North American B-25 Mitchell Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

Mitchells! This is a small batch of Mitchells, the 2018 Airfix C/D and the 2008 Hasegawa B-25H and J. These are both nice kits, but Mitchells came in a variety of variants and were subject to conversions and modification in the field. The Pacific Mitchells also present some painting challenges, but the artwork is irresistible.
Here are the main sprues from the Hasegawa kits. Parts breakdown is conventional, and these are molded in the typical Hasegawa hard plastic with finely engraved panel lines.
Sprue “C” has the tail assembly and various interior and detail parts. The fuselage gun packs are optional, not all Mitchells carried them. Locating holes for the gun packs are to be drilled out from the inside to accommodate aircraft with them. The kit provides only one style, so some subjects will need some help from the aftermarket.
Sprue “E” has the engine and other details, sprue “D” is interior parts. The engine is basic, but what is there is good and will look the part with a little added detail. The included bomb load is two 1,000-pound bombs. The interior bulkheads include sections of the main spars to help get the dihedral right.
The Hasegawa business model is to release several versions of the same basic kit with different detail parts and decals. On the top are the unique sprues for the B-25H, on the bottom sprue “M” and “J” are for the B-25J.
The Airfix B-25C/D is a quality kit, but the plastic is much softer the Hasegawa’s. The kit features finely engraved panel lines. Airfix has fired their trench digger, the panel lines on their more recent kits look just right. There is also subtle rivet and fastener detail in some areas which sets of the panel lines nicely. Note the bombay doors are molded into the interior detail – no broken doors on this model.
Sprue “C” has the engines, which are pretty well rendered. The kit provides optional flaps to represent both raised and lowered positions, but the raised option has a sink line through the middle which will require filling. The bomb load here is four 500-pound bombs.
The tail surfaces are all positionable. Also included are two options for the cowlings, one with the single exhaust port and the other with the individual ports.
There’s lots of aftermarket for the B-25, here is a sample. I am really impressed with the Master gun barrels, they are incredibly detailed and really draw the eye.
I began with the engines, Airfix is the lighter plastic, Hasegawa is darker. The top row is stock kit parts, the bottom row is dressed up a bit. For the Airfix engines I added ignition wires to the back row. For the Hasegawa engines I added wires and push rods.
Here are the main wheels with resin aftermarket – Airfix, Hasegawa, Eduard, and Quickboost. The Quickboost is the smallest of the group. From my perspective none of these are so bad they will detract from the finished model, your mileage may vary.
A comparison of the engine cowls, Quickboost on the left, Hasegawa on top, and Airfix below. The cowling opening is 36” in real life, which is 0.5” in 1/72 scale. I measured the openings, Quickboost came in at 0.508”, and went egg-shaped when I removed the casting block. Hasegawa was too small at 0.466”, which doesn’t sound like much but is noticeable. Airfix came in at 0.492″ but went to a perfect 0.500” after the interior mold seam was removed. I expanded the openings with a 0.5” drill bit from the garage, the widened kit parts are on the left, uncorrected parts on the right.

RS Models Kawasaki Ki-100 Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

The Ki-100 was the result of fitting a radial engine to the Ki-61 airframe which was designed for an inline. The Japanese engineers did a remarkable job of blending the wide engine to the narrow fuselage. RS molded a separate fairing which fits over the standard Ki-61 wing, and as you can see the fit is not great.
The upper wing joint needed some filling as well. The landing light on the leading edge of the wing was missing, I added one here using a section of clear sprue and superglued it in place. This will be filed down to match the contour of the wing and polished smooth again.
The canopy was masked the old-fashioned way with Tamiya tape, it also needed some filling to blend properly. Whenever test fitting reveals clear parts will need filler, I run a black Sharpie along the mating surface so the putty color can’t show through.
I installed the landing gear legs at this point to support the model during painting. Mr. Surfacer 1000 was applied overall, and any remaining filling and scribing errors were corrected. I also drill out any holes for the remaining parts at this point, as any slips of the drill bit can be easily corrected before painting has begun.
The finish is Mr. Color 130 Kawasaki Green over Alclad Aluminum. The Mr. Color 58 Orange Yellow wing ID panels were painted after the Alclad but before the upper surfaces.
There were a number of problems with the kit supplied drop tanks, so I substituted spares from the Arma Hayate kits. Aircraft operating over the Home Islands could carry Orange Yellow drop tanks which made them easier to locate and re-use.
I used the kit decals. They performed fairly well, but are thin and long so are a bit tricky to apply. The decal sheet is very crowded which makes them harder to cut loose. The black decals for the walkways are not the same shape as the molded relief on the wings, something which I didn’t notice until I was actually trying to apply the decals, so mine are painted. This kit takes a little extra work, but builds up into a nice representation when done.

More completed photographs here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/09/06/rs-models-kawasaki-ki-100-of-major-yohei-hinoki-in-1-72-scale/

RS Models Kawasaki Ki-100 Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

This is the RS Models Ki-100 kit number 92121. The kit was first released in 2012, and has been reboxed every few years afterwards. I added this one to the bench as a “tag along” to the Arma Hayate build to exploit the commonalities with the color pallets.
The RS kit is a limited run effort, which is in stark contrast to the CAD engineered high-pressure molding of a modern main-stream kit. There is some extra clean up and test fitting required, but the surface detail is nice. The engine and exhaust stubs are cast in resin and are well detailed.
The cockpit consists of nine parts. The canopy is a single piece and is closed, so this will be adequate. I replaced the control stick with plastic rod rather than try to clean up the kit part.
Push rods and ignition wires were added to dress up the resin engine. This doesn’t take much time to do once you get going, and engines really need some complexity of detail to look the part.
Limited run kits are known for their lack of locating pins and other alignment aids and this one is no exception. On the plus side, there are no sink marks to fill where the pins are. Test fitting revealed the cockpit parts are a bit wide at the top and needed some trimming to get the fuselage to close up properly.
I used Mr. Color Cockpit Green for the interior and added seatbelts made from masking tape. I have found the tape belts are usually perfectly adequate for closed-canopy models as the most visible component is the contrasting color. The resin exhaust stubs are fitted from inside the fuselage.
The engine was painted Alclad Aluminum and washed with black and brown to bring out the details. The gearbox was painted Blue Gray.

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/08/19/rs-models-kawasaki-ki-100-build-in-1-72-scale-part-ii/

Arma Hobby Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part IV

Japanese aircraft often sported multiple painted bands and panels, and many of their squadron markings are geometric shapes which are relatively simple to mask off. On the down side I have come to the realization that the Mr. Hobby thinner reacts to the adhesive in the generic masking tape I have been using, causing some colors to seep underneath. On this batch I’m using Tamiya Tape for the hard edges, which appears to have solved the seepage problem.
A few of the Hayate production run came from the factory uncamouflaged, some during the pre-production series and another run supposedly due to a shortage of paint. Photographs show a few of these received mottled camo in the field, but the field-applied mottling on a Hayate is rare compared to other JAAF types. One of the builds in this batch will be in an Alclad Aluminum NMF. On the NMF aircraft I paint the markings after laying down the Alclad, otherwise the textures and tones can show through the finish. All the builds got Mr. Color 58 Orange Yellow wing ID panels and Mr. Color 137 Tire Black anti-glare panels.
The initial factory applied camo was either Olive Drab over Gray Green or Dark Green over Gray Green. Good luck differentiating between the two in black and white photos, and you can find little agreement between profile artists. On this example I went with Arma’s color call outs using Mr. Color 304 over 128. The white bands were used by some units on home defense duties.
Late in 1944 paint shortages resulted in Nakajima switching to dark brown as an upper surface camo on some production runs. According to Ian Baker there were three browns used, and variations within those. The brown on this model is a mix of Mr. Color 42 Mahogany and 22 Dark Earth, with a few drops of Red added for good measure. Mixes with 131 Propeller Color or 520 Lederbraun would result in a similar tone. 128 Gray Green was used on the undersides, and Baker indicates that the browns lightened with white were also used on the undersides. The unit markings on the tail were masked off, and the chipping is a base coat of Alclad with stippling of a liquid mask, then the finish paint layer was pulled off with masking tape.
I used the kit decals for the Hinomarus and stencils, and some of the unit markings. There are ample stencils in both red and yellow options. All the decals performed flawlessly, but several are long and thin so they take some fiddling to get them straight.
The underwing stores were secured directly to the wing and steadied with a series of sway braces. The larger braces are provided in the kit and were used on the drop tanks. The smaller braces were used with bombs, and are missing from the kit. Mine are made from wire, and while not perfect they will look the part over the bombs and drop tanks.
The models were given an acrylic wash using Tamiya German Gray over Testors Glosscote, and sealed with Dullcote. I had issues with the Glosscoat pulling off the paint if I masked over it, the Glosscote didn’t bond well to the Mr. Color paint. I’ll likely shift to a different gloss next build.
The Hayate had an unusual radio antenna arrangement, which I replicated with my standard go to 0.005” Nitenol wire. Resistors are gray paint. Photos show this particular aircraft had lost all the paint off the upper fuselage. Chipping was done by stripping the camo off of an undercoat of Alclad, supplemented with sponge and brush chips.
Here are all six finished models together. IJAAF aircraft are one of my first modeling fixations, so this build had some strong nostalgic elements. If the aftermarket blesses us with some interesting decal sheets I could see myself building more!

SUMMARY

This is another strong release from Arma, coming close on the heels of their P-51B/C Mustangs.  The fit is excellent, and the surface details are finely engraved and look just right.  Many of the parts go together with that satisfying “click” which I just love.  The decals performed flawlessly, and there are enough stencils on each sheet to do two aircraft which supplies spares and insurance against mishaps.  There are six marking options provided, all are attractive aircraft.  The geometric nature of IJAAF unit markings makes masking certain tail markings an option – two of my builds feature painted unit markings.  For those planning to build this kit, here are some construction notes:

  1.  The cockpit tub and engine can be inserted after the fuselage halves are joined.  Doing it this way will allow the fuselage to be glued from the inside and ensure the cockpit is seated properly.
  2. The forward fuselage has two tabs which must be removed for the wings to seat.  Easy to fix, but this is not noted in the instructions.  Also, the PE wiring harness will show its raised detail if it is installed opposite from the way shown.
  3. Missing are the carburetor splitter plate and bomb shackles.  Making these are not difficult but they are unexpected omissions given the level of detail of the kit.
  4. The engine cowling is effectively four panels and a front ring.  These are a little tricky to align so plan on taking your time here.
  5. The rearmost section of the canopy does not fit into the slots in the fuselage.  Carefully cut the tabs off the bottom of the clear piece.
  6. The pilot’s seat needs some help.  I drilled holes in mine which improved the looks substantially but it still has some shape issues.  Eduard has already announced a 3D printed replacement which should be coming along soon.
  7. If I were recommending references my first choice would be Aero Detail 24 with Kagero Monograph 18 following close behind.  There are also a number of Japanese language references which are useful, but you will soon begin seeing the same material again and again.
  8. The Kabuki tape masks worked great, they definitely made construction easier.

Part I of the construction here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=21008&action=edit&calypsoify=1

Arma Hobby Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

Arma Hobby continues to release kits at a quick pace. This is their kit #70051 Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate Expert Set, which has already been followed up with a second boxing. This is another excellent choice of subject from Arma, and was designed with input from noted researcher and modeler Jumpei Temma. Arma has already hinted at additional Japanese subjects for future releases, my money is on the Ki-43!
This is another subject which I’m enthusiastic about. The kit contains six marking options, and there are a few more lingering in the decal stash which I’m also anxious to build. Imperial Japanese Army Air Force tail markings were often stylized geometric representations of the Sentai number, rendered in a different color for each Chutai. Many of these lend themselves to masking, so even more marking options are possible. My problem is always choosing – will six Hayate be enough?
Arma continues to impress with the quality of their molding and engineering. The main components feature a satin finish and finely recessed panel lines. In the upper right-hand corner is something unique in my experience – the cockpit combing piece is optional depending on whether the modeler prefers the canopy to be open or closed.
A smaller secondary sprue contains two of the three options for underwing stores, and also the tailplanes. What makes this boxing the “Expert Set” is the inclusion of a small photoetch fret and a mask set. The mask is made from Kabuki tape this time, not the problematic vinyl like in the Mustang kits.
Arma uses rather large sprue gates, and some of them are located in bad spots. When I built their Mustang kits removing these became a problem as often the plastic deformed and tore as the sprue gates were being cut. Long ago all-around good guy and friend of the blog David Knights recommended “God Hand” sprue cutters to me. These are not cheap, but I figured it was finally time to get a pair and try them out.
The double-row radial engines consist of seven parts including the photo-etch wiring harness. The etch is rendered with relief, the joining bars are raised from the wiring on one side. If you’re building this kit, note that orienting the wiring harness as shown in the instructions will result in the relief detail facing to the rear where it cannot be seen. I flipped mine around so it would be visible. The PE harness is trapped between the gearbox and the first row of cylinders.
The seat is rather simply rendered, I expect the aftermarket will soon provide a replacement. In the meantime, the appearance of the seat can be greatly improved by simply drilling a few holes. The PE fret provides the seatbelts.
Test fitting revealed a minor problem. There are tabs molded into the fuselage sides, seen here directly above the oil cooler. These prevent the wing piece from seating properly, and are not shown on the instructions. Easy enough to snip off, just be aware that they are there.
With the tab snipped, everything fits together with a satisfying click!

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/07/22/arma-hobby-nakajima-ki-84-hayate-frank-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-ii/

IBG Scammell Pioneer Tank Transporter Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

Several parts of the trailer are rendered in photoetch, including the side support frames and mounts for the jack stands. The sprue attachment points are visible on the bottoms of the frames. These look like scars but are actually sanded smooth.
The finished model measures 7.5 inches (19 cm), which is on the smaller side for a tank transporter.
After a coat of Mr. Surfacer 1000 everything got sprayed with Mr. Color 19 and oversprayed with Mr. Color 44 for contrast. The lighter 44 was used to highlight the horizontal surfaces and panel centers to break up the otherwise monochrome finish.
For the cab interior I painted the seats a dark brown and then used Tamiya Brown and Black washes to give it some depth. The tires were brush painted with Mr. Color Tire Black, appropriately enough.
The kit decals performed without problems. I fixed the cab roof panels in place, there is a slight gap which is easily addressed with Perfect Plastic Putty. I haven’t started the washes yet but there is a little “volunteer” shading coming through from washing the interior. The headlamps are fragile and I managed to break mine off during handling, what you see here are replacements made from plunge molding plastic sheet over the back end of a drill bit.
The model was weathered with Black and Brown Tamiya washes. Then Dull Aluminum and a Dark Brown were dabbed on with a bit of sponge, the areas of greatest wear on the trailer receiving the most attention. Finally specific chips were applied with dark brown eyeliner. The last “bustoffables” were put in place – windshield wipers, cables, and canvas shades – then the model got sprayed with Testors Dullcote to finish up.

SUMMARY

I started this kit as a quick project while awaiting a box of modeling goodness from Hannants.  It’s not really a quick build though.  IBG has modeled every component of the Scammell Pioneer without regard as to whether it will be visible on the finished model or not, and many of these components are reproduced using photoetch.  This cuts both ways.  On one hand the model is very detailed, on the other assembly is complex and there is a constant issue with alignment.  My personal preference is for simplifying detail and combining parts to ease assembly, especially if the parts are in a location where the simplification can never be seen.

The instructions have a large number of steps but a relatively small number of parts used in each step.  There is also a finished render in each step to show how everything is supposed to fit together.  Still there are some areas which can be confusing, I think my trailer decking is mounted a bit too high.  There is still a little room for modelers to add to the kit, particularly if you find a bit of scratchbuilding preferable to fiddling with PE.

I found the kit fiddly to build but liked the subject, I have a soft spot for tank transporters.  It is not a “box shaker”, but if you can push through the assembly stage it makes for an eye-catching model.

Completed photographs here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/07/26/ibg-scammell-pioneer-tank-transporter-in-1-72-scale/

IBG Scammell Pioneer Tank Transporter Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

This is the IBG Scammell Pioneer Tank Transporter with TRCU30 Trailer, part of a family of Scammell truck kits released in 2020. I purchased the kit as part of my on-going fascination with tank transporters, this will be the third one I’ve constructed recently. I am hoping to knock this one out fairly quickly while waiting for the big box of Arma Hayates to arrive from Hannants.
Tank transporters build up into large vehicles when finished, and this one will be no exception. There are lots and lots of parts, ten sprues altogether. The box contains two copies of the sprue on the bottom left, four copies of the sprue on bottom right in order to account for the fourteen wheels of the prototype. I found it odd that there are no spares, you’d figure one would be carried. Both the cab and the frame have to be built up from their respective components, no slide molded wizardry here.
The final two sprues. The parts are well molded and sharp, but there is a mold seam on most parts which will need the attentions of an Xacto knife. Mold attachment points are on the thick side but clean up well. On many kits the photoetch fret is used to enhance detail, or provide an alternative to molded pieces. Not here. In this case the PE parts are required to complete the model and many are part of the structure.
This is the cab interior. The seat supports are PE which makes them a bit flimsy. The only way to ever see them would be if the doors were cut out and posed open. The various shift and brake levers were provided as PE parts, I replaced them with 0.015” round stock because it’s easier to work with and the levers weren’t really flat.
This is the state of the construction after Step 20 (of 35). Many of the PE parts are brackets to hold various rollers and pulleys. One set defied my attempts at alignment and was replaced with plastic card. I have left off several pieces of PE from the engine as they will be invisible with the hood panels in place. If you wanted to leave off the side panels and wire the engine it would be impressive, otherwise it is wasted detail.
Here the tractor section is complete except for the roof pieces which I will leave off so I can paint the interior. The white cover behind the cab is provided as PE. That was not going to work for me so I fabricated a replacement from Evergreen sheet. There is a mold seam down the centerline of all the tires but that can be removed with a sanding block.

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/07/01/ibg-scammell-pioneer-tank-transporter-build-in-1-72-scale-part-ii/

Italeri Churchill Mk. III Build in 1/72 Scale

For some reason I thought this was a new tool Churchill kit from Italeri. I’m not sure where I got that impression, this is the old ESCI kit first released in 1988. In fact, even Italeri had issued previous boxings, so my curiosity of what Italeri would do with a new tool armor kit is still unsatisfied.
Two plastic sprues and flexible tracks are in what’s in the box, along with a small decal sheet with four marking options. Scalemates indicates there are new parts here, I’m guessing they would have to be the tracks. The instructions indicate the tracks are designed for CA glue, which does in fact work well. You also get a crew figure, a nice touch.
Each side of the suspension is constructed using only eight parts (including tracks). This is a mercy, as the breakdown of the Churchill suspension could have easily run into 40 – 50 parts, even using continuous band tracks. My personal preference is for buildability over a myriad of detail which cannot be easily seen, and alignment of all these bogeys as individual parts would have been a nightmare. These parts required some cleanup as there were mold seams and a little flash, the old ESCI molds are beginning to show their age.
The tracks reacted well to superglue. This Churchill variant concealed the return run of the tracks under an extensive fender system. The tracks turned out to be slightly long (or I stretched them during installation), but I was able to cut off the excess and hide the ends behind the air intakes. Pioneer tools are molded onto the engine deck, and handles are molded onto the hatches.
There are some seams to address with this kit, on the majority of the armor kits I have constructed this has not been much of an issue. There are also some annoying ejector pin marks in bad locations, visible here on the armor plate in front of the hull machine gunner’s position and in the turret trace over the track fenders. Filling and sanding these would result in lost detail so I filled them with Perfect Plastic Putty, which can be smoothed with a wet Q-Tip.
The camouflage was masked off using poster putty. This is one of the modeling supplies available at the supermarket, and is re-usable. It provides a solid demarcation between colors without as great of risk of paint seeping under as with masking tape.
Here are the colors used. The Sand FS 30475 was done first as layers of Mr. Color 44 and 19 to vary the tone, while the Extra Dark Sea Gray is a mix of 116 RLM 65 Black Gray and 366 Intermediate Sea Blue.
After decals and a second coat of Testors Glosscoat recesses were highlighted with a wash of Tamiya black panel line wash. I then added some chipping with a dark brown make-up applicator. The entire model then received a very thin coat of light tan “dust” to unify the finish, followed by Testors Dullcote. While the molds are beginning to show their age, the kit builds up well with a few enhancements.

Dragon Jagdpanzer IV L/70 Build in 1/72 Scale

Dragon’s kit number 7307 Jagdpanzer IV was originally released in 2005. There have been several re-boxings to account for different versions, and you can even buy assembled and painted models under their Dragon Armor line.
The lower hull is slide molded. The box contains several small sprues, many only containing a few parts. It must be a real trick to ensure all the needed parts make it into the box! Molding is crisp and many of the parts are quite small and delicate, so care must be used to get everything off the sprue without damage.
A big plus for the Dragon kits is their tracks. They react well to standard modeling glues and can be stretched to get the desired length. The kit also included a turned metal gun barrel which is a nice touch. There is also a small PE fret for those who want to mess with it.
Fit of the parts is excellent. The road wheels come with the hubs molded separately for those who would rather paint before assembly to save some delicate painting.
The majority of the tools are molded separately which makes them much easier to paint. Most of these wind up on the engine deck and will be added after the main camo is applied.
Camouflage is Mr. Color Field Green over Dark Yellow.
Here is the finished product. The camo pattern is from Kagero Top Colors 32, Pz.Kpfw. IV family. The book includes Cartograph decals in the three major armor modeling scales, 1/72 and those other two. The radio antenna is Nitenol wire.

More completed photos here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/07/14/dragon-jagdpanzer-iv-l-70-in-1-72-scale/

Revell Sd. Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther Build in 1/72 Scale

Revell’s Jagdpanther kit 03111 was first released in 1997. Not a bad kit for its day, but it has been superseded by more recent releases. It does have a relatively modest parts count compared to the newer kits, so it should go together faster.
Parts layout is typical. The kit is provided with link and length tracks. One nice feature is seen on the sprue in the lower left corner, alternate parts for early and late production variants.
The main suspension assembles quickly, but pay attention to the different road wheel parts, each layer is slightly different. I added BBs again for weight, unnecessary but I like the feel.
The engine deck has open grills which allow you to see into the interior of the model. Having encountered this on previous builds of German armor, I had cast duplicates of the engine details from another kit and used one of these castings on this build.
The kit builds up quickly. I left off the side skirts as photographs of my intended subject show they were often removed.
Paints are Mr. Color 340 Dark Green over 39 Dark Yellow.
The finished model after an application of Tamiya black wash and Testors DullCoat. It’s surprising how big the Jagdpanther is, it will look good in the case with the other German AFVs.

More finished pictures here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/07/12/revell-sd-kfz-173-jagdpanther-of-abteilung-654-in-1-72-scale/