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.

Revell Horton Ho 229 Re-build

This is an older build of Revell’s Horten Ho 229 flying wing. The model has not aged well, suffering the collapse of the landing gear which was the straw which broke the camel’s back. I also grew dissatisfied with the paint scheme, I had tried to duplicate “scale effect” by diluting the topside paint with white, but had gone too far and washed out the colors. I also applied too much chipping for a largely wooden airframe.
The underside shows the wing cross decals have yellowed badly. The upper wing decals had yellowed as well but were harder to see. I see this occasionally on a few of my older builds, but I’m not certain what causes it on some decals and not others.
I started by sanding off the bad decals and generally cleaning up the finish. I didn’t feel the need to strip the paint as it was generally adhering well and was laying smooth.
After consulting some photographs of the real thing I was able to figure out where all those landing gear pieces were supposed to go. However, I discovered that one of the nose wheel doors was missing and had to build a new one from sheet styrene. The Horten had always appeared to sit nose-high so I took the opportunity to shorten the nose wheel strut about 4 mm.
The Horten got a fresh coat of Mr. Color RLM 76 / 82 / 83, which looks much better than my previous attempt. I copied the splinter pattern on the wings from a Messerschmitt Me 262 but improvised a little on the center section.
Here is the underside with the new decals. The Mr. Color RLM 76 was a close enough match to the old Model Master paint I likely used so I was able to blend the outer wing panel in and leave the center area as is, which saved a lot of masking.
The new upper surface scheme is much better to my eye. One problem with this unusual configuration is where to locate the aircraft numbers and other markings. On this model there are no fuselage sides, so I put the aircraft numbers near the tail on the upper surface, and on the landing gear doors underneath. This would allow ground crew to see the numbers while on the airfield and the numbers would be visible on the underside with the gear retracted.

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 II

Here the Flitzer has been primed with Mr. Surfacer 1000, checked for flaws, and re-scribed as needed. With the extended wings the general configuration even more closely resembles the DeHaviland Vampire.
I painted the Flitzer in the late-war scheme of 76 / 81 / 82 with the light green fuselage color mixed from 81 and white. The Reich’s Defense bands are the blue / white / blue of JG 300.
Decals are from the spares box, but follow late-war standard Luftwaffe marking paradigms.
I cut out the flaps and replaced them with plastic card so I could show them dropped. The Ruhrstahl X-4 air-to-air missiles are spares from the Revell P.1101 kits. I had intended to add drop tanks as well but the Fitzer was looking a little busy under the wings so I decided to leave them off.

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 II

Here the major components are in place and seams checked with Mr. Surfacer 1000 primer. No matter how carefully I think I have prepped the parts and filled the seams, the primer inevitably reveals an area or several which needs more work. I have applied a coat of Alclad and stippled liquid mask to the wingroots for chipping.
I am building one of the kits as a nightfighter in a scheme commonly worn in the Luftwaffe, overall RLM 76 with 75 Gray Violet mottles. I think one of the things which helps “sell” a whiffer build is to use realistic camouflage and markings as much as possible. The viewer is already being asked to take one leap of the imagination in believing the design could have entered service, adding fictitious paint schemes only complicates the matter.
The P.1101 day fighter received a hybrid mix of schemes which reflect the chaotic state of German aircraft production during the last months of the war. Production was de-centralized, with components being produced in smaller plants and shipped to a common location for final assembly. Each production facility camouflaged their components with what paints they had available. Several Fw 190D fighters were produced in these mixed schemes, with some even having additional field-applied colors oversprayed by the units once they entered service.
This is the underside of the day fighter. The kit provides four of the Ruhrstahl X-4 air-to-air missiles, which I painted like the example on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton. Given the fuel consumption of the early jets, I thought it more likely that drop tanks would be more desirable than a full missile loadout.
The nightfighter will need radar, so I ordered this beautiful FuG 218 Neptun set from Hannants. These are wonders of precision machine work from Master, and are quite fragile. They would appear impossible to machine effectively, yet here they are.
Both finished models together. This was a fun project and they went together pretty well for Dragon kits. They are something unusual for the display case, and there will be a few more “whiffers” on the way soon.

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 III

This is the Hasegawa Dora with the Ta 152 tail assembled and primed with Mr. Surfacer 1000. This kit assembles nicely and has no surprises. I have given it a squirt of Alclad along the wingroots and stippled this with liquid mask to replicate the chipping usually seen there.
The underside of the Dora with the Ta 152 tail was highly unusual, reflecting the chaos of disbursed production and assembly at the end of the war. This is seen in a plethora of masking types on my model. Foam protects the wheelwell, with a liberal sprinkling of masking tape all around. The inverted “U” shape is made from poster putty, used here to mask off the area around the gun panel while ensuring a soft edge.
Here is the Tamiya kit with the camo in place and markings from EagleCals. The basic RLM 82 Light Green / 82 Dark Green pattern is one of the more attractive Luftwaffe schemes in my opinion, and the yellow tail sets it off nicely. I have pulled off the paint along the wingroot to reveal the aluminum below, the first step in the chipping.
The Hasegawa kit with the Ta 152 tail. I have half a dozen books with color profiles of this scheme and no two agree on the colors used. The model is finished in a scheme is which closest to what is illustrated in the JaPo books. The fuselage color is a light green matched to the chip in the Monogram Guide by mixing white with a touch of RLM 82 Light Green.
The older Hasegawa kit is finished in another RLM 82 Light Green / 82 Dark Green camo, but this time with RLM 75 Gray Violet areas and natural metal panels on the undersides as shown in the JaPo books. The fuselage sides were oversprayed with a thin coat of RLM 02.
Late in the build I realized that the spinner for the old Hasegawa Dora was the smaller type seen on the radial engined Fw 190’s. The spares box was no help this time so I cast up a replacement spinner and baseplate.
Here is the underside of the Tamiya Dora showing the re-worked wheelwells and weathering. Wing cannon are made from Albion Alloy tubing, as is the pitot tube.
This is the wing root chipping, with added chips and grime stippled on with a sponge. The red wheel lock indicators on the wings were made from 0.01” wire.
All three together. The Tamiya kit with EagleCals markings is on the left, the 1992 Hasegawa kit with the AML tail is center, and the re-worked Hasegawa 1976 issue kit with Aeromaster decals is on the right. The Dora is one of my favorite subjects, and this was a fun build!

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

All three kits received Tamiya cockpit tubs from the spares box, fitted with Eduard photoetch seatbelts. The RLM 66 interior color makes the details hard to see in the photograph, but the Tamiya cockpits are definitely an improvement.
For the older Hasegawa kit, I moved the opening 3-4 mm froward, cut off the sliding canopy section, and rebuilt everything with sheet styrene. The nose section is also bulkier than the other kits, but I didn’t see a good way to correct that so I left it alone.
All three fuselages together. I had intended to fit the AML Ta 152 tail to the Tamiya kit, but after cutting off the Tamiya kit’s tail I discovered the AML tail piece was thinner than the Tamiya fuselage. It fit much better with the Hasegawa kit so that’s where it wound up. You can also see the old Hasegawa kit has had its molded-in exhausts cut out and replaced with spares from a Tamiya kit, a big improvement.
Earlier I mentioned that the rear of the engine and the accessories were visible in the wheelwell of the Dora, so I had to cast some parts for what can be seen there. The mold is made up from Lego blocks with masking tape to seal the bottom and hold the parts in place.
Here are the major components ready for plumbing. The ammo boxes on the left are roughed out of plastic sheet, the engine components are castings.
Here are the pieces in place. This is a tight fit both on the real aircraft and in the model, but it is the only way to get this detail right. It is one of the signature characteristics of the Dora but hard to see for casual viewing.
Here is the old Hasegawa kit with some enhancements to the surface details. A simple trick to make panel hinges is to take a piece of round stock and squeeze it with pliers. The serrations of the pliers will imprint the hinge pattern on the stock and you’re done!
The newer Hasegawa kit also received the hinge trick. Fit is excellent on this kit, it still makes for a convincing model and is easy to build. The PE decking piece aft of the cockpit is from an old Eduard set, number 72052. This set also provided panels for the wheelwell interior and oleo scissors for the gear legs.
Here is the underside of the Tamiya kit, showing the improvements to the wheelwells. The molded-in wheelwell “roof” was cut out with a Dremel tool and the sides boxed in with sheet stock. I found a number of PE flap sets in the stash, not entirely certain how I came to have so many but I decided it was time to start using them up.