There has always been something magnetic about this US amphibious vehicle. When the kit was recently presented to me I decided it deserves some attention, as it’s a whole bunch of firsts in a single package. Let’s see…
Spue A has the cupola (actually two – one of each pre- and post modernization), armament and smoke grenade launchers, the front fenders, and the old suspension. Two options are presented for the in-the-water propulsion system – propeller boxes can be shown opened or closed with two pairs of separate details. You can make up the relative sizes of the parts – the grid on the cutting mat is 1 cm square.
Another “quick build” – OOB, with only the most needed corrections made to the kit, no preview and WIP images, and no work on other models “in between”.
I only replaced the styrene pitot tube with a home-fabricated detail, made from a 0,6mm syringe needle and 0,4 copper wire inserted into it.
The model is not bad per se, it’s just engineered in a way that makes it preferrable to build it “all opened up”. Wing should be in takeoff/landing position – otherwise gaps ensue, and the bump in front of the wing is smaller than it should be, and I found mine to be asymmetrical as well. Airbrake is intended to be posed open – you will need to remove some material from its edges to display it closed. Same applies to the canopy, which is wider the cockpit opening. I am also not a big fan of the way Academy suggests that you glue the Sidewinders to their rails, same applies to the wing pylons. There’s probably more.
I’ve used the Italeri 1/72 Ju-87D-5/7 kit (1070) to build a Bulgarian Stuka from the WW2 period. The Bulgarian Air Force had 12 Ju-87 R-2s (delivered 1942) and 40 D-5s (1944). Doras actively participated in the war against Germany, attacking the retreating Army Group E forces. Stuka’s surgical strike capability helped encircled Bulgarian forces escape the German “pockets”. After the war ended the Ju-87 were still in use for some time, later being replaced by Il-2 M-3s and Il-10s.
Nearly as old as the Hellcat below this little fella has suffered less. My experiments were limited to scratch-built cannon barrels (needle + thin copper wire, using the kit fairings), radiator back and flap.
Just like the Bad Kitty the kit was a victim of my metalizing experiments and suffered several stripping procedures (one of which was the reason for the complete discoloration of the cockpit). Due to overspray (I used the UHU Tack “sausages” too sparingly) camo was removed and painted again using straight Revell 83 and 16.
Well, some painted M1114s mod.2003 finally make it to The Web. Paints are mixes “by eye”. The green color is intended to simulate the green found on US military hardware, of whose official name I am totally clueless. I wanted to imitate replacement parts – such “patchy” machines can be seen on images across the web.
Here’s the hellcat with most details glued on, painted, decalled and partially weathered. “Chipping” is attained via removing paint layers – I am using a Q-tip, moistened in 90% spirit. Panel lines highlighted with diluted brown paint. Exhaust streaks are airbrushed. I mixed matt lacquer (Revell 02) with dark grey (Revell 78) for the first layer and earth/rust (Revell 37 + 83).
Fuselage stars’n’bars are obviously oversized. Decals in general weren’t really cooperative, so I used Agama’s Hypersol decal solution to affix them. Related to this – one more mistake is evident on the last pic – I masked the exhaust streaks using blue tack, which pulled one of the decals. Now a nice angular patch of “clean airframe” interrupts the streak…
Masking the bottom. Revell Basic Paint used as a filler/primer in order to make the wing-fuselage joint flush (it has a noticeable step if left by itself). Work also done on the cowling as my riveting attempts left it damaged…
Also, notice my first attempt at filling the giant step left behind by Revell in the gear wells in pic 2. The “spur” on the right wing is already missing – three attempts to restore it would follow.
Image 3 shows the kitty hidden from the Revell spray, which was used to cover the puttied-up self-made casing chutes – they were too uneven and not really aligned.
This one will be shorter, because if I delved into detail and the number of repaints, failed experiments that had to be puttied and sanded over and over in the course of three (!) years I’d have to write a 500-page long book.
So, what did I do to kit 04140?
– Drilled engine cylinders, got it wired (incl that ring around the crankcase) and painted.
– Cut off the MG barrels from the part, measured lengths, replaced with needles. Glued wing parts together.
– Tried to shave off detail from cockpit backwall, failed, broke the detail, used plastic packaging and made the detail anew, glued two needles as support for the pilot’s seat and the seat itself. Painted cockpit, applied decals and glued it in the fuselage halves. Added sloped armored with headrest and that bar, which the shoulder straps pass over.
Well, after taking my time to describe the kit parts in as much detail on their own I’ll now try to shed some light on how the kit actually is building – something that is quite obviously missing in most kit reviews, filled with happy voices of how detailed and accurate those are.
As you will undoubtedly notice no kit part is present in the finished article un-altered. Truth is modifications to parts were not needed because I am such a great accuracy hunter, or because I was willing to display how much ignored the fit factor is these days. I had to alter the parts so they could actually FIT and the final article looks like a vehicle, and not a pile of parts thrown together.