nato fighter bundesfighter unboxing review dn models

Unboxing Eduard`s 1/48 Limited Edition kit – F-104 NATO+ Bundesfighter

The amazing legacy kit of the F-104 NATO-fighter and F-104 Bundes-fighter from Eduard is unexpectedly something rather unique. It is something that I saw for the first time and it was very exciting. It comes to something like two kits in one box: the NATO+Bundesfighter. The box looks double sided, but it`s not exactly. It is a blank box wrapped in a thin cardboard wrapping with two gorgeous colorful boxarts, respectively of the NATOfighter from the one side and of the Bundesfighter on the other side. Inside the box, there is one big bag with plastic parts and a lot of “other materials”. Let`s continue the unboxing review with the content of the kit.   What`s in the box
  • Plastic parts: they are packed at once and fortunately they are not a lot. This keeps them safe although the tight packing. The plastic parts are indeed for only one F-104 model and contain less than 100 pieces, which is not that much for a 1/48 scale kit. Yet the Starfighter is a rather small plane from the middle of the last century and its construction is rather simplified – one engine, one-seat cockpit, a vertical T-tail and definitely its most iconic feature are the small wings. The quality of the plastic parts is very good because the extensive riveting is clearly noticeable. The fuselage is assembled by two long side pieces, which creates the bulk of the model. The plastic parts of this kit are also spread out within around 10 small sprues, which ensures quick and easy orientation. And there is also one small black part with 4 small rubber tubes/caps for smoother movement of some parts.
  • Paper parts: they are a lot. Since this is just about literally 2 kits in 1 – almost everything else (except the model itself) is doubled. There are two big typical Eduard-style instructions – one for the NATOfighter and one for the Bundesfighter. The main differences in these instructions are in the colorful markings opts. The big decal sheets are the next important “part” that is doubled – respectively for 5 NATOfighters and for 5 Bundesfighters. The choice of 10 different airframes out of this single kit is something very exciting. Next, a small yellow sheet with pre-cut masks for the canopy and the tires is another great accessory in that box, just like the small piece with transparent films for the HUD.
  • Surprises from Eduard: it wouldn`t be a proper Eduard Limited Edition kit without the magnificent Eduard surprises in the form of photo etched and resin upgrades. Most of all – it comes to 2 almost identical PE sheets and 2 bags with almost identical Resin parts. The PE sheets include parts mostly for the cockpit of this F-104 kit. The resin parts include two different seats and a few small upgrades like nodes for the fuselage of the NATOfighter version of this kit.
  Pros of the kit Without a doubt, this F-104 Eduard kit offers much more advantages than you have expected, so the pros are much more than the cons. For instance, let`s take the fact that you will have a lot of left parts to upgrade your further models. Furthermore:
  • PE and Resin upgrades. They are proposed for two different airframes so when you build one of the 10 different airframes – you will have a complete set of PE for another F-104. And one resin ejector seat as well, which could fit in other planes that used a seat from the same type;
  • Extensive riveting. The F-104 is a rather old plane and is literally dotted by rivets that are clearly visible. The plastic parts have a good amount of rivets to represent a very good replica of the real plane in terms of rivets and other panel details;
  • Very well detailed nozzle. Usually, the OOB nozzle is not exactly the best choice, but not in this case. The plastic nozzle for this F-104 has beautiful highlights of the turkey feathers, as well as plenty of small inner and outer details, and the best part is that the outer edges are not too thick;
  • A lot of optional markings. There are decals for 10 different markings in this kit, ranging from shiny silver Starfighters, through Starfighters with green camouflages, to planes from a very wide period of time, planes from different Air Forces, and more. The big sheets with decals offer enormous options of airframes;
  • Positionable parts. Although small, this kit offers you to choose between landing gears up and down, canopy open or closed, airbrakes open or closed, and many else. All the control surfaces are separate parts so they can be glued in many different settings;
  • Easiness of assembly. This kit contains only a few dozens of plastic parts and most of them are rather large and flat pieces. This makes it suitable for not so advanced modelers who prefer the quick and easy assembly, and yet the gluing of the PE and Resin parts will require your pro skills to make this F-104 model better;
Cons of the kit Actually, I couldn`t find any major disadvantage or con of this kit even just by looking at the plastic parts through their big bag. Perhaps, only the lack of ordnance should be listed as the only con of this kit, but let`s face it – the F-104 is a rather small plane with so small wings, so to see its clean silhouette is a privilege. Why this kit is so unique The NATO+Bundesfighter kit from Eduard can not be compared to any other kit, because it actually has parts for two models, except the plastic parts. They are for just one model. This leaves an enormous variety of options to choose from when building your model. From a different ejector seat, to different markings and different cockpit configurations – the opts are numerous. You can get this kit here: NATO+Bundesfighter And the two separate versions: NATO Only and Bundesfighter Only
All pictures are courtesy of Eduard

F-4S – the Newest Phantom II from Zoukei-Mura

F-4S is one of the most advanced versions of the Phantom II aircraft. Also, it is unfortunately the last modification too. Little introduction:  The S variant first flew in 1977. It is an aircraft with improved stronger airframe and undercarriage elements, new electrical wiring, highly improved radar system, smokeless engines, slats and digital weapons control system. All this combined, gave very high percentage of improvement over the J variant, which is considered by many for the ultimate Phantom. Smokeless engines, alongside with the slats and stiffer airframe were the most important features though. Even though already outdated by F-14 and F-15, in the late 70s and early 80s Phantom was still quite a menace in the skies. With those features included, the service life was extended and a decent dose of steroids was injected into the smokey Joe. Well, with it - not being so smokey anymore. The boxart: Zoukei-Mura announced their plans to do the F-4S model in the beginning of 2017, just weeks after their J Phantom hit the shelves. The boxart of the SWS No.5 is a bit different from the F-4J - more aggressive and more modern looking. We have a afterburning monster taking-off of a carrier deck, with nose gear strut extended for high angle of attack. The aircraft wears the high-visibility insignia of the US NAVY's VF-161, number 100 from USS Midway. On the boxart we have little logo from Boeing company stating that this is an Official Licensed Product. This is something that I am used to see on Italeri boxes, but it is wonderful, that Zoukei-Mura got an acknowledgement from Boeing Company and made their /formerly Mcdonell Douglas/ F-4 an official product even though with a new brand name. There is also the dark blue around the box as well as the U.S. Flag  accompanying the pictures of the build plane. Unfortunately, we have everything written in Japanese only, but the pictures tells the story pretty well. Storming through the clouds of steam with the afterburners on is also pretty self-explanatory. The Sprues: This is a re-tooling of Zoukei Mura's SWS No.4 F-4J Phantom II. It is not a completely new kit, and there is a reason why - differences mentioned above, (although substantial) were made on the existing J frames and it is practically the same thing that the real company and Zoukei-Mura did. The latter one did it in 48th scale though. We have the same plastic material - dark grey plastic, with very good flexibility, wonderful sanding qualities and more than superb detailing. Everything is sharp, accurate and phantastic! New ones: The new sprues that Zoukei-Mura added for the F-4S are very similar to the old one and feature little differences. The sprue with the two halves of the fuselage features new parts, but if you are not careful, you won't be able to tell the difference at first glance. Same goes for the sprue with the upper part of the wings and the lower part, being the belly of the phantom, incorporating the fuselage and the lower wings. Missile sprue features improved and finer details. Usually the missiles of 48th scale planes are criticized due to the thickness of the tiny stabilizers. Also, the way that things are assembled or are being engineered displeases modelers. Zoukei-Mura improved some details, in order to avoid that and give better experience overall. The good old ones: The sprues well known from the J kit are the rest in the box actually. They are surprisingly well done, beating Academy on almost every level. And Academy Phantom was considered the best until recently. With the appearance of the Zoukei-Mura's J, that was the end of the reign. The only let down are still the nozzles, which I think is not a coincidence. There are Eduard Brassin Nozzles for the J variant, so we might be pretty sure that soon we will get the S-type too! There are also Eduard nozzles for Academy, for those who intend to complain! The clear parts are superb. The transparency is not 100%, which IMHO makes them better than the usual. Absolutely clear sprues cause an effect of exaggeration which teases the eye and can easily be spotted on shows. With Zoukei-Mura's style, everything looks quite realistic, even in 48th scale. We have moulded just enough rivets, beautiful panel lines and every bit of detail needed for the perfect phantom. Zoukei-Mura did their job pretty well, but that is not news. We know that since the J-type release which we witnessed 4 months ago. You cannot expect any troubles with this kit, nor unusual complications. Everything is done wonderfully! Differences that Zoukei-Mura described in their newsletter are: ●Main wings 1. Front slat (4 points) 2. Slender fence added to the folding part of the main wings 3. Different shape of the external wing tip ●Cockpit 4. Half-moon part over the back seat of the central canopy 5. Back mirror added on the upper surface of the rear canopy 6. Cockpit optical sight and cockpit panels (front and rear) 7. Control stick ●Fuselage 8. EL light panels (formation lights) of nose, fuselage, wing edges, vertical tail 9. Fuselage top antenna changed from 3 places to 1 10. Side antenna added upon the air intake 11. Different shape of the ram air intake on the left side of the nose ●Fuselage underside 12. No antenna behind the front gear storage box (installed on the J-type) 13. Different shape of the antenna under the right air intake 14. Reinforcing panels and underside of the central fuselage reproduced 15. Different shape and position of the louver under the nose 16. Different shape of the antenna beside the airbrake, below the main wings Markings: Unfortunately, there is only one option included in this kit, just like we had it with the F-4J. Here, the Phantom represented is number 100 from VF-161, based on USS Midway. It features high-vis insignia and markings, black tail with red lightning crossing through it. Quite typical for the era and pretty attractive for modeling. Zoukei-Mura offers aftermarket decals for their J variant, and quite soon I am betting on S-type decals too. As you can guess, F-4S, even being the last mod is abundant in color variations and probably, you will be able to find something interesting and different than the one inside the box. Companies usually give us many painting variations, varying from 2-3 to 7-8, even more sometimes. The decision of being so specific is something that will raise some eyebrows but it is what it is. Extra Parts and Add-ons: Once the J-type went for sale, Zoukei-Mura announced several aftermarket sets on their website. Those featured weighted wheels, which are quite nice and I believe - a must  for a proper phantom. They are suitable for J and S, as well as for C and D. The other two upcoming F-4s from Zoukei. Same goes for the struts. A metal substitute is available, also suitable for the four phantom modifications. Both of these are indispensable in terms of usefulness. The wheels are specialty for the juries at the shows and the struts, well, you should see the size of the F-4 in 48th scale and you will get my drift. Then we have a PE set for J/S cockpit, which I am not a fan of, since the parts in the kit looks good enough for me and besides, PE sets for cockpits often gives 2D appearance with odd appearance in color. This is only me here, many will enjoy this set a lot. Besides it looks awfully lot like Eduard PE set, who are known to be the best in business so many will find that attractive. Alongside with that there is a color set from Vallejo paints, with bonus airbrush cleaner. The paints are chosen for the J/S variants and this is good option here, if you know how to deal with Vallejo acrylics. The colors are something which a lot of modelers struggle when it comes down to F-4, especially for the belly area. So if you know your way around Vallejo/MIG/AK paints, I would say go for it. The last thing I want to mention is not an add-on or accessory set. It is a book from Zoukei-Mura, featuring three builds of F-4s, built from three modelers chosen by Zoukei-Mura. There are reference images, building processes and many more, overall being a guide on how-to complete your Phantom in the best way possible. It is called a Concept Note, for those who haven't dealt with Zoukei-Mura kits. It is important especially for those who does not have contact with the real F-4 nearby them. It will give you great ideas and additional knowledge for the airplane, as well as tips and tricks from master modelers who already built Zoukei-Mura Phantastic F-4. DN Model's modest contribution: f-4s zoukei mura dn models canopy wheels mask set 1/48 phantom II sws no.5 Canopy and wheels masking set is available at DN Model's website, designed for this kit. It might not be much, at least not like the aftermarket Resin and PE parts we are about to witness in the near future, but masks are what we do at DN Models, and we decided to give our best to accompany this kit with one very useful product for the modelers Worldwide. Zoukei-Mura kits in 32nd scale that I own and reviewed here featured masks but for whatever reason ZM left the phantom without them. This isn't a coincidence in my opinion, and as with the nozzles there is an idea behind all that. Thankfully, that gave us the option to design a set of our own and be a part of the Zoukei-Mura's Phantom Project. Conclusion: I want to start with Cons of this kit. They are two. First one are the nozzles. They are far from what Zoukei-Mura showed as quality in this kit. As I mentioned before I believe this is on purpose. After all, aftermarket companies deserve little room for work, which eventually was the case with the masks /thank you for that, ZM!/. I believe that Zoukei-Mura could've added perfect ones but they left it out due to the reason stated above. Second con in my opinion is the single painting option. I know that there will be many aftermarket decals and Zoukei-Mura will probably add something from their own into that. But still. Comparing the kit with Eduard's super kits /repacked Academy/, where there are 5-6 or more options, it seems kinda sparse here. But since the overall look is good, I think I can live with it. Now onto the Pros of the kit. There are so many, that I don't even know where to begin with. I gotta admit - I am a fan of 1/32 planes. But this is a brilliant kit, far better than Tamiya's 32nd scale Phantom. The detail is superb, every surface is thin and the edges are even sharp. There are no doubt about it, this is the Ultimate Phantom in every scale for the moment. Probably for quite some time in the future too. It is basically the same quality as the J version, with refined missiles, which makes it slightly advanced. But overall, far better than Hasegawa and slamming the door for the recent Academy kit too. There is no doubt - if you are a fan of the Phantom, this is the kit for you. Its not too big, nor too small in that scale. I believe Zoukei realized that when started contemplating their Phantom kit. There is competition on the market, but they made an attempt to beat it and succeeded on every level. There is only one kit I've seen that is comparable with that and it is AMK's MiG-31. On the 48th scale scene there isn't anything else that is with such high level and such accuracy. Nor quality of the materials. Phantastic Slatted beast!

Top 5 inspiration sources to get your modeling mojo back

Getting back in shape after a long break or just after a long period without modeling might be quite difficult. So, make it easier with the following 5 tips. They include 5 awesome sources of inspiration to get your modeling mojo back.
  • Historical movies. There are plenty of them in YouTube and in other video channels, as well as in a variety of other forms to suit your taste. Just pick up your favorite historical movie and try to transport yourself to the time period from that movie, and to get used to the atmosphere. It`s not obligatory to watch “Top Gun” if you want to make a F-14 Tomcat. Other great movies may range from historical documentary movies about the conflict zones where the Tomcat participated, to documentary movies about the construction of the plane. This will give you not only an enormous variety of reference materials and you could learn more about the real plane, but could also inspire you to get started your new model.
  • Posters and other paper artworks. They are definitely a great source of inspiration, because that`s their main purpose too. For example, let`s take the limited edition kit of Eduard – MiG 21 and the Scooter in 1/48, which arrive in one box, as well as accompanied by a huge poster depicting both planes flying in the air. This poster is definitely a must have as a background of your display case or just to hang it on a wall as a painting. When you watch it every day, it should be quite normal to get more and more inspired to start the new build. Another great tip is to get advantage of the beautiful colorful pages with the paint schemes in your model`s instruction manual and to make just about the same thing. Especially the bigger sheets with paint schemes can easily turn into a striking painting for your desktop. It`s not required a lot of talent for decoration for a DIY frame for the colorful pages.
  • Famous songs. For instance, if you plan to start a Vietnam-themed model – check out in internet some Vietnam-themed songs. There are many of them that are especially military oriented and that were produced during the Vietnam conflict period. Such iconic songs could easily make you dream of that bygone era and of the real flying machines, for example.
  • Military games. This is always another great idea to return your modeling mojo, of course if you are not a gaming enthusiast who can easily be tempted to play all day long instead of starting a new model. It comes to games like flying simulators, where your new model is future as a real vehicle and you could drive it, fly on it, etc.
  • Just pictures. Make yourself a collection with beautiful HD photos of the real subject of your model. Whether a collection with highly detailed close-up photos or a just a couple of pics at night, sunset, etc. – such pictures could easily inspire you to start the model. On the other hand, they could act as a wonderful source of reference photos too. Watch reviews over the internet about your model, search for the best tips in WIP videos, and just find what suits you best as a source of inspiration.

F-16I Sufa unboxing – 1/48 Israeli Storm from Kinetic

There is something unique in the Israeli version of the iconic F-16 – maybe it is the unique three-color camouflage, which looks like a desert type camo and yet features fresh green nuances. Maybe they are the gorgeous animalistic tail markings that make the F-16I Sufa unique, or maybe both. In all cases – you get the awesome 1/48 scale rendering of the real deal out of this huge Kinetic box. The boxart depicts a Sufa with an eagle or a falcon on the tail, as well as decorated with quite a good amount of loadouts. The second thing that impressed me even before opening the box was the bottom right edge of the box, which shows the basic information about the content of this F-16I kit. The finished model will measure only some 30cm by 20cm, which is expected for a small plane such as the F-16I. However, the box of this small model contains more than 450 parts! Pretty interesting. So let`s get started with the unboxing review. The F-16I Sufa is famous as one of the widest exploited Israeli jet fighters, which along with the F-15I`s – are symbolic displays of the 3-colored Israeli camouflage scheme. The history of the model can be traced back to the last decade, when Kinetic offered a series of F-16 scale models. And the amazing Sufa camouflage still makes this F-16I model an irresistible subject for modeling. Even a quick first look at the kit is enough to understand that it is recommended mostly for advanced modelers or for the real pros. 450+ parts for such a small model is not an easy take. When you open the box, you might be stunned of the packing of the sprues. I came across just about three main bags full with sprues. Indeed, the bags are overwhelmingly stuffed with plastic, which leads to the biggest con/imperfection of this kit. Some bags hold 5-6 and even more sprues at once. The quality of the plastic is fabulous though – the parts have beautifully engraved panel lines, rivets, doors, tubes, wires and many other details, while the plastic sprues themselves are two-colored. This is not exactly advantageous, buts it`s interesting. Another thing that surprised me was one of the inner edges of the box, which holds a small triangular sheet with tiny little metal parts. While continuing with the unboxing of this Sufa kit, I quickly came across the instructions manual and the color markings that stay on the bottom of the box. The instruction manual looks rather like a small booklet, but it is a very good explanatory guide for the assembly of this 1/48 Sufa kit. Because of the small size of the manual – everything in it is quite small, including the lettering and the numbers, and it will require a little bit more attention to read. Here is an overview of the plastic parts in this 1/48 scale Kinetic kit: And an overview of the “soft” parts in this F-16I Sufa kit: I found these highlights of the kit as its greatest Pros: - Awesome riveting, panel lines and detailing of the surfaces. The rivets are everywhere and are very fine. The panel lines are not too deep, nor too fine. A lot of access doors and panels are engraved to put this Sufa kit even closer to the realm. - Replacement metal parts, respectively for the Pitot tube on the tip of the nose, and two small photo etch mesh screens which are to be fitted on the CFTs. - Decals for 4 airframes, respectively 2 from the Negev Squadron and 2 from the Bat Squadron. The differences are visible mostly on the tails of the Sufa, but in all cases – it comes to huge beautiful decals with falcons and bats. - A wide range of armament – from targeting to navigation pods, and from underwing fuel tanks to small rockets and bombs – there is everything in this Kinetic kit to overwhelm your model. This is especially essential for the Sufa, because the CFTs permit longer range without underwing fuel tanks, which on the other hand, means more space for loadouts. - Extreme attention to the smallest details – this is the first time I see so small details in a 1/48 scale kit, and I mean no photo etched or resin parts. Just regular OOB plastic parts. The Sufa is a rather small plane, but the attention to the smallest details is second to none – from antennas, to nodes, panels, probes, lights and many more. I also don`t mean replication of these parts via panel lines and engraving. This kit has a multitude of tiny little details as separate plastic parts. And as with every kit, this Kinetic F-16I kit has some Cons as well: - Unreliable packing. The inadequate packing is a big issue, because the kit is quite big and it`s not packed well. It`s only enough to imagine 450+ parts stuffed in just about three plastic bags to get a better idea on what we talk about. Some parts are broken, others are ripped off of their sprue gates, others are dramatically bent such as the airbrake. - Seamline along the entire canopy. Thankfully, the canopy and the other clear parts are stored in a small separate bag, and the canopy has no major scratches or indentations. However, it is not the perfect canopy – it has some great distortions and a molding line along its entire length, which will definitely require sanding and polishing.   Conclusion: The Kinetic`s Sufa is without a doubt one of the most detailed if not the most detailed F-16I in 1/48 scale. I have not seen that much F-16 models by myself, but I strolled through a few inbox reviews and videos, and the number of the parts  in this kit is something that you don`t want to underestimate. More than 450 parts let you to choose the best way to assemble your favorite Sufa airframe. Although F-16I is a small plane and the CFTs make it look a little bigger, this model features a lot of details - small and bigger, to combine into an overwhelmingly detailed and complex model. You can get this kit here: Kinetic F-16I Sufa 1/48

Top 5 Jet Kits in 48th scale Available Today.

The top 5 is loved when it comes down to kits. Quite often though, only scale is under TOP category, or eventually only subject. Good example for that are the endless threads about best Spitfire or best 109 on the market. So to narrow things down, let's present Top 5 Jet kits in 48th scale available today. In TOP, we should consider few factors. Engineering, accuracy /of course/, up-to-today's standards, how the kit stands OOTB and detailing. The 5 kits I will share with you are known to be top notch for each of these factors and even though they differ in their release dates, all of them are pretty much close one to another. Not only being jets, not only being modern, but being more or less recent on the market. I was tempted to put a number in front of each, TOP 5 being labeled thing, but I decided that this won't do. Here are the reasons why: we are talking different style of aircraft, different size, different era and different clients. So neither of those is THE BEST, but they all find their way to the top line. Let's call them - top favorites. Let's start with the oldest one of them. F-16C/N Aggressor from Tamiya is not the latest release from the brand. But is well known to be the best 48th scale kit of the year of its release, and probably the years right next to it. It features accuracy, superb engineering, great material and of course - it is Tamiya. This kit is not a cheap one but is not something way too expensive either. This F-16 is great deal for Viper lovers, with its superb camo schemes and great accuracy. Next is something very fresh on the market - Zoukei-Mura F-4J Phantom II. This kit is the best Phantom ever made in the scale. Academy came close, especially with their superkit re-releases from Eduard, spiced up with resin and PE. But as a stand-alone kit with its engineering and detail, Zoukei-Mura is probably competitor for The Very Best in our line here. This is famous airplane, still in use 60 years after its first flight, and you can guess the competition for the best Phantom here is harsh. And I mean HARSH. AMK MiG-31 is absolutely stunning too. Not only in size, but in accuracy and engineering. It is the kit that comes very close to The Very Best too. I guess that in my book, Zoukei's F-4 and MiG-31 are at the same level. AMK's BM/BSM was a huge hit when it came out, but their second version is a bit refined. I am talking MiG-31B/BS here. It features improved canopy, wonderful decals and great PE set. Stunningly big, this airplane is very attractive due to many reasons, but most of all - being one of the very best kits on the jet market in 48th scale. F-14A Grumman from Tamiya is the latest thing from the Japanese maker just recently released on the market. It is superb kit, maybe not at the engineering level of AMK, but with Tamiya's clever approach and troubleless building process. Again, we have a huge kit here, comparable with MiG-31. Although we might not encounter the finesse of AMK and Zoukei-Mura, we have a superb subject here, which soon will be attacked by AMK with their upcoming F-14D Tomcat and might be dethroned. Last, but not least we have Kinetic Su-33. What I am obligated to add is, that this kit is not purely Kinetic. Probably if it was, it wouldn't have been here too. This kit is engineered by a different company and it fixes most of the flaws of the Flankers that Trumpeter released in the recent years in 32nd scale. The thing here is, that this is 48th. We have nothing that comes close in the Flanker subject and it sits perfectly OOTB. Great nozzles, superb wing folding, wonderful accuracy. The problem here /and this is me speaking only/ are the instructions. They are black and white and rather simple, not corresponding to the level of this kit. On every other level though, the kit is comparable with all the others mentioned and its well worth the money. In conclusion, these kits mentioned above are not something that should be compared and measured in between. They are simply the best in business and whichever of those you get, you will be aiming at the highest. They do cover very different roles and please different modeling groups of course. However it is worth mentioning that they are all jets, relatively modern /yes, F-4 is flying still too!/ and they are up to every single modern standard in scale modeling. Be sure, that whatever you choose to get, you will not waste money here. Truly it is hard to choose for all-around-aviation fans, but they can get them all without any doubt!   P.S. Eduard MiG-21 is definitely one of the top 5 kits on the market. I though quite long do I need to add it here, but then I decided no. Not because it is not worthy - just the contrary. However, MiG-21 is a long line of real aircraft released throughout couple of decades, so its deserves a separate article. That is the reason why this kit isn't listed above. My deepest respect to Eduard for that kit.
88003-u upgrade set mig-31bm mig-31bsm avantgarde model kits 48 foxhound amk logo PE decals metal tinted

AMK Upgrade Kit for #88003 MiG-31BM/BSM Foxhound

AMK Upgrade Set for Foxhound #88003 was expected from an aftermarket company, for example Eduard, Voyager or some decal maker, but having one from AMK themselves was a surprise. This method of upgrading their own kits is something that Zoukei-Mura did and recently Tamiya does. It is nice to have that, since you have some sort of affirmation that the quality of the kit will be equal to the quality of the set with the upgrades, which sometimes is not the case. Freshest example that I have is the Wessex folding tail upgrade set. The resin part there was far behind the quality of the Italeri kit /surprisingly, right?!?/ and it made the resin part useless. The other example for the exact opposite is the upgrade set for Tamiya's Panther, where everything was neat and was perfectly suitable for the quality of the tank itself. So with that in mind, you probably can guess what you will read in the following lines, because we are talking Avantgarde Model Kits here - one of the best companies out there with one of the Top 5 kits currently on the market. Let's start with the tinted canopy. The real look of the MiG-31 is somewhat different from what a regular scale model kit can offer. The transparent parts of the real thing are yellow-ish, probably due to one of the following reasons: either they are gold-tinted like we've seen on some F-16s and all F-22s, or the long exposure to the Northern days and the merciless sun at 60 000 feet. Plus the age of course. I am not an expert on MiG-31 but I can boldly guess that it is the second one. So what we get in the upgrade set is Tinted Canopy parts and the seals that goes along the edges of Soviet/Russian jets. That is the pink thin line on the edge where the metal meets the clear detail. AMK added this to the set, making two less troubles for the modeler. The pink-ish rubber material was always a trouble-maker. Especially for MiG-21 lovers who happen to own Eduard kits. You know what I am talking about! The transparent plastic, although with different color shows no signs of lower material quality. Just the contrary. It looks amazingly close to the real thing. Only nice things to be said about it. The metal struts are the other add on. We have enormous plane here, so plastic struts is always a bad idea. We have eleven die-cast parts in total. They are carefully enclosed within a plastic box, with neat cover, looking like a cool make-up set or something of the kind. Absolutely fantastic once you open it, you can see all the metal parts of the gear inside. they are casted with precision and they feature very tiny strut details actually. The thing I should add here, is that Eduard are offering resin wheels already, so you might want to consider that to even extend the level of superdetailing further. Alongside with this AMK Upgrade set it will be perfect combo for accuracy maniacs! Good times for Foxhound lovers! There is a PE set too. AMK Upgrade set features a sheet of thin material, and the first thing you notice when you look at it is the radar antenna. Then we have ejection seats parts, most notable of all, ejection handles which sit between the pilot's legs. The radar antenna is part of the Zaslon-M radar system which is used in MiG-31BM. Now, you can display it if you remove the nose cone and it will be even more attractive for some modelers compared to the standard plane appearance. I do prefer the streamline of the plane to be kept, but the most fashionable thing at any model show is - unfortunately - plane in a maintenance mode, with all the panels open and visible. The good thing with this particular kit is that the Zaslon radar antenna is fixed and you can hopefully remove and put back the nose so you can show that is there, but keep the shape of the Foxhound for good. Decal sheet included in the AMK Upgrade set features extended set, compared to the one you can find inside of MiG-31 88003 box. Probably at some point AMK decided to upgrade only the decal sheet but it was too late to put it in the box. What we have in the standard packing is with fewer decals but it seems to me to be of the same quality. Here we don't have the technical markings but instead the insignia upgrade. All this is packed in a nice packing resembling candy box rather than a scale model upgrade set. Everything is done in MiG-31 AMK colors, deep red and dark grey, with blue "AMK" on the sides. And this is truly a chocolate box for the modeler! With what you get here, you can superdetail your MiG-31BM/BMS set. AMK 88003 is the first big jet from AMK and they quickly realized that they might improve it. Luckily, the second version of MiG-31 that the Macau based company released - AMK 88008: MiG-31B/BS features the tinted canopy and the PE set inside. This is a step forward and I must say - a quick one! We might only hope for what will comes next with their F-14D Tomcat and if they keep their promise - their three MiG-25 versions during 2017. As a huge fan of MiG-25 I look forward for them and in the meantime I will gear myself with both AMK MiG-31s - 88008 and 88003. To the latter one, this AMK Upgrade Set is a must!

Unboxing Zoukei-Mura F-4J – Phantom II in 48th scale.

F-4 Phantom II is more than a legend. In aviation area it is a major milestone in terms of aerodynamic concepts, operational experience /pilot-rio co-existence/, production standards, export goals and many more. It was designed in the 50s and it is still used today. In a matter of fact, USAF retired its last operational Phantoms just around New Year in December 2016. Greeks and Turks still use it very widely, with Turkish Air Force F-4 2020 version exercising combat missions in Syria against PKK and ISIS. In modeling, F-4 Phantom is pretty much the same titan of existence. There are many of them, in every possible scale popular among the companies, with new toolings being issued every year or so. Latest one - Airfix British Air Force Phantom in 72nd scale was just announced at the Telford Scale Model World 2016. There are several tables dedicated only to F-4 Phantom Builders, with SIGs /Special Interest Groups/ in almost every club possible present at the big shows. Especially in US. There are couple hundred F-4 Phantoms at each show. And if you wonder why, well the jet is a pure legend. That is why. Here, we are going to take a closer look at the most recent 48th scale tooling - Zoukei-Mura F-4J Phantom II. It came couple of years after the Academy Phantom, which is now considered the best in the business. It has better dimensions compared to Hasegawa, which is second-best and probably the most popular 48th scale Phantom on the market today. There are others, but mentioning those two above we pretty much kill instantaneously all the competition in 48th scale. Up until Zoukei-Mura entered the scene. The box: Unlike most of the companies out there who put 14+ to the age deck for their models, Zoukei-Mura added 15+ to theirs. Maybe that was done for several reasons, like sharper parts compared to others for example. Besides the more serious appearance, we have a thick and very nicely executed box. The boxart represents a falling MiG-17, shot down by an F-4J Phantom, a nice SWS /Super Wing Series/ logo and clearly visible 1/48 scale marking. Maybe 1/32 is brewing. Who knows? The box itself compares only to Meng Model boxes nowadays. Rest are left behind. On the sides we have clear pictures on how the Phantom looks built. But make no mistake: this is not Revell's lame looking completed models which scream : "Plastic toy!" from every photo, seen on every Revell box. On Zoukei-Mura's box everything is up to the latest standards. Maybe even setting new ones. There are fragments of the American flag, which completes the picture, giving you the feel of "Made in USA" which is what Phantom stands for. The quality of the top is superb and for the bottom, one must add only it is sturdy and thick. Serious business. I am mentioning that, since Rockin' Rhino from Eduard /a comparable kit for those who hasn't seen it/ has somewhat flimsy bottom and thin top, which for such a set hidden inside is a bit of a let down. Here we have no such thing. Zoukei-Mura's F-4 box is a gem! The clear plastic parts: First plastic that I checked out was the clear parts. Of course, DN Models mask set is a must for such a kit. The clear parts here are very good. We have two sets of canopies. One piece and separated one. The closed one is cool idea, since sometimes the alignment of the separate parts does not show perfect streamline. Zoukei-Mura thought of that obviously. The other one - with the separate parts - looks thinner than Eduard/Academy one, more glass-like looking, but for some reason I felt it to be not so clear. Maybe that was done on purpose and if I haven't mentioned that probably nobody would've noted when checking out a build Zoukei F-4. But I think this should be mentioned. Other than that, everything with the clear material is up to the highest standards. Rivets, lines, thickness - great stuff here! The gray plastic parts: I am gonna go chaotic here and share what I saw in the order I first saw it. But before that I gotta say few words about the plastic. I have no idea where they got it but Zoukei-Mura gave us a wonderful material. It is Softer than Tamiya and Hasegawa, but it is thicker and more sturdy compared to MiniArt. It flexes just enough, keeping its shape right afterwords. Everything on it has deep /enough/ engravings, clearly visible and perfectly molded. First impression that I got from the Zoukei-Mura's new F-4J were the engines. Although they are to remain hidden inside, we have clear depictions on most of the cables, with little left for aftermarket or scratch add-ons. The parts are attached to the sprues in a way that prevents you from damaging them while removing and for very easy sanding. On the same sprue we have clean and smooth air ducts, flexible /I checked since I have my doubts about fitting of course!/, gear struts and nozzles. The struts are also left with some margin for superdetailing but nothing major. Have in mind that Zoukei-Mura will offer metal substitute for that. Even with that, they made them with superb quality from plastic. Nozzles are something that needs improvement. Sorry Zoukei, but I must add here that they are somewhat thick-ish on the feathers, which Eduard eliminated as a flaw with Academy kit, providing resin ones in Rockin' Rhino set. Maybe Zoukei-Mura are about to make an aftermarket set for it but I am only speculating here. They are not bad per se, only thicker. Next thing I checked was the nose. As far as I learned from some fellow rivet-counters /from which I try to stay aside!/ this is the best nose in the business. Nothing beats it in 48th scale. Again - cleverly attached to the sprue, it represents the nice shape and hopefully size of the F-4J distinctive feature. Alongside with it we have slats that are quite nice, which were also checked for flexibility /and passed the test/. Intake plates, which are, in my opinion, one of the highest points of this kit. They have the smallest holes on them, molded with amazing precision. When I first set my eye on them, I thought that Academy and Hasegawa were wonderful, but the "WOW!" factor here blew me away. Delicate, executed with finesse and seems like they are pretty darn close to the original. Wow! Nothing more to say. Then we have pylons with great riveting as well, clear panels lines and so on. Weapons, which probably are good enough OOB, but I am sure that resin companies are already out there, scanning for victims of their own. Although, if you want to go and compete in OOTB category, probably these here will do just fine. The fuselage is two halves - as usual - and the top is a separate piece of plastic, covering the seam on the back of the Phantom. This is not a new engineering decision when it comes down to F-4 and I doubt that is Zoukei-Mura's idea, but it is implemented well and I must give them that. There is superb lines and rivets of several kinds, which breaks the monotone look we know from many other kits. Different size rivets is a must nowadays. The thing I consider a flaw here is the heavy duty plates just behind the nozzles. Zoukei-Mura made them from two parts - actually continuation of the fuselage halves. In Academy, we have the smartest decision possible - made from one piece of plastic, attached to the fuselage. If you wonder why, I'll tell ya: painting those with metalizers, especially Alclad2 paints is a breeze, if we have one piece of plastic. If, on the other hand we have two, then we have seams eventually and they are hard to cover and hide. There are ways of course, but why? Why waste a day just filling the gap in between those with super glue, sand like a psychopath and then and only then spray the metallic paint? I found that useless complication. The cockpit: My oh My! What a cockpit tub we have here! Very close to a resin one, I must tell ya! I would never change that with an aftermarket set. It has everything one might want from a Phantom command center. The deck is very neat, with almost everything visible and almost no room for superdetailing. The gauges are 3D and as good as you can get in 48th scale. Very very impressed by that. Seats are also superb. You can think of getting a resin ones, but with a few hours extra work on those and some scratch building skills, you can easily forget about whatever resin or photo-etch substitute. Honestly - there is no need what so ever. Back to the other parts: Stabilizers are the other think that hit me when I first saw it: they are riveted perfectly, thin and delicate. The slats that are on the real thing are replicated almost flawlessly here. So thin! Trust me when I say so: so darn thin! I still cannot tell about alignment but I trust in Japanese precision. Then the wings which are engineered pretty much as we have them on Academy kit, with similar qualities, maybe a bit thinner and the curves a bit subtle. At first one must thing - they are the same. But most likely not. They have a certain level of finesse that we are lacking when we check out other brands. Truth is, that even with slightest ideas, these parts are better in general. Somewhere with a lot, somewhere with little, but they are superior to any F-4 issued so far. And not in that scale. In any scale. That wraps my comments about the plastic. Now let's move on to The instructions: We have thick-ish book. Black and white, with thorough description. The overall look is inferior compared to Meng Model and Eduard booklets, however it is better than Tamiya and depending on one's opinion, lack of colors and complications might make it better even than those two mentioned above. The overall look of the assembly steps is some mix between Tamiya and Revell. I love Tamiya instructions, but I don't really like Revell. Good thing here is that probably the picture sizes and arrangements remind me of Revell. They do not look bad at all though. What I like here is the color advisory, the way that all things are shown and the lack of useless languages that we see on Meng and some others. English is perfectly fine to be the sole language, and what the heck - let's have Japanese too. But that is all I think we should have. And there we have it here. Pretty simple and effective. In the effort to make their product better are more competitive, a lot of companies overcrowd their instructions and in the end we get a mess in which is easy to miss something. So, good job here too Zoukei-Mura! The Color scheme: Yep, you saw that right. One scheme. Single. With a large sheet A3 in size, color depictions from both sides of it. But only one Scheme. The one seen on the box. Why Zoukei, why? This is torture. But hey, on the Eduard repacks we have many schemes and only one kit to apply on. Why Eduard, why?? You get my point. The decals are Cartograf, same as on Rockin' Rhino. A huge sheet, A4 in size. Pretty neat. Mostly black colors, so the colorful Phantoms which were usual for the era are not present. Otherwise everything is great. But again. Only one In conclusion: Super Wing Series are not the most famous amongst modelers but they are one of the best. SWS are for those who have overcome the urge of buying new kits constantly and exchanged the quantity for quality. And this kit is absolute king in the scale and absolute emperor in F-4 theme. So far, F-16 and P-47 in 48th scale were the best kits in 48th scale. I can tell you from first hand. Maybe new MiG-31 from AMK is also in Top 3. But not anymore. We have new leader in that scale. From what I've seen in my modeling life, this 48th scale kit is the best in business. There is nothing that compares to that in 48th scale. Nothing. Nada. Zip. As for F-4 Phantom lovers, such as myself - hey guys, I've built F-4s in 72nd, 48th and 32nd scales and in different options. No better Phantom that this. Yes, not even in 32nd scale. If you go for size, yes. But size is not everything fellas! Quality provided by Zoukei-Mura is high end. One of a kind. Of course, they left a margin for improvement. Providing additional sets. Like decals /only one option OOB??! Come one ZM!/,like metal landing gear struts or weighted tires /that is something useful for sure/, PE cockpit parts /not really an upgrade but a downgrade if you ask me/ and paint sets. The latter one is with Vallejo paints, so honestly - No, thank you! But still, Zoukei-Mura though about it. We have let downs too. We don't have perfect nozzles here. We don't have one piece part of the Alclad2s behind the nozzles. We have decent but not perfect instructions, only one color scheme, no masks for the canopy. But OOTB this is still the best choice. Even compared with Rockin' Rhino /if you wonder why I compare it with that constantly, well it is pretty much the same jet with same decal manufacturer going for the same era/, this is still better. And we have two companies combining efforts: Eduard and Academy, with two types of add-ons: photo-etch and resin there, while on the other hand we have a single company with a pure OOTB kit. So yeah, this beats the Eduard repack as well. Compared just to Academy without the resin nozzles, seats and wheels, no way - Zoukei is far far far better. 338 parts, one sale from Christmas 2016, available from Zoukei-Mura's website. The newest F-4 Phantom tooling. By far the best. And probably for years to come. Hands down to Zoukei-Mura. Dethroned my favorite brand Tamiya with a single swing. Thank you Zoukei-Mura, Thank you Japan! Check out the DN Models mask set designed for this wonderful kit.

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
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.

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.

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.

EF-111 Inbox Review – 1/48 by HobbyBoss

By M.Mitev
The majestic Raven is a well-known kit by HobbyBoss and it originates back to the very beginning of the decade, and is the last of a series of Aardvark kits, and I had the opportunity to crack up the box just a few days ago. This is one huge piece of a monstrous kit and is something that I experienced for the first time – in terms of rivet detailing of the plastic surfaces and just the size of such a 1/48 scale kit. At the top right corner of the box, one can see that the finished EF-111 model measures some half a meter by half a meter, while the box is… BIG. The boxart is captivating due to the serenity that these clean planes provide, especially when flying in tandem and when viewed from a distance, in the sky. Inside the box, there is no empty space and in the meantime – all is packed justly and is organized in an easy to understand manner. There are two gigantic sprues that take place on top of the other “things”, while the other “things” are subdivided into a small cardboard box with parts, as well as numerous typical (smaller) sprues in plastic bags. This ensures enough rigidity and therefore safety for the most delicate parts, while the clear parts are hidden in the smaller box so any chance of unwanted frictions or scratches is avoided. Let`s take a look at what`s inside this EF-111 Raven by HobbyBoss. At first glance, the good amount of rivets took my attention, because it is essential for the final look of the model. The more the rivets – the better. In this EF-111 case – the rivets are everywhere and the best part is that they are flawless. Neither too deep, nor too big, just perfect. The panel lines also. They all are very subtle and clean, which will make the combination of rivets/panel lines really unobtrusive – just like on the real Raven. When viewed from far – it is a clean and picturesque plane, but when viewed from close – this monster is quite dotted by rivets and is highlighted by clearly visible panel lines. My next big impression about this 1/48 Raven was about the content of the small side box – it holds clear parts, rubber tires and both main parts of the fuselage. They are these two major upper and lower parts of the fuselage that are a true showcase of the beauty of the riveting, and all this is provided OOB by HobbyBoss. Then, while strolling through the sprues, I came across the sprue with the ejection cockpit module and with the major parts from the nose section. These big pieces helped me imagine the final size and scale of the model, which will really be spectacular. Maybe because of the wide two-seater cockpit with side-by-side seats, which I see such a part for the first time, I don`t know yet. Or maybe it`s because of the strange cockpit module, which looks like a small flying vehicle by itself. However, this sprue is beautiful. The EF-111 kit is amazing not only because of the quality of the plastic parts, which is absolutely amazing, but also because of the numerous options provided when assembling this model. First, let`s start with the plastic details – they are really nicely molded with no dramatic (major) traces from pin marks, ejectors or other imperfections. Just about every sprue is packed in its own individual plastic bag and thus all the tiny little details are stored safely and the organization is easy although the hundreds of parts. The Instruction manual is also perfect – neither too long and overwhelming, nor to short and simple. Only a quick trip through the pages was enough to get more insight into how to build this 1/48 Raven. Along with the instruction manual are stored the decal sheets, which interestingly enough, have much more decals than I have expected. EF-111 is a rather clean of markings plane, but indeed it has a lot of small instructional markings. There are two EF-111 airframes, which can be made out of the decals in the box: EF-111A 67-0037 and EF-111 66-0013, both from the USAF. My preferences are for the first airframe (67-0037), because of the beautiful cat sign on the nose, perhaps it symbolizes a leopard or a puma, I don`t exactly know. This EF-111 from HobbyBoss is so impeccable that I don`t know from where to start with the pros. The cons are almost non existing here. So, I will try to organize only the pros in the form of the greatest benefits from this kit: Benefit 1: Extensive rivets and panel lines. I already mentioned this exceptional feature of the kit, but I can`t miss to add it to one of the kit`s greatest benefits too. There are rivets everywhere – on the wings and on the fuselage parts, as well as on the smaller details like bay walls, doors, etc. Yet the riveting is not perfect, because there are rivets from just one type. If you want to make them more abundant and different – just add a small amount of different rivets and you will get the desired result. But most of them are already on the plastic parts and they really look gorgeous! Benefit 2: Flawlessly crystal-clear canopy. Beside from the two options to display the cockpit – with open and closed canopy – the clear parts are simply flawless. The clear surfaces are embraced by thicker frames, which are riveted and finely engraved. The clear surfaces themselves are so thin that their transparency permits to read letters with almost no distortion at all, no matter the angle or the distance. There are no seamlines in the mid of the parts too, which will mean no overwhelming sanding and polishing of these delicate parts. This is very important, because after all – this is EF-111 and its cockpit is a gigantic side-by-side cockpit, and respectively the canopies are much larger than in most of the 1/48 models. Benefit 3: Positional wings. Actually, they are designed to choose from two modes – fully swept back wings or wings in a max-span mode. However, with a couple of little modifications – the wings can easily be made movable. Probably it would be enough only to cut the smaller inner pins, make a linking mechanism for both wings, and replace the plastic piece for the glove behind the wings with a textile one. Plus, the detailing of the wings is outrageous. They have rivets everywhere, as well as flaps, slats, spoilers and other surfaces as separate parts. Benefit 4: Optional parts. There are so many parts throughout the sprues that after a more comprehensive look, you can see things (or options), which are not mentioned in the manual. Others are discretely mentioned as “unused part numbers” in a small corner of the second page of the instruction manual. For instance, such parts are the cowlings for the intakes – there are two types of inlet cowls, respectively two with smaller auxiliary intake veins, and two with movable inlet cowls. Other optional parts are the numerous jamming pods in the kit, which are typical for the Raven, but there is also a huge laser guidance pod with its huge rotational base, which is a really big and interesting addition. Benefit 5: Pretty accurate and detailed landing gears, and landing gear bays. The Raven has unsurpassed landing gears, which function is normally hard to understand. In the real plane, the landing gear bays are overwhelming in cables, wires, hydraulics, struts and other details. In this 1/48 scale Raven – there are overwhelming details on some parts too. The complexity of the landing gears and their bays is very well represented into this model. An amazing benefit if you display the Raven with lowered landing gears! I can`t miss in this inbox review one major issue about the kit though. It is something really major. It`s true that I have not assembled this kit before and I can`t be certain, but at least it looks like a major issue. Luckily – it can be corrected with some complex modifications. What I`m talking about is the location of the engines and their compressor faces. They are, simply put – partially hidden behind the side walls of the main landing gear bays. This will interrupt the clear sight of the compressors through the inlets, which is just not pleasant, especially if you like the beautiful sights of the compressors through the intakes. For a plane with long almost straight inlet ducts, such as  the EF-111, the compressors of the engines should be clearly visible from the intakes. Without assembling this kit by myself, I could suggest the following tips: 1 – Reshape part C41 according to the red highlights. This will widen the locations of the compressor fans and will put them closer to the fuselage walls, and thus will free the view from the edges of the main landing gear bay side walls; 2 - Thin the side walls of the bay from the outer sides (from the intake sides) according to the red highlights and wipe off away as much material as possible. This should free the view through the intakes even more and thus will reduce the distance between the engine compressors. 3 – Make a simple scratchbuild duct to insulate the inlet path. The duct is almost perfectly round closer to the engines, so it should be easier to make. The goal is to create a clean inlet path to the engine faces and make them visible as circles. And that`s it – it should work or at least will provide a better view to the engines.  
(copyright Luc Colin,
And another small disadvantage, which is nothing important, but just makes me a little annoyed. It comes to the huge bomb bay, which is gigantic – it covers just about the entire space between the two landing gear bays. Most of all – in the kit are provided very well detailed parts for this bomb bay. Unluckily, the Raven features a huge canoe-like transmitting pod on the underbelly and that`s exactly where is located the bomb bay. This means that the bomb bay with its huge size and well-detailed parts, have to stay closed. But that`s the Raven – its transmitting equipment is internal and that`s why it is unique. Not to mention that this inbox review is for the EF-111 kit, but it can easily be converted in other versions thanks to the numerous optional parts. Overall, after unboxing the 1/48 scale EF-111 Raven, I quickly saw that it could become a monster model and this is mostly due to the unique construction of the plane. The cockpit is with two side-by side seats, which leads to a much wider nose section, and therefore the fuselage is longer, and the wings are bigger. Not to mention the enormous vertical stabilizer of the EF-111, which is so huge, because there is only one vertical stabilizer for such a big plane. And it is topped by the massive receiving pod, which finishes the iconic silhouette of the EF-111 Raven. The price is different, depending in which part of the World you live in. Honestly put, it varies a lot, but with deeper research, you can still find this relatively old tooling at a lower quotes. Having that in mind, you probably should look at the model as an investment, rather than a standart scale model kit purchase. Highly recommended kit! You can get Hobby Boss' F-111 variants here: EF-111 Raven FB-111 Aardvark F-111A Aardvark Australian F-111C Pig F-111D/E Aardvark

Why the Z-M 1-48 Phantom II is such a tempting kit to have

The newest model of F-4J Phantom II in any scale is now for sale and thanks to Zoukei-Mura, we can enjoy now what is called the new approach in the hobby. It comes to newly casted parts with so sharp, crisp and thin details that some of them look like resin details. Other details are so complex and overwhelmed in surface ornaments like rivets and panel lines, that you can easily tell the quality of the kit from just taking a look at the first few parts. There are plenty of other new design approaches that make this kit such an irresistible kit to have. For instance, the cockpit tub and the nose landing gear are assembled together, because they share the same pieces for the walls, while the cockpit floor has numerous details on the other side, which are for the top of the landing bay. Previously, the most typical assembly was to glue the nose landing gear bay to a separately assembled cockpit tub, or the bay itself may be molded to the fuselage parts. Nevertheless, this new F-4J kit has plenty of new features in it! The corrected dimensions of this F-4J are also top notch and they can be found just about everywhere, compared to other F-4 kits. From the width of the windshield to the shape of the intake lips and the volume of the engine cowls – the SWS F-4J boasts a lot of improvements too. So, if you really want to have the most exact and accurate miniature of the real machine – then this kit really is irresistible to have. Next, the amount of details even for a kit in 1/48 scale is overwhelming. The exuberant separate parts for the landing gear bays, the underwing pylons with options for fuel tanks and/or missiles, the meticulously detailed hot section on the tail, the slatted stabilators, the cockpit details – all of these and many other components make the SWS F-4J a very beautifully detailed kit. Then, the real quality of this kit is noticeable from the impeccable fit of the details. This is due to the technologies used for the making of the kit, which ensure the best fit of parts with very complex shapes. Some parts fit in such a way, that the seamlines look smaller than the rest of the normal panel lines. Or else, some parts fit seamlessly and with no need for filling/sanding at all. Overall, the SWS F-4J is just another step closer to the real Phantom II, simply because we are talking about a 1/48 scale copy of the real plane. Otherwise, this kit has a full set of engines, complemented by lots of details and a special attention is turned at the visible parts such as the compressor fans, the afterburners and the piping above the APU doors. This plane has leading edge slats as separate pieces and the flaps are separate pieces too. The canopies can be glued open or closed, the airbrakes too. They are these airbrakes, which are so thin that they almost look fragile, yet in the meantime, they are dotted by frames and rivets. And of course, we are talking about a 1/48 scale F-4J.