Saturday, November 21, 2015

Revell-Monogram B-25J Mitchell – WIP Part 1

The B-25 Mitchell has always been about my favorite WWII aircraft ever since I read the Landmark edition of Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo by Ted Lawson way back when I was in maybe 5th grade.  I have made several models of B-25’s, but none are still with me.  I always wanted to make the Monogram B-25J in 1/48th scale, so I have decided to get going on the one I have in my stash.

How long this project will take, I do not know.  It is now just a week before Thanksgiving, so with the Holidays and year-end matters to attend to, this may take some time.  Which is a good thing, since I do not have a shelf wide enough right now to display the finished model.  Something will be arranged by the time it is completed. 

The first step is to clean off my workbench, and then open the box, take the sprues out, and wash them off to assure that mold release agents are cleaned off.  At the same time, I have examined the sprues to make sure all parts are present and properly molded.  Have you ever gotten part way through a model only to discover that part of the tail empennage or something else was only partially molded?  That is a bummer.

I have also gotten together the material about the B-25 I have in my personal library.  That Camouflage and Markings is sure an oldie.  I have quite a collection of similar books I acquired over the years.  

This is sad, in a way.  Made in China?  I bet it used to say Morton Grove, Illinois, which was the home of Monogram Models the original maker of this kit.  Alas, Monogram was bought out by Revell, their main rival.  And then the combined companies were purchased by someone else, and now are owned by Hobbico.  Raised panel lines abound, but so what?  They are not that prominent on the finished model.

The preceding three photos show the very nice detail Monogram achieved in 1977.  The instrument panel has excellent raised detail in the dials, the control columns and center console are well-detailed, as are the ammo boxes.  Too bad some of this nice detail will not be seen once the fuselage is assembled.

One thing I do when starting a kit is to make a copy of the color list on the instruction sheet, and then I tape it up over the workbench.  It helps save time constantly turning back in the instructions to find out what color is being suggested.

Next, I will be painting the interior spaces zinc chromate green and starting to paint and mount the interior detail pieces.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Airfix Messerschmitt Bf 109E-7/Trop 1/72nd Scale, Kit #A02062

This is my third new Airfix 1/72nd scale kit this year.  They are such a far cry from the mid-20th century vintage kits many of us grew up on.  They fit together fairly well, and the quality of the parts is definitely up-to-date.

I was attracted to the desert camouflage scheme on the box art.  I found a photo of the original aircraft which I have included here.  I am sure it was originally a black & white photo that has been colorized.  This “Emil” is marked as it appeared in the Western Desert in April 1941.

My only gripe about this kit is that Airfix refuses to include swastikas, which were clearly a part of the historical markings of this and other WWII Luftwaffe aircraft.   (Without ranting anew here, I refer readers to my July 10, 2015 post entitled The Swastika & WWII German Aircraft Kits.)

Luckily, I obtained two swastikas from a friend who had some in his spares box, so I was not forced to purchase aftermarket markings which might have cost more than the kit itself to obtain a complete set of markings. (They came from an Fw190 kit, and are a little large for this model, but no matter.  Better than none.)

By the way, the decals Airfix did supply went on flawlessly with Microsol and Microset.  They are very well printed.

The panel line engraving on this model is much more delicate than the engraving on the two previous kits I built, to wit:  the Spitfire Mk.I and the Tomahawk.  The molding on this kit was a definite – and welcome - improvement.  I hope the fine engraving on this kit is indicative of what we will see on future releases.

The clear parts are okay, but thicker than you will find on most modern Asian kits.  One reason I chose to leave the canopy closed is that if left open, the thickness of the canopy moldings really shows and look out of scale.

The kit was painted with Vallejo colors over a coat of grey Vallejo Surface Primer.  I use Vallejo Surface Primer on all models.  It lets me paint with acrylic paints and use masking tape (mostly Tamiya tape) and never have an issue with the color paints lifting when the tape is removed.  Vallejo Surface Primer applies easily via airbrush with just a little distilled water as a thinner to help the paint flow.

The finished model looks like a Bf 109.  The proportions just seem correct.  Airfix is getting that right.  It looks good, and therefore it is good (to paraphrase Duke Ellington).

I realize my paint finish does not do justice to the original, but I did as well as I can with the airbrush.  If I had it to do over, I think I might just brush paint the green spots.  I still like it.

Due to incomplete markings, I would give this kit a grade of A-.  It would have been an A+.  But be warned.  If you purchase an Airfix WWII Luftwaffe model, be prepared to deal with the incomplete markings Airfix offers.