Tamiya 1/32 Vought F4U-1A Corsair

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F4U-1A of VMF-321 flown by 1Lt.Robert Whiting on Guam, August 1944.

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Pratt & Whitney R-2800-8W engine with extra wiring and plumbing. The exhaust manifold is not glued in place at this point.

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The finished engine.

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Cockpit with Barracuda’s stencils and placards decal set added. I did use the kit decal for the instrument dials but with a slight variation. The main panel was first painted semi-gloss black then the clear dial face panel was glued in place as per the instructions. Next I cut each dial face from the kit decal sheet and applied them individually to the front of each instrument. Once dry, each dial received a drop of clear gloss. I think this gives a much clearer result than applying them to the back of the clear instrument part.

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The rear bulkhead with seat, safety harness and oxygen bottle attached.

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Main cockpit components together.

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Cockpit sidewalls with a bit of extra wiring.

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The cowl flap hinge and pulley system was added using bits of plastic card and rod with stretched sprue as the wire. This is nowhere near 100% accurate, but it is quite visible and looks better than nothing.

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Wheel wells received lots of extra plumbing. This was made using fine solder wire and it is quite complicated, so good reference is essential.

Initial cammo colours on. Notice the fairly uneven spray job around the fuselage in front of the cockpit. This is where the heavy staining from the leaky fuel tanks will be applied.

In this shot the weathering is well underway. This includes the fuel stains down both sides of the forward fuselage and across the inner wing, lots of Prismacolor silver pencil paint chipping along rivet lines and where fuel cell sealing tape has been removed, and the general grubbiness across the wings which was achieved by very carefully spraying ‘random’ dirty marks with the same colour used for the fuel stains. This colour is heavily diluted Tamiya XF-59 Desert Yellow.

Undersurfaces were fairly heavily weathered as well. Lots of dirt and exhaust stains on lower fuselage. Two shades of intermediate blue were used on the outer wings with some panel lines painted darker navy blue as per some photographic references.

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The kit main wheels and tyres were replaced with resin items from Barracuda. The tail wheel assembly was later painted black as per reference.

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Even though EaglCals instructions indicate that the trim markings on the tail and prop hub of this VMF-321 aircraft are to be white, I’m sure they were yellow. Also during this period  VMF-321 planes carried different pilot and aircraft names on either sides of the cockpit and engine cowling. As the only available photo of this aircraft is of its righthand side,  I chose not to use the duplicate personal markings on its other side as indicated by EagleCal.

 

GALLERY

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More from the vault

Roden 1/48 Gloster Gladiator Mk II in Finnish markings.

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Tamiya 1/32 P-51 D Mustang flown by Capt. Henry W. ‘Baby’ Brown of the 354th FS. 353 FG.

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Tamiya 1/48 Nakajima N1J1-Sa Type 11 Gekko Late Version flown by WO Juzo Kuramoto and navigated by Lt Shiro Kurotori of the Yokosuka Kokutai.

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Revell 1/32 Heinkel He 219 Uhu carrying the markings of an aircraft flying with I/NJG1.

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Hasegawa 1/72 Mitsubishi Ki67 Hiryu (Peggy)

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The ‘Flying Dragon’. In my humble opinion, the best looking Japanese bomber of WW2.

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The first job was to replace the plastic radar dipoles with .3mm brass wire. Still not quite thin enough but much more acceptable than the over-thick plastic representation.

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The interior was improved by the addition of the photo etch detail set 72 321 from Eduard. Boy! I had forgotten how small 72nd scale was!

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Photo etch replacement for the floor of the glazed nose. This is only a fraction of the P/E detail that was to be crammed into this area.

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The rear fuselage is a little less crowded.

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The cockpit area painted and weathered.

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I did opt for the kit decal instrument panel rather than the P/E alternative.

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The only major fault that I found with the kit was the difference between the circumference of the fuselage and the slightly smaller, clear nose part. This was rectified by gluing a strip of thin plastic card to the top of the fuselage and sanding until the step between the two parts was eliminated.

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I added the internal framework to the rear gunner’s position using .020 plastic rod from Evergreen.

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The kit instructions indicate that if the torpedo is to be fitted, that the bomb bay doors are not to be installed. On closer inspection of the available photographic references of the Ki67, I determined that the doors were cut down and fitted in the closed position. I presume this configuration would have provided slightly better aerodynamic quality than no doors at all. In this shot it can be seen that I have removed one 3rd of each door and fixed them in the closed position.

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I cut a fine grain pattern on the breakaway wooden torpedo fins which were then painted Tamiya Desert Yellow and given a very thin black/brown wash.

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Before fitting the wooden fins, the torpedo’s prop blades were thinned down and each blade was carefully twisted to give them a more correct pitch.

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A handsome aircraft from all angles.

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All panel lines were shaded to various degrees with my black/brown mix.

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Exhaust stains were achieved using the same black/brown mix only applied slightly heavier with a carefully sprayed centre of Tamiya Buff to give a lean burn look. The tyres were sprayed flat black and dirtied up with Tamiya Dark Earth. Hydraulic lines were made from fine solder wire.

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Fine lines of rivets were added to the front half of the fuselage and to the engine cowls using the point of a sewing needle. The support struts for the open canopy hatches were made from stretched spru.

Hasegawa 1/32 Focke Wulf Fw 190 A-5

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Fw 190 A-5 flown by Oblt. Walter Nowotny, Staffelkapitän of 1./JG 54, Russia, summer 1943.

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After some filling and re-scribing the first major job undertaken was to add the rivet detail. This was achieved with the aid of lots of Dymo tape as a straight edge, this MDC rivet punch and a good set of scale drawings.

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With the scale drawings as a guide, and using a small metal ruler and graphite pencil, the start and end points of the rivet lines were marked out as accurately as possible. An appropriate length of the adhesive Dymo tape was then stuck between the pencil marks and using the rivet punch, the lines of rivets were carefully pressed into the plastic. The spacing between each rivet is done purely by eye and therefore is not 100% accurate but with practice (and I’ve had lots) it becomes fairly automatic and the result quite acceptable.

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In this shot of the left fuselage half, as well as rivets, you can also see some of the detail that has been filled using Milliput.

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The extra effort taken in adding the rivet detail is time consuming but the result, although subtle, makes a big difference to the overall look and surface texture of the finished model.

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In this shot of the almost complete cockpit tub can be seen the canopy guide rails which were added using Evergreen plastic strip.

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Each instrument dial was cut from the kit decal sheet and applied individually. Fiddly, but with these tired old eyes it’s a lot easier than painting ’em!

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Safety harnesses were made from paper-backed lead foil and fine wire bent to shape to form the buckles.

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Undercarriage parts plumbed, painted and waiting for installation.

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The yellow theatre markings and RLM 02 in the wheel wells and flaps were painted first and then masked off with Tamiya masking tape before the main camouflage colours were applied. In this shot the masking has been removed from the wing tips and wheel wells.

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Upper surface colour application begins with the lighter of the two greens. This is my own field mix of RLM 71 Dark Green with about 30% RLM 82 Light Green to try and represent the improvised colour used by the JG 54 ground crews.

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RLM 70 Black Green was used as the second colour for the upper surface camouflage. Masking tape has now been removed from all yellow theatre markings.

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With all camouflage colours applied, masking tape removed and panel lines drawn in with a very sharp 6B pencil, weathering has begun.

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With all painting and weathering complete the model is just waiting for the installation of all its dangly bits.

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In this and the next close-up shot you can see how the rivets just show through the paint.

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All the paint chips were carefully applied using a very sharp Prismacolor silver pencil. The light exhaust staining was achieved by first spraying Tamiya XF 57 Buff and then a patchy overspray of a very thin mix of Tamiya Red Brown and Flat Black. This colour was also used for the main, darker exhaust staining down the fuselage sides and the build-up along panel lines where appropriate.

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The spiral on the spinner was carefully brush painted.

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Nylon mono filament was used for the radio antenna with small drops of white glue for the insulators. The backs of the prop blades were first painted silver and then over-sprayed with RLM 70 leaving the tips silver.

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The yellow markings were also dirtied up using the black/brown mix.

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My favourite angle of the 190. Markings are from EagleCals decal sheet EC#83 FW 190A-5s.

Airfix 1/24 Hawker Typhoon

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My favourite aircraft flown by the Allies during WWII has always been the Hawker Typhoon especially when fitted with the bubble canopy, armed with rockets and painted with full invasion stripes. I (and a lot of other people) had been hoping for a 1/32 scale kit from one of the major companies when Airfix surprised us all with this ‘slightly’ larger offering. It is a big, beautiful kit which (apart from the car door) includes just about every option you could wish for. When Brett rang and asked if I would be interested in painting a pre-production model that he was building for the next ADH ‘How To Build’ book I jumped at the chance.

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The only thing that I was disappointed with was the rather basic detail on the rockets. In my opinion this is an important feature on this large kit so I was hoping for a little more effort from the designers. This shot shows all eight RPs finished with scratch-built detail added by me.

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The first detail that I decided to add was a more accurate representation of the kit’s solid moulded rocket saddle plates. New brackets were made by carefully bending .010 x .040 Evergreen plastic strip to match the various reference photos I had at hand. After the removal of the moulded kit brackets these scratch-built items were glued in place. These are not entirely accurate but they’re a lot better than the kit offering.

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The Weak Link Leads or ‘pig tails’ were the next detail to be added. These were relatively simple to make using plastic rod for the plugs and .355mm solder wire for the leads.

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Brett had constructed the model with the engine fully exposed and painted. Both wing cannon bays were also open and complete. I painted it in this configuration with the thought in mind that I might be able to fit the engine cowling and gun bay panels over this completed work. I was wrong! But after the photos had been taken and the model was now mine the engine received a severe pruning and, with a bit of persuasion, the cowls and panels were made to fit.

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Brett seemed very pleased with the result and took some more photos which he has included in his new book.

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The cowling on my model doesn’t fit perfectly but that’s because it was fitted as an afterthought. I’m sure that if I had initially constructed it with the cowling closed, the fit would have been very good. A few added details seen in this shot include the dorsal whip antenna and the replacement cover plate with wire handle on the bottom of the retractable footstep.

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Markings were sourced from XTRADECAL sheet no. X24-003 and represent aircraft MN131/PR-M of No. 609 Sqn., 123 Wing, 2 TAF, RAF Thorney Island, 6 June 1944. The decal instructions indicate that this aircraft had a three blade prop and a short chord tail but on careful examination of the one available photograph of this particular plane it is impossible to tell what the tail configuration is and, even though it is spinning, the prop looks to me as though it has four blades. So because Brett had already securely glued the Tempest tail in place and, in my mind, it should’ve been fitted with a four bladed prop, that’s the way it was going to be!

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What a brute.

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My favourite angle.

Tamiya 1/35 T-55 ENIGMA

 

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The Enigma was a modified  T-55 that was encountered on several occasions by Coalition forces during Operation Desert Storm. The modifications to the original Russian design consisted of hollow steel boxes that Iraqi Army engineers had welded and bolted to the tank’s turret and hull in an attempt to add more armoured protection to its most vulnerable areas. This was not entirely successful, however, as it seems all but three or four of the Enigmas encountered were quickly despatched.

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A lot of extra details were added to the model. These included the Eduard P/E set designed for this kit, Aber’s turned aluminium gun barrel, as well as many scratch-built items.

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One of the more elusive details peculiar to this vehicle was the locking mechanism for the hinged portion of the turret armour. I’m not sure that my attempt at replicating this is entirely accurate, but it’s the best I could manage with the available reference.

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The kit’s moulded springs for the hinged armour section were replaced with new items made by coiling fine copper wire around a brass rod of the appropriate diameter. This took a few attempts, but the end result was worth the extra effort.

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The rear of the turret received lots of extra bits. These were mainly modified kit parts with some scratch-built items. The rather crude weld seams where the rear bracket is attached to the back of the turret can be seen here. These were made by gluing stretched sprue along the joins using lots of liquid cement. While the plastic was still soft the texture was created using the point of a needle.

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The same goes for the rear end but this time the additions were mainly P/E with a lot of scratch-built bits.

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In this shot of the finished model the rough weld seams can be seen more clearly. Also visible are lots of small scratches and wear, which were added using very sharp colouring pencils. The Dushka and its mount also received quite a bit of extra detail.

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Exhaust staining and more scratches.

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Oil staining on the wheel hubs was achieved using a fairly heavy black/brown oil paint wash. I was also very happy with the rubber look of the tyres and the P/E mud flaps.

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Visible in this shot are the lenses added to the commander’s hatch vision ports and the scratch-built latch hook on the gunner’s hatch lid.

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ADDITIONS AND ENHANCEMENTS MADE TO THIS MODEL

  1. Kit weld seams on the appliqué were roughed up with the aid of a motor tool.
  2. All other weld seams were added or enhanced using liquid cement, stretched sprue and the point of a needle.
  3. Plumbing was added to the fender fuel cells.
  4. Replaced most molded-on handles with copper wire.
  5. Replaced molded plastic springs for front-hinged armour with coiled copper wire.
  6. Scratch-built the hinged armour’s locking mechanism using plastic rod and strip, brass wire and spare P/E bits.
  7. Replaced kit headlight cage with item made using .020 plastic rod.
  8. Added conduit and cabling to all electrical fittings.
  9. Opened main spotlight cover and added internal details.
  10. Added driver’s hatch external details.
  11. Replaced kit’s main gun barrel with item from Aber.
  12. Added securing bolts to front appliqué armour.
  13. Lots of extra detail added to rear end of vehicle using plastic sheet, plastic rod, brass tube and P/E.
  14. Kit tracks were replaced with WWII Productions Resin Track Set 35008. T-55 TRACK.

 

1/32 Messerschmitt Bf 109 GALLERY

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Hasegawa 1/32 Bf 109 F-2 from 9./JG 2 carrying the markings of Staffelkapitan Siegfried Schnell while on Channel coast duties in France, 1941.

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Hasegawa 1/32 Bf 109 F-4/Trop in the 3./JG27 markings of Leutnant Hans-Joachim Marseilles, Libya, February 1942.

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Hasegawa 1/32 Bf 109 G-6 representing the aircraft flown by Leutnant Eric Hartmann, 9./JG 52, Russia, October 1943.

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Hasegawa 1/32 Bf 109 G-14 converted (by Brett Green) to a G-10 with Type 110 cowl using the Cutting Edge set from 2004. Markings depict an aircraft belonging to JG 300 in 1945.

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Revell 1/32 Bf 109 G-6/U2 from JG 53, Germany, 1945. A nice kit but really needs (at least) replacement prop blades and cowling bulges.

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Hasegawa 1/32 Bf 109 G-10/R3 as flown by Feldwebel Horst Petzschler, 10./JG 51, Eastern Prussia, May 1945.