Saturday, December 8, 2018

North American P-51B Mustang, Tamiya Kit 61042, 1/48 scale

The Kit & Build
 This venerable kit was released in 1995.  Since then it has been released in a number of guises. 

There were no fit issues aside from a minor gap between the top wing panel and the fuselage, which I took care of with Perfect Putty.  And, that fit issue may have been something I created myself.  (See photos below.)

The model is nicely detailed, but you are on your own with seatbelts.

I did not happen to have any pre-made masks available for this kit, so I went with Bare Metal self-adhesive foil.  The foil got the job done, but not as neatly as kabuki tape masks would have.  In the near future, I am going to try Tamiya tape as a mask trimming the tape on the canopy just as one does with Bare Metal foil.

The basic paints used are pictured below.

The kit decals included Captain Don Gentile’s famous “Shangri-La”;  however, I opted for Lifelike Decals “North American P-51 Mustang Pt. 4”, sheet no. 48-048.  They were thinner and more crisply printed than the kit decals.
The gap described above can be seen here.

Working with the Bare Metal foil.

The model has been primed with Tamiya "rattle can" grey surface primer.

The basic paints used.

Historical Information

The Shangri-La post-crash. (Public Domain photo)

Capt. Gentile with the Shagri-Ka.  Notice the yellow tape over the gun ports.  (Public Domain photo)

Shangri-La preparing for a flight.  (Public Domain photo)

The story of Capt. Gentile is fairly well-known.  He flew in the RAF Eagle Squadrons before the United States entered the European war and transferred to the U. S. Army Air Forces when it did.  He had two aerial victories with the RAF, and ran up a total of 19.83 aerial victories with the U. S. Army.  After his last mission, he buzzed the airfield for the benefit of the assembled press people and ended up totaling the “Shangri-La”.  A lesser pilot would have faced a court martial.  Gentile went home and sold war bonds, which was a wiser use of this fine pilot.  Tragically, Capt. Gentile died on January 28, 1951 when he crashed in a P-80 Shooting Star on a routine flight.  He was only 30 years old.  (This information is from Wikipedia.)

 As always, thank you for visiting my blog.  Comments are always welcome.

Friday, December 7, 2018

M4 Sherman, Early Production, 1/48 scale, Tamiya Kit No. 32505

The Kit & Build
A 2004 Tamiya release, this was my second piece of armor in this scale. 

The tracks are link and length.  The lower hull is molded from metal, which adds a nice amount of heft to the model.  I like that as it makes handling the model easier, both under construction and after it is finished.  Decals for 3 vehicles are included.  I chose an M4 from an unknown unit in France in the summer of 1944.

There is not a lot to say about this build.  The construction is over before you know it.  I painted the model with Tamiya XF-62 Olive Drab overall.  Details were picked out with various Vallejo paints.

I weathered the lower hull and tracks with Vallejo Pigments 73.109 Natural Umber.  This pigment is adhered to the model using Vallejo airbrush thinner.  I read that technique somewhere, and decided to try it. It worked very well.  You apply the thinner to the model generously but not so much as it runs all over.  Then you sprinkle the pigment on.  I used a brush for this.  Once I was satisfied, I sealed it with an airbrushed coat of Testors Dullcote.  I also used Tamiya Panel Line Accent in Dark Brown and Black, which made the details pop.

The tank commander figure comes from a Verlinden 4 figure set, U.S. Tank Crew WWII #2214.  The figures are very nicely molded, and now I have 3 more to use on future projects.

This was a very enjoyable build.  There were no faults with the kit.  I have a couple more of these 1/48 models under the workbench which I am looking forward to building.

The plastic parts are glued to the hull with CA.  The hull comes primed medium grey.

Unfortunately, you can see right through the turret and onto the tracks.  I remedied this a sheet of plastic card.

I airbrushed some flat black on the plastic card.  It worked out very well.

As always, thank you for visiting my blog.  Comments are always welcome.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What Happen To All Those Superseded Kits?

Luke Pitt, writing in Model Military International, December 2018 issue, asks, “What happens to all those superseded kits?”

He goes on to describe his Tamiya 1/35 scale T-55 for which he purchased aftermarket tracks, a full interior, two photo etch upgrades and a conversion kit.  His problem is that the kit is now “essentially redundant” because a newer kit is available with all that detail in the box and maybe some more.

We all do that.  If we do not buy those items that we like as they become available, we know we will likely be disappointed later when they are no longer available.

He (and I) suspect that these superseded kits never get built and are fated to stay forever in some modeler’s stash or possibly sold off for little money to be sold again at some saw meet or show.

Back in the mid-1990’s, I added the Tamiya Spitfire Mk. I to my stash along with some AeroMaster decals.

Now, Tamiya has just announced and will soon release a new tool Spitfire Mk. I which includes extraordinary detail, etched parts and masks. I understand there will be three sets of markings too.  Yes, the price will be more than the “old” Mk. I kit, but it also contains so much more.

The 1990’s vintage Tamiya fighter kits are perfect for a quick, trouble-free build.  And, being a Spitfire fan, I know it will be built soon as it is on deck under my workbench right now.

Recently, I was thinking of looking for an M551 Sheridan kit in 1/35 scale.  Tamiya’s dates from the 1970’s.  I had some decals from the recent IPMS/USA convention in Phoenix for a  Sheridan crewed by an Arizona native.  I thought that might be interesting to  build, even though the kit  was ancient and not that good.  A few kits were available on eBay at inflated prices.

And then Tamiya announced a new tool Sheridan in 1/35 scale to be released early in 2019.  And Tamiya’s armor kits released this century have been truly excellent.

I am glad I left alone the old ones I saw on eBay.

Basically, I applaud Tamiya going back to their older kits and replacing them with modern kits up to today’s standards.  I know the Sheridan will be in my collection as soon as it is available, and I doubt the Spitfire Mk. I will be far behind.

That is not to say I will be done with the older kits.  At the IPMS/USA convention, I saw an Airfix P-40B Warhawk that was simply gorgeous, and right next to it was a Monogram P-40B, which was also superb.  I bet the 1960’s vintage Monogram kit took more than a few months to create and includes tons of aftermarket goodies, and it was still competitive.

What happens to all those superseded kits?  I hope they are all built sooner or later.  But that is my eternal optimist side speaking.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

X-1 Mach Buster Eduard ProfiPACK #8079

The Kit

I really like ProfiPACK kits.  My stash has a few, and I have built a number of them.  The instructions are excellent.  They all have PE sets for cockpit and some other details.  In some kits (like this one) there is some resin. And, there are usually decals for around six color schemes.

According to, this was a new tool in 1997 and has made a few appearances with Eduard over the years.  The cockpit would have been somewhat sparse without the PE in color that was included. 

The moldings are relatively decent, but there are no helpful locating pins to speak of.

Although the wheels are not bad, Eduard included resin wheels which are very nicely detailed.  The wheel wells have no detail, but they are not easily seen.

Most importantly, this kit is the only game in town if you want a 1/48 scale Bell X-1.  I purchased my example up directly from Eduard at the IPMS/USA Nationals in Phoenix.

The Build

Part fit was decent with the joins between the wing/fuselage and stabilizer/fuselage benefiting from some Perfect Plastic Putty to blend them in.

Being a tricycle gear aircraft, some weight was necessary.  Eduard only indicates that you can put some behind the cockpit, but they do not say how much.  I taped the basic parts together and added some weights behind the cockpit to achieve what I thought would be enough weight to hold the nose down.  My calculation was that 16 grams of weight would be needed.  What to use that would fit in?  I had two small pieces of lead that that added up to 18 grams, so I epoxied them in place.  (The weights are two 158 grain .38 Special lead bullets I “requisitioned” from my reloading bench.)  My calculations were correct, and the model sits correctly on the landing gear.

The decals were disappointing.  I had read that Eduard was no longer offering Cartograph made decals in ProfiPACK kits.  (They will offer them in the Royal Class kits, however.) 

So, the decals in this kit were made by Eduard in the Czech Republic.  They are not as clearly printed as Cartograph decals.  They are shiny, not flat.  Are they usable?  Yes.  But it is a disappointment that there will be no more Cartograph decals in the ProfiPACK kits.  I can say that will definitely diminish my interest in future ProfiPACK kits, and I can see more Weekend kits in my future.

The decals have four different schemes.  I chose the scheme that shows the X-1 as it was when then Capt. Yeager broke the sound barrier in October 1947.

All in all, this was a pleasant build that took a little longer due to the absence of location pins.  I painted the model with Vallejo Model Air 71.083 Orange.  Is it accurate to some FS number? I have no idea.  But it looks good to me.

The X-1 is about the size of a P-51, the aircraft in which Yeager built his reputation.

Historical Information

Captain Charles (later Brig. General) Charles “Chuck” Yeager piloted this aircraft through the sound barrier ion October 14, 1947, only a few days after the United States Air Force became separate branch of the Armed Forces.  It was the X-1’s 50th flight.

When Yeager made his historic flight, the full lettering of the aircraft’s name - “Glamorous Glennis” had no been completed.  In the photo below, Yeager is posing with an X-1 with the full name that is also painted white and orange.

I have read that the basic fuselage shape of the X-1 was suggested by a .50 caliber machine gun bullet.  Whether that is true or not, I do not know.  But it sure looks like a bullet.
Capt. Yeager with an X-1. (Public Domain photo)

An X-1 in flight. (Public Domain Photo)

Yeager's X-1 on display in the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.  
(Photo by Ad Meskens)
 As always, thank you for visiting my blog.  Comments are always welcome.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

2018 IPMS/USA National Convention

(NB:  This is a photo-intensive blog entry.)

I have always wanted to attend this event, but never has it been close to anywhere I was living or located.  When I saw last year that this year the convention was coming to Phoenix and only 45 minutes from my house, I was very pleased and immediately blocked out the dates.

Visiting the legendary “vendor’s room”and seeing the very best models made by American modelers is not to be missed.  So, I signed up and attended the first full day of the event at the Phoenix Convention Center.  It was a balmy 109 outside, but very comfortable inside.  Besides, we have dry heat out here.  (Sticking your head in an oven is also experiencing dry heat.)  The fact is you get used to it.  And summertime is building time here in the Southwest.  September through May the weather is just too nice to be inside.  June, July and August are my most productive building months.

The registration chores were ably handled by the staff.

I attended one seminar right away on photographing models presented by John Ferdico, a modeler and professional photographer.  He had a lot of good advice to offer.

Next, it was time to check out the vendor’s room.  Someone once referred to it as the world’s largest hobby shop, and I think they were correct.  Special Hobbies and Eduard were there from the Czech Republic, but they were only taking cash, so it is a good thing I brought a fairly good-sized supply with me.  Their latest and their best kits and aftermarket accessories were available for a nice discount.  (I really appreciated that.  The usual “show discount” we see is about .000001%.) 

Lots of other manufacturers and sellers were there, too.  Not Revell, however.  Someone had a great pile of the latest 1/32nd scale Revell P-51D for only $25.  They may have been the last ones available in the USA for some time.

The display hall was not completely filled with models when I visited on Thursday in the morning and early afternoon, but by 3PM they were flooding in.  Still, there was a great selection to see while I was there.  One gets a bit overwhelmed after about 200 or so models, let alone models by the thousand.

Unfortunately, most models were placed right on top of the paper describing them, i.e., scale, kit, extra parts added, etc., so I cannot give you that information here.  None the less, here are some of the ones that caught my eye. 

I should have taken a picture of a sign I saw, but I was concentrating on taking model photos.  The sign had a picture of a nurse on it, and it said something along these lines:  "Hi, I am your trauma nurse, and I will be helping you recover from all the injuries you will have after you touch one of the models." 

Frankly, after an hour or so of looking at models, one m]needs to take a break (in the vendor’s room) to clear your head and then come back.

I was very inspired by what I saw.  The P-40 Tomahawk below is the old Monogram kit.  For a modeler to take a kit from 1966 (I believe) and enter it in the 2018 IPMS/USA Nationals is a big deal in my book.  He did a really nice job with that old kit, and I hope he one some kind of award for his effort.  If you have some old Monogram or Otaki kits in your stash, they are worth looking at again.

Here are some aircraft followed by armored models:

I had a great time at this show.  If you are ever within a day's drive of one, you should go for it.  Or, if you are a business flyer with a ton of extra miles to use, go for it.  Every modeler should do this one once in his/her life.

As always, thank you for looking at this post.  Comments are welcome.