First Generation Insectoid

Westland Dragonfly HR.3 / HR.5 / WS-51

Miniwing 1/144, Ref. Mini 334

A welcome release from Miniwing, this first generation helicopter Westland Dragonfly, a first in this scale.  Two boxings have just been released (Mini 335 is labelled Dragonfly Mk.1 with French Aeronavale markings).

The Westland Dragonfly was a licence-built Sikorsky S-51 (also known as H-5, R-5, HO2S or HO3S) that entered service in 1950, 5 years later than its American counterpart.  The original 450hp Pratt & Whitney Junior Wasp engine having been replaced by a 500hp Alvis Leonides one that gave it slightly better performances.  The main user was first and above all the Royal Navy, but some examples were also used by the RAF, and also by the air forces of Ceylon, Egypt, Italy and Thailand, and a handful of civilian operators.  The American versions, externally similar, were used by many other countries.  A development known as the Westland Widgeon, featuring a re-designed front fuselage, was also built in small numbers and operated for a few years during the 1950s (including by Belgian airline Sabena).

Miniwing’s HR.3 / HR.5 / WS-51 comes in a thin cardboard box and includes two kits, as is fairly ‘standard’ in this scale.  The lovely box art is the work of Radek Skoumal’s (the man behind Miniwing) daughter; kit Mini 335, however, comes in a plastic bag with cardboard backing and this set only contains a single kit, as has also been fairly ‘standard’ with Miniwing’s injected plastic releases.

As far as kit Mini 334 is concerned, the instruction sheet consists of a single A5-sized black & white printed sheet, while the A4-sized painting guide is in colour.  A small decal sheet provides markings for four aircraft, that is two operated by the RN, one by the Royal Thai Air Force and a final one by the Royal Dutch Navy.

All the parts for each model are on a single clear plastic sprue.  The parts are all slightly frosted which would be an issue for the mostly glazed front fuselage, but as can be seen on the picture below, a simple dip into Klear or other similar product will make a serious difference. 

The plastic is nonetheless rather thick for the scale and curvy as it is on the extreme tip, will certainly cause a little distortion.  Good news though, Miniwings have included some pre-cut masks for all the glazing that will seriously help during the painting stages.  Cockpit detail consist of a two-part ‘tub’ with integral passenger seating, front instrument panel, pilot seat control stick and cyclic stick.  It can be improved but should satisfy most of us.  The main rotor consists of a hub and the three blades, while there is a two-bladed and a three-bladed option for the rear rotor (some early Dragonflies had the two-bladed one).  All in all, with only 26 parts, each model should not be too difficult to put together and with the help of the provided masks, should be fairly easy to paint, decal and weather.

We understand that more ‘boxings’ will be released in the future, namely Sikorsky H-5 and variants for various US air arms.  Those wanting more exotic colour schemes are, provided they can secure (or design!) other markings that is, in for a treat with this cute little kit, as there were many Sikorsky H-5 civilian and military operators throughout the world.

Review and pictures by Domi Jadoul

Figure Painting Bible

Figure Painting Techniques – F.A.Q.  by Kirill Kanaev

AK Interactive, Ref. AK630

This book, covering materials and tools to the various stages involved in the building and painting of figures, represents a comprehensive reference for the figure painter.

Its 484 pages are divided into six well illustrated chapters and a very useful comparison chart for AK, Tamiya, Vallejo, Mr Hobby, Abteilung 502 and Reaper paints.

The first chapter deals with the various types of paints one can nowadays find on the market, namely enamels, lacquers, acrylics and oils but also introduce varnishes and thinners along with necessary and recommended tools including brushes, airbrushes, putties and glues.

Advice on organising one’s work area and on prepping one’s figure follows in Chapter 2.  Chapter 3 deals with colours and their mixing.  Chapter 4 is all about ‘light’, its influence or effect on painting particular items or areas of the figure.  Chapter 5 is dedicated to the use of acrylics and oils in terms of adding depth and highlights through the use of washes and drybrushing.  Finally, the last chapter, by far the longest, brings in advice on painting skin, eyes, hair, clothing, items of animal origin, metals (including non-metallic metal painting), wood, glass and jewellery.

Seasoned figure painters may know most of what is dealt with in this book (but who knows?) but it certainly is a very good addition to the library of those who wish to start figure painting or develop their existing skills.

Review by Daniel Clamot; pictures by AK Interactive.

Building Blocks

Tetrapod, 25t

OKB Grigorov 1/350, Ref. A35001

An interesting release from the prolific bulgarian artisan, this kit contains concrete tetrapods used  in coastal engineering to prevent erosion and strengthen coastal structures such as seawalls and breakwaters. Their shape dissipate the force of incoming waves by allowing water to flow around rather than against them.  There are 20 of them in this set, cast in a flawless resin.

This is the first item of a new ‘Architectural’ range in 1/350, which we introduced here a little earlier with their fine Cape Hatteras Lighthouse kit (Ref. A350002).  Those resin tetrapods are also available in 1/700 and, as a smaller, lighter model (1,5t) in 1/72. 

Review and pictures by Domi Jadoul.

Bomb’s Nest

SUU-20 dispenser w/ BDU-33 & Mk.76 bombs

Eduard 1/48, Ref. 648566

The SUU-20 is a bomb dispenser and rocket launcher enabling carriage and release of four 2,75in. (70 mm) Folding Fin Aerial Rockets (FFAR) and 6 practice bomblets.
Several bomblets (inert) may be carried: the 25 lb. BDU-33 (U.S. Air Force designation) is designed to simulate the Mk.82/84 live bombs in low drag configuration; the same bomblet is designated Mk.76 by the U.S. Navy. The SUU-20 is also rated for the 5 lb. Mk.106 designed to simulate the Mk.82 Snakeye live bomb in high drag configuration. The dispenser measures 310 cm. in length and is 91,5 cm. wide for a weight of 125 Kg. It can be used on many aircraft: F-15, F-16, F-111, F-5, Alpha Jet, etc.

The Belgian Air Force has been using the SUU-20 on their F-16s and Alpha Jets. In the meantime, the A-Jet has been removed from service and the dispenser is now obsolete for the F-16 (having been replaced by the MPBA – Multi Purpose Bomb Assembly). On the F-16, the SUU-20 could be installed on station 3 and/or station 7. The Belgian A.F used both the BDU-33 and Mk.106 practice bombs.

What a great idea by Eduard to provide the modellers with a kit of the SUU-20 under the Brassin logo, which will allow the modeller to display his/her model in a familiar training configuration. The sturdy cardboard box includes 45 resin parts, a photo-etch fret (16 parts) and a small decal sheet. The practice bombs supplied are six BDU-33 and six Mk.76. For the rockets, four head sections and four tail sections will do the job. Options are also provided for the bomblets: short or long tail section, with or without circular fairing around the fins. The small decal sheet takes care of the white service markings for the practice bombs and head of the rockets.

The A5 instruction leaflet is easy to use and provides the necessary data for the options. Painting instructions include references for Gunze/Mr Hobby (both Mr Color and Aqueous).

This is of course all in Eduard’s typical high quality and modellers desiring to build a Belgian A.F. F-16 or A-Jet in training configuration will be quite happy with this kit. It’s just too bad the Mk.106 practice bomb is not included, but as it has a simple cylindrical body, it might be easy to scratchbuild.

Review by Didier Waelkens; pictures by Eduard & Daniel Brackx.

Commonwealth Rarities

Training in Britain 1941-43

Black Lion Decals 1/72, Ref. BLD72066

Armour used to train Commonwealth troops in Britain is the subject of the latest 1/72 Black Lion Decals decal sheet, providing markings for a number of rarely seen vehicles such as the Crusader Mk.I, the Covenanter Mk.I, the Ram II, the Churchill 3in. Gun Carrier and the Humber Snipe, all of which are available in 1/72 or 1/76 from the likes of Milicast, Friendship Models, IBG, S-Models, Armourfast, Matador, ModellTrans, ACE and Bull Models.

The markings are printed on a continuous decal sheet and require careful cutting out, one by one.  A coat of Klear (or similar clear varnish) should be applied before the cutting out start as the decals are very thin, but therefore fragile.

Review by Domi Jadoul; pictures by Black Lion Decals.

New Year Resolution

Royal Navy Resolution class submarine

OKB Grigorov 1/1250, Ref. 120009

It was only a matter of time before OKB Grigorov released a smaller copy of their 1/700 (full hull) Resolution-class sub.  The 1/700 kit was one of their first naval kits, and if anything, quality has got better, despite the smaller scale.  The kits include 5 resin parts (plus a resin display stand), two photo-etched parts (two props, one of them being a spare) and a small instruction sheet.

Review and pictures by Domi Jadoul.

HETS New Shoes

Wheels for M1070 and M1000 semi-trailer

OKB Grigorov 1/72, Ref. S72462 & S72456

A couple of resin/rubber wheels and tyres sets meant for the 1/72 Takom M1070 & M1000 HETS have been released by OKB Grigorov.  I have not seen the basic kit but those ‘extras’ do look very nice indeed, even if it’s unlikely that the rubber tyres will show any visible signs of pressure being applied onto them by a plastic kit… 

Those two sets are ‘part of’ a series of similar resin/rubber sets destined to upgrade plastic kits such as the M-ATV (S72463), the Maxx Pro (S72470), the LKW 10t (S72461) and the MAN M1001/1002/1013/1014 (S72458). 

Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea but certainly an interesting development that is worth keeping an eye on!

Review and pictures by Domi Jadoul.

Incoming Magister

Miles Magister M.14 ‘RAF Trainer’ & ‘Foreign Service’

Heroes Models 1/144

Heroes Models in Italy have recently announced the release of their next 1/144 complete kit, the Miles Magister.  Although their website is currently under maintenance, both the website AND the new kit should be accessible and released on the 1st of February 2021.  Only 3 sleeps to go, Folks!

Two boxings of the Magister have been unveiled, the ‘RAF Trainer’ and the ‘Foreign Users.  The latter includes Turkish, Irish, Thai, Portuguese and Belgian markings.

Snippet by Domi Jadoul; pictures by Heroes Models.

New Black Death!

Soviet Attack Aircraft IL-2 Shturmovik

Zvezda 1/48, Ref. 4825

The Ilyushin Il-2 Shtourmovik certainly was one of the best ground-attack aircraft of the Second World War and with over 36,000 of them built, holds the record for the single most produced military airplane design in history.

Nicknamed ‘The Hunchback’ by the Soviets and ‘Black Death’ by the Germans, the Il-2 was an essential weapon against the German army, and Stalin even said that the machine was as essential to the Red army as was bread and air.

Zvezda has released a brand new 1/48 kit of this famed aircraft, in its early war, single-seater guise, and therefore different from the Tamiya and Accurate Miniatures offerings.  The kit includes no less than 283 parts on 4 grey and oner transparent plastic runners. 

As is now usual with Zvezda, the parts are finely molded, with fine engraving and surface details, including some raised panels, and options for some others. The engine is well represented, as are the tyres (with accurate thread), wheels and landing gear legs and of course, cockpit (including two main instrument panels to choose from).  Of particular interest is the ingenious way in which the wings are split, along with the ‘spars’ that fit between them to allow for strength, perfect fit and dihedral.  Obviously, other variants are in the making as can be seen with the bomb bays.  A pilot is included.  Options are also available for the multi-parts canopy.

Colour schemes and markings are provided for four Soviet Il-2s and the well-printed decal sheet includes a large number of stencils.  

Review by Daniel Clamot; pictures by Daniel Clamot and Zvezda.

Rare Object Update

Wheels for IS-7

OKB Grigorov 1/72, Ref. S72475

The IS-7 heavy tank, also known by its project name Object 260, is a Soviet tank which development began in 1945. The vehicle, a 68-ton behemoth armed with a 130mm gun, apparently only existed in prototype form and was cancelled in favour of the T-10 tank, and about six were produced for testing in 1948.  At least one made it to 2021, preserved at the Kubinka tank museum.

Trumpeter did release a kit of this monster back in 2017, and OKB Grigorov is now offering an update set that includes beautifully cast resin road wheels and idlers.  The details on the resin parts do appear better than on the Trumpeter plastic parts but unless only using the outer wheels from the resin set, some work will need to be carried out on the base kit as Trumpeter graced their kit with one piece tracks with integral inner wheels.

Review and pictures by Domi Jadoul.

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