Arma Hobby North American P-51 B/C Mustang Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part IV

Painting has begun! Many of the Mustangs in this batch will be in an overall Natural Metal Finish (NMF) or a variant. This is a misnomer in the case of the Mustang, as the wings were painted in an Aluminum lacquer to help preserve laminar flow over the wings after the panel lines had been puttied. I didn’t fill the panel lines, but the Aluminum lacquer was simulated by adding a bit of Alclad white primer to their aluminum. The fuselage, tail surfaces, ailerons, and flaps were Aluminum. The panels behind the exhausts were sprayed with Stainless Steel, cut with a few drops of Aluminum.
This is why I hate vinyl masks. The vinyl doesn’t like curved surfaces, here they have pulled up allowing the Interior Green paint underneath. Fortunately the kits provide both this type of canopy and the Malcolm hood, so there were spares to replace the worst of these. I used the vinyl masks as templates to lay out masking tape replacements, cleaned up the parts, and tried again. Hopefully Arma replaces these masks with Kabuki tape in future releases.
Loads of masking tape was used on these builds. First the camo, then the stripes, then antiglare panels and/or unit markings. Most of the models wound up getting three applications of tape before all the colors were on.
One aircraft wore a field-applied scheme using RAF Dark Green over Medium Sea Gray. The Dark Green is a mix of Mr. Color 340 Field Green and 123 RLM Dark Green, the Medium Sea Gray is 306. Something a little different from the rest of the herd!
The standard USAAF finish for the first few years of the war was Olive Drab over Neutral Gray. Sounds simple, but Olive Drab faded to a wide range of shades, and didn’t start out as a uniform color anyway. I filled the airbrush cup with mixes as I went down the line. In extreme cases the O.D. could fade to a shade close to the tan I used here but I didn’t go past a 50/50 mix.
Only rarely should something be truly black in scale, most black paint looks better if it’s lightened a little. The black on this model is a mix of Mr. Color Black and Tire Black. The base color here is Alclad Aluminum, with a lightened mix on the wings to simulate the Aluminum Lacquer. Stainless Steel was used for the exhaust panels, and the Bright Silver Candy Base was applied to the leading edges of the flaps.

Part I here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/04/15/arma-hobby-north-american-p-51-b-c-mustang-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-i/

Arma Hobby North American P-51 B/C Mustang Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part III

This is a test fit of the major components with the cockpit assembly in place, no glue used at this stage. Arma did a great job with the engineering. Tolerances are tight but show no need for trimming to get a good fit. The one area where you could get into trouble here is if the cockpit components do not seat properly and spread the fuselage, the wing joints are a tight fit so there is no margin for error.
Everything is glued in place here using MEK from the hardware store. The thin glue works great if the fit is good, and careful alignment of the parts means there will be no wing root seem to fill later.
Arma’s wheel wells extend all the way back to the main spar, just like they’re supposed to. The panel with all the rivets directly aft of the well displays a subtle “oil canning” effect, as do the flaps. I have not seen this attempted before in 1/72 scale, it is difficult to see but a nice touch! I went ahead and mounted the landing gear legs in order to support the model while the paint dries. The legs will need masked and care must be taken in handling to prevent breakage, but I thought the trade-off was worth it.
The flaps and inner wheel well doors on the Mustang were held in place by hydraulic pressure, and drooped down when the engine was not running as the pressure bled off. When parked, the flaps on Mustangs are normally down, Arma has molded them as separate pieces with tabs to show them dropped. If you want to show them raised, just cut off the tabs and they’ll fit just fine. Here I have sprayed the leading edge of the flaps with Alclad Bright Candy Apple Base to represent the polished Aluminum surface and taped them to a card for further painting.
Here the transparencies are in place with the vinyl masks applied. These worked fine on the relatively flat panels, but the compound curves on the top of the windscreens and the landing lights were hopeless so they were replaced with masking tape. The windscreen sits a little proud of the fuselage and sanding the base of the part did not remedy this, so there will be a step to fill and reduce at the forward edge.
A problem with mounting the gear legs early is masking can be difficult to remove without damaging the delicate legs. I have tried to keep the tape loose around the legs while still shielding them from overspray.
A general view of the workbench. All the kits have been given a coat of Mr. Surfacer 1000 to check for flaws. Small parts are taped to cards for painting. The landing gear leg covers showed some sink marks, these were filled, sanded smooth, and re-primed. There is also a small sink on starboard side of the fuselage which needs filled.

Part IV here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/05/13/arma-hobby-north-american-p-51-b-c-mustang-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-iv/

Arma Hobby North American P-51 B/C Mustang Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

The first fourteen steps in the instructions are building the cockpit and other interior features. That’s half the steps! The radiator under the fuselage is well represented, but I seriously doubt the photoetch parts will be visible on the finished model. The bottom part of the assembly (part A30) has two ejection pin towers which almost look like they might belong there, but they must be removed for the part to fit.
The fuselage sides have a lot of detail right out of the box. There are several decals for each side to enhance the look, which is great because the sidewalls are more visible than the instrument panels on most aircraft. Kudos to Arma for including all the placards!
The kit provides a choice of seats, the Schick-Johnson seat is on the left and the Warren McArthur type is on the right. I had to look them up, the Schick-Johnson was introduced first, but either type could be used as they were installed as they arrived at the factories. Some sources indicate they could also be swapped out in the field during maintenance. Honestly, I’ll be guessing in many cases as to which seat will go into which model. Seatbelts are from the kit PE fret, and look the part after paint and a wash.
Arma provides parts to build three different configurations for the equipment behind the seats. According to Detail & Scale Vol. 50, the 85-gallon fuel tank was fitted on the production lines beginning with P-51B-10-NA and P-51C-5-NT but could also be refitted to earlier Mustangs. The tanks adversely affected the aircraft’s center of gravity, and so were only filled to 65 gallons in service. At some point a “+” sign was added near the data block to remind everyone of the fuselage tank, but I couldn’t pin down just when that happened.
All twelve cockpit assemblies together. Whew! One thing to watch out for is the instructions in step 1 show the brace behind the seat to be mounted in the holes seen here in front of the seat. The brace should actually mount to the step in the cockpit floor.
The instrument panel takes four decals and a piece of PE. I left the PE off as it really didn’t add anything other than texture under one of the decals which would be almost impossible to see even if you knew to look for it.
Everything has a groove, slot, and/or pin to fit into and aligns well. Don’t forget the tailwheel! As you can see here, much of the equipment behind the seat will be invisible once the fuselage is closed up. By this point you have to open up the two indicated recesses if you are modeling one of the F-6 photo-reconnaissance aircraft, or the recess for the HF/DF loop if you’re modeling one of the CBI birds. The instructions don’t mention opening the HF/DF loop hole but show the base going into it later so plan ahead if your subject needs the loop!
In step fifteen of the instructions you finally close up the fuselage. Fit is great. I was a little worried about getting all the cockpit assemblies to line up right, pay particular attention that the cockpit floor fits into the slots on both sides and that the instrument panel sits right. Other than that, flexing the fuselage sides a bit while gluing seemed to seat everything correctly.

Part III here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/05/06/arma-hobby-north-american-p-51-b-c-mustang-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-iii/

Arma Hobby North American P-51 B/C Mustang Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

An inexplicable gap in the line-up of 1/72 scale kits was the high-backed Mustang. Sure, there were kits, but all had fatal shape issues of the “once it has been seen, it cannot be unseen” variety which required heroic efforts to correct. Modelers have been bemoaning the lack of an accurate P-51B/C on the forums ever since there have been forums. Arma Hobbies from Poland has finally answered the call. Having agitated for an accurate B/C myself, I ordered enough through the LHS for a long-anticipated batch build.
The main parts are on sprue “B”. The kit is molded in a hard, gray plastic and features finely engraved panel lines and a satin finish. My examples had a little flash around the canopy rails, but otherwise the molding is crisp and clean. Sprue attachment points are heavy on the large parts and require care to separate. The kit offers the choice of tails with or without the fillet, a nice touch.
Sprue “A” has the smaller parts common to most of the Mustang family. Flaps are intended to be assembled in their typical “drooped” position when the aircraft is on the ground, but can be mounted up by cutting off the mounting tabs. Three types of ordinance are included, 250 pound bombs plus 75-gallon metal and 108-gallon paper drop tanks. The modeler has the choice of two types of seats and three radio configurations for the cockpit. For the nose one can choose between three different vent panels and two types of exhausts. With the expert set a small PE fret and vinyl masks are included.
The decal sheet provides markings for seven schemes (Evalina is represented twice, in both US and captured Japanese markings). You are provided enough stencils to build two models. Where Arma has gone the extra mile here is with the cockpit markings, which represent every dial and information placard. Depending on the particular equipment configuration, approximately 30 decals will be needed to dress up the interior. The one criticism I would offer here is the seatbelt decals are printed in yellow, not tan.
Here is a close up showing the finely recessed detail on the upper wing panel. While this is spectacular, it is also incorrect. The Mustang featured laminar-flow wings, to keep the airflow smooth the wing joints were filled with putty and the surfaces were painted with Aluminum dope. The gun and ammo bays should be represented, but almost all the other panel lines should not be seen. This is overlooked by almost every Mustang kit in any scale, but is incorrect. Having said all that, I have decided to leave the wings in my kits as they are rather than bother to fill them.
While the end-opening boxes will be of no help on the workbench, Arma’s sprues have a neat pin-and-socket feature molded in which allows for easy stacking. This helps keep things organized and saves room on the bench.
On a recent Plastic Model Mojo podcast Mike and Dave discussed the virtues of finishing the ordinance at the beginning of a build to avoid burn-out or being distracted by the next shiny new kit. I extended that concept to a variety of smaller assemblies and “bust offables” which normally come after major assembly. This is the general chaos on the bench with many smaller parts cleaned up and taped to cards for painting. Plastic Model Mojo here: https://www.plasticmodelmojo.com/
I thought the kit’s 250-pound bombs looked a little anemic so I replaced them with spare 500-pounders from a Monogram B-29 kit. The standard underwing shackles on the P-51 were rated at 550 pounds, although there are photos of Mustangs carrying 1,000-pounders. The rest of the builds will get drop tanks. The bar stock is inserted into holes drilled at the fuel line positions, the tanks will need to be fitted with the external plumbing when they are mounted.
The mask set provides masks for the main wheels. Reportedly the supply of the expected yellow Kabuki tape was interrupted by Covid supply chain issues, so Arma used the translucent green vinyl masks for their Expert Set. I always have problems with the vinyl masks, some of these wheels will need to be repainted. We’ll see if I can get them to work on the canopies!
Painting propellers is a chore so it was good to knock these out early. Each prop had to have the tips painted and masked and was provided with eight decals. I cheated a little by showing the paint of the backs of the blades worn off which was a common occurrence.

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/04/29/arma-hobby-north-american-p-51-b-c-mustang-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-ii/

North American P-51B Mustang “Ding Hao!” of James H. Howard

James H. Howard was a Naval Aviator, a Flying Tiger, and the only fighter pilot to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in the European Theater of Operations during WWII. His most famous exploit is best described by his Medal of Honor citation below:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Oschersleben, Germany, on 11 January 1944. On that day Col. Howard was the leader of a group of P-51 aircraft providing support for a heavy bomber formation on a long-range mission deep in enemy territory. As Col. Howard’s group met the bombers in the target area the bomber force was attacked by numerous enemy fighters. Col. Howard, with his group, at once engaged the enemy and himself destroyed a German ME. 110. As a result of this attack Col. Howard lost contact with his group, and at once returned to the level of the bomber formation. He then saw that the bombers were being heavily attacked by enemy airplanes and that no other friendly fighters were at hand. While Col. Howard could have waited to attempt to assemble his group before engaging the enemy, he chose instead to attack single-handed a formation of more than 30 German airplanes. With utter disregard for his own safety he immediately pressed home determined attacks for some 30 minutes, during which time he destroyed 3 enemy airplanes and probably destroyed and damaged others. Toward the end of this engagement 3 of his guns went out of action and his fuel supply was becoming dangerously low. Despite these handicaps and the almost insuperable odds against him, Col. Howard continued his aggressive action in an attempt to protect the bombers from the numerous fighters. His skill, courage, and intrepidity on this occasion set an example of heroism which will be an inspiration to the U.S. Armed Forces.

As a U.S. Navy Ensign Howard flew the Grumman F3F-2 with VF-6, operating from the USS Enterprise (CV-6). Howard flew the third aircraft in the fourth section, coded 6-F-12. The aircraft was painted in the standard overall Aluminum dope with yellow upper wing surfaces. Enterprise aircraft carried blue tails. Fourth section carried black stripes on the upper wing, and as the sections’ third aircraft the lower half of the cowl would also be black.
Howard was recruited from VF-6 to go to China and became the Assistant Squadron Leader of the Second Pursuit Squadron “Hell’s Angels” with the American Volunteer Group, the Flying Tigers. He was credited with six victories with the AVG. His Curtiss Hawk 81 carried the number 57 on the aft fuselage. Howard is on the right in this photograph. He was one of two Flying Tigers who would go on to earn the Medal of Honor, the other being USMC Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington.
While the deployment of the P-51B was intended to be kept secret at the time, the USAAF was eager to capitalize on the propaganda value of Howard’s January 11th exploits. Here is a posed color photo which reveals several interesting details of the markings of 43-6315. Note the repainted area under the “Ding Hao!” lettering, the white tail stripe, as well as the color of the main spar visible in the wheel bay.
Another press photo shows Howard and Staff Sergeant Marcus Hanson examining the kill markings. Ding Hao is a Chinese phrase for “very best”. Howard was the commander of the 356th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group. When asked why he single-handedly defended the B-17s against 30 German fighters, he said, “I seen my duty and I done it!”
An interesting photograph in many respects. On the 11JAN44 mission 43-6315 was fitted with the early framed canopy, this picture shows the details well. Fuselage stenciling is clearly seen, as are the details of the victory markings.
His is a later photo of Howard in the cockpit of 43-6315 to compare with the previous picture. The framed canopy has been replaced with the bulged Malcom Hood. The victory markings have been re-painted, this is most easily seen by comparing the fourth Japanese flag in each picture. There is also chipping seen on the first flags in each row. Howard’s name and that of the crew chief, S/SGT Trice have been added ahead of the windscreen. The censor has removed the aircraft type details from the data block.
An overall view of Ding Hao! With the Malcolm Hood. Already a popular modeling subject, Howard’s P-51B is featured on the box art for the new Arma Hobby P-51B kit and is one of six aircraft included on the decal sheet. Parts are provided to model the aircraft fitted with either canopy option.
Another color photo which shows the Malcolm Hood to advantage, the improvements to head room and visibility are apparent. There is chipping to the Ding Hao! Lettering, and broom symbols representing five fighter sweeps have been added above the exhausts.

2021 Year in Review

2021 saw a return to some degree of normalcy, but as with any great disruption there have been some re-definitions of just what that means.  There was a return to live in-person shows which was sorely missed.  What has changed with the shows is now they are bigger and better attended, with more vendors, more model entries, and an overall increase in quality of the builds.  Fewer group activities have translated into additional modeling time for many people, and for socially introverted types this appears to have been a good thing.  It has certainly resulted in more and better models on display at the shows!

The display area of the 2021 Military Modeler’s Club of Louisville IPMS show.

I was able to go to three shows this year, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Cincinnati.  All three were held in new venues, and all three were very successful and saw half again as many entries above what was normal for the club, if not more.  Many inspiring and innovative builds, and fellow modelers are always happy to share new techniques and tips to try out.  The guys at Plastic Model Mojo have taken their show on the road, and I was able to sit down with them and catch up in person, in addition to listening to their podcasts while I model.   Plastic Model Mojo here:  https://www.plasticmodelmojo.com/

Mojovians Dave and Mike in front of an Fw 190 replica at the Cincinnati IPMS show at the Tri-State Warbird Museum.

For bibliophiles the news is still not good.  Publication dates on many new books have slipped.  The secondary and overstock markets have fared little better, with fewer selections and higher prices all around.  After two years the Half Price Books traveling blow-out sale is still nowhere on the horizon, and I’m starting to wonder if it will ever return.  Hopefully soon!

Blog Statistics and News

The Inch High Guy blog has completed year three!  A big thanks to all who visit on a regular basis, whether new or old.  I am happy to report that I again managed to make a post each day, although there were a couple of near misses.  The blog received 139,675 views and 55,483 visitors, up from 73,992 views and 26,731 visitors last year.  The most popular post again this year was “Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Interior Colors Part I” with 3,267 views: 

https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2019/09/11/b-17-flying-fortress-interior-colors-part-i/

Guess what? If you can see the ribbing on interior of a Fortress it should be Natural Aluminum, with only rare exceptions. Interior Green is for Warbirds!

Models Built in 2021

34 completions, 24 aircraft and 10 vehicles.  In addition I painted 42 figures, 14 horses, and constructed 8 diorama / vignette bases. Everything was built to 1/72 scale as is my preference.  The mosaic has a picture of each build, construction posts and additional finished pictures can be found by searching the blog.

Arma Hobby FM-2 Wildcat x 3

Azur Martin B-10

Trumpeter T-55

Takom MAZ-537 Tank Transporter

Airfix Spitfire Vc x 4

Vickers Mk. VI light tank resin print

Cunningham T1 light tank resin print x 2

Brengun Yak-1

Arma Hobby Yak-1b x 3

Hasegawa Yak-3

Dakoplast Yak-7 x 2

Valom Yak-7

Emher Yak-9

Hasegawa Fw 190D (old tool)

Hasegawa Fw 190D

Tamiya Fw 190D

Dragon Messerschmitt P.1011 x2

Dragon Julia

Revell Fw Fitzer

Revell Ho 229 (repaint)

First to Fight Polish TKS Tankette

ICM Sd.Kfz. 222

First to Fight Sd.Kfz. 247

Dragon Krupp Protze Kfz. 70

Italeri sK 18 10.5 cm Field Gun

What’s Ahead in 2022

This has been a year of exciting announcements for 1/72 scale modelers.  The new Focke Wulf Fw 190D series from ICB looks spectacular, and it even includes an accurate wheelwell for the first time in the scale.  The family will cover all the Dora subtypes.  Flyhawk released a new tool SBD Dauntless which will fix the dive brake issues with Hasegawa’s kit, and will hopefully continue to be available – something which can’t be said for several Hasegawa kits.  To top it off ICM and Special Hobby have both just announced a new-tool Ki-21 “Sally” for late 2022, a subject which has long been on the list of several modelers. The Sally was strangely missing from Hasegawa’s new-ish series of Japanese twins, modelers who had to have one searched for the MPM or 1976 Revell kits.

The big news for many modelers is that Arma is now shipping their P-51B/C kits.  The previous attempts from Academy and Hasegawa both suffered from fatal, difficult to correct shape issues.  Finally, for the first time, an accurate P-51B/C is on the way!  This kit should prove to be a license to print money for Arma, here’s hoping it is a windfall for them!  I have long agitated for this subject, so to put my money where my mouth is I have placed an order through my Local Hobby Store (support your LCS!) for one.  Case.  For starters.

Now Arma, if you’re listening, we could sure use an accurate Ki-43-II Hayabusa “Oscar” in 1/72 scale.

Arma’s P-51B/C

The second big release (for me) has a much more personal connection.  Takom has announced a U.S. Navy 16”/50 caliber triple turret in 1/72 scale, packaged as Turret One from USS Missouri (BB 63).  This kit has parts for the rangefinder which was later removed from the first turrets, but with a few modifications could represent any of the main battery turrets on the Iowa class battleships.  Now for the connection part – I served in the Navy, Missouri was my ship, Turret One was my turret.  1/72 scale Missouri’s in both the WWII and 1980’s configurations are on my bucket list, and this kit makes that project one step closer.  If the appropriate 5”/38 Mark 28 mount is ever kitted that would cinch the deal (the 1/72 scale 5”/38 Mark 38 mount included in Takom’s 1/700 Gearing class kit has an unarmored gun house, appropriate for destroyers but not battleships).

Takom’s 16″/50 turret

Lastly, we have purchased a wooded plot of land along the scenic White River, where we intend to build an energy efficient (net zero) home.  This is obviously a time-consuming project, and will inevitably impact time available for modeling and blogging.  In fact, the effects have already begun to be felt as I have been busy on the property cutting down the invasive Asian Bush Honeysuckle which is crowding out the native trees.  Hopefully there will still be opportunities for modeling, but the pace may slow a bit.  If I miss the daily posting on the blog in the coming months this will likely be the reason.

The mighty White River

May you each live long enough to build every model in your stash!

Arma Yakovlev Yak-1b of Senior Lieutenant Garri Merkviladza in 1/72 Scale

Garri Merkviladza was credited with 13 personal and 2 shared victories, for which he was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union.  The model represents his aircraft while flying with the 152 GIAP, 1st Ukrainian Front in the spring of 1945.  The inscription reads “I take revenge for Vanya Korniyenko”.

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Construction posts here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/06/18/arma-yakovlev-yak-1b-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-i/

Arma Yakovlev Yak-1b of Senior Lieutenant Fotiy Morozov in 1/72 Scale

Fotiy Morozov was credited with 16 personal and 5 shared victories, for which he was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union.  The model represents his aircraft while flying with the 31 GIAP, 4th Ukrainian Front in early 1944.

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More completed Yak-1B pictures here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/07/20/arma-yakovlev-yak-1b-of-senior-lieutenant-garri-merkviladza-in-1-72-scale/

Arma Yakovlev Yak-1b of Captain Vladimir Pokrovskiy in 1/72 Scale

Vladimir Pokrovskiy was credited with 12 personal and 6 shared victories, for which he was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union.  He flew this unusually-camouflaged Yak-1b with the 2 GIAP / 6 IAD of the Northern Fleet.

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More completed Yak-1b pictures here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/07/15/arma-yakovlev-yak-1b-of-senior-lieutenant-fotiy-morozov-in-1-72-scale/

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

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The only thing that I’d have liked to have seen added to the Arma kit is the option to pose the canopy open. It’s a shame to enclose all that cockpit detail, but the single-piece canopy is transparent enough to still allow much of the interior to be seen. The kabuki tape masks are a plus, and an inexpensive way for a manufacturer to add value to a kit.
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Everything fits like a glove. The only filler needed was a swipe of Perfect Plastic Putty around the canopy seam.
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One of the marking options on the Exito decal sheet is for an overall light blue Yak with a dark gray tail. Exito provides a decal for the white cheat line which separates the colors but I didn’t trust myself to hit the color separation exactly so I masked off the cheat line.
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All three Yaks were painted in the “gray” scheme of AMT 12 / 11 / 7. The Dark Gray AMT 11 faded quickly so you could mix it lighter than I’ve chosen here if you prefer.
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The Exito decals performed flawlessly with Micro Set & Sol. There are decals to replicate the artwork on both sides of the aircraft if you desire, but I suspect it was only carried on one side so the other sides are more standard. There is some carrier film at the serpent’s mouth which must be removed for the decal to fit around the horizontal stabilizer, so be forewarned if you like these markings.
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Here is a view of the underside of the finished model. Fit is excellent and the delicate surface detail is visible under an acrylic wash. I really like the depth and detail of the wheelwells.
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All three finished models posed together for a group shot.  I have been quite pleased with everything I’ve seen from Arma and their Yaks are no exception.  They are excellent kits, well detailed and engineered.  If you need a “box shaker” to restore your modeling mojo this would make a great choice.

More completed Yak-1b pictures here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/07/13/arma-yakovlev-yak-1b-of-captain-vladimir-pokrovskiy-in-1-72-scale/