Zvezda T-35 Soviet Heavy Tank Build in 1/72 Scale

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This is a relatively new release from Zvezda, it just came out last year.  The subject is an unique design, a five-turreted heavy tank which entered service in 1933.  These were monsters and were mainly used in parades in Moscow to show off Soviet military might.  They suffered rather badly in actual service during the Great Patriotic War due to their thin armor.
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The box says the kit consists of 237 individual parts.  I didn’t bother to count but that sounds about right.  The main hull is a single piece of slide-molded wizardry, the other two sprues pictured here are the upper hull details and turrets.  Details are crisp and the molding is free of flash.
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The bulk of the kit parts are used to build up the running gear.  These parts are very nicely detailed, but much of that will be hidden behind side skirts.  Tracks are length and link.
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Here is the running gear in place on the lower hull.  The parts are molded in a rather hard plastic, but presented no problems during assembly.
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The tracks went on without difficulty.  Most of this is long runs, with mainly the sections which curve around the drive and return rollers being comprised of individual links.  These all mated well and there was even a short length of extra track left over at the end.
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I added some extra heft to the model using BBs and casting resin poured into the lower hull.  Completely unnecessary but I like the feel.
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Here is everything assembled prior to painting.  The machine gun barrels were replaced with Albion Alloys tube, which makes them harder to knock off and provides a hollow barrel.  I left the skirts off at this stage to better paint the running gear.
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The model was first sprayed with Mr. Surfacer 1000, then painted with Mister Color Russian Green 4BO and  highlighted with a lighter mix of the same.  Tracks were painted Mister Color Tire Black.  The model was then sprayed with Testors Glosscoat prior to decals and weathering.
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Decals are from the kit and performed well.  These tanks were relatively well maintained, so I used restraint on the weathering.  I picked out details with Tamiya Panel Line Accents and gave the completed model a covering of Testors Dullcoat.  Finished!  A large and unusual addition to the Russian armor collection.

Airfix Douglas C-47 Skytrain in 1/72 Scale

This is the new mold Airfix C-47A in 1/72 scale.  It is a fine kit in all respects, it builds up quickly and with no surprises.  The interior is perfectly adequate, very little can be seen in any case and I would advise against adding additional detail as the effort will be wasted.  I did add ignition wiring to the engines as these can be seen, and I replaced the kit wheels with aftermarket resin which offered a small improvement.  I added brake lines from wire, and Uschi antenna lines.  Kit decals were used, and represent “Kilroy is Here” of the 92nd Troop Carrier Squadron / 439th Troop Carrier Group operating from Devon, England for the Normandy landings.  The invasion stripes showed through the fuselage insignia so those were doubled up with spares from the decal stash.  A nice kit overall, one which can be recommended without reservation.

Build thread here:  https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/?s=airfix+douglas+c-47

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B-36 Peacemaker Models Are Big. Really, Really Big.

It is big.  That is the first impression, and it is undeniable.  It is the biggest model airplane I have ever seen.  Is it the biggest model airplane in the world?  Reportedly not, but a brief search reveals the all-knowing internet is thoroughly confused on that point.  It is, well, big.  And impressive.

How big is it?  It is a 1/9th scale B-36, with a wingspan of 26 feet.  It was built by James Pappas in his mother’s attic in 1952, at the same time Convair was building the real thing at Fort Worth.  Think about 1952 for a minute – no CAD, no scale plans, no internet, no fancy tools.  A drill, a saw, a miter box, and a whole lot of Balsa.  The model was built to a flying standard, but there is debate about whether it was ever actually flown.  The story of the model is here:  http://www.rchalloffame.org/Exhibits/Exhibit41/index.html

Last week Ed Crotty of the RC Hall of Fame donated the model to the Academy of Model Aeronautics in Muncie, Indiana.  I went along to help move the model, which was a bit of an adventure!

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The model was living comfortably in the ceiling of a basement in Cleveland.  It was supported by wires anchored into the overhead, and ladders had been propped under strategic points to support it during the move.  Still a nice looking model after sixty seven years!
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Ed Crotty (on the left) discusses the move plan with Michael Smith, Director of the National Model Aviation Museum.  Even with the vertical tail removed the model still was a “head knocker.”  The aft ends of the engine nacelles are visible on the upper right.
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The nose section seen from under the wing.  Interestingly, there was canopy ribbing but no sign of glazing on either the canopy or the nose section.  The gunners’ sighting domes are represented, as are a range of SAC insignia and unit markings.  These markings were vinyl so would have been added after the original construction.  There are no markings present on the vertical tail.
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The propellers, jet engine pods, and flaps had been removed beforehand to facilitate the move.  The model was originally equipped with 1950’s vintage engines, including the jets.  It was built to run under power so it could taxi on its own at the very least.
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Ed demonstrates the bomb bay door operation for Michael.  All four bomb bays featured operable doors, which still worked easily after all the years.  One has to admire the workmanship and planning needed to pull off a model like this.
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The landing gear was operational and fully retractable.  The gear doors and flaps were also articulated, but had been removed prior to moving the model.
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A view up into the wing box from below.  The bronze rods extend deep into the wings, their original purpose is not obvious but it was eventually determined that they were part of the gear retraction mechanism.  The rod below the bell crank was intended to be on top, it being wedged under the crank necessitated removal of much of the hardware shown here before the wings could be released from the fuselage.
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Some of the “smaller” components outside on blankets, waiting to be loaded.  The model was designed to be broken down into assemblies to make transportation more manageable.  Some of the structure of the tail section is visible, hinting at the intricacy of the assembly.
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Most modelers secure their projects into various sorts of boxes to transport them to shows.  Here Michael secures the B-36 model into a box truck.  Every bit of the floor space of the cargo box was needed.
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The nose section is a separate assembly, and shows off some of the internal structure in this view.  While there were original engines with the model, there were no radios or evidence of radios ever being mounted within the model.  Perhaps Mr. Pappas intended to mount a radio receiver on the platform visible here at the rear of the nose section.

Revell Sd. Kfz. 7 Halftrack Conversion in 1/72 Scale

I have built enough German 7.5 cm PAK guns to get tired of building them.  Boredom is a dangerous thing, after test fitting the PAK with the Revell halftrack I was soon filling out the fighting compartment with Evergreen ammo bins.  I do not know if the Germans ever produced this specific combination, but in my defense much more unusual anti-tank combinations were actually used and this one looks like it would have worked.  Sometimes it’s fun to set the references aside and just build something.

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Ju 88 Aces of World War 2 Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 133 Book Review

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Ju 88 Aces of World War 2

By Robert Forsyth, Illustrated by Jim Laurier

Series: Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 133

Paperback, 96 pages, illustrated, 30 color profiles

Published by Osprey Publishing January 2019

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1472829212

ISBN-13: 978-1472829214

Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.3 x 9.8 inches

This volume follows the standard format which will be familiar to any reader of Osprey’s previous Aircraft of the Aces volumes.  Author Robert Forsyth provides a historical overview of the development of the Junkers Ju 88 and Luftwaffe’s employment of the versatile aircraft in various capacities.  Illustrator Jim Laurier presents thirty beautifully rendered side profiles of the aircraft, many of which are depicted here for the first time.

The inclusion of this book in Osprey’s Aces series is a bit of a misnomer.  One generally thinks of an ace as a fighter pilot with five or more kills, or in case of the Luftwaffe, Experten with ten or more kills.  While there are night fighter aces included here, there are also chapters on bomber aces, anti-shipping aces, train busters, and night intruders – virtually any of the many roles which the Ju 88 was adapted to fill during the war.  There is even a section on the Mistel composite aircraft.  Some of these roles have been described in greater detail in other Osprey volumes.  One has to wonder if this volume doesn’t try to cover too much ground in too broad a manner, thus potentially limiting the possibility of future volumes going into each role in more detail.

This is a good effort though, and provides much modeling inspiration in the beautiful profiles, and much background information to go along with them.  Recommended to all fans of the versatile Ju 88.

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