Several years have passed since the last DN Models’ T-shirt that we produced. Back then, we had only two colors – black and white. Blacks of course – were selling far better. We also had ideas about more stuff, like hats, floor mats, mugs and even a branded airbrush. But masks projects being in higher and higher demand last decade intervene with that side project of ours and all those mentioned remained only what they were at the beginning – ideas.
DN Models YouTube channel created a lot of contacts around the World, with some of those contacts becoming friends and contributors in one way or another. At YouTube, offering apparel is standard practice and we were urged to start our own line, to cover the subjects we produce as masks and eventually some of the items we reviewed in the videos. Of course, DN Models’ logo was inseparable part of this idea as well.
We’ve considered many options from making all this by ourselves, through using friend’s businesses and also – the standard YouTube practice, using websites that help YouTubers /mostly, but not only/ make their own line of merch for the fans. Unfortunately for all those years this was not our first priority and actually wasn’t our second either. However, at some point the time came and we decided to follow a friend’s advice, a fellow YouTuber, who helped us finalize some of our ideas and start our own merch.
DN Models’ merch currently is on. We finally started it and even though with tiny steps, we will expanded steadily. We decided not to do it as a support of our YouTube channel per se, because we are doing that solely for the fun and not to promote our masks or advertise any products. DN Models merchandise won’t be used as nowadays Patreon is used to support a business venture or a YouTube or Twitch channel.
Luckily, throughout the years we have been contacted from our fellow modelers and have been asked for mugs or stickers, something they can put on their benches while working, to share our logo in support of our masks projects. As mentioned above though, we’ve never managed to make that happen and the very few stickers and couple of mugs we’ve sent were done as a single item stuff, managed to make someone’s happy, rather than promote the brand in a professional way.
Since June 2021, DN Models’ merch will be available officially. The thing we choose to do was to follow the standard model using a Worldwide known website, so to cut ourselves from the direct production and delivery process and speed up the whole venture. One of the reasons for that was the pandemic and the delays everyone is experiencing lately, but most importantly, the guys that we use are professionals far more knowledgeable than us in this business. Lastly, we choose not to do it ourselves so to offer a wider variety of products. Our team will remain focused on the masks.
What you can find on our merchandise store page is currently expanding and we will be adding more products on a regular basis. Of course, the contact we keep with our fans and followers will eventually help us, since ideas that we’ve got from them throughout the years were – very often – wonderful. DN Models merch won’t be any different and we will listen to what fans want, so we can offer it.
Mugs – as far as we know – will be most popular. However, t-shirst, hoodies and stuff like that will be there as well, to cover some of the subjects we’ve done as masks and to transfer the artwork that we have onto a different product, simply because it looks great. As you know, some symbols cannot be depicted on the merchandise. However, we will try to offer some of our best designs in a way that in the end will deliver satisfactory products despite the limitations.
Thank you for being with us throughout the years and we hope that you’ll enjoy our merch. We will be happy to see you wear it on a model show, drink from it in your YouTube video or have it on your bench when picturing your latest model creation. For us it will be an honor!
You can find DN Models merch via the banner that we have on our Home and Blog pages, as well as following this link:
We are living in the golden age of modeling. 2008 crisis seems to be the one to blame for that, putting a lot of people out of work for some time and sending them back home, where they re-discovered their forgotten love about the hobby. Technology is there too, because with every step up in the production qualities, there are at least two steps up for the newly released models. Lately, similar thing happened, starting in early 2020, when the pandemic hit. And although many companies went bust in various sectors of life, modeling seems to be still on the rise. With that said, it has to be mentioned that one of the victims of the 2020 situation was unfortunately Wingnut Wings.
However, they say that fate never closes on door before opening another. And just recently a hint appeared that something is brewing. Interestingly, in very different aspect compared to the mentioned Wingnut Wings. They worked in 32nd scale, while now, the info was about a company that is about to deal with the smallest scale in aircraft modeling – 1/144.
This scale is truly a challenge, however, to some extent it is with wider usage than the rest. We’ll get back to that in a bit with a story that we have. But again, with the mentioned advances in technology it is more than certain, that in 144th nowadays kits are coming out of the box featuring qualities that were hard to be found in 72nd just decade or two ago.
More specifically, we are talking about Beacon Models. A company that promises a strong start on that small scene, where few dare to step foot. Even DN Models, with our masks line, we only have one product in that scale, because it presents challenges and problems that are not easily solvable. However, some people love challenges more than others and set goals that at first seem to be tough and risky.
Beacon Models are about to join the myriad of new companies that appear every now and then and this is been like that since 2008. However, the big difference is that they are not coming from China. And their credentials are serious. We mentioned Wingnut Wings. You may wonder why and the reason is that they are somewhat related. One of WnW’s team members in now on board with Beacon Models and they are about to embark on that long journey ahead. But with such credentials, goals does look more achievable to some extent. Why?
Well, Wingnut Wings were among the best and they will always be remembered as such.
But we’ve mentioned 144th as well. Beacon Models will hit that scene from the get go and with nothing short of boldness: they are going for the Battle of Britain. Spitfire and Bf-109 to be exact. Both very exploited and very competitive subjects, in almost any scale.
It is impressive to say the least. The courage and enthusiasm should be praised and supported. That is why we decided to put their banner up, so if you are on our side of the story, you can find them on our front page with a link leading to their webpage and their Kickstarter campaign.
Many will be pleasantly surprised by what those guys planned for the future. And since we think that is great to support a company that this time is not coming from China for a change and we have heard about the people behind it, we strongly advice you to take a peak!
We hope for the best for Beacon Models and we would like to express our support for their team!
Let us wish them Good Luck and Godspeed!
We will be more than happy to see them grow!
But one more thing before we go, the story that we promised:
Almost 25 years ago a teacher in history that we know, decided to teach a WWII history lesson with a hand-made map written in colors and with couple of models of tanks and planes in 1/72 and 1/144. That was part of a private collection and many of them suffered serious battle damages during the re-enactment. Kids were ecstatic!
Now, quarter a century after, out of those nearly 30 kids that were there, we have a professional map drawer, an architect and hobbyist historian, plus two engineers. All of them blaming that lesson for their main inspiration. They are three boys and a girl and two of the boys are modelers as well. This is all thanx to those small-scale models that took part in this event. They might’ve looked far from perfect, but they did the job.
We all know that this would not have been possible without the small scale replicas. So if you still have doubts that 1/144 might not worth your time, maybe it is time to consider that story too.
Being small doesn’t mean that it won’t be important!
F-35B is the successor of the Mighty Harrier. That should speak enough by itself. Since Harrier is legend by all means, it is expected that F-35B will be worthy substitute, especially considering its price and constant delays of serial production. That is why it is rather strange that decent kit of F-35B in the 48th and 32nd scale is still not available on the market. Even though F-35B already flies in some countries.
Many of you would argue, that Kitty Hawk was a good enough kit of the F-35B. But it wasn’t and it never will be. In 48th scale those RAM panels with their bulky look were far from reality, where in fact F-35 has barely visible surface details. It is understandable when that happens in 72nd scale or smaller, because there realism is substituted with some exaggeration effects for more attractive results. But in quarter and larger scales being closer to reality is the most important goal.
That is why when Italeri announced their 1/32 F-35A couple years back it was a warmly welcomed news and even though not perfect, the kit appeared to be stunning. That led to the conclusion that Italian model maker will hit even harder with F-35B soon, which so far hasn’t happened.
Well, 2021 came with couple of unexpected release news of new toolings, among which was another F-35B from Italeri. Unfortunately for some and luckily for others, this will be a quarter scale kit. And in 48th scale, F-35B will be a very good platform for scratch modeling, variations of displays, aftermarket add-ons and more.
Besides, Tamiya will most likely re-pack and release their own version of the F-35B for more than one reason. One is that Japan will have F-35B in their inventory and it would be ridiculous not to please J.A.S.D.F. fans with a kit of the B. Another is the fact that Italeri and Tamiya are re-packing their models on a constant basis and although not everything, some of the important stuff is being released by both companies.
About quality, the latter one speaks quite a lot. Tamiya are on the top of the food chain in the modeling business and if they trust Italeri, so should you. They will cover a huge chunk of the market as well. Since Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Italy, UK and US will use F-35B, that sounds promising for both Tamiya and Italeri.
There is still no clear information about the contents of the upcoming Italeri F-35B in 48th scale, but there are high hopes about its qualities and the options included. With that said though, it is somewhat disappointing for large scale plane community that there is still no F-35B on the market in 32nd scale, even though that was the anticipated move on behalf of the Italian model maker.
Maybe later this year or in 2022, we will finally get to see 32nd scale of the Lightning. Or maybe this 48th scale release will be so good that it will suffice. We are about to see soon. Fingers are crossed.
F-4B in 1/48 !?!? That was probably the boldest move ever, on behalf of the Tamiya – the most famous Japanese model maker. This is promised to appear in early 2021 and it comes as a huge surprise. The reason is not the subject, nor the scale, but the fact that this legendary aircraft is already covered. And by covered, you don’t need to read – “yeah, there is a kit out there”. There are plenty. In that same scale. All of them – with very good quality.
There is the long-running Hasegawa, which – although 20+ years old – is still very good representation. And it is available in tons of variations. But there is also less-than-a-decade-old Academy, which is considered brilliant by many means. And they have covered the B variant from the get go. Multi-colored plastic, different releases, beyond decent pricing and all that. But that is not all. Oh no. There is the one and only Zoukei-Mura representation of J, S, E and EJ, again in quarter scale, and they are considered to be state of the art productions. Reasons for that are many, but mostly – Zoukei-Mura are a level above everybody in terms of finesse and detailing, thickness /or the lack of there of/ and precision. Plus the fact that they will most likely continue with other variants soon.
That leads to the conclusion that Tamiya, being the dominant F-4 producer in 32nd scale might want to keep their reign there, but no. They decided to hit hard and try to swim with the sharks as bold as they could. But why? How?
Well, one of the reasons is the fact that Japan recently retired their F-4s after decades of service and it is only logical, that the most popular model maker in the World would commemorate their longest serving airplane so far. Even starting with different version. Another reason is the fact that Zoukei-Mura is not available everywhere, but in the same time Academy are not loved by everybody, because they have very high-quality models, but they have couple of let-downs as well. And Hasegawa, well, that is only getting older.
In terms of research and accuracy – Tamiya are relentless. They are always spot on. Same goes for the fit. Both those are key ingredients in terms of successful scale model. The pleasure that you experience building Tamiya cannot be substituted by any other model maker. Fit as well. And with that comes an army of devoted fans, that would prefer Tamiya, just because it is Tamiya and they swear by them. With all that in mind, 2021 comes with Tamiya #61121 – F-4B 1/48 Phantom II.
Tamiya released only couple of renders, but they reveal a lot. Retractable refueling probe, folding wings, some armament and superb riveting are among those. Probably more features will be revealed when we get to see the box contents and there is no doubt about their qualities too. With that said, it is only logical to expect to see areas that requires improvement, like for example – the nozzles that Zoukei-Mura gave us with their kits. But is highly unlikely that Tamiya F-4B will need serious investment to be turned into a quarter scale miracle. Most likely, everything will be there OOTB and many customers will wait for Tamiya or will exchange their existing kits for the latest release.
Another question is – are the sales gonna be sufficient for Tamiya, considering the market and the fact that probably there are thousands of stashed Phantoms in modelers’ storages. In that same scale. But there is a little doubt that the humongous model maker made their research carefully and they know what they are doing. And most likely, there is a plan for an upcoming long-line of Phantoms ahead, that will be second to none and the losers will not be Tamiya, but everybody else that dared to step on the Phantom arena. Still, if we can hit them with a question or two, it would be – “Why not F-4E variant, when 2020 was its last year in Japan and it still flies in Korea, Turkey, Greece and Iran?”. Or – “Tamiya new tool F-4? Why now, in 2021, but not sooner?!?”
Let’s start with an odd fact. It is nearly the end of 2020 and there is still no new tooling of the Rafale and Eurofighter in 48th scale. The only decent ones that we have are Revell’s which are rather outdated. And that goes for both. Here we’re gonna focus our attention on the Dassault Rafale. Being the less popular of the two, Rafale’s representation is also the better one of them.
It might be surprising, but despite both being the last 4th generation fighters and somewhat symbolic to the end of an era, European modern fighter planes were left aside from the modeling scene. That comes even with the fact that both are still produced/sold and amazingly – last couple of years even better than before. But let’s not rush it. Maybe Revell releases aren’t bad, but actually the opposite.
When it comes down to boxes, Revell is defenitely on the weaker side. They never actually made a really imrpessing box and on top of that, even with good kits, the finished model pictured on their boxes are ridiculous. Very good example is the MiG-21SMT which was released lately. That is Eduard’s re-box and the kit as we all know is superb. But the pictures show rather mediocre completion and paint job that might be mistaken for 12 year old’s. That is exactly the opposite of what you are getting with Eduard’s Fishbeds.
Luckily, the Rafale that we are unboxing today does not feature pictures of the built kit on its sides. And thank God for that! Other than that – the box is the typical Revell, with side opening and rather thin materials. Both unpractical and also easily damageable. Not a lot of information on it too, but we are living in an age that this comes easy.
But wait. Oh no! There are built model pictures on the back of the box… But this time, it is not that bad. Actually this gives some justification of the real contents of this box. A rare sight and a pleasant one too. However, even with that said, if anyone from Revell is reading this – get rid of the pictures of completed models guys. This ruins the idea to some extent.
The boxart is decent, featuring a special scheme Rafale, making the overall look more impressive and tempting. Previous boxings of the same kit – which are several and date back from the end of the 90s – are also good, but probably this one is the best so far. This is something Revell did long ago with their F-16s and with others too. Germans are good with representing anniversary or special schemes airplanes. It is a clever marketting strategy as well.
When speaking about Rafale specifically, it is also worth mentioning that there were reboxings from other companies and all in all, M, B and C versions of the Rafale were all covered. We are looking at the latter version in this review. Among them all – this one is still the best in terms of packing appearance. In terms of contents – pretty much they are all close to another.
The instruction sheet is NOT the good old Revell that we are used to. This one is very improved. First thing to notice is that it features color. And it seems that this will make things a bit easier and definitely more pleasant for the eyes. Still it lacks the sophistications both in looks and information when compared to the best out there /ZM for example/, but it’s good. Quality of the paper is pretty decent and in general, for the price you pay for this release, it is over-delivery from Revell’s part. The color representation makes things a lot easier. German model maker made a good effort with it. Everything they picked – from the nuances through the icons and arrangement looks like a success story. Even if this is your first kit ever, the instructions are designed in a way to make your journey a breeze. Way to go Revell!
Special emphasis on the paint sequence can be found in the end. The special scheme is splitted in two sections, the paint job you have to apply and the follow-up with decals. Again, clearly explained and in perfect coloring. No means were spared with this sheet. Nice touch, indeed.
Here is probably the strongest side of Revell’s Rafale. After all, boxing and instructions are just means to an end of a sort. And the end result is made by platic. So it is time to get serious here:
Light gray platic, all packed together in an transparent envelope, with surprisingly good detail. Actually quite great. Here is a good place to mention, that this is probably one of the reasons why there are new and improved Rafale toolings out there. The first glance here is an absolute eye candy. The quality of the material is typical Revell, so no complaints about that either.
Now, when it comes down to details, things probably get a step back. A small one though. When you dig deeper in your research, you might find that Hobby Boss released their representation of the Rafale. It is very very /actually suspiciously/ close to this one, but features more rivets here and there. Lacks some details too. But the step back that was mentioned above, is the fact that a good Rafale in 48th, would’ve featured both from those two kits’ strong sides in one boxing. There is a feeling that Revell could’ve added a touch or two more here and there.
For some, it is acceptable, because some old-school riveting and re-scribing might do the job and transfer this Revell’s Rafale into a quarter scale perfection. But for many – and especially in 2020 – this shoud’ve been included in the release. Just a hint about Hobby Boss – you will need some aftermarket to make that one good enough.
There are some accuracy issues with Revell’s Rafale wich will be mentioned in a link below, but the overall feeling is pleasant and again, for the price tag of this kit is over-delivery from German model maker’s part.
This is one thing that can be imrpoved significantly, but unfortunately aftermarket companies are not interested in Revell’s Rafale that much. The main reason is that it seems accurate in shape and size, but the thickness and quality are looking exactly like they are 20 years old. When compare it to anything relased in the last 2-3 years, you can note the difference.
We are not saying it is not acceptable. On the contrary. But this is a small sign that Rafale needs a re-tooling from another company. Or the same company. Whatever. Maybe a re-scaling too, but that is antoher subject. After all, after 20+ years on the market, somethings gotta change. It is inevitable.
Decals are one of the best features of this kit. They are printed in Italy and with the large parts that they represent, we must give it to the Revell’s and their choice of decal maker – this was a good call.
The transparent films are visible, but they look like troubleless fraction of the elements. If this was created by Cartograf, that would’ve been definitely the case. We’ve read that they are probably the design work of Syh@rt, which also is a promising information. Whichever it is, not a lot of complaints out there, especially when compared to Tamiya’s decals of the same period and scale. Once again – decal sheet is great with this release. Probably only masks could make this kit better in the end.
If you think that the special scheme is the only one you get with this kit because of the specific boxart, you are wrong. There are two. And they are as follows:
Normandie-Niemen 2017 – 30-GF EC 2/30, BA 118 Mont-de-Marsan
One is the standard low-visibility grey scheme, the other one is the Tigermeet variant, one of the many Tiger variables that Rafales comes with in real life.
Revell’s Rafale is actually a great kit. Being an old timer from 1999, this was pretty much top of the line release back then. As of today, this is the best Rafale representation in any scale. The really nice feature of this kit is the price tag. That, added to the fact that it is modeler-friendly to some extent, make this purchase a reasonable one.
The more detailed review of Revell’s and Hobby Boss’ Rafales can be found here. A great modeler and a friend of ours built those two and noted the most significant issues found with them. Besides, this is one of the best modelers we know and we strongly urge you to take a look at his Rafales. They are both very inspirational.
But being an honest review, this lead to the conclusion that this kit is not perfect, even though very good. A combination of the price, good decals and minor flaws, makes this Rafale a very tempting option for experienced and novice modelers. The other way to go is to wait for a new release. Which will be unlikely to happen having Revell’s acceptable quality and price already present.
1/16 is a scale that you see significantly less-often compared to 35th. Probably, because of the significant size of Abrams or Leopard tanks in 16th scale. But if you remember, few years back, there was a Hobby Boss Dora kit in 72nd scale, which actually was spot on, again for the very same reasons. So in other words, there are kits that are suitable for 35th scale, but there are many that are definitely not.
Takom somehow hit the right spot again, with this upcoming release of Wiesel A1 tankette. Previous time they did it was with their 1/16 Renault FT, another tank that in 35th scale is too small to be interesting. Others followed too. And even though Wiesel A1 is far less popular than the legendary FT light tank, it will still fit the bill perfectly.
The major advantages of the models in scale 1/16 are the enormous amount of details that you can work with. Again, that isn’t a good choice for larger vehicles /or probably is, but it is an expensive one/, mostly due to their size when assembled, but for smaller tanks this is quite an option. Wiesel A1 is a relatively tiny vehicle, which features enough details on its exterior and definitely deserves a model in 16th scale. And TAKOM calculated the situation with impressive precision.
The german tankette, although not very popular and camera-friendly in real life, especially compared to the latest tanks, is actually interesting for the modelers. Both Revell and AFV Club have proven that over the years. In smaller scale of course. Now for the devoted fans, January 2021 is coming with the bigger and hopefully deeply re-engineered version of the Wiesel A1 TOW, which will probably be the start. And by that, we mean a new line of kits, with various options, because Wiesel has few of them that needs to be represented as models.
F/A-18E from MENG Model was announced just in time for the holiday season. That was very clever decision on their behalf. The best Super Hornet in 48th currently is Hasegawa release which is quite old to be frank. But now, with the known popularity and quality that MENG Model offers, it is about to be dethroned and rather quickly. The day is getting close too.
TOP GUN: Maverick is coming. It was expected on X-mas 2020, with Tom Cruise breaking the sound /and many other sane/ barriers again, 34 years later. The star of the spectacle this time is F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet. And despite featuring the one and only F-14 Tomcat, the movie will revolve around the Super Hornet. Unfortunately – postponed again for summer 2021. Just in time for MENG kit to be on the shelves.
Another clever step in MENG’s strategy is the transition happening in Blue Angels team. They are getting F/A-18E and Fs and this is starting with 2021 season. As a matter of fact, the first Blue Angels’ Super Hornet was already flying this summer. And it is here to stay, as their current leader said that the plane will be in the team for the next quarter century.
So what can we expect? A good competitor and for some – a substitute – for Revell’s 32nd scale release, that appeared just recently. A killer for Hasegawa kit most likely… and some fun and joy for modelers of the US NAVY and TOP GUN movie fans. We can also expects folding wings, highly detailed cockpit, many weapons and typical MENG quality.
Knowing MENG’s history, it is highly likely that we will soon see two seater and then an EA-18G Growler variants, hopefully with great quality and in different variations. If that isn’t a great gift for the Holiday Season, we don’t know what is!
Panavia Tornado is one of those kits that many longed for, but never really received. Well, at least not a contemporary release. Argument will arise immediately, that Revell delivered not so long ago. That is true to some extent. Their 32nd scale kit is not bad at all, but it is not at the level of 2010s, let alone 2020s. The quarter scale release was good too, but far from what we’ve seen recently from the various manufacturers that appeared suddenly on the market after 2008 crisis. So to those who are still in doubt, no, Revell Tornadoes were not that good and considering present day, they are mid-quality products to put it mildly.
Autumn 2020, Italeri enters. Not before couple of postponed announcements, but still, the new and re-tooled Tornado is here. The story that Italeri are about to tell us starts with GR.4. The British version that was retired just recently and is still in the spotlight due to that same fact.
GR.4 in low-vis light-gray scheme is depicted on the box. That was the standard for British Tonkas, with some minor exceptions concerning conflicts or anniversaries. The box quality itself is very good, it is a top-opener, with firm lid and made from high quality materials. It is also thick, which at first glance shows that the kit features plenty of parts and when you open it, it is all there as expected. Actually, the very first impression is quite strong – two booklets, one with instructions, one with color schemes, superb decal sheet /as expected/, PE and light gray plastic sprues, separately packed in transparent envelopes. A promising start from the Italians.
The first of the two booklets is featuring the building process. It is horizontally depicted and greyscale in appearance. If you encountered Trumpeter instructions before, you will see the resemblance, however with Italeri here, we have improved quality overall. Some of the steps feature minor description, but nothing serious like you might find in Zoukei-Mura kits for example.
Special attention is dedicated to various elements of the build, especially the engines. Everything that features different positions, like reverse thrusters or any of the wing elements is carefully depicted, so there is not much of a chance for you to miss the option. Latter one doesn’t concern experienced modelers much, but it is still a good attention to the detail from Italeri’s part.
Italeri’s plastic is on the soft-ish side of things and this comes from experience. That doesn’t mean it is bad, but some modelers prefer it differently. Actually, for a novice modeler, Italeri’s plastic is kind of a blessing, because it is generally easy to work with. Tornado GR.4 doesn’t show anything different.
The detail is very crisp and the plastic imperfections are minimal. There are plenty of rivets and panel lines, all of which are with decent quality. Something, that cannot be said for all other competitive companies in 32nd scale. Based on the GR.4 contents, it is safe to say that Italeri left nice playground for the aftermarket maniacs, but if you want to build the Tonka OOTB, it will be enough as it is.
There is plenty of aircraft details, plenty of weapons and most importantly, several variations of presentation. One of the best choices is the engine out variant, which can be easily substituted on the aircraft if you get an aftermarket exhausts, which are on the way already. Pretty similar to Tamiya’s F-16 approach. As a matter of fact, same here goes for the cockpit and the radar. They can be improved, but with the example with the engines specifically – well, there you will not only improve, but will extend the kit appearance also.
Tornado GR.4 features one sheet of photo-etch parts, which are relatively thin. Thinner compared to Trumpeter for sure. The parts are seatbelts, small vortex generators for the vertical fin, cockpit elements and such, and even though not significantly important – a nice add-on to the OOTB #2513 release.
There are sections of the Tornado GR.4 that can be further altered and significantly improved with photo-etch elements /on the vertical fin again/, especially in this large scale, but there is most likely an upcoming sets that will deal with that. Aftermarket companies will take care of it.
Clear parts are pretty nice, but are nothing overly impressive. At this time, before the building process even started, it is difficult to judge how much they can be abused with different glue types and masking, but they seem to be the standard quality offered by Italeri which guarantees decency.
Tornado is a twin-seater, so there is plenty of transparent space to see the cockpit through. It is important to get through this step of the build with attention and care, plus some helping materials eventually.
Italeri’s Tonka GR.4 comes with a superb painting and decals guide in a form of a separate booklet. In size it is the same as the instructions, but it is in color. It features four RAF GR.4s.
“Danger Mouse” – ZA 542, Operation “Telic”, Iraq, 2003
“Dumbusters” – ZA 367, Operation “Herrick”, Afghanistan, 2010
“Gold Stars” – ZA 542, Operation “Ellamy”, Gioia Del Colle, Italy, 2011
“Tornado Farewell” – ZA 775, Special Livery, 2019
All four are the same color scheme, excluding the Farewell option, which is a black tale with specific markings. On that one, there are other variations too, slightly different, but not included in this kit. Only aftermarket options.
A superb decal sheets comes with Tornado GR.4 #2513 from Italeri. As expected. It features great decal quality, thin material and it is easy to be used. All due to the regular quality of Italeri’s decals, which are usually Cartograf’s. And as we all know – they are the best in business.
There are aftermarket options for decals and masks that can substitute this, but if you are not well into the deep with your modeling skills and goals, this decal sheet will be quite satisfactory. It provides all that one might need from a kit in 2020.
Tornado GR.4 from Italeri can receive only praise and glory from the first look we had. It is definitely a step up from Revell’s releases and it seems to have addressed some of the flaws of the German kit. They are mostly time/age -related, but are there nevertheless.
So is it worth it? Definitely.
It is a kit that can be competitive for the years to come and most likely Italeri will follow this Tornado GR.4 release with Tonka GR.1, then ECR, IDS and more. That seems promising, considering the Saudi Arabia option with its stunning camouflage, probably the best one any Tornado ever used. Early Italian versions, tanker options and so on – are too, a great basis for nice modeling time.
This kit is very highly recommended, based on its box contents, new design, great price and promising future.
One of the most innovative modelers that we know and have work with – Milan Mitev – is an avid fan of F-35 in its variations. With special interest in the B- version, Mr. Mitev gained a significant amount of knowledge about the kits representing this machine. If you remember, not so long ago, in DN Models’ channel on YouTube, we posted a transformation video of his Kitty Hawk F-35B. Besides amazing skills and engineering ideas, Mr. Mitev showed that even a mid-level quality kit can be turned into a superb miniature. That is why we count on Mr. Mitev’s expertise when it comes down to F-35 series, and this review will share is view of Italeri’s 72nd scale version of the aircraft released just last year. Tamiya will follow with their own repack of the kit, so we decided that it is worth the effort to share an expert view and opinion on smaller B version in scale.
Inbox Review of Italeri’s 1/72 scale F-35B Lightning II
Although only about a year old, the Italeri’s 1/72 scale F-35B is an awesome model for its scale and it offers some unrivaled advantages over its predecessor kits. Actually, there are plenty of model kits of 1/72 scale Lightning II. This one impresses with the exceptional overall detail of the parts, although there are only about a hundred parts or maybe less. The box of the kit is very simple but very sturdy as well, because the kit is small in this scale. The F-35B Lightning II is not a big plane either. The box art is very nice and it depicts an English F-35B in a hovering position just like it is about to land vertically on a carrier. On the walls of the cardboard box you can see that the finished kit will become 21.7 cm in length once finished. Here is what’s inside:
There are just two plastic bags and one small baggie for the canopy. All the plastic parts are spread on two big and one small sprue, without any flash issues whatsoever. It is a nice touch that the two halves of the fuselage are whole pieces, so it would be easier to adjust the proper symmetry and geometry of the model when you build it, even if you are novice. Another thing I should point out is the sharpness and the exceptional quality of the RAM patterns that cover the entire model, as well as the bomb/wheel bays underneath.
Next up, another great advantage of this 1/72 scale kit by Italeri is the great variety of options that it provides directly OOB. Many of the plastic parts are duplicates that allow you to build your model in either flying or STOVL position, for example, there are two upper doors for the lift fan – one with and the one without the hinges. You will find in the manual further directions what parts you should choose and exactly at which step. Italeri also provided a full-size engine, including parts for the turbine and the compressor, although they could be barely seen once you finish your model. There is also an additional small sprue for the loadouts, which include two types of bombs and two types of missiles. There are also external pylons so you can jazz-up your model and add some external ordnance. Well, it wouldn’t be so stealthy, but on the box of the kit, you can also see the text ‘’U.S. version ‘’Beast Mode’’ external armament set included’’. The best thing is that there are parts for a loading cart included in the kit as well! You can make your own little diorama with the plane on the ground and in the process of armament loading, for example.
The decals are on one small square sheet and they are very good indeed. They allow you to choose from three versions of the F-35B Lightning II – Italian, English and American. The paint guide shows the needed colors while the decals are illustrated via ‘’common parts’’ instructions and separate instructions for each of the three versions available. Also take into account that there is one additional page included to the instruction manual which has the corrected instructions for the decal arrangement and for the gluing of some parts, so make sure to consider it as well.
Overall, the 1/72 Italeri kit of F-35B Lightning II is amazing! It offers much more advantages but it has some little cons as well. I can highly recommend it to you even as a first model, but keep in mind that the kit allows plenty of modifications and detailing, and it needs your precision skills for a flawless result. Finally, here is an overview of the pros and cons of this 1/72 scale kit:
– Exceptionally detailed for its scale, especially the RAM patterns, the bomb and the wheel bays;
– Tinted canopy without a seamline in the middle;
– Plenty of ordnance including external pylons under the wings;
– Numerous optional parts – open/closed panels, nozzle, etc. – for STOVL and in-flight mode;
– Additional loadout cart for a diorama with an external bomb display;
Telford Scale Model World 2020 seems to be the latest Covid victim in these odd times. Apparently the event has been cancelled due to the pandemic. Believe in that pandemic or not, Telford 2020 seems doomed because of it.
Unfortunately, one of the main reasons for this decision was based on the median age of the participants, which is kinda sad. This hobby, in the times that we live in, especially after 2008 economic crisis is blooming. Not many young ones joined obviously, making the average modeler a person with a decent amount of years behind his/her back. As with most of the Airshows and similar events in Europe and North America, scale modeling shows are being cancelled one by one and drop off of the calendar.
Telford, being the definitive king of all the modeling events was the latest to be announced cancelled, although there were high hopes that because of its size, it will happen no matter what. That was a wrong assumption though and for many this year will be crippled by the virus not only because of stay-at-home initiative, but by the lack of any options what so ever to change the boring daily routine even for a short weekend.
Another hope was based on the idea that the average modeler is an aged smart person, with decent amount of knowledge in history and thirst for wisdom, and that will eventually lead to responsible participants, wearing masks or whatever protective measurements are imposed on the participants. Models in general are not supposed to be touched by bare hands, thus this should help too. But in the end, all this was another wrong assumption. Aged modelers in that case, went into another class of risk assessment, which led to the final decision. A no-go.
As a result, the biggest modeling contest on the planet won’t happen in 2020, joining the long line of activities killed by the COVID in the last 8-10 months. Not only that, but many of the long awaited releases will be either postponed or will be done online, which will definitely kill some of the fun and excitement. There are companies that are looking forward to this specific event to present their latest releases. On the other hand, the modelers are longing for that weekend where they can spend some time with fellow-thinkers and spend some hard-earned money on their favorite hobby. Good for modelers – good for modeling companies.
Not in 2020 though. For many it seems like a ridiculous idea, but yes, this virus is killing of a lot more than people. It kills legacies and companies, one of which by the way is Wingnut Wings, a leader on the scale modeling market. Now it killed the biggest show on the planet. So what comes next?
Let’s try and look it from the bright side, which by the way is very hard to be discovered. But yes, staying at home and fewer modeling shows will mean more actual modeling. And it will be done with the simple and firm idea, that this is a preparation. A preparation for the next show. In the next season. Maybe in 2021. Hopefully not 2022.
Because one thing is sure, we will not be beaten by this thing. Whatever it is. We will beat it. And we might not be able to go to Telford this year. But it is sure as hell we will be on the first Telford event that happens after this madness.
A-26B Invader is the first of the A-26/B-26 line that Hobby Boss releases. Invader is a legendary plane, that’s why there is no doubt that other variants will follow. Let’s start with that, that Invader often is quoted as the plane that fought in the three major US wars: WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Many other conflicts as well. It takes something to be that sturdy and to survive through times when aviation technology was leaping every two years or so. Even more with two spinners attached.
Although later variants were modified and internally had little to do with the WWII examples, it was still the good ol’ A-26 in general. The plane was slightly ahead of its time with its sleek and sexy looks, laminar wing and speed achievements. It was a brain child of the genius Edward Heinemann, the same guy who designed Dauntless, A-1 Skyraider, A-4 Skyhawk and worked extensively on F-16.
The Invader, although somewhat lost in between the news about new and extremely fast jets for their time, atomic weapons and constant conflicts popping up here and there all the time, was still a very bright star in the aviation history if you take the time to explore it. In that terms, this kit can be considered overdue.
A-26B Invader is the typical Hobby Boss kit. It is packed the same way as Trumpeter and Hobby Boss always did it: in separate plastic bags, with couple sectors made from cardboard dividers. That’s in the box that is rather small for 32nd scale twin prop, but in the same time with enough space left to close the lid once you open and eventually re-arrange the order of the sprues.
Everything else is just like it always was, which is not a “top-notch“ appearance, but that is justified by the reasonable price tag and the fact that in the end, the box means nothing. The only thing that matters are the contents. And Hobby Boss are perfectly aware.
Those are located on the bottom beneath everything else. Unfortunately, the style remains unchanged after two decades of experience in scale model producing. It is not bad per se, but the change was requested million times on different web platforms from plenty of modelers. We are living in an era of highly competitive market of scale models, where companies with innovations and superb quality products bloom. Keeping the sheet the same like it was in 2001 is not a good option. After all, this is your guide for getting through the increasingly complex building processes. On the other hand, the latter hasn’t changed much for Trumpeter/Hobby Boss, so again, this is justified. HB kept this build simple and straight-forward, so if you are not overly pretentious, you will probably be able to accept what comes OOTB in terms of instructions.
Unfortunately, same goes for the color schemes, which provide three options, two US and one French, but without any explanation what so ever. Eventually, the modeler should find out what is being built by personal research.
The quality of the Hobby Boss plastic is good. This A-26B Invader is no exception. It is what we know and love from the Chinese model maker. It sands well, it cuts well, it can sustain decent amount of abuse. What more can a modeler want?
There is a room for extra detailing, especially on a rivet level, but even as it is, the Invader comes with a decent texture. The kit features interior as well and the same goes for that. Again, thanx to the plastic that we are used to get from Trumpeter/Hobby Boss, one can easily conclude that cutaways will be very easily doable and probably almost mandatory with this kit.
The sprues aren’t that many, but the focus isn’t on the part number as with armor kits. Just the contrary. That was the case with the Liberator recently released by the same company. So logically, here things are pretty much the same.
Speaking of which, Liberator was criticized widely for accuracy issues. There is a big BUT and the fact that there aren’t many other options on the market, so whoever wants to build – builds. The rest complain and search for discrepancies. Same goes for the Invader. And it is pretty sure that the accuracy will have flaws, possibly some major ones. But do we have an alternative?
Clear parts can be described with one word only: Wonderful! Just take a look at the picture below:
As mentioned above, the A-26B from Hobby Boss comes with three options. The decal sheet they are fitted in is not very large, although markings for this plane in this scale are more or less – substantial in size. Due to the lack of additional information though, aftermarket options will be probably more attractive than what we get OOTB. The reason is one – lack of information about the specific planes, two – more interesting and probably visually attractive options on the aftermarket scene.
With that said, the decals of Trumpeter/Hobby Boss were never an issue and if you want to stick to the box contents, they are more than acceptable option. With that scale though, decals are better put off and substituted with masks. This provides maximum realism and guarantees that there will be no issues with bubbles, silvering or ripped edges.
The A-26B Invader kit features two extras: rubber tires and small PE sheet. Neither of those deserves attention though. Not that they are bad, on the contrary. They are acceptable. However, PE is rather thick and for such a big bird it is insufficient in terms of part numbers. Rubber tires are also kinda useless. They are stiff and cannot provide the sag required, thus exchanging those for resin aftermarket parts is the better option.
The thing that is missing and will probably be one of the most important and almost mandatory add-on are the metal struts. One of the things that dictates their usage is the size and the weight of the plane in 32nd scale. The other is, that metal struts are often more detailed than the plastic OOTB parts, which in this scale is highly demanded option. So yes, there are extras that comes with the kit, but let’s get real – they are not enough nor at the required level.
Even if the above written might sound more on the negative side, the conclusion about this plane is mostly positive. All that is mentioned like a downsides is justified by the price and the fact that Trumpeter and Hobby Boss, despite their mass production of kits are a B player on the market. Even with that, they produce one of a kind kits on subjects that are with high demand.
Another thing mentioned above is that the Invader was overdue. This is another reason to get this kit immediately. It is a lovely looking plane and despite the expected inaccuracies /which OOTB builders prefer to forget/, the need for aftermarket and lack of historical reference, we have to give it to Hobby Boss. Another spot on hit, closely following the Liberator duo released last year.
So yes, the kit’s worth it. It deserves attention and it looks great. You will never get the proper “A” quality from Trumpeter and Hobby Boss, but you will never get that subject from the A players either. So you cannot have your cake and eat it too …
Mi-24 in quarter scale was long due. In the most popular scale and being the most popular attack helicopter in the World, it was a blasphemy to not have a decent kit in 48th so far. And if you are thinking: “Revell/Monogram was there!” the answer is “No”. That was not contemporary kit and with the fact that we have relatively recent toolings of Mi-24 in 72nd and in 35th scale makes it even more irrelevant than it already is.
Zvezda, after an year or so of hints and promises finally got us the treat we’ve all been waiting for. With the fact that they have the award winning 72nd scale Hind that is constantly being re-packed and re-released and the other fact that they probably have the best source of accurate info about the Hind, hopes are very high for this release. So let’s dig into the box of this new Mi-24 Zvezda in 48th and see how the Russians did their homework.
Boxart of the Zvezda Mi-24 in 48th scale is very good. As with all their recent releases, Zvezda managed to make a first good impression with their bright yellow-sided box and the Hind in flight depicted on it. The box itself is rather large and the sprues are loose inside, which was kind of a surprise. The room inside is the exact opposite of what we are getting with some other companies that over-flow their boxes with sprues and plastic bags. And it is not any better either. On both sides of this spectrum the lack of decent boxing ideas is showing vividly.
Inside sprues are packed by more than one in an envelope, with couple of other plastic zip-locks holding the decals, the clear parts and at the bottom – instructions and color profiles. All of this, at first sight not very intriguing nor overly aesthetic, especially considering a box that is at least 30% larger than needed to hold all this. But let’s not make any snap judgements.
The instruction sheet that comes with this Mi-24 Zvezda in 48th is not far from what we’ve seen from the Russian model maker. It is black and white, printed on not very sophisticated paper, looking more rugged and straight forward compared to the modern scale model kits. Of course, that is not necessarily a bad thing, just something that shows a lack of finesse when put side by side with the competition.
The steps aren’t many and does not feature much, which shows that the kit is not a giant leap over 72nd scale engineering-wise. On top of that specific description of some of the details is not present, but again – that simplifies the whole building process. Now think of the other perspective – if you are a novice or a kid just stepping into the hobby: the less is more. Which in this case can be considered the up-side.
This Mi-24 from Zvezda in 48th scale is very impressive plastic-wise. Somehow it looks refined and the material – improved. Now this might be the initial excitement talking, but the surface seems crisp, there is no flash and the detail looks very good. This is Zvezda after all and let’s not fool ourselves – they are not A-lister when it comes down to scale model production. But for a company that delivers decent kits at very affordable prices – this is a good looking helo. Another point here is that they are delivering Mi-24 in 48th scale which is a beast of its own class and that adds to the statement above.
The lack of rivets in 2020 is somewhat disappointing, but again – this is Zvezda. Finesse is not their middle name and probably never will be. However, this – for every relatively experienced builder – is not a problem. There are plenty of riveting tools and plenty of information on Mi-24 Hind subject that might help solve this minor issue. Besides, even if that wasn’t the case and we had plenty of rivets here, experienced modelers would’ve added something here and there. It is simply inevitable. And if that might be some sort of consolation – there are couple of pilots on the sprues. A nice add-on for those who would present this Mi-24 Hind in-flight.
All jokes aside – plastic is good and the detail is decent too.
Unfortunately same thing cannot be said about the clear parts. Even in 2020, Zvezda clear parts are not good enough. They are neither transparent enough, nor are crisp and impressive. True – this is a helicopter AKA flying tank and clear parts can be easily considered a secondary detail, however there is a trick here. With age, real Hinds show yellow-ish appearance, similar but slightly milder compared to the Soviet airplanes. For example MiG-31. That, with this material would be a challenge to reproduce and unfortunately there is no aftermarket that will help with this Zvezda here. At least not yet. But don’t get your hopes up, since for their 72nd scale kit there is still no help on that end.
At first they look cool. Maybe only the sprue frame being bendy hints about the real quality here. But when you look closely – there is huge image bendings, scratches on the surface and in general – soft-ish material with lack of crisp details. Not overly awful, but not very good either. So so.
Here we have some improvement finally. While before with Zvezda one of the biggest let downs were color profiles lacking any color what so ever, here we have something different. It might be only one sheet with depictions on both of its sides, but we have color. And that probably adds to the total cost of the production and might be a tough decision for Zvezda, but this is something that you cannot avoid improving. So Zvezda did it.
Zvezda kits are famous mostly with their price tags. Nobody can beat them on that arena. But that comes with some sacrifices, plenty of which are mentioned above. And a question arises from that – why invest in significantly larger-than-needed box with plenty of colors and not add color profiles? Well, they did it the other way this time. It is not like Eduard Limited Edition Mi-24 re-pack but it is definitely acceptable here. Besides Eduard re-packing this quarter scale beast is probably a matter of time. So we can only hope.
Two sheets of decals are present, packed in zip-lock envelope for extra protection. They seems to be printed by “Zvezda” if we consider the logo on them to be the proof of that. Blue-ish appearance and very thin surface, nothing different from the regular Zvezda that you know and have built. Plenty of aftermarket options are available to substitute that, because let’s face it – with this platform, modelers sticking to the OOTB paint options won’t be the case. Mi-24 Zvezda in 48th is gem in the scale and its overall existence, so you can count on that plenty of aftermarket decals will show up.
Mi-24 Zvezda in 48th is a precious add on to the quarter scale line. Despite all of the minor let-downs mentioned above, this kit is very good investment. The price beats all that is mentioned above and counter-balance all missed from the Russian model maker. A long road is ahead of Zvezda if they want to became an A-list model maker, but they are definitely going that way. Slowly, but in the right direction. This kit is the living proof of that fact.
Now aftermarket companies have the word next. With photo-etch, resin add-ons, decals and more. We at DN Models will try to dig into this subject with some camouflage masks and canopy sets that will eventually ease up the building process. But there will be plenty of others too, especially improving the kit’s minor weaknesses. Overall, this is highly recommended kit that will quickly become a best-seller and hopefully will set the beginning of a new long line of Hind variants in 48th scale. So don’t wait too long, because probably plenty are on order already and you might miss to get yours in time!