ICM Sd.Kfz. 222 Build in 1/72 Scale

ICM first released their Sd.Kfz.222 kit in 2005 as kit number 72411, this is the 2011 reboxing. These were often used in the reconnaissance role, and would be just the thing for those times when you’re trapped on a country road behind a slow driver!
The parts are well-molded and the breakdown is conventional. ICM have included photoetch for the engine vent in the hull and the grenade screen atop the open turret. Both of these PE parts are useful and appropriate for the intended applications.
Assembly was quick and the fit was good with no surprises.
The model was primed with Mr. Surfacer 1000 and then base coated with Alclad black primer. Thin coats of Panzer Gray misted on will allow for this to provide darker shadows in the recesses if applied carefully.
Here is the effect of lighter shades thinly misted on over the black base coat. Highlights were picked up with drybrushing.
Here is the finished model with an application of mud and dust. Everything was sealed and unified with Testors DullCoat. The radio antenna is Nitenol wire.

First to Fight Polish TKS Tankette Build in 1/72 Scale

This is kit number PL1939-001 from Polish manufacturer First to Fight. It was initially released in 2013, and re-released in 2019 with a turned metal gun barrel. It is an interesting design, and quite small. It carried a crew of two and makes me wonder just where is the line for being too small to be considered a tank. The main gun is a 20mm cannon, there was another version which carried a machine gun instead, which First to Fight also kits.
There is only a single sprue which contains twelve parts, plus a turned brass barrel which is a very nice touch. The suspension is mercifully molded as a single piece for each side and is very well detailed. For many subjects this approach is adequate for 1/72 scale, and much easier to build (and align!) than a pile of tweezer-bait. Instructions and a painting guide are printed on the back of the box.
The hull is split into top and bottom pieces. There is a gap under the mudguards, which is not obvious on the finished model from normal viewing angles but only takes a couple of minutes to fill with plastic card.
Assembly complete. The brass barrel is a nice touch as the molded barrel would be difficult to clean up and keep straight. I cut off the handles on the front plates and replaced them with wire stock, a simple improvement which enhances the looks of the model.
The model was primed with Mr. Surfacer to check for flaws, and then with black Alclad primer.
I followed the illustration on the box art for the camouflage scheme. It is interesting that the colors are so similar to those adopted by the Wehrmacht in 1943.
Here is the finished model after a panel wash and a light coat of dust. This kit goes together well and its simplicity and low parts count makes it a perfect choice for a quick build.

Dragon Arado E.381 Julia Parasite Fighter Build

This sprue was included in one of the many re-boxings of Dragon’s Arado Ar 234. I had already built the Ar 234 as part of another project so the little E.381 Julia was an orphan in the stash. What better time to built this one than when I had several other late-war kits on the bench? The Julia project was a rocket-powered interceptor, this version was intended to be dropped from a parent aircraft when in a favorable position.
The pilot was to lay prone and accessed the aircraft from a hatch in the top side. The kit has no interior. I scratchbuilt a “couch” with Eduard PE belts and gave him a control handle on each side. The instrument panel is printed on photo paper using a desktop copier.
The Julia has only eight parts total and a simple configuration so there were no surprises during assembly. Instead of paying for one of the various “thin” hobby glues I buy MEK by the quart from the hardware store, which is about the same thing only much cheaper.
The model primed and cleaned up. There is a wire handle in the rocket exhaust to afford a place to handle the model while painting.
The model received a late-war RLM 76 / 81 / 82 scheme scheme using Mr. Color paints. This is very similar to the scheme worn by the Heinkel He 162 Salamanders.
The finished model with markings from the spares box. The support stand is built from Evergreen strip and is purely hypothetical.

Revell Focke-Wulf Flitzer Build Part I

This is Revell’s Focke-Wulf TL-Jäger “Flitzer”, initially released in 1996. The design is of the same general configuration as the contemporary DeHaviland Vampire, but had only entered the mock up stage by the time the war in Europe ended. I’ll be building this one as another “whiffer” in operational camouflage and markings.
The sprue layout is conventional. The parts on my example are well-molded with fine recessed panel lines. I will replace the main wheels with spared from the Eduard Fw 190 kit as they are more detailed, but you certainly don’t have to do this to get a good-looking build from this kit.
The seat is too narrow but I left it alone as it fits into the cockpit and will still look good through the closed canopy.
Nose weight in the form of fishing sinkers was added to prevent the model from being a tail-sitter. The further forward you locate the weight the more effective it is. Seatbelts are Eduard PE.
I thought the wings looked a little too stubby so I extended them each about ¾ of an inch (18 mm) with plastic card. That’s one of the advantages of building a whiffer, you can make any necessary modifications to the design!
The wing extensions were filled with superglue and sanded smooth, then the panel lines were rescribed. Superglue makes an excellent filler, and when used with an accelerator can be sanded and re-filled right away.

Dragon Messerschmitt P.1101 Build Part I

This is Dragon’s 1993 kit of the Messerschmitt P.1101, which was later re-released by Revell. The P.1101 prototype was 80% complete at the end of the war and was being developed as an experimental testbed to study the effects of wing sweep angle on compressibility. In the U.S., Bell built the X-5 for the same purpose, a design clearly “inspired” by Messerschmitt’s work. I’ll be building two of these as “what if” (whiffer) models in operational markings and camouflage.
The parts are well-molded and feature finely recessed detail. Not a lot of parts on this one, but they do include a sprue with four Ruhrstahl X-4 air-to-air missiles, a nice touch. The Ruhrstahl X-4 was in production at the end of the war but was not used operationally. More on the Ruhrstahl X-4 in a previous post here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/07/31/rurhstahl-x-4-guided-missile/
The fuselage traps the engine assembly, which also serves as the nose wheel well. These parts required some test fitting to get everything aligned and closed up. Since this design used a tricycle landing gear configuration I added weight in the form of fishing sinkers and epoxy to keep it from being a tail-sitter.
The engines were painted and washed prior to sealing up the fuselage. Only the back section of the engines will be visible on the finished model. Dragon includes a small PE fret with cockpit details, but this appears to be made from stainless steel and I found the parts impossible to cut from the frets. Cockpit details on my models are from frets found in the spares box.
I attached the landing gear legs early to make sure I could get them in past the fuselage sides. Putting them in later would have been difficult with the mounting tabs in place and I wanted a secure fit. Seatbelts are from an Eduard PE fret.
Here the fuselage is joined and re-scribed. I applied MEK thin glue over the scribed panel lines to remove any burrs. I like the shape of this assembly, with a few adjustments this could serve as the basis for any number of futuristic vehicle projects.

Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9 Comparison Build Part I

One of the highlights of getting to go to the model shows are the vendor tables. Some are retail businesses or manufacturers and others are fellow modelers reducing their stashes. A good deal on an Fw 190D series kit is hard for me to pass up, these are a few show finds. The top kit was first issued by Hasegawa in 1992. It has been re-boxed several times and can still be built up into a nice representation. Also inside the box was another partially-started Hasegawa Dora from the earlier 1976 tool, which is a little rougher and has some accuracy issues. The lower box is Tamiya’s 2000 issue, with all the fine points we’ve come to expect from Tamiya.

The Tamiya kit has everything on a single sprue.  The parts are crisply molded with fine, recessed detail.  I’ve built several of these, really the only major vice is the shallow wheelwells with the closed center panel.  The real Fw-190D series deleted the center panel in the wheelwell to allow room for the engine accessories.  This is a common problem with Dora kits in 1/72 scale, many modelers let it go as the wheelwells are hard to see during normal viewing.
Here are the sprues for Hasegawa’s 1992 issue Dora. This is a nice kit, though not as finely molded as Tamiya’s. Hasegawa’s business plan is to re-use and re-release their kits in different versions, thus maximizing use of their molds. This kit shares parts with their radial engined Focke-Wulfs but with different fuselage pieces.
One of the oddballs from the end of the war is a variation of the Dora fitted with the tail of the Ta 152. There were three known aircraft in this configuration, Brown 4 is the best known and most popular among modelers. AML makes a conversion piece complete with decals. There are many interpretations of the paint scheme on this one, but this unique variant is hard for me to resist.
Here are the three fuselages compared, the 1976 Hasegawa kit on the top, 1992 issue in the middle, and Tamiya on the bottom. The earlier Hasegawa kit is showing its age. The rear sliding section of the canopy is molded as part of the fuselage, and the cockpit opening is too far back. The later Hasegawa and the Tamiya kits match up well in shape, with the Tamiya being slightly better detailed.
Here are the wings compared. Tamiya’s wing on the top again shows some fine detail, but the Tamiya engineers measured a museum aircraft fitted with a D-11 wing assembly, which has only a single shell ejector opening between the wheelwells. Hasegawa’s newer kit has the exhaust recess seen on the radial engine Focke-Wulfs because of the parts sharing. No shell ejector openings for the cowl guns at all on this one. The previous owner of the older Hasegawa on the bottom had already glued the wings together which will make opening up the wheelwells a little more interesting than usual!
Here the 1976 Hasegawa fuselage is compared to Tamiya’s. The cockpit opening is too far back, and I decided to simply cut off the rear section of the canopy and replace it with a better one from the spares box so I could pose the canopy open. The old kit will need some help with surface detail as well, and the molded-in exhaust stubs just aren’t working for me. Not the best kit to start with for a show-stopper, but improving the old kits is a good exercise and can be fun too!

Encore Yakovlev Yak-9 Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

DSC_8294
Lurking in the stash was this Yak-9 in an Encore Models box. This kit was first issued by Dakoplast in 1997, then Encore, then Eastern Express, and finally Modelist. It is not considered to be a good kit by those who know the Yak-9 and is known to have several shape issues. I am not an expert on the type therefore the shape issues don’t jump out at me so I decided to build the kit along with all the other Yaks. When else would I ever build one?

DSC_8295
The box contained two sprues with a lot of mold release. I wash all my sprues in hot soapy water before beginning construction. These got a good long soak. When done there was still some discoloration but no sign of oil. The two fuselages are there to account for the different placement of the cockpit and radiator between different subtypes.

DSC_8332
The cockpit is basic. The control column looked like it would be more trouble than it was worth to clean up so I substituted one made from wire.

DSC_8333
The wheelwells have some detail but there are gaps showing up into the fuselage and at the rear of the well. Another Yak kit which will need some work with Evergreen card.

DSC_8339
The cockpit under a coat of paint, what there is of it. Not super detailed but the basics are in place.

DSC_8347
There are some gaps on the underside seams which will need addressed. You can see the card used to close up the wheelwells in this photo as well.

DSC_8348
There is a pronounced step at the wing joint which will take some filling. At this point I should also mention that the clear canopy was beyond useless – it looked like it had been squished and no way was it ever going to fit. I used one for a Yak-3 from a Falcon vacuform set which looked much, much better and actually fit pretty well.

Yakovlev Yak-7B Build in 1/72 Scale, Dakoplast and Valom Kits Part I

DSC_8290
If you want to build a Yak-7, you’re going to wind up with a limited run kit from the East. Years ago I bought a box of VVS kits from our friend Dixieflier, who visits here regularly. One of the kits was this example from Dakoplast which was first issued in 2001. It has also been reissued by Eastern Express as well as Modelist.

 

DSC_8291
Inside are two sprues. No locator pins and a bit on the crude side but with some nice recessed surface detail molded on the surfaces. It will take a little elbow grease but looks like you can get a model out of this!

 

DSC_8292
The box contained even more VVS goodness.  Valom issued their kits in 2007. There are parts to make the trainer version but everything you need to build the standard fighter is still in the box so I went that way.

 

DSC_8293
The sprues differ, but really the parts are very similar. The Valom kits give you some details for the cockpit and wheels in resin along with a small PE fret. There is also a choice of cowlings, with and without gun troughs.

 

DSC_8328
This is the Dakoplast cockpit. Detail is actually pretty good, but locating the floor to the fuselage sides is tricky. Test fit until you find the right spot, always good advice.

 

DSC_8329
Wheel well detail is non-existent. The gaps will make this a minor challenge, but everything can be filled in with Evergreen and a little modeling fluid.

 

DSC_8330
Valom provides resin side walls and PE to jazz up their cockpit. Placement is not clear from the instructions so test fitting is again a requirement.

 

DSC_8331
The trailing edges of the wings need thinning on both kits. Here you can see the beginnings of the wheel wells being enclosed. The plastic strips may look thick, but I went for a solid bond as I will be sanding the height to fit within the wing.

 

DSC_8337
This is the Dakoplast cockpit ready to close up. Adequate but nothing fancy.

 

DSC_8338
The Valom cockpit has the resin and PE to help it along. The PE instrument panel and seatbelts add nice touches.

Hasegawa Yakovlev Yak-3 Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

DSC_8288
Continuing on with my Yak effort, this is the Hasegawa Yak-3 first issued in 1991. Hard to believe this is a thirty-year-old kit but there you have it. I picked this one up at a model show for $5, I find it difficult to leave a bargain on the table and there the trouble usually starts!

 

DSC_8289
There are not a lot of parts on this one. Sprue layout is what one would expect.

 

SCN_0039
Markings will be from the AML sheet Soviet Aces in Yakovlev Yak-3s Part II, which provides two options.

 

DSC_8326
Like most Hasegawa kits the cockpit is pretty basic. The seat and most of the interior is built up on top of the center wing section, I like this method as it ensures proper alignment and side-steps the problem of the cockpit floor spreading the fuselage. I added a few bits to spruce things up a little but didn’t go all out on this one.

 

DSC_8327
The kit wheelwells are completely open and you can see into the wing. I added side walls from plastic sheet and detailed the interiors. This is a quick fix which adds a lot to the finished model.

 

DSC_8336
The cockpit is painted and ready to be closed up. Belts are masking tape and I used a decal for the instrument panel. Nothing fancy.

 

DSC_8342
The fit is good from the top. Hasegawa kits generally are lacking in the cockpits and wheelwells but they usually fit well.

 

DSC_8343
This one will need some filling along the fuselage joints on the underside.  There is a gap along the ailerons and flaps where the wing pieces meet.  These will be filled with Perfect Plastic Putty.

Arma Yakovlev Yak-1b Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

DSC_8286
I was so impressed with Arma’s FM-2 Wildcats that I ordered a couple of their Yak-1’s from Hannants. This is kit 70027, their “Expert Set” which contains photoetch and a masks. While the Yak has a simple canopy which is not overly tedious to mask, Arma’s kabuki-tape set is a welcome time saver. It is also a relatively easy way for a manufacturer to add value to a kit, particularly as Edward is now asking over $7 per set for their masks.

DSC_8287
The plastic parts come on a single sprue. As expected, the parts are of the highest quality with beautiful surface detail, both raised and recessed. The PE fret is not required to build the kit but adds to the detail.

DSC_8312
Like the Wildcats, the Yak sprues are designed to stack. This is a really useful feature for those who are building more than one.

SCN_0040
Adding fuel to the fire is sheet ED 72007 “Yak Attack” from Exito Decals. I was vacillating between which two of the three markings to use, but my dilemma was solved when I found a third kit at the Rosco Turner IPMS show for a pittance. If they’re selling kits cheap, what’s a modeler to do?

DSC_8324
The cockpit floor structure is molded as part of the single upper wing piece. This ensures proper fit and alignment, and is a very helpful approach to engineering the kit. As you can see the cockpit is quite detailed. I opted to use the plastic instrument panel instead of the PE part as the detail is very good on the kit piece.

DSC_8325
The wing parts fit together without difficulty, the underside features very delicate panel and rivet detail. The wheelwells are deep and have the internal structure molded in place.

DSC_8335
Here is the cockpit ready to close up. Arma provides decals for the Instrument panel as well as side panels, a nice touch.

DSC_8341
The major components fit well with no gaps to be found. I glue with MEK, the melting action closes up the seams without need for filler.