Thursday, 3 May 2018

Battle Axe 1/48 Bloch MB.174 A3

I must confess that this kit manufacturer had escaped my notice before I was presented with this project. However I soon discovered that my life was not missing much. Truly one of the worst kits I have ever had the pleasure or doing battle with.

Whilst the basic aircraft exterior is reasonably well represented, all of the smaller parts look like they've come out of a cheap Christmas cracker. Additionally, my customer was after a 175T - the naval version that was used for maritime operations. Fortunately, the particular aircraft required was an early "T" and as such the only significant difference from the 174 is the shape of the stabilisers. These I ended up building from scratch using plastic card and much sanding.

I didn't put a huge amount of effort into enhancing the internals as they are not that visible, restricting myself to filling ejector pin holes and adding a few control levers. Otherwise the kit was built pretty much out of the, er, "bag".

Suffice to say that much filling, sanding, shaping and cursing was involved in putting this together and the end result was never going to be quite up to modern standards but I hope you will agree that the end result at least "looks" like it's intended subject.

Progress photos can be found here.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Trumpeter 1/350 HMS Repulse

Well my foray into the world of warship modelling is reaching rather grander heights with this beast. HMS Repulse, built in 1916 and finally sunk by the Japanese in 1941, to be built in her final configuration and paint scheme.

The kit, as with all Trumpeter naval kits, is an impressive piece of engineering in itself and goes together beautifully, although as ever with this particular manufacturer you need to watch out for accuracy problems, and there are a few. These are covered well elsewhere online and I won't repeat them here as this is primarily about showing you the finished article.

Of course no self-respecting naval modeller would dream of building anything like this without a little enhancement, so here is a list of the extra goodies brought into play in this build.

  • The very comprehensive and well engineered FlyHawk models photo etch set
  • The Admiralty Modelworks update set that corrects the aft superstructure and also happens to provide some nice resin replacement boats
  • Corrected main turrets from Shapeways
  • Master main gun barrels
  • Infini 20mm Oerlikons
  • Tetra 0.5 Quad guns
  • BigBlueBoy 2pdr pom poms
  • Alliance Modelworks deck vents
  • Artwox wooden decking and anchor chains
  • and various bits and pieces from my spares drawer....

It's been quite a journey but I am thoroughly pleased with the result, so without further ado please enjoy the photos below. You can find build progress photos on FaceBook here.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Valom 1/72 North American RB-45C "Tornado"

Valom can be relied upon to produce decent kits of some of the more obscure aircraft in history, and this is no exception. One of the very first jet powered bombers it is an important aircraft in its own right. But in this incarnation it was converted to reconnaissance duties. This particular kit covers a couple of aircraft used in the Korean war and the one I have built was painted black for night duties.

The kit is classic Valom. Good surface details and essentially accurate in profile however it has a strong smell of a "limited run" kit, and as such the engineering is primitive, without locating pins or particularly clear positioning. A bit of common sense and trial and error is required to get this right. A fair bit of parts clean up is also required, less because of flash but more because of ill thought out sprue links. But some decent photo etch is also included and also the engine in and out ports are provided in nicely moulded resin.

One notable omission from the kit, given that it is marketed as a reconnaissance machine, are camera ports. These I had to cut out and scratch build myself. Reference material for the RB-45C is very thin on the ground, and even less so any information on the camera ports themselves. But I followed the efforts of previous modellers and the sparse information out there and I challenge anyone to prove I have got it wrong!

Otherwise, the kit was built straight from the box. The main challenges were getting the fuselage halves lined up, fitting the internals correctly and fixing the undercarriage. The latter is very tricky, there is a lack of positive fixing points and it is hard to get the strength required to support the model. Also, the horizontal stabilisers have no fixings at all and I had to drill some rod holes to give them strength.

Decaling for this aircraft was very simple, there are no insignia or stencilling, just the tail end markings. However, weathering and all black aircraft and making it look "real" is always a challenge. I relied on various shades of black and a lot of pastels to give the whole thing some authenticity.

Despite all the build headaches, this turned into a fine model of this relatively unusual modelling subject, and I hope you enjoy the photos.