• johan.hammar@plasticfantastique.com

Building

75 years after the Battle of Midway – post 3

The Battle Of Midway project is at a standstill at the moment as a pending move has forced me to temporarily pack all my modelling stuff. Now it’s less than three weeks left until I should be able to start again. This however does not hinder me to give an update on my progress.

Progress report

I’ve completed four kits this far. The Zero, the Val, the Wildcat and the Catalina.

Mitsubishi A6M2b Zero

I’ve done the Zero flown by Lt. Cmdr. Shigeru Itaya who led the first wave at Pearl Harbour just six months before the Battle Of Midway. At Midway he led the Zero fighters during the operations. In particular he led the attack on the 15 ill-fated TBD Devastators from the USS Hornet which were all shot down. Later, after his carrier Akagi had been sunk, Itaya ditched his Zero close to the Japanese fleet and were rescued by escorting ships. In 1944 he was killed when a Mitsubishi G3M “Nell” he flew in accidentally was shot down by friendly fire over the Kuril islands. There is still some debate on which plane he flew (see earlier post) and there is some on the internet that suggest it might not even have been AI-155 but AI-159. Still most sources I’ve found say 155.

I’ve written a review of the kit from Hasegawa that you can read here.

 

Aichi D3A Val

The Val I built participated at the attack on the Midway island (at least if you’re to believe Hasegawa). I don’t have any information on the crew or more information than that this aircraft was based on the carrier Akagi. The attack on Midway was partially a failure as the American knew of the attack beforehand and could prepare a defence. Still there is no downed Vals reported from the attack (the Kates and Zeroes were less fortunate). I think that it’s safe to say that all the Vals were lost in the operation, most either went down with their carriers or was forced to ditch in the sea.

If you’re interested I’ve written a review of the kit here. This version of the kit can be hard to find though as it’s decommissioned. I found my at Ebay.

Grumman F4F Wildcat

The Wildcat I’ve built was flown by Lieutenant Commander John Thatch during the Battle Of Midway. The Wildcat was mostly out performed by the Zero. To compensate for that Thatch developed a special manoeuvre called the ‘Thatch Weave’. On the fourth of June 1942 he led a six plane sortie to defend twelve Devastators from USS Yorktown when they were attacked by 15 to 20 Japanese Zeroes. Thatch order the flight to use the Thatch Weave, the first combat use of the manoeuvre. Outnumbered and outmanoeuvred the Wildcats shot down at least four Zeroes at the loss of one Wildcat. Thatch personally shot down three of these.

I had to do some puzzling with the decals, see earlier post, but I think it went OK. You can read my review of the kit here.

 

Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina

As the Americans was aware of an oncoming attack they stationed no less than 31 Catalinas as reconnaissance planes. The one I’ve built was piloted by Ensign Jack Reid and his crew. It was the first plane to spot the Japanese Navy at about 9:00 on 3 June 1942. They had spotted the Japanese Occupation Force 500 nautical miles west-southwest of Midway but. They reported it in as the main force which is was not, however now they knew that the attack force was coming and from where. Early in the morning the day after another Catalina torpedoed and sunk the Japanese tanker Akebono Maru. This was the only successful air-launched torpedo attack by the U.S. during the entire battle.

Again I had to do some minor decal rearrangements to get the right plane. I have written a review of the kit here.

 

Other updates

In progress at the moment is the The Brewster F2A-3 Buffalo and the Grumman TBF-1C Avenger. Unfortunately these has been put away since September but soon I will be able to continue. Hopefully there will be some result in February.

Meanwhile I have not been totally idle. I’ve settled which Nakajima B5N2 ‘Kate’ to build but for this plane I’ll need a torpedo and the kit I have only features bombs. I was not able to find any suitable after market torpedo that fit the bill so I went and bought a Nakajima B6N2 ‘Jill’ from Hasegawa that has the torpedo just to get it.

I also found an old kit of the missing Aichi E13A1 ‘Jake’, the japanese reconnaissance aircraft, in form of a very old kit but available at Ebay.

 

What to do when you can’t build?

Some time ago we decided to sell our place move. This process involves styling your apartment to show it off to people who might buy it. We engaged a stylist to help us out and it did not come as a big surprise that a hobby corner where I build my plastic models with paint and glue was not considered a selling point. So I had to pack all the stuff into boxes and hide them away. The most daunting task wast to pack all my finished kits. I found that silk paper seems to be the best packing material. I will know when I finally unpack them again.

Now the apartment is sold and I have bought a new one that contains a room for my hobby. Three cheers for that. But I will not have access to it until mid January. Unpacking the stuff to repack it again is not worth the effort so this will be a Christmas without plastic.

So what do I do instead? Well one of the tough assignments is not to buy more kits. I’ve managed to refrain from doing this… almost. One day I noticed that Pilot Replicas excellent kit of the SAAB J 21A had gone off the market. A quick search on Ebay resulted in me buying the (then) only available kit all the way from France.

Reference pictures

One thing to fill my time with is to improve this web site. This summer I visited four different air museums and took a lot of detailed photographs of the aircraft on display. These serve a excellent reference material when you’re building your kits. So I’ve spent some time publishing more pictures.

I’ve added the Bücker Bü 181B-1 Bestmann, Douglas Skyraider, Hawker Hunter, North American T-6 Texan and SAAB 21 to the Walk Arounds and added more pictures to the SAAB 29 Tunnan, SAAB 32 Lansen, SAAB 35 Draken and SAAB 37 Viggen. I still have more pictures to add. More pictures of the Swedish E.E. Canberra and the SAAB 39 Gripen is on the way. I should also be able to add SAAB Safir, DeHavilland Vampire, Fokker Triplane and Sopwith Camel, amongst others, to the Walk Arounds collection.

Some reviews?

As I cannot build any kits it’s hard to do more reviews. However I found that I had some pictures of previous builds where I’ve not come around to writing the reviews. Therefore I’ve been able to add reviews of Pilot Replicas excellent kit of the SAAB J21 A-3 and Tamiyas enjoyable kit of the Fiesler Fi156 Storch. But I think that that’s about it for reviews. I could always start a few of kits in the stash to be prepared but nothing that I can publish.

Abstinence problems

I have to admit to being a bit lost some evenings or weekends. I miss the peaceful occupation of constructing an historical aircraft or anything at all as a matter of fact. I have to do with planning ahead and looking forward to what’s to come.

In my new flat I will have a special room for my hobby. A large working table, shelves for display and shelves to store my stash. Maybe I’ll even get some good ventilation solution to suck out the airbrush fumes out the window.

I can’t wait.

75 years after the Battle of Midway – post 2

The Battle Of Midway project is now under way. But not without snags. Getting this right is not easy. It is clear that even if the Battle Of Midway was pivotal to the Pacific conflict it seems to be caught in between the Pearl Harbour and Guadalcanal when it comes to models and decals. In some cases there actually is some kits that specifically depicts Midway planes, but even them might not be the ones you are really after.

Get the right versions

The different Facebook groups about model building is good sources with people that can help you get it right. Unfortunately for me not until I’ve made some bad buying decisions. First I bought the Douglas SBD-2 Dauntless “Midway” US Navy from Academy. Anyone would consider this to be a safe bet. Well in one way it was. The SBD-2 Dauntless saw service at Midway at the time but on the Island, not on the carriers. It was not the SBD-2 that made the fatal attacks on the Japanese carriers, it was the SBD-3’s that was based on USS Yorktown, USS Enterprise and USS Hornet. OK, after some hunting I found a Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless from the USS Enterprise issued by Hasegawa on Ebay (the link shows another issue of the same kit but with other markings). When I’m writing this I’m still awaiting delivery. So now I’ll have two Dauntless to build.

Next snag came when I was made aware that the Brewster B-339 Buffalo from Tamiya, that I had bought, wasn’t the Buffalo used at Midway. Apparently the Buffalo used at Midway with such a bad result was the Brewster F2A-3 Buffalo. This was a later version slightly longer between the engine and the wings with a heavier engine, witch made it even more cumbersome than the earlier versions. I could have smacked some decals on the Tamiya kit and called it a F2A-3 and it would have fooled 99% of anyone watching. But that’s not who I am. After some searching I found a Brewster F2A-3 Buffalo “Battle Of Midway” from Special Hobby at Kits For Cash, a website that sells old kits.

Get the right markings

To find the right markings for the A6M2 Zero was difficult. You’d think that they’d be the same planes as in Pearl Harbour as the battles took place just six months apart. But things happened in between. At least I found that Lt. Cmdr. Shigeru Itaya that led the Zero wing of the Akagi at Pearl Harbour also participated at Midway having to ditch his plane near a cruiser after the Akagi was sunk. Now I’ve already built Itaya’s Zero from Tamiya when I did a Pearl Harbour build. Or so I thought. It turns out that Tamiya had been guessing that Itaya had flown AI-101 as his wing man flew AI-102. But if you dig in you soon realize that he flew AI-155. Now there’s no such decal set but I dug into what I had. Having the D3A1 Val, the B5N2 Kate and the A6M2 Zero with extra decals I did have some. I was saved by Hasegawa. In both their kits the Val and the Kate they’ve included full number series with four items of each number and the Kate decals fit the bill.

The Wildcat was another issue. No special decals for Midway available. So again I dug into the sources and found that Jimmy Thach, the inventor of the Thach Weave that saved so many Wildcats from the Zeroes, flew at Midway. He flew number 23 and I had 28 available so some careful cutting and puzzling and the problem solved. He also had the ‘Felix the cat’ insignia under the wind shield and luckily enough it was on the extra decals ‘Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat – USMC aces over Guadalcanal Part 2’ that I had bought.

Don’t be afraid of adding

Somewhere you have to draw the line. To build all the naval vessels and aircraft that partook in the Battle Of Midway in scale 1:48 is of course an impossible task. Leaving out the ships even building all the aircraft types that was there is a bit hard. Not only because there are so many but also because some are not available as kits (well not in 1:48 at least) and also to get the right markings as decals might be a tough task. And of course there is a limit to what you can afford. At the beginning I drew the line at eight kits and two display bases.

But as you go along you find more and once you’ve started it’s hard not to want to go further. I’ve bought two display bases, one depicting an American carrier deck the other a Japanese. But then I realized that I would build planes based at Midway. So off and away to find a base depicting the ground of a typical WWII airfield. Then the afore mentioned SBD-3 and F2A-3 Buffalo. The Avenger made it’s combat début at Midway, with a disheartening result. So when I stumbled upon a Midway edition of the Grumman TBF-1C Avenger from HobbyBoss it became a must.

But there are still limits

This is were I stand now. I have my eyes on the B-26 Marauder and the B-17 Flying Fortress who both participated from Midway. The Marauder carried torpedoes and as there is no such version available it can be hard to convert one without the proper parts (and decals). The B-17’s were B-17E and the only available kit in 1:48 in a B-17F so some research and probably conversions together with decals would also be a challenge. Also there is the Nakajima E8N2 ‘Dave’, a reconnaissance plane based on Japanese cruisers and the Vought SB2U Vindicator. Both are available but only at some steep pricing on Ebay. Well, we’ll see what the future might bring.

But the other Japanese reconnaissance aircraft that partook in the battle seems to be harder. I have still not found any kits in scale 1:48 of the Kawanishi H8K ‘Emily’ which is not surprising as it would be enormous (there is a kit in 1:72). Neither have I found any Aichi E13A1 ‘Jake’ in 1:48 which is a shame because it played a prominent role in the events.

 

 

I’ll be back with further progress and I’m also doing reviews of the kits I build so be sure to keep an eye open.

75 years after the Battle of Midway – post 1

Having the opportunity to spend some time on my hobby this summer I wanted a project or challenge to work with. My ongoing project to build the Hawker Typhoon Mk.IB (see other posts) felt too single purpose and I wanted to do more. The Typhoon can wait a bit. So I sat thinking about this when I saw a documentary of The Battle Of Midway and noted that it was the 75 years anniversary this June. As the battle was to the largest extent an aerial battle fought with planes I decided that this was the project I was looking for.

So how does one go about this project. Well primarily look at the sources available.  As I don’t want to lose a year reading books before I started I settled with various Wikipedia articles and other on-line articles on the subject. What was the key points and which were the participating plane types? Obviously I can’t build all the planes but I wanted to build one of each main types.

The planes

These are the ones I’ve decided on so far:

Japanese
  • The Nakajima B5N2 (Kate)
  • The Aichi D3A1 (Val)
  • The Mitsubishi A6M2 (Zero)
U.S.
  • The Douglas TBD-1 Devastator
  • The Grumman F4F-3A Wildcat
  • The Douglas SBD-2 Dauntless
  • The Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless
  • The Brewster F2A-3 Buffalo
  • The PBY-5A Catalina

Now there is a few missing on this list that made contributions during the battle such as on the Japanese side the Kawanishi H8K (Emily) and the Aichi E13A (Jake) and on the U.S. side the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, the Martin B-26 Marauder, Grumman TBF Avenger and the Vought SB2U Vindicator. The reasons for this are two. The first is that the Japanese planes simply don’t exist in scale 1/48. At least I have not found any. The second is that I have to draw the line somewhere (I’m not that rich) and for the rest of the U.S. planes it’s hard to find corresponding decals and some of them are a bit large. Who knows, I might add some along the way.

I’m also aware that I’m forced to pull a few artistic licenses too. For example the Buffalo kit is not the right version, I’ve been told, which might go for a few others too. I was also made aware that the SBD-2 I had was based on Midway and not the version that sunk the Japanese carriers. That is why I added the SBD-3 to the stack.

A touchdown on base

I usually just photograph my planes on a clean surface, but as I’m doing such a project out of this I though I might for once have bases to display them on. At least the carrier based planes. So I bought one Japanese and one U.S. made by Eduards. These I’ve already painted (see below) which required a whole lot of masking but it was quite fun an I’m OK with the result.

Getting the models and decals wasn’t always simple. Many of them I found at Hannants, one (the Catalina) I found at my local supplier Hobbyland and the rest I found on Ebay. This meant that I got a few things from so far away as China and Australia. Unfortunately the TBD-1 was not delivered properly but was sent back to China so I’m still trying to get hold of that.

After a short opinion from some Facebook groups I’ll start with the Zero. Check back for a review and update.

Building the Airfix Hawker Typhoon Mk.Ib – post 3

Going forward

Having done the cockpit (see previous post) it was time to move to the front. The engine in the Hawker Typhoon is an impressive piece of work. The Napier Sabre was a British H-24-cylinder, liquid-cooled, sleeve valve, piston aero engine. Developed during the 30’s it saw daylight in 1940. Evolving from 2,200 horsepower (1,640 kW) in its earlier versions to 3,500 hp (2,600 kW) in late-model prototypes. The first operational aircraft to be powered by the Sabre were the Hawker Typhoon and Hawker Tempest.

The kit’s depiction of this power monster is made up in some XX+ parts alone and the building instructions for the engine covers X pages.. Having done the Airfix’s version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin in their de Havilland Mosquito a few years ago I must say that this was one step beyond. The the instructions pedagogics is reasonable clear and understanding exactly where the parts go is quite easy even if it’s sometime complicated.

Starting with the core

First off is the engine block. You have the option to include an electrical motor (bought separately) inside the engine to have a turning propeller on the finished model. I made the choice not to add this for two reasons. Primarily because I’m going to have open service panels on this kit and then it doesn’t make sense to have the engine running. The second reason is that I don’t want to bother about wires and stuff needed for the electrical motor.

As with the aircraft frame I chose not to paint the core engine parts before assembly. The engine block is a square affair and quite sturdy and the assembly is quite easy this far. After the main parts of the engine is done it’s time for some colour. Now, according to the instructions it should be black and browsing pictures of the Napier on the net this looks right. There’s plenty of pictures where it’s green or even metallic but these are all pictures of engines in museums etc. In all pictures of operational aircraft it’s black.

Before mounting the engine onto the aircraft frame I realized I needed to do some weathering. I’d just bought Vallejo’s Engine Grime (73.815) and thought this was the right moment to test it. At first I thought it was quite thick and covered too much but after trying some, wiping off excess and letting it dry the effect was astoundingly good.

Struts, cables and pipes

Fixing the engine block to the frame is pretty straight forward even if you need to be firm and yet careful. But you’re far from done yet. There is still 37 steps in the instruction left until you can call the engine done. There’s small parts as pipes, extra struts, cables and canisters. Mostly it’s straight forward where they go but when it comes to colour it pays to have closer looks at available reference pictures. Parts that Airfix indicate one colour for often looks more authentic in two or three colours. Most parts is either black and/or silver though.

When you arrive at the underside (in step 69) things start to get very fiddly. There’s pipes that goes in, under, over and through parts already glued. It takes a good pair of tweezers, a steady hand, an angels patience and some sheer stubbornness to succeed. Still, part D01 in step 70 had me beat. I had to cut the last 5-10 mm off to get it in place. That end is barely visible anyway so it was mostly just irritating.

Before doing the air intake on the under side I went over the result thus far again with some weathering. The metal parts got some Vallejo Engine Oil Stains (73.813) and the black parts some of Vallejo’s Engine Grime (73.815).

Taking in the intake

You start off with a plate that goes under the engine. The down side of this plate should be in external under side colour of the camouflage. It’s really the first part of the fuselage. For the underside I use Vallejo’s Model Air  BS Medium Sea Grey (71.307), in Humrolian that’s 165 Medium Sea gray.

Fitting the air intake cannister is OK. The instructions are clear down to a tenth of a m.m. what the distance should be from the rear edge of the afore mentioned plate tu the intake (30.7 m.m.) and the exact angle between the intake and the propeller shaft (90°).  Even if the fit was OK I could not get better than a about 31.3 between the air intake ant the aft edge of the plate. Let’s hope this won’t create problems later on.

After adding yet another set of pipes it’s getting close to the end of the engine part. Last main part is the ring that goes around the propeller shaft. Even if I tired to be meticulous the two pipes that should fit to this ring where too short. Which basically means that the air intake cannister sits too far forward (it didn’t make 30,7 m.m.) and still to far back (the pipes leading from it did nor meet the ring). Hmmmm…. I had to use some putty to extend them to the ring (approximately less than a m.m.).

A last pipe leading from the ring onto the rear of the engine and it’s done. Some more engine oil and engine grime and I’m happy. Although you could continue endlessly adding wires and other details if you really want to go hard core I’m satisfied with the result.

To be continued…

Next post will be about constructing the wings including the gun bay. There is a risk that a few other project gets in the way though so be patient.

Building the Airfix Hawker Typhoon Mk.Ib – post 2

Making the main frame

Finally, ready to get going on the Typhoon! All things in place, if you’re wondering what that would include have a read in my Guides for building.

First thing to get done is the central, internal, structure including the cockpit. I first took some time to study the reference material (see post 1) to determine the right colours for the different parts. From most pictures it was quite clear that most of the internal stuff was bare aluminium. Mostly I usually paint details when they’re still on the sprue an then touch them up when they’re in place. Some areas can be hard to paint when they’re in place. This time though I decided to glue together the main parts of the frame before painting.

First of all I glued the two parts of the front wing spar together using clamps to minimize any gaps. Slowly progressing step by step until frame 8 in the instruction leaflet letting the glue harden between every step. Some times it’s a bit tricky to see exactly how the parts should fit together from the instructions but Airfix has put some effort in making the parts speak for the selves. If you dry fit the parts first it soon becomes evident how they should fit together.

Base colour

Having done the Typhoon base frame it was time to give it some colour. I began with giving it a coat of Vallejo black primer as I was going to use metal colour. I mostly use primers from spay cans as I want an over all layer and don’t want the hazzle of cleaning my air brush all the time.  As you will find out during this series I rely heavily on Vallejo products when it comes to painting.

Next coat was a layer of Vallejo’s Metal Colour Aluminium (77.701) applied with my air brush giving the whole structure a nice metal shine. Now it looks like something straight out of the factory or even cleaner than that. This is not the look I’m after though. So to complete the base frame I first used some Vallejo Wash Light Grey (76.515) to get some shades and then some Vallejo Engine Oil Stains (73.813) to get some realistic looking dirt on it.

Typhoon cockpit interior

With the internal frame done it’s time to start with the cockpit details. This is a place where you can easily go berserk in details. Questions that is valid in this circumstances are: How much will be visible after you’ve closed the fuselage? Where’s the balance between scale accuracy and something visibly appealing? Or basically how far should you go?

Personally I have the view that I’m building for the fun of it and to that means that I put some extra effort into details that won’t be visible afterwards. I also go for as accurate as possible but I’m also prepared to compromise and cut some corners.

I found the pilot seat in the kit detailed enough and decided to not buy a resin version available. Instead I bought some fabric seatbelts. When working in scale 1:24 this makes sense. Working in 1:48 I prefer the pre painted, etched, metal ones but here the fabric versions comes into their right. The pilot seat comes in four parts and the back rest with it’s stuffed leather looks good when painted and weathered. Mounting the seat in the cockpit frame is a bit tricky as the parts it fits to is a bit wobbly. Give it time and when done handle it with care.

The fabric seatbelts I managed to get hold of must be made for the later ‘car door’ version of the Typhoon because the instructions does not quite adhere to the parts in the kit. With some reference pictures I think I made them fit with some creativity. Unfortunately I didn’t read the instructions in detail first. Because of this I managed to fix some of the parts without removing the protecting paper on the back side. On the later parts I learnt this and then the belts really came into their right! Building in scale 1:24 I really recommend fabric seatbelts. As mentioned in the first post I used Eduard ED23020 – Fabric seat belts this time.

The finishing details

The side panels are well depicted with connecting tubes. Following the painting references in the instruction leaflet leaves you with quite a dull cockpit though. There is only one colour indicated per part even if you can suspect more from the way they are depicted in the instructions. As always reference pictures are a big help here. Using the pictures in The Hawker Typhoon Including the Hawker Tornado by Richard A. Franks and those found by simple Google searches I put the right colours to tubes, leavers and buttons. Doing this and adding some Vallejo Model Wash White (76.501) and carefully adding some wear with Tamiya Weathering Master Silver (ITEM87085) puts some life into it.

Lastly I arrived at the instrument panel. I had two choices, 1. the original panel in the kit with included decals for the instruments and 2. the Yahu Models YMA2405 – Instrument panel I’d bought extra. I was really into two moods here, I even considered cutting and filing and joining the two together. After consulting the The Scale Modelers Critique Group on Facebook, where I got a lot of good points, I decided to ditch the Yahu panel and go for the original version. The pre painted metal version simply was to flat. The kit version might be a bit exaggerated but it really looks better. Had I had more patience I would have ordered Airscale decals for the instruments, a tip I got at the 1/24 AIRFIX HAWKER TYPHOON MK.IB BUILDS group, but now I decided to head on.

To be continued…

Next post will be about constructing the engine.

Building the Airfix Hawker Typhoon Mk.Ib – post 1

Since 2014 when it was released I’ve had Airfix’s Hawker Typhoon Mk.Ib in scale 1:24 on my shelf. Finally I’ve started the build. In these posts I’ll try to describe how I build the kit. My choices on the way and methods I use. I hope it can be useful to someone.

The content

The kit’s box contain the 16 spruces with parts in a common grey shade in separate plastic bags. The hood is separately packaged in soft protection. The instruction booklet has 48 pages of detailed building instructions. The instructions are fairly clear and the stages seems to be thought trough. The decal sheet has markings for four individual aircrafts.

  1. D-Day spearhead: MN666 ‘CG’ Aircraft flown by Wing Commander Charles Green, No. 121 Wing, Royal Air Force Holmsley South, Hampshire, England and B.5 Le Fresne-Camilly, Lower Normandy, France, June 1944
  2. Normandy workhorse: DN252 ‘ZY-N’ No.247 Squadron, 2nd Tactical Air Force, France and Belgium, June-September 1944
  3. Sharkmouth: MP197 ‘MR-U’ No.245 Squadron, 2nd Tactical Air Force, Germany and RAF Warmwell, Dorset, England, June-August 1945
  4. Canadian bomber: RB389 ‘I8-P’ No.440 Sqadron (Royal Canadian Air Force), 2nd Tactical Air Force, Netherlands and Germany, February-May 1945

Extras

Even if the kit is fairly good in quality and detail I usually think that most kits can do with some extra detailing. I usually surf up to Hannants web shop to see what’s availible. This time I’ve chosen three items to add to the kit. They are:

Yahu Models YMA2405 – Instrument panel

Eduard Brassin ED624002 – Detailed guns

Eduard ED23020 – Fabric seat belts

Soon I also realized that this 1:24 Airfix kit did not contain rubber tyres as most of it’s predecessors in this scale. The wheels in this kit is in two halves which means that you have to handle a joint running along the outside tyre. So I made another order for:

Eduard Brassin ED624001 – Wheels

Choices

The kit’s interior is very detailed so it makes sense to have different maintenance hatches open to display this. This has me in two minds. On the one hand the planes mostly has their hatches closed and this would be the natural way to display the kit, ready for flight. On the other hand you want to display all the work you’ve put into the interior. The kit has three different build choices you can make. One with all the hatches closed, one with the gun ports open and some of the engine visible and one with all the hatches off with the engine and the cooler fully visible. It seems like you have to choose either one.

I will try to make a mix of the first and the second. I.e. with one gun set visible and the other closed and the engine partly visible. Most of all you wish you could make three kits to do all choices at once.

References

This kit has got a lot of attention as it’s one of Airfix’s flag ships. There’s books, facebook pages, pictures and tons of reviews available. Personally I’ve bought two books to have as references at hand when I build. These are:

 

I’ve also joined the Facebook group 1/24 AIRFIX HAWKER TYPHOON MK.IB BUILDS where I hope to pick up some tips. Then, of course, Google-searches for reference pictures are also invaluble.

Equipped with these references I’m finally ready to go.

To be continued…

Next post will be about constructing the cockpit frame.

How good is the scale accuracy?

You buy a scale model kit and you pay attention to how well it’s moulded, the detailing and how well the parts fit together. But do you ever measure the kit and check how accurate it is to scale? Well I usually don’t.

Some time ago I built a Spitfire Mk XIX (Airfix). I thought I’d photograph it beside a Spitfire Mk XIV (Academy) that I a few years ago had converted to a Mk XIX. I then noticed that the Academy version stood 1/2 cm taller on it’s landing gear than the Airfix kit. Half a cm is quite a great deal in scale 1:48, 24 cm in full scale. I started to scrutinize the kits and also noticed that the propeller blades were much broader on the Academy kit. It was also some mm longer but the wingspan was nearly half cm shorter. I have still not controlled them against real measurement so I don’t know which one is more correct (just by looking Airfix feels more correct). Still it was impossible to have them both in the same picture, and even less in the same diorama, without noticing the differences.

Today took the prize though. I’ve just purchased a SAAB J29 Tunnan (HobbyBoss), I even opened the box before buying and made sure the moulds looked good and that the detailing was reasonable. When I laid it out on the board, just for fun, I brought out a SAAB J29 Tunnan (Pilot Replicas) that I built this winter to compare and, Whoha!, what a difference! The HobbyBoss kit was notably smaller. After doing some measurements and checking up data on the original air plane I could conclude that the HobbyBoss kit was 2,5 cm too short, the Pilot Replicas kit was spot on correct. 2.5 cm! Converted from scale 1:48 that’s 1,2 meters! Shame!

Well the HobbyBoss kit will never be finished. I have to spend more money and buy a second kit from Pilot Replicas. One of the things I want to do is to set it up with a Mig-15 and a F-86 Sabre in a photo to compare them as all three were designed from the same German research. Before I do this though I have to measure the Mig and the Sabre kits and compare with data on the aircrafts. 😉

This might not matter too much to someone who only build one kit and put it on a shelf. But for someone who cares about facts or want to put several kits together, e.g. in a diorama, it matters a lot.

My only question after this is: Why does it not bother all kit manufacturers?

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