Saturday, November 30, 2019

Takom, V-2 German Missile, 1/35th scale, Kit No. 03.01.2075

I made the 1/72nd scale Revell model earlier this year and wrote about it on this blog.

There is no question that the V-2 was an enormous technological achievement by Werner Von Braun. He later worked for NASA and received much of the credit for the Saturn V, his Nazi past and war record using slave labor forgotten.  The design survived for many years, e.g., the Scud missiles off Gulf War fame were basically advanced V-2 missiles.  The V-2 was both the first man made device to travel at supersonic speeds, and it was also the first man made device to leave the Earth and enter near space.

I have read that while the Germans launched over 1,000 of these at the Allied forces in the West and also England itself, they had little or no effect (except of course the direct victims).  And amazingly the Germans still were thinking that these so-called miracle weapons would reverse the situation and save them from the avalanche of military power cascading down on their country from East and West.

Von Braun and fellow Nazis at Peenemunde German Army Research Center. German Federall Archive Photo.

The finished model is 16” tall without the launch stand.  This was a big, powerful missile.  It is no wonder it was the first man-made object to leave the Earth’s atmosphere, and it was the first such object to travel at supersonic speeds.  It was a technological achievement, no doubt about it.

I primed the model with Tamiya gray primer.  Vallejo Model Air paint was used for the camouflage:  Dark Yellow 71.025, Panzer Olive 71.096, Cream White 71.270, and Black Grey 71.055 (for the launch stand).

To duplicate the splinter camouflage pattern, I painted white, green then yellow last.  Normally, one might well pick yellow as the second color to apply, but the masking job to do that would have been very extensive.  That was my approach.


Very desirable historic subject in a larger scale making an impressive model.

Very nicely detailed plastic parts with restrained surface detail.

Small fret of photo etch parts (8 panel latches).  A nice extra detail.

There are five color schemes to choose from.  Many YouTube videos show the V-2 being launched, and almost all of them are in the black and white test version color scheme.  I have seen a few with the splinter scheme, and many of the captured V-2 rockets are in a dark overall color, probably a dark green.  Who knows at the end of the war?  They were trying to hurl these missiles at the Allies as fast as they could, but apparently to little avail.  There probably was not enough time for fancy camo jobs to be applied.  I painted the launch platform RLM 66 Grey.  It just seemed logical.  The instructions are silent on the subject.

The small sheet of decals were very easy to work with.  They release from the backing paper quickly and respond to Tamiya Markfit Strong Decal Solution.


The four fins needed some filler, which was easily taken care of with Vallejo Putty.  There is a seam between the two upper halves that I did not fill.  This is because in my research I saw photos of an unassembled V-2 that showed the outer shell splitting into two halves just like these model parts.    For once, the seam is scale accurate.

In a couple of places the printing on the instructions is very small.  It is as if the pages were designed in a larger format than they were printed on.  My regular magnifier hood took care of that.

The plastic was very slippery out of the box.  I assumed it was mold release agent, and I gave the parts a good soak in warm water and Dawn detergent.  The parts felt much different after that, i.e., not slippery at all.  Since so much masking is called for on this model, I wanted to start with a clean and grease free surface.

Basically, there is nothing major to talk about.  The above are really kind of nitpicks. 
I did not join the upper and lower halves until I was done.  It is a big model in a small workspace!

These are the four main colors I used.

As they say, yellow has trouble covering itself.

The large size of the V-2 is demonstrated here posed next to an M4E8 Sherman, also in 1/35 scale.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Eduard P-400 Airacobra, 1/48th scale, Kit No. 8061 ProfiPak

Kit box top

Photos of the Air-A-Cutie in 1943.  Public Domain.
Rarely do I make a kit a second time.  This is an exception.  My first Eduard Airacobra, a P-400, appears in my blog post of May 15, 2015. 

This particular kit has languished in my stash since around 2001.  It was the first Eduard kit I purchased, but it never made its was to the building bench.

A few weeks ago I was reading some material on the WWII nose art, and I ran across photos of this particular P-39F (P-400 being the designation of a bunch of P-39 aircraft made for the British but were retained by the USA). 

In my decal collection, I had markings for the “Air-A-Cutie”, perhaps the most risqué nose art of the war.  This was Cutting Edge decals for various P-39 and P-400 Airacobra's, sheet number CED 48035.  This aircraft was a P-39F of the 36th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group on New Guinea in August 1943.

Not wanting these decals to go unused, I dug out this old kit and went to work on it.

It goes together very well.  I had used the pre-cast nose weight from this kit in the previously mentioned P-400 I had made.  Not to worry, as I had a good supply of #8 lead bird shot I use for making nose weights when needed.  This size shot is small and can be fit into even small spaces.  On this model I filled the area in from of the cockpit over the nose wheel bay with the shot.  It was more than ample to keep this model from being a tail sitter.

The airframe was painted with Tamiya acrylics.  I covered the paint with Microscale Satin varnish and applied the decals.  These decals were made before the Eduard kit, as they were more than likely fitted to the very old Monogram P-39.  They fit perfectly, even the white stripe around the nose.

I also applied some decals from Superscale International P-39Q and P-400 Airacobra's decal set.  The wing walks, prop logos and few other decals were used.

After decals, more satin varnish was applied, and the model was detailed with Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color in black and dark brown.  I apply this material with the brush built into the bottle cap.  After it dries, I carefully remove the excess with a 1/4” flat brush dipped in mineral spirits and wiped almost dry.  The exhaust stains are applied with Tamiya Weathering Master chalk.

Contemporary Eduard kits are more detailed than this one, but this kit is more than adequate and makes a nice replica.  There is nothing to not like.

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

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

My Time In Model Building

When I was growing up in the late 50’s and early 60’s, all of my friends built models, generally Revell and Aurora plastic models and some Comet and Top Flite balsa rubber powered models.  Some of us built flying models powered by glow engines, either free flight or U-control.  This was long before practical, inexpensive R/C.

For most of us, cars, girls and rock ’n’ roll came into our lives and model building went away.  I had built some cars in early high school years, and once when I was going to be stuck on weekend CQ duty in the Army, I picked up an AMT 1/25 model of some car at the PX and spent some time that boring weekend building it.  (I have no idea what happened to it.)

Flash forward a decade.  After a tour in Vietnam, college and law school, I was a newly minted Deputy Special Prosecutor in New York City enjoying my first year of freedom from the unimaginable workload and drudgery of law school.  One evening I was in an E.J. Korvette department store in Brooklyn, NY looking for a Christmas gift for my then fiancé (and I thank God in Heaven that 43 years later she is right here still putting up with me). 

I was thinking toaster oven, and I took a shortcut through the toy department to small appliances.  And right there on the shelves were plastic model kits, something I had not looked at in more than a decade.  Standing right out was a stunning picture of a P-40E Warhawk plunging down on apparently unsuspecting Japanese Betty bombers.  Revell always always had stunning box art.

The toaster oven was secured, I went back through the toy/model department and started looking at the kits.  When I saw the Revell 1/32nd scale P-51B in Capt. Donald Gentile’s markings, I plucked it off the shelf. 

And, I was on the slippery slope.

The was way back in 1976.  Monogram was still in business turning out new kits of really interesting subjects, like the B-26 Marauder and the B-25H Mitchell.  Microscale was providing dozens and dozens of decal sheets to replace the (unfortunately) rather crappy ones that came with the kits of the time.  Monogram was great, but their decals were beyond awful.

Microscale also had a two solution system for applying decals and making them look as if they are painted on.  They are still selling the same solutions today, and they still work beautifully.

Testors was beginning to supply paints in Federal Standard numbers.  And, Polly S was producing the first acrylic paints I had seen.  I never did get them to airbrush very well, but regular hand brushing them could not be beat.

And, speaking of airbrushes, I discovered them and taught myself to use it.  My first was a Badger Model 200, which I still have and use.  It is a single stage unit, and has been used so much it has been back to Badger for a re-build twice.  That tool will outlast me!

But what drew me into all this?  It is the sense of satisfaction I get out of researching the subject and then producing the best and most exact a replica I can.  I have become what I call an “amateur historian” of the Second World War.  My subjects tend to be replicas from Guadalcanal and the Cactus Air Force, Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk or the Battle of Britain.  The list goes on and on.  I occasionally wander off into Vietnam, and build something such as the Grumman Bearcat I made with French markings as a personal commemoration of the incredibly brave French military men and women who fought to the bitter end at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, or the U. S. Army M551 Sheridan tank with the markings of an Arizona Sergeant who commanded the tank in our Vietnam War (said marking obtained from the IPMS/USA convention here in Phoenix a year ago).

I am not among the best model makers in the world, I enjoy putting most of my work up here for the few modelers who drop by now and then.  These modelers are from all over the world, and not a few from Russia (a country I visited in 1990 and 1991 during the waning days of the USSR and will never forget).

Model building has been a rewarding and involving pastime for me. 

And when I look at the new kits and materials available today (e.g., the Tamiya P-38E/G Lightning in 1/48th scale), I realize that in the world of scale modeling, these are indeed the good old days.

I know that I have not posted anything here lately, and that is because I have not been spending as much time at the workbench.

However, I am just finishing up an Eduard P-400 Airacobra and will be posting details here shortly.  Here it is almost done: