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.

More completed pictures here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/09/16/dragon-messerschmitt-p-1101-whiffer-in-1-72-scale/

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.

Part II here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/09/10/dragon-messerschmitt-p-1101-build-part-ii/

Dragon Mistel 6 Composite in 1/72 Scale

Most aviation buffs are familiar with the Mistel composite aircraft used by Germany at the end of WWII.  These consisted of Bf 109s or Fw 190s mounted above unmanned Ju 88s, to which a large warhead was fitted.  The pilot in the fighter aimed the Ju 88, then detached while the bomber flew on autopilot to (hopefully) impact the target.

The Mistel composites’ low speed made them vulnerable to interception, so German designers proposed three variants based upon jet aircraft.  Mistel 4 utilized Me 262s for both the upper and lower components.  The Mistel 5 design used the He 162 as the piloted aircraft, with an Arado E 377 purpose-built payload which was also jet propelled using two BMW 003 engines.  The Mistel 6 was to utilize an Ar 234 C/E upper component, and an unpowered E 377 lower.

Dragon kits the Mistel 5, which contains an He 162, a powered E 377, and a take-off trolley.  They also make several versions of the Ar 234, which include the Ar 234 C/E with four jets.  Modeling a Mistel 6 is possible by combining the two kits.

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Dragon Northrop YF-23 Black Widow in 1/72 Scale

The YF-23 Black Widow was Northrop’s entry into the USAF Advanced Tactical Fighter competition, which was eventually won by the F-22 Raptor.  Dragon kitted the YF-23, the blended wing and fuselage configuration makes for a very simple model as everything is molded together as a large single top and large single bottom piece with very few other parts to add – mainly the landing gear and cockpit.  I decided to build mine as if it were from an operational unit.  Two Bobs excellent F-22 sheet provided replacement markings plus two to spare if I ever build a Raptor.  Markings are of the 325th TFW at Tyndall AFB in Florida, a possible appearance if the YF-23 had entered production instead of (or in addition to) the F-22. One of the two YF-23s completed is currently at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton.

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1/72 Dragon T-34/76 Mod 1943 Soviet Tank

There are several variations of the T-34/76 design which reveal the year and location of the plant which produced an individual example.  There are also hybrids which combine these features, likely as a result of field expedient rebuilding to return damaged tanks to service.  Dragon’s kit represents one of the later T-34/76 tanks, and it is a nice kit.  Detail is sharp, and the modeler is given the option of replacing some of the plastic parts with photoetch details.  I used the PE on the engine grill on my build and was impressed with the detail and depth which it added.  The kit also features Dragon’s DS tracks which react well to most common modeling adhesives.  Overall a winner and a fun build!

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Russian Tank Batch Build in 1/72 Scale

I often build models in groups, especially if they share the same construction or color pallet.  Over the last year I have been slowly accumulating Russian armor builds.  These I would assemble and set aside, usually to keep working while allowing for drying time on another project.  I eventually got to the point where several models were built up and it was time to finish them off.

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This is the Trumpeter KV-1 heavy tank.  It features one-piece vinyl tracks and goes together well.  The braces for the mudguards are molded as solid pieces so I cut them off and replaced them with Evergreen strip.  Mr. Surfacer “casting texture” was applied to the turret.

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Trumpeter’s KV-2 is a beast.  It shares the lower hull and running gear with their KV-1 with a separate sprue for the upper hull and turret.  I replaced the mudguard bracing here as well, and made new grab handles from wire.

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I really like the looks of the T-34/85, and Trumpeter’s offering captures the look well.  There was a little bit of filler needed at the upper and lower hull joints, but otherwise there were no issues.

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This is Dragon’s T-34/76 Mod. 1943.  This one gives you the option of using P.E. for the engine grille, which really looks great when installed.  The DS tracks work with regular modeling glue and are easy to install.  I added lots of grab handles to this one.  I vacillated on the commander’s hatch, eventually I switched back to the one in the kit for the finished model.

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UM models are not as well known in the West as other brands.  They are generally not bad kits, featuring some fine detail but requiring a little more from the modeler to achieve a good result.  This is one of a series of Soviet armored cars, the BA-9.  A second turret of a different design is included in the kit so other versions are possible.  The kit was provided with vinyl tires.  These do have certain advantages but all in all I would prefer molded plastic as I find them easier to work with.

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Another UM kit, this is the SU-100 assault gun.  This kit has vinyl for the road wheels and link and length track.  I was worried about getting a solid join with this combination but it held together well with superglue.  The engine grill is provided on a small fret of P.E.

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This is another UM kit, the T-34/76 “screened” tank, in this case the “screen” refers to additional appliqué armor panels for the glacis and turret.  The engine grill is provided on a small P.E. fret.  I thought I had lost this fret, so I cut out the grill panel and used the spare plastic piece from Dragons T-34/76.  After I had made the change I found the P.E. fret in the small bag with the decals, but the deed was done.

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Here is the whole batch painted with Mr. Color 4BO and sealed.

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Another group shot after weathering.  I tried out various weathering combinations using oils, washes, and pigments.  This was a good chance to experiment, no two are done the same way.

 

 

Dragon Kfz.18 Einheits Horch 4×4 Type 1a in 1/72 Scale

Dragon calls this one a “Heavy Uniform Personnel Vehicle Type 40”.  The Germans tried to standardize their automotive transport during WWII, this was a Schwerer Einheits PKW (heavy standard passenger car) produced by Horch, the Kfz. 18.  There were many specialized variations of this vehicle and I am no expert, but I have no idea why Dragon doesn’t just call it a Horch personnel car.  Maybe a copyright issue of some kind.

All the confusing designations aside, this is a nice kit and a fun build.  The main body is a single piece wonder of slide mold technology and the smaller parts are added to this to build up the model.  These were packaged two to a box and were frequently discounted, so I’ve built a few.  I find these types of vehicles are useful to pose along with aircraft to give a sense of scale or to use in dioramas with other vehicles so they are handy to have around.

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Dragon Sd. Kfz, 186 Jagdtiger in 1/72 Scale

Germany had a policy of also designing a tank destroyer version of their new tank projects.  These vehicles lacked a rotating turret, but generally featured improved armor and a heavier gun while also being less expensive to produce.  Even the mighty King Tiger design was adapted as the Jagdtiger, featuring a 128 mm main gun and frontal armor 250 mm (10 inches) thick.

Dragon’s Jagdtiger kit is easy to assemble and features their famous DS track, which reacts well to standard model glues and paints.  The complex interleaved suspension is fully duplicated, and much of the construction time is spent building this up.  The Jagdtiger was a huge vehicle, and this is one big model.

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Dragon Sturmtiger in 1/72 Scale

Dragon’s Sturmtiger, another early release with a metal hull.  While these are a little more difficult in some ways, I have to admit I find the extra weight pleasing.  This one included brass covers for the exhausts.  The hooks on the upper hull were much too thick and were replaced with brass bar stock.  My second attempt at Zimmerit, a little finer this time.  One advantage with using Mr. Surfacer for this is that any unsatisfactory areas can be erased with lacquer thinner and re-textured.

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Dragon King Tiger (Porsche Turret) in 1/72 Scale

Another Dragon King Tiger, this one with the Porsche turret.  This is an early boxing, the hull pieces are metal.  These fit together fine but required superglue to attach the other pieces and increased the challenges with drilling and filing.  Only fifty Porsche turret King Tigers were produced and all of them carried Zimmerit.  This was my first attempt at reproducing the Zimmerit finish, I used Mr. Surfacer and a #11 Exacto knife blade with the tip clipped off.  I left off the mud skirts and finished it to match a Claes Sundin profile.  Another nice kit with no surprises.

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