f-35c top gun: maverick dn models

F-35C in TOP GUN: Maverick? How about decent kits…

As a continuation of the article about the upcoming movie, here we’re going to point out few updates about TOP GUN sequel. “Maverick” as they say it will be called. I mention this because there is some changes in the production schedule of the movie. Interestingly, those changes are somehow connected with the article that I already wrote about TOP GUN: Maverick.

For whatever reason, they pushed back the release date. Not by a couple of weeks, nor few months, but a whole year. What the official information states is, that the producers wanted the perfect in-flight scenes and that will take time. On the other hand, I have a different theory.

F-35C

There were rumors about F-35 being the star of the movie. There were speculations about VTOL B version, where Maverick struggles with his adaptation process, drone wars and what not. The latest info revealed F/A-18F Super Hornet as Maverick’s jet. “Captain Pete Mitchell” insignia is already documented on the sides of a specially painted Super Hornet. It has been seen on various locations, while production goes on. So obviously, the Super Hornet is in for good.

Now alongside with that, a bunch of young actors - some appropriate, others not so much – joined the cast. In addition, young female pilot will be featured. That rung my first bell. There were ideas for Goose’s son, probably Iceman’s son, but then the cast expanded. Why? Let me tell you down below what I think is really happening.

US NAVY

tries to limit their comments but the latest we got was tht F/A-18F will play huge part of the movie and F-35 will be involved. Version – not clarified.

So here’s my logic: since F-35C is about to become part of the active NAVY and be used in its full capacity, this should be it. Somehow I don’t see A or B versions involved. Young pilots, plus the female star will most likely fly it. Why? Well, because it is fancy nowadays, to have “Smartphone-Generation” kids being praised as the potential future. They are the new age. And they need a toy that fits accordingly. Plus, in the 80s, when the first Top Gun happened, female pilots were…not there. So many youngsters, a female and what? Put them all in Super Hornets? I doubt it.

Now since we are living in a modern, accepting-all innovations era, we should be seeing F-35 in the movie. What’s in for the US NAVY otherwise? How come they will promote their new Stealth fighter which has very dubious reputation? A lot of countries are somehow attempting to get away from the deals they made and what better option to brain-wash the new generation featuring it in the newest blockbuster movie? And by brain-wash I am not trying to be negative here. Well, at least not completely.

F/A-18F

So why Super Hornet? Well, how else will get to see Maverick doing his tricky moves and being cocky pilot that he is? We have to have another crew member. No way around that. But what about the rest of the gang?

What I see is this:

Maverick will train Goose’s son in the Super Hornet, will see ghosts, hold something in his hand remembering his RIO. When things get serious, they will jump in a Growler and go into action. Alongside with the kids flying F-35C. There goes 2020s US NAVY into the spotlight.

A lot of potential candidates to join in the years to come, a lot of F-35 fame all around the world, perfect production, win-win situation for everybody.

So for me, the delay is pretty much self-explanatory. I might be wrong, but I don’t think so. What I trust is that we will see a lot of F-35C propaganda, featuring Super Hornet. Two of the most probable future jets in the US NAVY. Super Hornet is about to be upgraded by Boeing and serve for years to come. A decent movie will help shift public’s opinion for sure. On the other hand, F-35C…. well we all know about that two-decades-old story.

So that turns us back to the modeling side of things. As mentioned in the other article, we have a decent Super Hornets and Growlers available. What we have in terms of NAVY F-35 is limited though. As of September 2018, we have only

So if I am on the right path here, and TOP GUN: Maverick is being pushed to give a chance of F-35C to play a major role, then maybe model makers should monitor the production closely. There will be increased demand. Probably more than that. And it will be all about F-35C. True, the movie comes out in 2020. But planning and executing a model like F-35C with decent measurements and nice engineering won’t be an easy task. Maybe Kitty Hawk, MENG Model, Hasegawa even Tamiya should watch this closely.

F-14 is still being made because of Top Gun movie. Not only of course, it is a legendary jet, but still, the Hollywood fame helped.

One thing is certain: TOP GUN: Maverick will define the next decade in terms of modeling interest. Maybe even the decade after. But as I expect it to be a major success in terms of profits, we are about to see more of it. That’s why it is not called TOP GUN 2.

On the other hand the enemy is still undisclosed. Location- or weapons-wise. With what I see currently, it will be probably somewhere in Asia. Maybe fighting against carrier based Chinese jets? Shenyang J-15 maybe? Or else? Hopefully we’ll get more “bird showing” here and there. Just for the fun of it.

We’re about to see in little over a year from now.

www.dnmodels.com

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72nd scale returning to the spotlight?

Back in a day, when you open a Heller or Airfix catalogue, 72nd scale was all over it. Catalogues were small leaflets, not fancy too. Later on, Italeri and Revell started expanding their 48th line and slowly, the pages were equalized in numbers and content count. Rater quickly same happened with 32nd scale and at some point, 72nd scale became slightly obscured.

Reasons for that are many. Modelers prefer to work on larger pieces with age, more detail options embedded in 48th and larger scales and relatively acceptable size even for larger models. Then Trumpeter appeared and they tested the boundaries of 72nd scale. Unsuccessfully at their first attempt.

Nowadays things started to shift back. Not because modelers that are devoted 72nd scale builders are a huge crowd, nor that they are very vocal. But because of several scale models in 72nd scale that appeared and proved a point. A point that was debated for a long time – are 72nd scale kits sufficient to satisfy the detail demand of the experienced builders.

There were several hits from Trumpeter and AMK, Great Wall Hobby as well. But the company that made the real difference was Eduard. They released brilliant 72nd scale MiG-15, Fw-190 and MiG-21, which are extremely detailed. They are high-quality in terms of plastic, fit and decals. Accuracy is flawless. Very competitive to best 48th scale kits. Better then some too. So there the magic happened.

A lot of modelers that are devoted to the bigger scale bought some of those. Just for the sake of having such kit in their collection. I was one of them too. And once they opened the box, they were immediately hooked. I know at least couple of guys that built their kits putting aside everything else on the bench, simply because they looked so tempting.

So, is the market slowly shifting backwards?

Maybe, maybe not. But it’s a start. 72nd scale has a lot of advantages. Mostly – size-wise, the kits are very attractive. You can build ton of these and still have room for more. They are /or at least most of them/ cheaper. Compared to 48th and 32nd of course. Less plastic, smaller photo-etch and decal sheets and there you go. That cannot be said for all of the companies though. For example, G.W.H. F-15E or Trumpeter MiG-29 are very good, but expensive in 72nd scale. With that point, Eduard again smashes the competition. They produce the best 72nd scale kits nowadays and at the most affordable prices too.

Why that happened? Maybe, because Czechs have their history with 72nd scale. Maybe because 72nd scale was what we all grew with. Or maybe, because the scale offers extremely interesting way of approaching the hobby. Detail-wise and collection-wise.

True, there are kits that are limited to that scale. Like the Dora railway gun that Hobby Boss offers. Or Tupolev bombers from Trumpeter. Well, the latter ones are not limited to that scale per se, but the truth is that there are many versions and if you want them all, you either buy them in 72nd scale or you buy yourself another home and turn it into a scale modeling museum. Maybe that’s why Modelcollect offered their B-1B, B-2 and B-52s in 72nd, don’t you think?

But all things considered, Eduard did the breakthrough here. No doubt about it. Their MiG-15 and Fw-190 started it and MiG-21 nailed it. For good I believe. Why would anyone want to be limited to something? Do you stop watch your old favorite sitcoms because they are in 4:3 and now everything is 16:9? No. You just enjoy a different perspective. 

Same with modeling. What’s wrong in being back into the smaller scale? Nothing of course. You just sit back, relax and enjoy the hobby to its fullest. Just like in the old days.

www.dnmodels.com
picture courtesy of Eduard
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modelcollect b-52 dn models 1 72 b-52g b-52h b-52g early

Modelcollect B-52 – five options upcoming

Modelcollect B-52 came as a surprise when it was announced. The company is famous for their 72nd scale tanks, so making planes, especially that size was kinda unexpected. But like everybody, Modelcollect are looking to expand. And they did a good job with their B2 Stealth bomber. For B-1, there is some controversial expectations /based on whatever?/ and as far as the BUFF, this might be the same. There are five options announced so far. B-52G, B-52H, B-52D, B-52H Early and B-52G Early. G-version was pre-reviewed and as far as the author of that review concluded, there are some issues with the tooling. Of course, having issues is inevitable. However, having major issues with a kit that is to be released in 2018, when flying cars are about to start running over our heads, is somewhat unsettling. We can get pretty much everything with the help of computers today and most likely, one of those easily granted wishes is a nearly perfect kit. So why Modelcollect made an error with the tooling? And that is alleged error of course. Well, the answer to that question is still about to be discussed. Modelcollect B-52 is not spread throughout modeler’s benches. Not yet. And it will be, soon. With that said, one must know that every modeler’s perspective is different. Some count on correct plans to compare. “Correct” is again, preceded by the word “allegedly”. Others count the panels and rivets and what not. There are that huge party of modelers, that doesn’t care that much, just enjoy the building process and eventually alter a thing or two of the kit, for better appearance. So it is yet to be revealed, is the Modelcollect B-52 a decent kit or not.
So what might be the verdict?
Knowing the high standards of today’s modeler society, I would say that most likely Modelcollect B-52 will be a decent kit and a one that you must have. Especially if you like the BUFF. You might need to fix a thing or two, but it is a good to have new tooling, something that you can upgrade from and something that most likely will get a ton of aftermarket. Rather sooner than not. The price is not low, something above $100 mark, but it is still acceptable. So I am keen to get one for a review and see how the things will work out. That sole review that you can find online is not a certain sentence for that kit. Besides we got five options. One of them might be perfect. As the old saying goes: Even the broken watch, get to be right twice a day. www.dnmodels.com
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Zlín Z-37A Čmelák upcoming from Eduard - 1/72 zlin z-37

Zlín Z-37A Čmelák upcoming from Eduard – 1/72

Zlin Z-37 A Cmelak

is a legend in Eastern Europe. Together with Zlin Z-526 Trener, Aero L-29 Delfin and Let L-13 Blanik, the Z-37A Cmelak is among the most famous and successful Czech designs. It was not mass produced aircraft per se - with only little over 700 built. Nonetheless, a well known one all around the Globe. Many Zlin Z-37 are flying in Africa, India, United Kingdom and United States. Of course the airplane is still one of the most popular crop dusters in the former Eastern Block. Eduard, already are providing us with new tooling of two other legendary aircraft in 72nd scale - MiG-21 and MiG-15. They are now onto the Z-37 too. If you wonder why I am mentioning the MiGs, both of them were built in Czechoslovakia under license, so they were part of Czechoslovakian Aviation Industry at some point. Probably due to that, Eduard are aiming to create new toolings directly related to the history of their home country. And in the legendary scale of 1/72. Zlín Z-37A Čmelák upcoming from Eduard 1:72

Zlin Z-37's

new tooling is rumored to appear sometime in 2019 in 72nd scale. According to one of my favorite sources /Scalemates/, the kit will be released from both Eduard and Veselý lepič. Latter one a company that is not extremely famous. If we count on what we have seen so far from Eduard, the new Zlin Z-37 will feature great engineering and superb accuracy. Adding to that - the Zlin Z-37 is not a small plane. That means that the kit won't be small, even in 72nd scale. For a reference regarding the size and the power of Zlin Z-37: A record was made with that plane towing nine gliders all together, which is pretty tough job for any airplane. Let alone a crop duster. So hopefully in less than an year, we will have new tooling of the famous Cmelak /Bumblebee/. There are old but obsolete toolings available, but I doubt that the new release from Eduard will disappoint anybody. It is about time for a new non-military release and especially in that scale. Builds of such planes are often rare sight at scale model shows and they are very attractive. Especially with Zlin Z-37, which although mostly seen in yellow, was available in many other paint schemes, from Silver to bright combos with many brand stickers all over. Another great promise from the Czech modeling company! Maybe we can count on an upscale too. And I surely trust that we can count on new L-13, L-39 and MiG-21 F-13. In the years to come... www.dnmodels.com
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su-34 trumpeter 01652 dn models mask set canopy camo wheels lights

DN Models masks for Trumpeter Su-34 1:72

DN Models masks are designed as a helping tool for camouflage schemes, canopies, wheels and lights. Various different scales and applications are available, but recently, 72nd scale came back to light. With the newest toolings in that scale, especially the wonderful designs from Trumpeter, many people increased the demand for add-ons, aftermarket parts and accessories for those. This includes masking solutions of course. Su-34 from Trumpeter in 72nd scale is very tempting offer on the market nowadays. The aircraft is new tooling, far better than the one Zvezda and Italeri offered/and still do/ in that same scale. The new technologies and the constantly increasing level of the modelers, creates new demand for newly tooled, high-accuracy, very-high-quality moldings, all of which Trumpeter's Su-34 incorporates. The Su-34 is not a new plane, I've seen it in Paris Air Show back in 1997. It is a mighty beast and although old design, the Fullback /NATO name for the Su-34/ gained popularity during the recent and endless Syrian conflict. This is a very agile fighter-bomber, built over the well-known and still adequate Su-27 platform. Su-34 is side-by-side configuration, which makes it a bit more interesting with its flat canopy, but the best thing about the plane is the sea camouflage. Cover Su-34 Canopy and Wheels 72th Canopy su-34 su-32fn fullback trumpeter italeri hobby boss hobbyboss zvezda Guided by those two factors, DN Models decided to give the fellow modelers a helping tool for both - the canopy and the camouflage. The first one is self explanatory. It is a must, especially in that scale, that will save you time and effort. Painting properly in 72nd scale is a hard task, and those who underestimate the possible damages from that process are mistaken. The camouflage option of the Su-34 Fullback is very attractive, but its a complex one. Although for 32nd scale this particular camo is a free-hand option and for 48th scale can be done with the help of blu-tak /and or masks/, for 72nd scale masking is the only option if you are not airbrush pro. The camo scheme is difficult because the colors are close nuances of blue-green tones, which with free-hand airbrushing might blur or lose their edges in 1/72. In the same time, Trumpeter kit offers a superb qualities, and to cope with that, we believe that masks are very good option to use for the purpose. Camouflage paint masks dn models su-34 fullback fighter bomber sukhoi su-32 1/72 trumpeter The camouflage is created based on the real aircraft, not trumpeter's schematics, which are slightly off. Of course, that still gives you the option to alter things a bit, but have in mind that Su-34 is basically standardized in its camo pattern, so it is advisable to follow the overall mask scheme. Hopefully, those two new products, including camouflage, wheels, lights and canopy masks will be a helping tool for many. Of course, we will soon start to work on the bigger scale too. The upcoming Kitty Hawk Su-34 in 48th scale is our main target, which so far seems to be the most accurate one. Unfortunately, with the accuracy issues demonstrated in the Hobby Boss release it dropped out of our list of projects. However, Trumpeter is superb kit, and in 72nd scale the plane is anything but small, so you will have fun with it no matter what scale you prefer! With that said, if you are interested in Trumpeter's Su-34 1:72, check out our store for those two masks sets. We wish you pleasant modeling and astonishing results! www.dnmodels.com
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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.
(source: www.fondospedia.com)
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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 option...eh. 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.
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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
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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, www.primeportal.net)
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
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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.

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

Masks

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
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