9/11 Lifesavers

First Responders

Paulus Victor 1/72 & 1/48, Ref. PV-002-72 & PV-002-48

The latest decal sheets coming from this very interesting Croatian company is dedicated to a number of UH-1 Hueys that were amongst the first responders at the Pentagon on that infamous day, the 11th of September 2001.

As usual with the work from this company, there has been an awful lot of research done on the subject and a lot of info is included with the actual decal sheet.  This Paulus Victor decal sheet comes in a A5-sized zip-lock bag containing an attractive full-colour envelope sporting the ‘box art’, advice on using the decals along with precise info and close up pictures showing off the various special features of the Hueys involved in this operation. 

The envelope itself contains a further full-colour instruction sheet offering historical background, useful advice on painting and weathering plus the actual 5-views (left & right side, top, bottom and front views) placement and colour (with Federal Standard references) instructions for each of the four Hueys that can be modelled with this sheet. 

Then obviously comes the proper decal sheet and a neat little ‘extra’ in the form of a National Guard sticker that may be a sweet little addition to any display base. 

Each of the four subjects is also pictured on this instruction sheet and links are given for a number of video clips that feature those particular machines.  Last but not least, the decal sheet includes a great number of extra markings that could be used on other Hueys, or other models.

The four Hueys for which full markings and stencils are provided are two UH-1Vs from the 121th Medical Company of the District of Columbia National Guard and two US Army UH-1Hs of the 12th Aviation Battalion, all based at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, at the time of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

This is a highly professional-looking and cracking product that really brings History to life and literally pushed me to purchase a 1/72 Huey kit for immediate consumption!

Paulus Victor are a fairly recent arrival on the scale modelling scene; their first few decal sheets, all as well researched as this latest one, were aimed at the 1/144 military aviation enthusiast, but they are now getting involved with bigger scales such as 1/72 and 1/48, as is the case with this ‘First Responders’ sheet. 

Review & pictures by Domi Jadoul


Dead-ended Panther

German Medium Tank VK. 3002 (DB) with suspension type II

OKB Grigorov 1/72, Ref. 72086

What an awkward surprise for the Germans to face the unexpected T34/76 during the Barbarossa’s invasion of the Soviet Union in spring 1941. Pretty rapidly, in November 1941, the Heereswaffenamt outlined specifications for a whole new 30-35 tons class tank with sloping armor, large tracks to move on soft ground and a gun with a high muzzle velocity. Two industrial firms Daimler Bens (DB) and Maschinenfabrik Augsburg Nurnberg (MAN) were selected for the design of such new panzers and this resulted, in april 1942, in the presentation of two prototypes. The VK 3002 DB project, the subject of this OKB Grigorov release, showed a much higher degree of similarity with the actual T34/76 features than the MAN project (the one that would become the well-known Panther). This DB project was characterized by a turret with a 75 mm gun of 48 caliber located rather forward on the chassis, a running gear made of large road wheels mounted on external leaf springs and a MB 507 diesel engine.  If this DB project was technologically more attractive and was at first favored, the issues with the development of the engine and the turret, as well as the use of diesel fuel, not standard with the Wehrmacht, led to the selecting of the MAN project for mass production.

This VK. 3002 DB kit counts 82 parts nicely cast in a grey resin, with very fine details particularly the chassis or the hull and the tracks.

A photo-etched fret brings in an additional 12 parts, mostly for the benefit of the engine grids, tracks guards and the cupola lid; the latter two are too thin for my taste and may be reinforced with small layers of plastic card to give them a bit more consistency.  A nice metal barrel is also included and will do justice to the nicely detailed turret parts.

The instructions are clearly drawn and should ease the assembly.

Overall, this model is a very good and interesting representation of the unfortunate VK 3002 Daimler Bens project that, despite innovative and modern technical features, was not chosen for mass-production in 1941.


Panzer, The German Tanks Encyclopedia; Caraktère, 2015;

The Spielberger German Armor & Military Vehicles Series. Vol. I, Panther & its Variants by Walter J. Spielberger; Schiffer, 1993.

Review & pictures by Jean-Paul Oudinet.


Big Jets Galore

Hangar No1 – Special Jet Fighters, by Jarek Rydzynski & René Joyal

Joycraft Productions

Those of us that share our hobby on the Net probably know Jarek Rydzynski who has been showing off his unique models on his website and his Facebook page.  Number of us have, no doubt, right-clicked and saved some of his pictures on our hard drives…

Recently, the very enthusiast Canadian René Joyal and Jarek have teamed up for a first book in which they describe the builds of six jets.  Three of those are the work of Jarek (Revell 1/32 Tornado ECR, Kinetic 1/48 F/A-18A Hornet and Revell 1/32 F-4F Phantom), while René is the ‘author’ of the other three (Academy 1/32 F-16D Block 52, Trumpeter 1/48 Su-24M Fencer D and Italeri 1/32 CF-104 Starfighter).

The hardbacked, landscape-format book counts no less than 140 pages.  The text is in English. The pictures are of great quality throughout and the printing is excellent.

The six builds are based on recent kits of good quality upgraded with various aftermarket sets from well-known manufacturers.  The main stages are very well illustrated and detailed, with great info about the various tools used.  Jarek’s passion for stencils (that he designs and sells), oil paints and acrylic pencils for his weathering stages is really well explained through pictures and text. A photo shoot concludes each of the six builds.

The book also features some beautiful air-to-air shots taken by polish photographer Slawek ‘Hesja’ Krainiewski, himself highly-renown on the Net.  Pictures that have greatly inspired René for his 1/32 models.   

This is the kind of publication that one needs when lacking inspiration.  It gives a clear insight on how to build modern jet in a large scale.  René hints at a second book in the series, let’s hope so!

Review by Luc Colin ; pictures by Luc Colin & Joycraft Productions.


Far-eastern MBT Goodies

Wheels for Type 74

OKB Grigorov 1/72, Ref. S72471

We can only applaud OKB Grigorov’s regular and continual release of upgrades for modern armour, in this case a resin set of beautifully cast resin road wheels that we assume could be used on the 2005 1/72 Trumpeter kit of the Japanese Type 74 MBT, or the more recent offerings from De Agostini (die-cast) and Pit-Road. 

Review and pictures by Domi Jadoul.


High-octane Early Spitfire

Spitfire Mk.IIa

Eduard ‘ProfiPACK Edition’ 1/48, Ref. 82153

The Spitfire Mk.II series was built in about 920 units: it was an upgrade of the Spitfire Mk.I thanks to (amongst other things) the installation of a more powerful engine, the Merlin XII of 1.150 hp (instead of the 1.030 hp-rated engine for the Mk.I). This engine also used 100-octane fuel (instead of 87-octane on the Spit Mk.I).  The new Rotol propeller introduced during the Mk.I production run was installed as standard on the Mk.II. The engine was started with the Coffman pyrotechnic system, that required the fitting of a drop-shaped blister on the right hand fairing of the engine, one of the distinguishing feature of this Mk.II.  The armament was identical to that of the Spitfire Mk.Ia, that is four Browning .30 (7.7 mm) machine guns in each wing.

After giving us a superb Spitfire Mk.I in 2020, it is only logical that, given the commonality of many parts, the Mk.II caught Eduard’s attention.  Let us specify from the outset that it is indeed the IIa, not the IIb version featuring two machine guns of each wing replaced by a single 20mm gun.  And considering the number of pieces not to be used – there are 87 for the Mk.IIa – we can safely bet that a Mk.V will follow soon.

As mentioned in the title, this is a ProfiPACK edition: in addition to the six frames of injection-moulded plastic parts, one of which has the transparent parts, there is also a colour photoetched fret as well as a set of masks for the wheels, gun sight and cockpit glass parts. It is worth noting the change in style of the box, where the orange colour characteristic of the ProfiPACK editions has given way to a wood imitation, which gives a certain cachet to the packaging…

The construction obviously starts with the cockpit which, as we are used to at Eduard’s, is superbly detailed and gives pride of place to the use of photoetching, sometimes even offering the choice between it or a plastic part. Before gluing the fuselage halves, don’t forget to drill the small hole for the Coffman starter blister! Once the fuselage is closed, construction should proceed faster.  Of note are the separate ailerons, elevators and rudder, but there is no separate flaps. There is a choice between an open or closed canopy; this choice also exists for the small access door to the cockpit.

On the liveries side, five options are available in a period ranging from April 1941 to January 1942; three have the original camouflage of Dark Green and Dark Earth, the two other Spits are already painted with the new shades, Dark Earth being replaced by Ocean Grey (or maybe Mixed Grey?) and the lower surfaces painted in Medium Sea Grey.

No option however for a Mk.IIa of the 350 (Belgian) Sqn RAF… Indeed, when the 350 was created in November 1941, it was initially equipped with the Spitfire Mk.IIa.  Fortunately, our friend Syh@rt will come to the rescue and we will find the necessary decals to make either the MN-A (P7297) in December 1941, or the MN-F (P7976) in April 1942 in the set 48/908 dedicated to the Spitfires of the “350e Escadrille”.

Review by Didier Waelkens, pictures by Eduard & SyHart Decal.


Feline-footed T-34

Wheels for T-34, adapted Panther wheels type 1

OKB Grigorov 1/72, Ref. S72457

Photographic evidence shows that Panther roadwheels were fitted to some Soviet T-34/76s, T-34/85s and SU-85s, possibly as an expedient before proper repair could be carried out.  They were usually fitted to stations 2 and 4, probably because they were weaker by design than the Soviet wheels.   

OKB Grigorov offers a way to modify your 1/72 Soviet AFVs without raiding your German AFV stock, with this resin set that includes 10 Panther road wheels (that is 10 inner and 10 outer wheels).  Quality castings and fine details as one can expect from this Bulgarian artisan.

Review and pictures by Domi Jadoul.


Blue Mirage

Mirage IIIE 13-QG ’25 years of Mirage IIIE’ EC-1-13 Artois 1990

SyHart Decal 1/72 & 1/48, Ref. 72-123 & 48-123

Back in 1990, to celebrate 25 years of Mirage IIIE service within the French Air Force, aircraft no. 426, 13-HQ, was given a special all-blue scheme bearing the Artois colours and the insignias of all squadrons that flew (or were still flying) Mirage IIIEs.

This celebratory Mirage IIIE is the subject of SyHart’s latest decal sheet, released in both 1/72 and 1/48.  We look forward to seeing this a little bit more closely!  

Snippet by Domi Jadoul, pictures by SyHart Decal


Low-cost Armour

German Light Tank Pz. Kpfw. 38 mit 7.5 cm KwK 40 (L /48)

OKB Grigorov 1/72, Ref. 72077

The Light Tank Pz. Kpfw. 38 mit 7.5 cm KwK 40 (L /48) belongs to a series of conceptual designs proposed by Krupp in November 1943 to Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppen and to Wa Pruef 6.   The aim was to increase the armament of all panzers and jagdpanzers while using the least amount of armour. If the effectiveness of all weapons was to be increased, the significant redesign of current models and the consequent disruption of production lines were one of the reasons these models were never put into production, or even tested. The paper panzer proposed here is the result of the mounting of a modified Pz. Kpfw. IV turret on a panzerjaeger 38t chassis. The new planned Pz. Kpfw. IV turret would have featured a six-sided form, a flat gun mantle, no vision nor pistol ports and two hatches in the roof.  Only one simplified hatch in the left side and a 7.5 cm Kw. K. L/48 were to be installed. This turret project was however dropped in July 1944.

The OKB Grigorov cardboard box contains 44 parts in grey resin, one photo-etched fret with 23 parts and, a nice touch, a turned-metal barrel.  Most of the photo-etched parts are dedicated to the chassis. The long sections of tracks are nicely cast as but will have to be bent around the drive sprockets and idlers.  On the top, various hatches can be left open and can thus give access to the turret and hull. The resin pieces are finely detailed and should be easily removed from their pouring blocks.  A clear and simple instruction sheet is also included and will ease the build.  Although, no decal nor painting advice is included, everyone can use their imagination to represent an interesting panzer project as no such vehicle was ever built. This is an interesting kit for those who are interested by the Panzerwaffe and its potential evolution.

Some bibliographical reference is available from: Panzer Tracts N° 20-1 Paper Panzers, Panzerkampfwagen, Sturmgeschuetz, and Jagdpanzer. Thomas L. Jentz and Hilary Louis Doyle.

Review & pictures by Jean-Paul Oudinet.


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.


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