Blue, Treble One). Most recently there have been re-issues of the Alcock and Brown and 25th Anniversary kits (but no metal parts this time, and mistakenly includes FG.1 nose gear and catapult attachment points). The upgraded mold kits are obviously worth seeking out over the earlier releases - as mentioned the original kit jet pipes are vastly improved in the newer editions - but this is not to say you shouldn't pass up the opportunity to get any boxing, as the basic kit is pretty good regardless of the improvements made to the later releases.

The canopy is supplied both as a single piece 'closed' example and a four piece version so you can pose the canopies open.  There are a few minor problems - the original release has the fuselage side auxiliary intake doors in the wrong place, and the belly aux intake doors can't be modelled open (both issues fixed in the later releases). One area that is poor are the main intakes - there is no trunking and they end at a blank wall with no representation of the engine compressor face- I've photocopied a photo of a generic compressor face, reduced it, and stuck it against the back wall- a little overscale as it happens (left), but at least there is something there...

The Sidewinders included are AIM-9Es which British Phantoms did not use. The cockpit is perhaps a little disappointing, with some dark decals providing generic detail- decided not to use them here and just paint the molded detail. The rear cockpit side-wall parts (nos 45 and 46) are inaccurate and don't fit very well at all so I may just leave these out. All in all, some pretty minor issues though.

Above; the result of an afternoon's work. Cockpit assembled and fuselage halves together. Below; a second afternoon to assemble the intakes and the wings..


Also on this blog;

Monday, 10 April 2017

72nd RS Models Me 309 - first look in-box review build finished (3)

..just finished the new RS Models Me 309. Not a bad little kit. Made a mess of the undercarriage, ruined the decals as they were very thin and stuck fast on contact and guess what..its a tail sitter, despite the nose I've quickly cobbled together this base so that I can stick the model down which will also make it easier to handle. I took a razor saw to the rather thick canopy, cut it into three parts to show the folding hood and also achieved a much better fit of the windshield at the same time. A pilot figure or two would set the model off nicely perhaps.. but can I find my Reheat Models figures when I want them?