The Heinkel He 177 was Germany’s attempt at fielding a heavy bomber during WWII. It was powered by two DB 606 24 cylinder in-line engines, which were constructed by mating two DB 601 or DB 605 engines to a common gearbox. These engines were recessed into the wing structure to reduce drag, a decision which lead to constant over-heating issues and fires. By the time these and numerous other development and technical issues were resolved the deteriorating war situation forced Germany into the “fighter emergency”, where fuel and other all aviation resources were devoted to bolstering the Jagdwaffe. Of the 1,135 He 177s produced, most ended the war grounded due to lack of fuel on various airfields throughout the Reich.
This is the Revell of Germany kit with the Eduard PE set. It represents an He 177A-5 of 4./KG 100 operating the Fritz-X wire-guided missile in the anti-shipping role from Toulouse-Blagnac France in the Summer of 1944. The kit is sharply molded with recessed panel lines and assembles without drama. A nice kit of a large but rather lesser known type which carried several interesting camouflage schemes. Recently Revell has reissued this kit, so if you missed it the first time you can still pick one up.
Here are three builds of Roden’s Opel Blitz trucks in 1/72 scale. Softskins, and trucks in particular, are useful to add interest and scale to dioramas or to “busy up” photographs of aircraft models. These are nice little kits. One interesting feature is Roden has included both solid and slatted sidewalls for the beds. Not one to let good parts go to waste, I cast extra wheels and built these up into the large cargo trailers sometimes seen with the trucks.
Dana Bell needs no introduction to modelers. Many discussions about US aircraft camouflage and markings are settled to everyone’s satisfaction when prefaced with the words, “Dana Bell says …”. Therefore Bell’s Aircraft Painting Guide was highly anticipated.
This book does not disappoint. There is a brief four page overview of the history of USAAF camouflage, the remainder of the book is a series of large well-reproduced photographs, many in color. The captions are used to provided context and to point out the subtleties of the aircraft’s markings. This is the ideal way to tell this story, and quite useful for modelers attempting to replicate the finishes. Bell does not shy away from the unusual or obscure, such as an O-47 in Navy colors or new insight into 6th AF B-17s in the “Panama Scheme”. He also lays to rest the subject of the one true shade of Olive Drab, perhaps best summarized with the quote, “No manufacturer’s test sample of Dark Olive Drab was ever rejected for failing to meet the color standards.”
Recommended without reservation, I am eagerly awaiting Volume 2!
Time once again for the weekly construction update. Firstly, the jinx plaguing this build manifested yet again. The long awaited second Special Hobby B-18 arrived right on time from Hannants, bringing with it the needed nose transparency for my HAD subject. Or so I thought. Upon opening the box, I discovered the same clear sprue as is in the kit I already had on the bench. Initially I figured I had gotten the wrong sprue, but on closer examination I discovered that the difference between the variants was not only in the clear parts, but that Special Hobby had tooled two different fuselages to account for the different nose configurations! You can argue whether that decision is clever or whether it is ridiculous, but it was absolutely unanticipated on my part.
What this means is that the B-18 I have been working on cannot be finished as either of the two known HAD ships and so has been re-boxed and moved to the Shelf of Doom, the first kit so fated in roughly the last twenty years or so. If I can research a proper ASW scheme I will finish it in that and take another shot at the HAD scheme with the new kit. The problem of the too-narrow canopy is still unresolved, and for the moment I have lost the mojo to keep fighting it. However I was able to resist the impulse to test-fly the model across the modeling room, so score a small victory there.
On to better news. The two B-17s are camouflaged and glossed, and I had enough Starfighter decal sheets in the stash to recover from last week’s insignia masking debacle. I was able to determine colors and patterns on visible sections of the airframes from photographs and make some educated guesses based on other HAD birds for the areas not shown. The photographs show five colors were used, although not all five may have been used by HAD on all aircraft (the B-18 only used four colors). I mixed the colors to match the chips in the Monogram Guide using Testors paints (which mostly behaved well this time). The colors depicted here are: Dark Olive Drab 41, Sand 26, Neutral Gray 43, Rust Brown 34, and Interior Green. Here are the models:
The Mitsubishi F1M Pete was a versatile design which was rugged and maneuverable. It operated from battleships, cruisers, tenders, and shore bases. It was primarily intended for observation, but could also perform as an interceptor, light bomber, or in the antisubmarine role.
This is Fujimi’s kit, a real gem. There is the unusual engineering decision to place the wing seam along the fabric-covered area of the wing, but that is manageable with careful test-fitting and sanding. An interesting feature is the choice of two options for the main float – the standard float and a waterline. The beaching cart is included. The model was rigged with Nitenol wire. The observer’s gun is a brass replacement. Overall a nice little kit, and an easy build for a biplane.
Here is Hasegawa’s 1/72 scale Jagdpanzer IV in an ambush scheme. It is beginning to show its age but it is still one of Hasegawa’s nicer efforts. I have fabricated side skirts from Evergreen. Tracks are in one piece and I was quite happy to find they react well to normal modeling glues. The crew figure is from Caesar Miniatures.