A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models

A-26B Invader 1/32 from Hobby Boss


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.

A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models instructions


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.

A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models instruction sheet


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.

A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale modelsA26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale modelsA26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale modelsA26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models

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?

A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale modelsA26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale modelsA26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale modelsA26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale modelsA26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models

Clear Parts

Clear parts can be described with one word only: Wonderful! Just take a look at the picture below: Clear parts a26b invader hobby boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models


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.

decals A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models


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.

A26B Invader Hobby Boss 83213 review dn models masks for scale models photo etch


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 …


Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura: A-12 version in 32nd scale.


Extreme is the word that describes this airplane when you come to think of it. It was heavy, non-standard twin engine beast, not only being the fastest prop that Luftwaffe had in WWII, but also filled with innovations hardly seen before.

The unique design of push-pull engine concept eliminated the turning tendencies typical for twins that have their power plants on the wings. Not only that, but the rear prop defined the need for an ejection seat which was something revolutionary for the time.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 review by dn models masks for scale models

It was huge and scary looking compared to the contemporary fighters and even though propeller driven and in the dawn of the jet age, it was proving a concept that still stands to this day. If it wasn’t for this beast, the idea of a heavy twin interceptors would’ve been different. Thus, you can easily consider this the grand- grand- daddy of designs such as MiG-25 and F-15.

Only around 40 were built and of those, very few were twin-seaters like the model of the subject in this article. Actually, according to some sources, most of the planes were pre-production/prototype versions. The actual production Do-335 were built in extremely modest numbers: 11 single seaters and 2 twin-seaters. However, sources vary in their conclusions and being the end of the Second World War nobody can tell with absolute certainty.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 review by dn models masks for scale models


Zoukei-Mura are a company that accepts nothing but the best and does no compromises with their kits. The boxes are always perfect and so is the case with the Do-335 A-12. It comes as with their other Luftwaffe planes, glossy and high-quality appearance, with yellow sides and beautiful boxart.

Once you lift the lid, the cardboard case enclosed from all sides is what you see. This adds to the curiosity and the childish-tension feeling that we all get the first time we open the box of the newest kit we get. The cardboard is top quality as everything else with this set.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 review by dn models masks for scale models

Beneath it, a crowded box with separately packed sprues opens the door to another dimension of modeling, different from what you are used to. Instructions are two sets, packed independently from each-other. The sprues are two types: standard gray plastic, and semi-transparent ones, with milk-ish appearance and fantastic texture. Of course, there are some sprues for the clear parts too. To be perfectly honest, even the plastic bags that holds everything are nicer than everybody else’s. At this point of your introduction to the kit, especially if it is your first Zoukei-Mura, you will be completely enchanted. It simply doesn’t get any better than this. Trust me on that.


There are two sheets included. Surprisingly, one is for the initial version of the Pfeil that Zoukei-Mura released back in 2016 – the A-0. The second one is very thin and features the differences you have to apply while assembling the Do-335 Anteater. It also includes the color schemes for the specific plane.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 instructions review by dn models masks for scale models

It is rather odd on one hand. Why wouldn’t that kit get its own set of instructions, but instead get a patch only? Maybe that is a good thing, since thorough research of the sheet is needed well ahead of the assembly process. On the other hand, Zoukei-Mura eventually will keep the price a bit lower using that technique. I am not certain, only guessing here.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 instructions review by dn models masks for scale modelsDo-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 instructions review by dn models masks for scale models

Anyhow, the instruction sheet is the standard bundle of info typical for the Japanese model maker. There is SWS information blocks, which feature valuable and hard to find tips about the planes and its assembly. Also, alignment guidelines are included, which is the first thing IPMS judges look for in a kit. What’s the point in having perfectly painted and weathered kit with misaligned forms? It could never fly in reality, so there your work goes in the bin. Well, not if you follow through here.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 instructions review by dn models masks for scale models

The sheet by itself is a booklet that will take decent amount of time for reading, even if you don’t assemble the plane in the same time. So you can imagine that this is one very well thought-through guide, designed for modelers who are very devoted and patient.


The grey plastic sprues feature superb details on every single piece molded onto them. I will be cheap on words here, compensating with pictures. That will do the job better. It is important to add, that the plastic that Zoukei-Mura featured in Do-335 Anteater /and their other kits/ is of very high quality. Especially when sanding, you can enjoy it to the maximum.

Zoukei-Mura went deep enough to depict the cylinders and the pistons inside, impeller of the turbocharger, perfectly shaped openings of the exhaust system. There are cables, rivets and all kinds of goodies in the cockpit too. Simply put, no stone was left unturned.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 grey sprues review by dn models masks for scale models sprues

Semi Clear Sprues:

The second set of sprues are the milk-ish ones. They feature the control surfaces, the outer parts of the aircraft and the outer parts of the wings. In one word, the skin. All those parts are designed in a way that can be used as they are. No primer, no paint. Nothing.

Even if you decide to show everything inside and apply them directly over the built skeleton of the aircraft, they will fit perfectly and will unveil the beauty of this scale model. Of course, for the purpose you should approach the building process and more specifically - application and type of glue differently.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 clear sprues review by dn models masks for scale models Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 clear sprues review by dn models masks for scale models Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 clear sprues review by dn models masks for scale models

Those parts are not perfectly clear. Nor should they be. Transparency is just enough so you can peak beneath and enjoy. However, if you ask me, I would paint all over. If I would like to show something, I would be cutting through some of the parts, exposing the internals, as if someone just ripped a panel or two off of the plane.

Again, pictures will say more than any text could possibly can. The really important thing here is the option added. Transparency is not for everyone. Some love it, others hates it. Zoukei-Mura managed to please both sides.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 clear sprues review by dn models masks for scale models Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 clear sprues review by dn models masks for scale models Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 clear sprues review by dn models masks for scale models Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 clear sprues review by dn models masks for scale models

Clear Parts:

The Do-335 A-12 Anteater features dual separated tandem cockpit layout, which are embedded on different levels in the fuselage of the plane. They feature decent number of frames and are similar but not equal in appearance. One of those is a single-piece, while the other have the front windshield divided from the rest of the canopy. In addition to that there are spares from the original A-0 included.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 others review by dn models masks for scale models

The sprues are made from high-quality material and looking through the windows doesn’t bend the light significantly. In other words – realistic to the highest level in the industry. They are both very well detailed, featuring even the tiny vent windows that are present on the sides of the real aircraft. Modelers/Glider pilots probably will smirk here.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 others review by dn models masks for scale models

There is special attention devoted to the semi-transparent canopy bed, with tension dividers /to be removed/ placed in order to avoid bending and provide a guarantee for a perfect fit and alignment. The only thing needed here are the highest-quality sprue cutters that you can get. Everything is delicate and demands attention. In the same time the parts are thoroughly thought through and you will easily achieve superb results if using good tools.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 others review by dn models masks for scale models


Two decal sheets are included. Printed by Cartograf. Pretty much enough said. But let’s elaborate on those. The smaller sheet features small dashboard decal and two white numbers – 112. In addition to that there is an option for separate decal gauges. Each one cut neatly if you want to weather the dashboard first and then put only the dial faces in each’s own bed.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 others review by dn models masks for scale models

Same thing is done with the other sheet which is larger and features everything else needed. Again, complete dashboard decal and separate gauges. In addition to that, technical markings – yellow, red, white. Crosses and letters, which – considering the manufacturer – will be nothing short of perfect.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 others review by dn models masks for scale models

Transparent film on each decal is barely visible and the thickness of the carrier material /light blue/ suggests flawless work too. I will conclude with what I pointed out in the start – Cartograf. Enough said.


Masks are separated alongside with each instruction sheet. Zoukei-Mura simply included an add-on to the original single-seater packing. Masks are cut into a green vinyl material, which is unknown for me, even though I am familiar with many brands and models. There are barely any shrinking with Zoukei-Mura’s material and the masks are cut perfectly for the purpose. Maybe some will prefer Kabuki tape, but I can assure you – these will do the job perfectly.

Canopies are abundant in framework, so adding masks was unavoidable, epsecially if the Japanese kit maker wanted to hold the reputation of one of the top modeling companies in the World. Nice touch, to which DN Models probably will add mask set for the Insignia of the Do-335 A-12 Anteater. Not that decals are bad, but masks for scale models always give you the best possible realism. In whatever scale.

Do-335 Anteater from Zoukei-Mura A12 others review by dn models masks for scale models masks canopy


Zoukei-Mura offer some additional sets for the Do-335 Anteater available on their site. First and most important of those is the Concept Note dedicated to the single seater. You can learn more about it here.

Parts and accessories are offered too. Those include photo-etch parts for the instrument panel and seatbelts, pilot figures, metal gear struts, weighted tires, metal machine gun barrels/pitot tube/antenna set, resin/pe bomb set, PE radiator set and of course – proper color set from Vallejo.

My opinion on those is, that not everything is needed. However, this is only my perspective of modeling and you will most likely disagree with the most of it. Anyhow, here it goes: No on the bomb set and the PE instruments. Both will deteriorate the appearance instead of improving it. Pilots too /but some figure masters will strongly disagree here/.

Metal machine guns, antenna and pitot are mandatory, as well as metal gear struts combined with the weighted tires option. Photo-etch radiator set probably will make the Do-335 Anteater even more attractive.

As for the color set, since Vallejo are demanding I would suggest another approach. I have no troubles with those, but people often do and there is something else too. Once, not so long ago I heard a rumor about a possible collaboration between Zoukei-Mura and Mission Models Paints. Mission Models are far better paints than Vallejo and their derivatives. They are abundant in colors and I trust that they are the best match for the quality of the Do-335 Anteater. Maybe Mr. Paint too.


This is one insanely nice kit. The quality is unmatched. The details are perfect. The options for modeling are practically endless. Dornier Do-335 Anteater is huge in 32nd scale and that is demanding, both in modeling and space terms. Not for inexperienced modeler, this kit is designed in a way that will please even the most demanding glue sniffers. Even though a novice modeler won’t be able to comprehend the complexity of the kit, if one builds couple of Tamiya’s 48th scale Pfeils, this can be a step up from those, due to the brilliant instruction sheets and the out-of-this World engineering.

This kit is miracle, as with all Zoukei-Mura creations. The price is high, but please trust me on that, it is under-estimation of the quality that Japanese maker provides in return. Even if it was 50% more expensive, it would’ve deserved every single penny.

Highly recommended is an understatement. Saying that would be like saying that a tsunami wave is a slight water displacement around the shore. This Do-335 A-12 Anteater is a complex engineering miracle, a product of a genius mind. There is nothing on the market that comes close to it. From the packing to the very last tiny bit of plastic detail, it is a masterpiece. It is pleasing, intriguing and satisfying, deeply inspiring and in the same time humbling experience even for the top expert modeler.

It simply doesn’t get any better than this.


fouga magister 32nd scale from DACO - DN Models 20017 release

Fouga Magister in 32nd scale from DACO – set for 2017 release

Just recently a 2017 release for the new tool Fouga Magister CM.170 was announced at scalemates.com, one of my main sources of updates and information. This is the long awaited DACO release, which at the beginning was about to be in 48th scale eventually. Kinetic and AMK releases obviously filled the gap for 48th scale CM.170 and now the need for large scale model is even more evident. DACO promises highly accurate, very detailed kit of this legendary trainer. That includes engines, armament, few different versions and more. This plane is very interesting in appearance, due to the fact that its origins are embedded within a glider. It is very low profile aircraft, with two engines and with surprisingly long wingspan for a jet. Another distinctive feature is the V-shaped tail, also dating back from the glider base that was used for the design. The CM.170 was used widely, up until most modern times when Alpha Jet took most of its place in the Western Europe. It is a main competitor to another legendary airplane that begs for decent 32nd scale model - L-29 Delfin. L-29 was the basic trainer for the Eastern Block in Europe, while Fouga Magister was its competitor spread to the West. 32nd scale CM.170 renders from DACO promises highly detailed and up-to-date scale model kit, with very interesting options available. Just two weeks ago, at the Bourget salon - Paris Air Show - one old Fouga Flew and did a very interesting program of aerobatics. This means not only that the plane is legendary, but that it still brings some interest to people and inspire memories for many who flew it once. DACO will definitely fill the gap here and will set a new standard for the market where we have seen Trojan in 32nd scale and hopefully we are about to see Delfin and Alpha Jet. While waiting, enjoy the renders and let us all hope that this year we will see that beauty in plastic!
All pictures courtesy of Dacoproducts
he-219 uhu zoukei-mura unboxing review sws dn models

Heinkel He-219 Uhu 1/32 by Zoukei-Mura

He-219 Uhu is one of the most interesting airplanes used by the German Luftwaffe during World War II. Heinkel made a plane, which was a glimpse in the future and had the potential to be a multi-role airplane so very early in the aviation history. Alongside many other German projects, the aircraft featured amazing innovations, engineering design decisions and concepts. Heinkel He-219 was a night fighter, twin engine plane, featuring intercepting radar and ejection seats. It was also the first operational German WWII aircraft with tricycle landing gear. He-219 Uhu first flew in 1942 and debuted in the mid of 1943. Its first flights were very successful, showing the design capabilities and advantages. Before He-219 Uhu, British Mosquito fighter-bombers were considered untouchable. Pretty much on the get go, Uhu showed its superiority over those, as well among many others. The first version of He-219 Uhu was A-0 and was considered pre-production run of the plane. It is the subject of this review too. A-0 was the one of the most produced, with more than 100 of He-219 A-0 built. There were other versions to follow, most notable being A-2 and A-7. In total, little less than 300 of that type were produced. Very unfortunate for the Wehrmacht, since the full scale production of the plane would’ve caused significant troubles for the Allied forces and together with other genius projects could’ve changed outcome of the war. Not surprisingly, Zoukei-Mura chose The Boxart  of their He-219 Uhu to be as it is. Burning city beneath, bombed by an Allied Lancaster, who has been just shot down by the Uhu, defender of the Fatherland. Night bombing runs were something awful during the last days of WWII and this dramatic scenery was the sad reality back then. Unfortunately many civilians were killed, cities with wonderful architecture burned down to the ground. Those tragic events boost even more the impact of the boxart and make the kit for us – modelers – very tempting purchase. Sad fragment of history, but with power to impress! The box  itself is big. The cover of it - just mentioned above - looks like a typical box cover from soft yellow cardboard. There are some pictures of the built airplane on the side, plus some cautionary descriptions. On the other side there are pictures with highlights of this kit specific super-details. Those are built engine, landing gear, cockpit, etc. Very tempting at first glance. Trust me on that! Removing the cover, a fully covered cardboard box hide all the contents of the box. This looks similar to what Zvezda are doing lately as a standard but here is executed with finesse. The cardboard is not rough looking like Zvezda but rather delicate material. It is enclosed carefully, so attention is needed to open it and this extends the pleasure of opening the kit for the first time. It is made to be sturdy and to preserve the parts, of which we have so many inside!!! Sprues  are packed in individual plastic bags, each slightly larger than the sprue itself. They are made from light gray plastic and fill the box as well as the heart. We have many parts and its hard to point out the high’s on them. Actually, let’s start with the lows – There isn’t any. The plastic material is flexible and I mean more than the usual we are used to. It is not flimsy, just the perfect amount of flexibility that one might ask for. The ejector pin marks are mostly on places that will never bother you, the surfaces are clear and without sink marks or any defects. There are some things to be sanded and cleared with X-acto but everything is in perfectly acceptable boundaries. The winds lacks some rivets next to the panel lines. I cannot judge for imperfection here. Rather I would speculate, that this might’ve been the case with the airplane. Speed freaks among engineering stuff sometimes used to putty-out the riveting for more clear flow over the wings and this might’ve been the case here. Since I haven’t seen any He-219 Uhu wings up close and personal - just a fuselage – I can only be wondering about it. Engine  sprues are piece of art in any way. Zoukei-Mura went that far to replicate the pistons and the piston rods inside the cylinders. This is beyond everything I’ve seen. Way beyond. The turbochargers are there and with pretty decent size. Daimler-Benz DB603 12 cylinder power plant was used on Me-410, Do-217 and Do-335 and it is a beast of an engine. Here we have two of these, hence – two sprues with details for each. Words have very little power to describe the parts that Zoukei-Mura made in scale here, so I would suggest to look closely at the pictures. Astonishing work! The cockpit detail  is pretty much up to the same standard as the engines. Zoukei-Mura’s kits are somewhat esoteric plastic modeling, so you can expect nothing but the best. Germans were the first to introduce the color indications in the airplane cockpits. This helps a lot during intense flying, being able to comprehend the general situation just by looking at the colored area – gauges are red for trouble, yellow for limits or upcoming trouble and green for normal operations. Handles and such: Blue is oxygen, red is fuel, yellow/brown is usually oil-related stuff or such.   This makes the cockpit of a German warplane one colorful and self-explanatory pit, especially beautiful when scaled down. The plastic that Zoukei-Mura gave us with their He-219 Uhu is taken to the extremities. Details are presented up to the size of the needle of the gauge. Artificial horizon’s line is visible, horizontal situation indicator /HSI/ airplane mark and the compass rose – all in all: everything you can dream of in 32nd scale is there. Seats of the cockpit are beautiful too. Seatbelts are molded with texture clearly visible, plus the fact that there are many rivets included too. Depending on the manufacturer we usually get either PE belts and plain seats, or molded belts and cushions without texture or riveted seat or backs. Here, with this Zoukei-Mura’s He-219 Uhu we have everything in one place. Out of the box. Metal Struts  included were a surprise for me. I thought that since Zoukei-Mura sell metal landing gear parts as a separate set, I won’t find any in the kit. I was wrong. There are metal struts OOTB and I am not sure what is the difference. I assume that there is a better set, although I saw nothing wrong with the ones I found inside. They will require some polishing and cleaning up, but nothing other than the usual. Plus there are no any specific reason that comes into my mind why would I buy another set of metal struts when I have a perfect set inside my box. Well, there is one and you can get it from the website. I would stick with OOTB though. Just my two cents. Alongside with those there is a metal part which goes inside of one of the fuel tanks. The fuel cell gets closed so this won’t bother anybody and will keep the balance of the bird. Let’s not forget that this was the first operational German Warplane with tricycle gear and the weight distribution here is slightly different. Zoukei-Mura did us a favor, thinking of a way to hide the weight needed and also include it in the kit. Another small benefit to the kit. One of many… Clear parts  are two clear sprues with canopy parts and one slightly lighter gray plastic sprue with frames for the canopy. Zoukei-Mura has given us two options: use the standard practice and paint the clear parts in the color of the frame after masking everything, then paint the outer color and unmask. The second way to go is to attach the clear parts to the plastic frame which can be done after painting the frame itself or at least give you a different option to go. Having the frame separate gives you one more option – damaged airplane, abandoned sometime in the spring of 1945. This isn’t going to be a pretty sight but it is something that might be based on the engineering option for the clear parts here. Overall quality of the transparent parts is great, with clear molding and without the usual bending of the view when looking through them. This is something that I’ve seen already with Zoukei-Mura’s kits in their F-4J set. Superb work! Instruction sheet This is something that requires more attention than any other chapter in my review of this He-219 Uhu. The instruction sheet comes as a thick book, made from great material with simulated weathering of the colors. The first glimpse you get and you will think of WWII. I can guarantee. Inside, everything is arranged exactly like in a book. With chapters for every different stage of the build each one starting at specific page and arranged in a specific way. There is of course some He-219 Uhu history, which is followed by neatly arranged building process. This process is described very thoroughly and it is done in a way to ease up the work of every modeler. Although you should be pretty much a pro to get involved with Zoukei-Mura kit, you will be surprised how thoroughly everything is described here to help even the novice get through the built like a breeze. Suggestions are made, notes and explanations. Very pleasant surprise for me was the fact that almost every important detail is described. Even knowing your way around airplanes like I do, you can easily be lost in which is which when it comes down to different design. For example the antennas. Or different technical decisions made by Heinkel. With this instruction sheet everything is depicted and you will not only build easily but you will learn a lot. Options are provided and carefully depicted so you won’t miss a thing. At the end of the booklet we have the camouflages chosen to be presented with this kit and the description of the sprues. For Japanese market there are additional sheets, probably for ordering spare parts or spare sprues. I am just guessing here, since I cannot read Japanese. But most likely that is the case. There is a contact form and for those in the rest of the World – an email. Very sophisticated booklet with innovative design, deep explanation and demonstration of understanding the subject at very high level. Decals  are made by Cartograf. They are the best decal manufacturer in the world, producing the fines, thinnest and most delicate product available. Cartograf decals are easy to work with, and In my opinion are a must for every serious kit maker or at least for every high-priced large scale kit of their lines. There aren’t many pictures of the He-219 Uhu and it is difficult to be absolutely precise with the technical markings and small details needed to be there as decals. However, from what I see with this sheet, we have a pretty nice job done by Zoukei-Mura. Color letters on the markings are vivid, yet realistic, small technical markings are there but not overly many and swastikas are here too. As you know they are missing from some kits. Like for example the other He-219 Uhu available in that same scale – Revell #04666. Of course, Zoukei-Mura and Revell are aiming towards very different customers and the level of execution in between those two shows us a huge gap. Nevertheless, Revell’s decals are usually quite nice and many of their models are sold just because of them. In this particular case though, Zoukei-Mura did it in a way that is unbeatable. We have two options for the aircraft featured in the sheet: He-219 A-0, Wk.Nr.190012, 2./NJG1 And He-219 A-0, Wk.Nr.190070, STAB I./NJG1 Masks A nice addition to the kit are the canopy masks. They are made out of thin green material, similar to the one DN Models use, but slightly thinner. It is different than Tamiya and while other Japanese company give us masks for their 1/32 scale kits which are to be cut by us, here that’s not the case. We have delicately pre-cut set and pretty much self explanatory. I haven’t tested such masks yet, but from the look of them and the fact that I have seen my fair share of masking products at DN Models, I bet those will be very good. The fact that the material is different than the usual yellow masking tape is too quite satisfactory. Resin part Separately packed and attached to a tiny instruction sheet is the resin add-on. It is a wing light, which is to be installed on one of the spars. The instruction sheet to which is attached feature brief explanation about the differences of the material and the glue needed in this case. Zoukei-Mura kits are not for beginners, but the company did the modeler a courtesy, explaining everything needed to complete the project successfully. Such small things make that /and other Zoukei-Mura’s/ kit extraordinary. It is certain, that when engineered, the kit was thought trough by professional modelers with the mindset of providing something superior. And they pull that off. Conclusion: I really do not know where to begin with this kit. That’s why I will start with its alternatives. In order of appearance, Tamiya’s 1/48th scale Uhu is the first decent kit released on the market. It features great engineering but lacks some of the detailing and it is limited by its scale. Next decent kit is the Revell He-219 Uhu. It features more versions but it is in the same heavyweight category as Zoukei-Mura and they are pretty much incomparable. Maybe the price if that is your general factor when buying hobby products. Revell lacks the complexity and the finesse and in the same time Zoukei-Mura have elevated 32nd scale to a whole new lever here. Just remember the pistons and the piston rods molded. Besides that fact, Zoukei-Mura offer few aftermarket options for their Uhu – figures, tires, metal struts, photo-etch, metal antenna or guns. The built product will be definitely highly superior compared to Revell even if you spice up German Uhu with a lot of aftermarket. It is simply Zoukei’s way of doing things. I have seen hundreds of kits and I do aircraft mostly in 32nd scale. I thought that Tamiya’s Spitfire and Mustang are the best in business until I’ve seen this one. In addition to the kit itself OOTB, here we can purchase a lot more directly from the same company which eliminates the need to do big modifications and go bananas with scratch building and improving. Zoukei-Mura also provide a “Concept Note” booklet for their kits, which is a supporting information on the subject and how to build it better. It is actually very useful tool. I’ve seen it in their different subjects – F-4J and Do-335 and I am pretty sure I will get He-219 Uhu when I start building. It is true, that the kit is a “hard to get”. You shouldn’t be expecting to find it in your local store. Either get it directly from the Manufacturer or look where to order it from. But that’s the beauty of it. If you went that far down the road to get Zoukei-Mura kit, then you are a pro for sure. And with such kit with practically no real competitors on the market, you will be assured to have something really unique in your collection. I am completing this review quite speechless. I can only summarize in one sentence: That is the best kit I’ve ever seen so far – no substitute for it. You can get this kit here: Heinkel He-219 Uhu by Zoukei-Mura 1/32 Zoukei-Mura's Concept Note: Heinkel He-219 Uhu Model Reference Book

Magnets for augmented reality in scale modeling

Magnets for augmented reality in scale modeling

Great painting, awesome weathering, bright colors, perfect shapes – all these are key elements for a more realistic looking scale mode. Maybe the only better thing is to make something strange with your model, for example to embed lights, glue the flaps and the ailerons in an angled position, or else – make them movable! That last thing is what it is all about when it comes to using magnets for scale modeling. magnets
                                                                                                        Source: www.coolmagnetman.com
There are magnets with different shapes and sizes, and some of the smallest ones can reach a thickness of only 1 mm. Thanks to these magnets, you could make some details in your plastic model to move and rotate, for example, moveable flaps, slats and elevators. The small magnets can be used just about everywhere in the plastic model, even if you want to make detachable ordnance like drop tanks, bombs and missiles. This will change completely the appearance of your finished scale model and if you really use magnets in as many places as possible – your model could transform itself into 2 or 3 models in 1.
                                                                                                                 Source: www.amazon.co.uk

Different applications of the magnets:

  • Magnet attracted by another magnet. This opt gives the strongest force of attraction and according to the strengths of the different magnets – the total force accumulates and can reach up to 1 kg. This specific application is required for places, where a lot of force is needed to slightly bent the detail and ensure the best possible fit.
  • Metal surface attracted by a magnet. This is a slightly less powerful solution, but in some cases it is all that`s enough to make one part attract to another part safely and sufficiently. The size of the metal surface is from another importance for the total strength of attraction. This opt is recommended for smaller details like attaching only weapon pylons to the underwing mounting holes.
  • Magnets with space between. According to the size of the magnets – they can provide a great force of attraction, but only a small amount of it is needed to ensure the proper fit. Another case is when the detail has to be attracted by the magnet and to move freely in the same time, such as the doors of a landing wheel bay. In this case, the magnets can be used in the opposite poles to hold the door closed when the landing wheel is retracted, or vice-versa – the magnets can be glued in a way to repel each other, which will help the doors stay open.
                                                                                                          Source: www.dansdata.com

How to conceal the magnets for an even greater augmented reality?

There are numerous ways to hide the magnets by embedding into the plastic, by painting the magnets with the same color as the surrounding area, and more. Take a look at a couple more ways to conceal a magnet in a scale model:
  • Add wires, cables or other extra details over the magnets. This means that you will prevent the magnets from a direct contact and thus the attraction force will be smaller, however, it would be impossible to identify the shapes of a magnet if it is hidden under other details.
  • Changing the texture of the magnets. Even a small piece of masking tape will be enough to change the glossy texture of a magnet and to make it almost invisible.
  • A proper weathering. From glue traces around or even over the magnet, to using simple drybrushing techniques – there are plenty of ways to hide the magnet by weathering the area.
Of course, the use of magnets in scale modeling has its own challenges and cons, but let`s face it – the magnets are the key for augmented reality.
                                                                                                            Source: www.amazon.com

Masks vs. Decals – top differences which will help you to pick the right technique

Masks vs. Decals - top differences

Painting decals is a much easier solution for the final touches of your scale model and the best way to do it is to use pre-cut masks. They have many other unsurpassed advantages, but the decals like we all know them make no exception too. The decals are colorful, very delicate and captivating, but with the masks – you actually paint the decal by yourself. Check out the other top differences between masks and decals.


The decals are by far the best solution for models in a very small scale, such as 1:144 or 1/72 models. The finest lettering of the tiny decals is contrasting and much more pronounced, than if you use masks as decals. Not to mention the technical difficulties when replacing the smallest decals with masks, so undoubtly it is recommended to use high quality decals for the smallest scale models of tanks, aircrafts, cars or other vehicles. Another great advantage of the decals is the big “open time” for adjusting the decal itself – first wet the surface and the decal, then place the decal onto its position by sliding it over the wet surface, and touch the decal with something dry to get rid of the moisture, and the decal is set. By contrast to the masks, which are sticky and can`t be adjusted once placed onto the surface. They have to be detached and attached again after the small correction. And the third main difference is that once dry, the decals usually have to be protected with a coat of lacquer to seal the surface and prepare it for a further treatment. decals, paint masks
                                                                                                         Source: www.hyperscale.com


The masks – they require just a hint more attention during the application, because the exact location is essential for a good result. Although slightly transparent and the surface of the model is visible, the masks have an adhesive layer that restricts their free movement like with the decals. Second, this adhesive surface of the masks makes them much better for application over curved surfaces, than the typical decals. Third, by using masks, you actually take full advantage of a number of loopholes for finalizing your scale model. There is no need of chemical setting solutions like with the decals, nor need of decal setters, etc. There is no waiting time too, because the greatest difference in this method is in the use of paint instead of decals. A fast-drying paint like an acrylic paint provides a very quick drying time and the masks are ready for peeling off of the model almost immediately after painting. So, the next major difference is in the opportunity to adjust the color or the nuance of the paint – something that is impossible if using decals. masks, paint masks masks vs, paint masks, decals

Sukhoi Su-34 /Su-32FN/ Fullback – Kitty Hawk 1:48

Su-32FN as I remember it from my teens, or Su-34 as it is more popular nowadays, is one of the coolest looking multi-role jets of the Russians. Up until the Syrian war, and its short participation in it, Su-34 was somehow forgotten project, pushed to the second row by Su-30 and its derivatives. Probably for commercial reasons, Russians decided to use Su-34 alongside with the old Su-24 and bomb in Syria. Results so far are one Su-24 shot down, and total success for the Fullback. Maybe the reasons for that are various, but whatever the case is, Su-34 deserves a lot more attention that it is getting and not only - it deserves a nice scale model representation. So far, Italeri and Zvezda had Su-32FN / Su-34 in 72nd scale but as you can expect, the quality and the accuracy of those were quite low. During 2016, Hobby Boss promised to release 48th scale tooling of it, which was promising /and still is/ but associated delays with it brought some disappointment. We are soon to enter in the third quarter of the year, and the kit is still nowhere close. Kitty Hawk, obviously saw the gap here, and announced their own tooling of Su-34 Fullback. It is hard to say /from this point of view/ which one will be better. Trumpeter and HobbyBoss in 48th scale tend to be a bit simplified kits. Kitty Hawk with their 48th scale line proven to be very satisfactory, but their MiG-25 showed some engineering flaws and inaccuracies. Of course it is understandable for such a project - MiG-25 being very obscure subject - but same goes for the Su-34 Fullback. Anyhow, in 48th scale now we have two Su-34s upcoming, with most likely very different engineering approaches. The scale is big, and probably this will be the top scale for KittyHawk, however, if the subject becomes famous, HobbyBoss are very likely to expand it via Trumpeter into 32nd scale monster. I will be surprised if this is the end of the 48th scale Su-34 Fullback battle. I assume that very soon Kinetic or AMK or whoever will try to score with the same subject. I am not sure how much Su-34s Russians managed to sell after their Syria campaign, but one thing is certain - they definitely will sell a lot from plastic!  

Mirage 2000 in 32nd scale from Kitty Hawk

Mirage 2000 in 32nd scale is something that I wait for for a long long time. There is no decent kits of that famous French jet fighter, let alone in 32nd scale. The moment that Kitty Hawk announced that they will issue a new tooling in the Large scale during 2017, was the moment when I started counting the days! Mirage planes are somewhat forgotten and overshadowed by the MiGs and the Fs, but they have their place in the history. In fact, they did more for the jet fighter development than many others, especially when it comes down to aerodynamics and combat dynamics. France is one great country and along with their food, art, music and electronics, French do know how to make aircraft, especially fighter jets. Mirage 2000 is in service with many air forces around the world: France, Egypt, Greece, India, Peru, Taiwan, UAE, Brazin and Qatar. It is one very capable jet, single engine, multi-role and highly efficient. If you don't take my word for it, just watch the movie Chevaliers du Ciel or Sky Fighters, where most of the scenes are real and shot mostly with Mirage 2000. This plane is a beauty, and there is no doubt about it. The only thing we are about to learn soon, is how many parts the kit will contain, its engineering features and goodies in the box. By goodies I mean: photo-etch, decal options, interior features, possibly engine. Hopefully we will have many decal options with standard and desert camo as well. For the demo schemes I assume that DN Models will come up with some mask set, as well as some other decal companies out there. There are many attractive Mirages from the Tiger Meets during the years, so stay tuned! It is too early to predict what quality will be the kit. But from what we've seen so far from Kitty Hawk it looks like it would be a nice thing. Additionally, knowing that there is no substitute, the kit will be a must for every modern jet fighter collector, especially in 32nd scale. Very soon I will do a more thorough review of the kit and hopefully an unboxing video. It is only a matter of time! Thanx Kitty Hawk!

MiG-21PFM vs. A-4E The Sound of … Vietnam

Eduard constantly surprises us with wonderful repacked kits. They are not only in new boxes, but sometimes elevated to another level, with metal or resin parts, great decals options or dual combos. Recently, they re-packed into super-kits several F-4 Phantoms, utilizing the Academy new tooling, alongside with their fine Brassin and Photo-etch lines. That was great, and then they did even more for the Vietnam Air War fans - they released Vietnam Scooters - repacked Hasegawa A-4 with new and amazing decals and a lot more goodies. I almost bought the last one, because I wanted an A-4 to be converted into a Top Gun Aggressor but decided to wait a bit, hoping that they will hit us with Aggressors set - again repacked A-4 from Hasegawa. Instead, Eduard did better. They announced a limited edition kit called "The Sound of Silence". Inside - two aircraft /so Dual Combo/ - a MiG-21PFM and an A-4E. First being Eduard's nearly perfect -21 tooling and the latter: Hasegawa so-far-unsuppressed in quality A-4 tooling. So far a hit, you might say. Things don't stop here though. This is a VERY Limited Edition kit, and as far as my attempts go, it was unobtainable from regular Eduard dealers. Only Eduard themselves. Even cooler than that is the fact that there are to be only 1000 of these on the market. 999, considering the one we are reviewing here. But yes, the good news doesn't stop here. So, let's take a look inside of the box, to see what we are dealing with actually: The box comes in a sky blue colors, without the typical Eduard screeming colors. Eduard is not spelled properly but EduArt instead. This is no coincidence, and a few rows below you will see why. Opening the box shows up several plastic bags, separated properly to show two different kits. First we have light gray plastic in two bags /clear parts inside of them too/, which represents the A-4E. A little white paper states that this is Made in Japan, and it is IMPORTED by Eduard. Or EduArt. The other three plastic bags inside holds dark grey plastic of Eduard's MiG-21 sprues /2 bags/ and the clear sprue for the transparent parts. This is the well known MiG-21PFM from the -21 Eduard /Edu8237/ series, which is second to none in the business. It is absolutely the same thing which they sell as a single Profi-Pack MiG-21PFM. On the bottom of the box, there are a cardboard leaflet, photo-etch parts, a bag of resin materials, decal sheet and masks. Masks are for both aircraft, common for Eduard high-end kits. Photo-etch parts for the MiG-21PFM include the cockpit deck and sides in colored etch material and brass colored PE parts for additional add-ons on the plane. A-4E photo-etch sheet is only one, mostly cockpit details, again colored. On it, there is engraved lettering: "Vietnam Scooters". Most likely it was taken from Edu1197, limited edition set that I mentioned above. Nevertheless, the quality of all the PE materials is superb, typical for Eduard. I consider them the best in that business. There is a bag with two resin parts. Those are for the A-4E Skyhawk seat. It is very nice to have that, since the OOTB seat is not exactly up to today's standards and that way Eduard makes this a truly Superkit, with PE, Resin, Masks and beautiful decals in one box. As for the decals: The are printed in Cartograf - Made in Italy - and are very high quality. Again - this is the best decal company in the World. /If you are following me here, you will see that Eduard packed mostly "the Best" in the business into this box/. They feature 60% technical markings, mostly for the MiG-21PFM fuselage, wings, pylons and rockets. Duh! The rest are markings for the Vietnamese Air Force /which are not that much/ and the colorful decals on the A-4E, which are typical for the era and are truly inspiring. Overall the decal sheet is large but with very thin decals, so with the quality we are getting from Cartograf its all a matter of time and nothing more. The cardboard leaflet is with short description of the idea of the boxart and the Vietnam air war. Basically, we have fully loaded A-4E on a typical bombing run over Vietnam, chased by an intercepting MiG-21PFM. That was common during the late 60s, where this supposedly happened.  The leaflet represents smaller version of the boxart, which is created by Koike Shigeo. He is well known for his work on Hasegawa boxarts, famous mostly with almost photographic accuracy. Made in Japan again. Enough said. Here we come to the most important thing of the kit.
the leaflet
It came packed in a huge box, the size of a 3rd of a laundry machine packing. That is because the bonus with this 1000 pcs Limited Edition EduArt beauty is not the dual combo set, nor the PE or the Brassin. It is an A2 sized Art from Koike Shigeo, same as seen on the box. It is carefully packed in a cardboard envelope a little over A2 size. This is for you to frame and hang on the wall. It is big, beautiful and accurate. All characteristics, which implies price. Such aviation art is often quite expensive, like $500 or more, and here we get it as a bonus. Oh my! Eduard...or EduArt! That poster alone worth the money I spent for the kit, which actually is pretty affordable. I got the PFM as a stand-alone kit recently, and if I oughta bought the Vietnam Scooters set, I would've payed more than buying "The Sound Of Silence" dual combo + aviation art. Tricky! In the same time the best scale model investment for me for the last 5 years. Just perfect! I won't spend much time explaining the qualities of each kit here, they are widely discussed. Also, on my YouTube channel, you will be able to find review of the PFM, PF and many others from the MiG-21 line quite soon. I am pretty sure if it comes down to buying this kit, you are well aware of what you will be getting. I must conclude though, that this set is a great deal. Investment wise as well. With only 1000 pieces on the market, it will very soon worth 2 or 3 times the price and if Eduard does not re-release that in the near future, in a decade...who knows!? Thanx to Eduard for this wonderful present to the modeling society, A-4E & MiG-21PFM and Vietnam Air War fans. It is great to have such company in the modeling world. Czechs must be very proud! Visit Eduard store, and hurry up! There will be no kits left soon...

New from Zoukei-Mura – Pre-Painted Bases

Zoukei-Mura is not just another company for scale models, they are one of the best out there. The abstract view and approach that they have in regards to scale model engineering and execution is unmatched even by the most advanced and innovative competitors on that market. We all know about their amazing line of airplanes, which are sophisticated and challenging. We also know that they are oriented towards the most serious modelers on the market. This September, Zoukei-Mura's montly advertisement is particularly interesting. They presented us with new items, shifted slightly from the line we are used to see from the Japanese company. It is very interesting actually, because they now offer Pre-Painted bases made from resin. The bases are completed by /obviously!/ professional modelers, and in the end they give us wonderful result for price lower, than what we can get if we build them ourselves. Minus the time too, of course. Zoukei-Mura announced a total of 12 bases, in both scales: 1/32 and 1/48. They are made from Resin and are manufactured and completed in Japan, which pretty much guarantees the best possible quality. The sizes varies according to the scale. For 1/32 is 6mm thickness and diameter of 295mm, and for 48th scale is 5mm thickness and diameter of 245mm. They represent different airfields, panzer fields, temporary runways and aircraft wooden carrier decks. Obviously - more than enough for Zoukei-Mura kits and more. Especially if you are a fan of 32nd scale airplanes like myself. The other thing featured in Septembers monthly advertisement is a decent range of different resin figure sets. We all know that for a diorama, this is extremely important and makes your kit more vivid and with stunning appearance. Zoukei Mura provided Horten ground crew, Ta-152 Ground crew, Ta-152 Ace pilots and flight assistant sets, as well as a pilot's figure, all of them in 48th scale. They fit the 48th line of Zoukei kits, and alongside with the diorama pads are extremely useful and time saving add-ons to your kits. Of course, as with the pads, these crew sets can be used with different kits from different companies, but there are no real competitors for Zoukei-Mura's quality and there is no doubt about it. You can find additional information on the leaflet, or through contacting your local SWS supplier shop. I believe that pictures by themselves are convincing enough and you will be very pleased if you decide to elevate your hobby to the Zoukei level of business!