Czech Splinter camouflage paint masks for Czech Air Force MiG-21MF #7701 1:72 1/72

Czech Splinter MiG-21MF – #7701. New Mask Set is Coming Soon!

Czech Splinter or Czech Zebra

like this camo scheme is known - is one of the best camouflage demo schemes applied on an aircraft ever. Not only that, but the aircraft it was applied on is nothing short of a legend - the MiG-21. The camo scheme was done way before the time of digital camouflages and around the time when Su-35 was first announced. Its blizzard camo scheme was close to the complexity of the Czech Splinter, but far simpler than it. Not only attractive, but very cleverly designed, Czech Zebra was often seen at various air shows. It was applied on MiG-21MF, bort number 7701. The MF version is a third generation MiG-21, featuring large intake, 4 pylons and additional tank in the spine, which makes it quite distinctive. Although not the ultimate version of MiG-21 is probably one of the most widely used.

With the recent release

of Eduard's new tooling in 72nd scale, MiG-21 is again the most discussed kit on the market. Not surprisingly. Eduard toolings are superb and their 48th scale MiG-21 is one of the best quarter scale kits on the market. With its accuracy and various options, it combines the popularity of the aircraft with a high quality product. That can result only in one word - success. 72nd scale was one of the most widely built scales decades ago. Not it is slowly gaining speed again, due to the number of huge aircraft that are released in it. The fact that there are tons of new releases adds to that and the need of more space too. However, Eduard proved, that this is done without any compromise of quality nor detail. Their MiG-21MF - which was the first one from the 72nd scale series - is simply astonishing. With that release and knowing the fact how beautiful Czech Splinter looks like, we, at DN Models took a step in that direction. Mask set for 48th scale version of the Czech Zebra was already available in our store. However, we decided to improve it. After couple of months research and improved measurement techniques, we managed to alter our 48th scale mask set. The main goal was to provide better accuracy. Alongside with that, we developed a 72nd scale option.

72nd scale

option will not be any less accurate than the 48th one. The reason for that is the fact that Eduard did exactly that with their MiG-21: they scaled it down, without sacrificing the beauty of the kit. So that left us with nothing but a choice to do exactly the same. Such great quality demands great supporting products and that is why DN Models decided to improve the set the match the level that Eduard provided with their latest release. So pretty soon on the market, there will be two new options for Czech Splinter - 48th scale V.2 and 72nd scale one. Both by DN Models. V.2 will be a polished set, featuring masks that will fit almost every MiG-21MF in 48th scale. 72nd will be newly designed set, based on Eduard tooling and will also fit most of 72nd scale third generation MiGs. However, both sets are designed for Eduard kits, simply because they are the best out there.

In 72nd scale,

Czech Zebra will be a demanding project. There is no doubt about that. The results though, will be fantastic. Many won't have the patience to complete such an intricacy, but those who do, will have a wonderful and very attractive piece of plastic there. Even though small, in 72nd scale MiG-21 is still pretty noticeable. That is due to its shape and aggressive appearance. The Czech Zebra demo scheme adds to that and challenges the eye of the spectators. So to aim for that result, DN Models worked on the Czech Splinter last couple of months. We thought that with the Eduard's release of a nearly perfect 72nd scale MiG-21, the Czech Zebra deserves its attention too. So check DN Models store or subscribe for our newsletter. MiG-21MF Czech Splinter release is imminent. Of course, covering the two scales that Eduard released their beauty - 48th and 72nd. And not only - you will be able to use it wit your older tooling, in case you have one. So hopefully, to each his own.
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...
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

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.

Limited Edition Harrier GR.7/GR.9 from Eduard

Unboxing the Harrier The Eduard kit of the Harrier in 1/48 scale is packed in a very small box. Indeed, this was the smallest box of a Eduard 1/48 scale kit that I know, but maybe I`m not aware of something similar. However, when you open the box, it turns out that this Eduard 1/48 Harrier is nothing less than the giant, iconic, the one and only, world`s first VTOL plane, as expected. It features the latest versions of the Harrier – GR7 and GR9. The obviously small box is filled with plastic in such a way that it is one of the major cons of this kit. Check out the further info about it in this unboxing review. The plastic sprues themselves are basically the typical Hasegawa ones, which date back to the beginning of the century. Happily, nowadays Eduard repacked the old sprues to propose a spectacular new miniature of this iconic Harrier, by adding unsurpassed advantages and privileges for the modeler`s ego. This kit is the newest Harrier in 1/48 scale and promises to stay on top of the list with the high quality Harrier kits for quite some time. The new resin and PE upgrades help achieve that, but let`s begin with some vistas inside the box.   In-box review of the plastic materials There are literally more than a dozen different plastic sprues and they are numbered very good with most of the letters from A to Z. The organization of the details is good, but they are not well protected, which causes a potential danger of scratches, friction indentations or even broken parts. There is one sprue only with tiny little details, which are extremely vulnerable. Unexpectedly, some of the biggest parts of the fuselage are also scratched and there is further info about it in the cons section of this unboxing review. The plastic itself is a light grey plastic and is relatively soft, which personally to me is something that I like, because it can be easily carved and manipulated. The texture of the plastic parts is basically missing, because most of the parts are big, glossy, shiny and the lack of rivets and panel lines can be noticed at first glance. Yet there are few exceptions such as the airbrakes, which are beautifully riveted, and a few others. The Harrier may not have too many visible rivets and panel lines, but they are there. The good thing is that the plastic is soft and easy for… Yeah, this model desperately needs rescribing and riveting improvements. I will add some texturising as well, which is something like my favorite technique for weathering before assembling the model. Check out the DN Models blog for the complete“Assembling the Harrier” article, for more insight into my endeavors to optimize the texture of this 1/48 scale Harrier. The plastic materials grab the attention with basically nothing, but that`s only at first glance. An in-depth stroll through the plastic sprues shows some really nice and beautiful hints that Eduard or Hasegawa (I don`t know) bring to us. I call them “special parts or special areas” and are something like optional parts, very detailed parts, details with irregular shapes, strange-looking details…  The small vertical stabilizer was one of these parts. The sprue with the intake parts too, because the compressor`s first stage is actually part of the intake. The sprue with the ordnance and the weapon pylons are also remarkable, because this Harrier can be made with all the pylons, which are not a few. Then, the sprue with the clear parts – except for the canopy, there is a myriad of tiny little transparent gizmos and gadgets, which I don`t exactly know where to mount. Of course – a small bag with 4 black rings, which are rubberlike parts dedicated to the ends of the two links inside the fuselage in order to make the four nozzles to rotate snugly. In brief, the plastic is good from a historical point of view, but it`s not bad also. Needs a lot of improvements, but the greatest of them are provided by Eduard. Unboxing of the Eduard surprises
  • The photo etched parts are spread over two medium-sized sheets, featuring parts for both the interior and exterior of the Harrier. Just beautiful. The seat will be decorated with seatbelts and even with cable imitations out of photo etch. Perfect. The instrument panel and the side consoles are blessed with dozens of small photo etch upgrades, and some of them are very interesting to make by stacking two PE pieces on top of each other. The screens have three layers for an even more immersive effect. The Harrier will become a real masterpiece with so many sharp and pre-colored details, especially if you choose to display the canopy open. I think about making it movable. Will see. The exterior PE parts provide a lot of improvements too, ranging from the stabilators` plates, to tiny hooks, antennas, pods and other small things.
  • Resin. The Eduard`s “Brassin” resin upgrades are the second indispensable advantage of this 1/48 scale Harrier kit. There are resin parts only for the seat and for the wheels, but that`s enough if you plan to display the Harrier with the landing gears down, because they are quite visible. The Harrier is famous for its large, spacious and light cockpit, and if you leave the canopy open – the resin seat will become a spectacular sight to witness, along with the…
  • Masks. Eduard also reduces the time for assembling this kit by providing some pre-cut masks. They are very handy and useful, and guarantee long straight shapes of the canopy frame, as well as sharp circular shapes with the exact size of the peripheries of the wheels/the tires. If the masks are carefully applied and detached, they can easily be stored and reused for further Harrier projects without pre-cut masks.
Into the decals The high quality of the Cartograf decals is another major highlight in this 1/48 scale Harrier. Then, you may notice that most of the instrument panels and the screens in the cockpit have PE upgrades, as well as optional decal upgrades. Or else, you could apply PE parts on top of decals… who knows. These decals provide that freedom of choices, which are unsurpassed if you want to put lights in your 1/48 scale Harrier model and the light should penetrate through all the knobs, buttons, screens, etc. The big decals are bright and colorful, the small decals are almost invisible. There is only one sheet of decals, which looks not so huge, but the decals should be sufficient for the Harrier. The only better thing than high quality decals, are decals for 6 different Harrier airframes:
  • Harrier GR.9, ZD406
  • Harrier GR.7, ZG479/69A
  • Harrier GR.7, ZD464/54
  • Harrier GR.7, ZD379/27
  • Harrier GR.7, ZG501
  • Harrier GR.9A, ZG478/68
  Pros and cons of this Eduard Harrier in 1/48 The imperfections are a lot, but let`s face it – the numerous great advantages are not an exception too! Let`s start with the CONS however:
  • Rough ailerons and flaps. Nothing short of imperfections. That doesn`t even covers it. The real plane has “coverings” on top of the control surfaces that provide a smooth transition to the wings, while in the model – there are gaps or huge seamlines, which will stay that way after the weathering. These control surfaces are also molded together with the wings, so if you want to display the Harrier in a VTOL mode – it`s recommended to cut the flaps and glue them in a lowered configuration. It`s easily doable, thanks to the thin almost transparent seamlines, but some concealing challenges of the joints will be required. Also, when lowered, the flaps are extended quite significantly, so you will have to add a good amount of surface to the flaps.
  • Lack of rivets and panel lines. If you think that the GR.7 and the GR.9 Harriers are new planes and so they should be smooth and clean, without visible rivets – hmm? I doubt about it. Of course it is a matter of personal taste and preferences, but every plane has rivets and panels. Perhaps the long legacy of this kit is the reason for the simplicity of the plastic surfaces, but some major riveting/rescribing is highly recommended.
  • The main wheel bay doors are closed. They are molded together with the fuselage, which is good if you make a flying Harrier with the landing gears inside. However, the Harriers on the ground or in a VTOL mode are with lowered gears. The interesting thing is that I came across photos where the bay doors are closed, as well as photos where the doors are open, both in a situation with lowered landing gears. In all cases, the beautiful wheel bays of the Harrier with their labyrinths of cables and tubes are not presented in this kit.
  • Not the perfect packing. It is understandable for a kit in the lower price class, but the packing looks kinda neglected, maybe because of the enormous amount of plastic stuffed in such a smaller box. There is no individual plastic wrapping for the sprues, which caused some scratches and friction indentations onto the surface of some details. It`s nothing major and it even looks like texturizing or some kind of weathering, but this is a matter of luck. There is a great chance that some parts can easily be bent, broken or detached from the sprue gates. The tight packing doesn`t deny the free movement of the parts. And there are clear parts along with delicate photo etch sheets in this overfilled box. The boxart is very simple, but it`s beautiful.
  • Lack of pilot. The Harrier in a VTOL or flying mode with a ghost pilot? Luckily, I have an extra pilot from my Eduard`s 1/48 F-15C model, which is suitable for the Harrier seat. But an aftermarket pilot figure is required if you really want to display the Harrier in the air.
  • Thick trailing edges of all control surfaces. They are just too thick, while they have to be almost sharp as a knife when reduced to 1/48 scale. So, a lot of scratching and sanding are required if you are a perfectionist.
  • Bad fit between the nose and the air intake. After a few dozens of test fits, you will notice that the shaft that goes through the intake fan and passes through the bulky part of the cockpit, fits not perfectly with the center of the fan. It is slightly offset, which causes the entire nose of the plane to pitch up, which slightly rises the nose gear according to the rear gear and thus changes the way the Harrier sits on the ground. Not to mention that it compromises the true silhouette of the Harrier. So, a little modifications between the nose section and the air intake are required.
  The PROS of this kit are mostly in the PE/Resin surprises from Eduard, which replace a good amount of the plastic details – something that this kit desperately needs. It`s not quite a big amount of PE and Resin parts, but they are from Eduard and are the best, and include parts from the interior and from the exterior of the Harrier, which are essential for its overall final look. The other Pros of this Eduard 1/48 Harrier kit are:
  • The flaps and the ailerons can easily be lowered/moved. They are one with the two halves of the wings, but the joints between the flaps/ailerons and the wings are so thin that they look transparent. Note that the joints are not small – they are quite big gaps, which is far away from the reality, however – they are quite thinner than the surrounding thickness of the plastic. This means easier cutting, sanding, reshaping, adjustments and other improvements in order to lower them.
  • The white coil on top of the canopy is a decal. It is just one small decal that beautifully imitates the cord on top of the canopy. Ideally, just water is required to apply it for avoiding plausible discoloration due to the chemicals in the decal set solutions.
  • 100% LERX and 65% LERX provided in this 1/48 scale Harrier kit. There are airframes in the kit that are fitted with the bigger part, as well as Harriers that have the smaller LERX. Honestly, if you are not familiar with the Harrier – it would be impossible to notice the difference, but if you know what we talk about when we talk about Harriers – then the big LERX is quite a big difference.
  • 4 individually moveable nozzles. This is another great point that brings this Harrier kit closer to the realm. Each nozzle is fitted in a small rubber-like ring, which allows smooth rotation inside the nozzle nacelles. A little bit of “interior” modifications and you can make the nozzles to rotate 2 by 2, or to synchronize them to rotate all together.
  • Slightly offset vortex generators. These are the numerous little pieces near the top of the leading edges of the wings and are slightly angled– just as they should be. The difference can barely be seen in the bare plastic, but after painting and weathering – these vortex generators will become “one” of the most visible parts of the wings.
  • Acetate films for behind the screens of the instrument panels. The cockpit of this Eduard 1/48 Harrier is spectacular with all the PE and Resin upgrades, but this little acetate films are just another awesome hint in the overall cockpit enhancement. The screens will acquire a much more realistic shine after sandwiching the acetate films in two PE pieces.
How I envision that this Harrier will look like The airframe will probably be ZG478/68, so – a GR.9A Harrier. The double-cross of Lorraine first looked to me quite religious and not appealing for a plane, but after examining it in Wikipedia, I found out that it symbolizes liberty and victory. Add the amazing red contrast on a white tail, and you will get a picture perfect appearance for a scale model. Mitko also suggested me a few striking reference photos of this exact plane, so at this moment – there is no doubt, the airframe will be the F option: Harrier GR.9A, ZG 478/68. My vision for the final display of the model is again for 2 models in 1, like my KittyHawk 1/48 F-35B model. I will make the landing gears to move up and down, the canopy will slide back and forth too. There will be a pilot inside the cockpit, so the imaginary display of the model will be as a plane in VTOL mode with lowered nozzles, flaps and landing gears. The plane will be displayed on a stand and on top of a long pylon, so when everything is retracted – it will look like a flying Harrier. Perhaps with the ailerons slightly in opposite directions and… I don`t know yet. The nozzles will be moving too and I plan to make a special reduction gear mechanism with a flywheel, which will be connected to the first couple of stages of the compressor rotor. A hidden cord inside the airbrake bay will spin the flywheel and respectively the visible part of the compressor will rotate, but I`m still not sure if it will work. Because the engine of this exact plane is basically in the middle of the airframe and maybe the Harrier is the plane with the clearest visible compressor, and thus it should look gorgeous on a macro photo when one can see deep into the compressor, instead only the first compressor stage. Just a tip – follow the DN-Model`s Blog! We discussed with Mitko that I should separate the Assembly Article in several parts, but I don`t know if he will publish it partially or at once. Maybe the first update will come soon… and maybe the rotating compressor “thing” will be one of the first things to make. Another highlight that I plan to do is to make the Harrier with attachable-detachable loadouts. It has so many pylons and they are great for variations. Implementing magnets and a lot of scratchbuilt hinges and other mechanisms for the moving parts will be required. Beside from sticking to the instructions, I will texturise the entire plane, will add a lot of wiring, tubing, extra detailing, and will apply my favorite pre-metalizing method during the painting. Stay tuned to the DN-Models blog to follow the latest updates about this Harrier, and happy modelling! You can get this amazing kit here: Limited Edition Eduard Gr.7/Gr.9 And DN Models mask sets for it here: Arctic Camo + Canopy and Wheels Canopy and Wheels Only  

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

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

Tamiya’s F-14A 1/48. The Giant Woke up.

After years of waiting for a new an improved Tomcat, we now are expecting two simultaneously. Tamiya and AMK are releasing two different options of F-14, A and D respectively. They are both about to be released on the market this fall, and they will be both very interesting. AMK is a company made from modelers for modelers, and their approach is what they do believe is best when comes down to assembly engineering and combo /as a kit itself/. Tamiya on the other hand are the biggest and probably the best of all the plastic modeling companies in the World as we know it today. They offer simple and clever solutions, but more importantly - they never showed up with a troubling or wrong /in terms of accuracy/ kit. So we will have some sort of a David versus Goliath kinda thing here, however I think that they will both be great scores. My personal preference goes to Tamiya, because I adore their kits, I have extremely pleasant experience building Tamiya and their last jet in 48th scale I built /Aggressor F-16/ was amazing. As for these preferences I have, I must add that I prefer 32nd scale aircraft, and F-14 Tomcat in that scale would be "The Best Kit Ever" for me. That's not the case here, but only because the smaller scale this time. Not that I am not hoping... Anyway, Tamiya announced their Boxart which can be seen on the head of this article, and I believe that it will be soon made available for reviews among the best reviewers in the modeling business. You probably noticed, that some pieces of that Tomcat made it to the public, but to be frank I prefer more reviews so to be sure that there will be an objective opinion about that kit. I have no doubts on the other hand that it will be great plastic piece of art, but still, I would like to hear people talk before the official release. Now, with the boxart out, I must say that AMK are in a bit of trouble, but just a bit. Tamiya will gain speed as fast as Tomcat taking of from a carrier ship with this release, and even though AMK version is different, it must be noted, that Tamiya with their reputation will sale more from theirs. Anyhow, even before deep research, I must assure you all, that if you are a NAVY plane fan like myself, there is absolutely no doubt that you should get both of those kits. Even with a slight chance of difference in the final appearance it is guaranteed that both of those will be high-quality pieces and they will worth buying. On the other hand, knowing the decals that Tamiya usually provides, I can assure you that DN Models will do everything possible to supply with thorough mask set options for those two birds. Stay tuned for a more detailed review of both kits in the near months!

Saab Draken – Eduard vision for Hasegawa kit

Saab Draken is a very special aircraft for me. It was one of the first built model kits that I've seen in my childhood. The version I saw was 1/100 and I cannot tell who was the manufacturer of it. What I remember was poorly painted airplane, with extremely attractive design /that was mid 1980s/ and fogged canopy. Whatever the case was, I was fascinated by the model, by the plane and even by the assembly. Looking back now, I understand that it was less than mediocre built, but it was my first view of such a thing. In 2008 Hasegawa announced their new-tooling Draken and I was very fast buying one, but just before I started building it, one fellow fighter pilot begged me for it, and I parted with it. I made a good choice, because after a while Hasegawa started flooding the market with numerous versions of it, each one better that the previous one. They featured nice schemes, bright colors and everything that you might think of in terms of "fashion". Well, I haven't bought any of them since, but this summer Eduard was pleased to announce their own view of what a perfect Saab Draken should look like. They got the Draken from Hasegawa and repacked the thing, adding their own spices. Masks are the first thing to notice of course. Then photo-etched cockpit and engine parts comes around. After that, the necessary cockpit details and wheels from resin, which are the best add-on to the kit in my opinion. And lastly are the decals from Cartograf. This is one of the add-ons which will be among the most welcomed. The Saab Draken kit is going to be a Limited Edition of course, but we cannot be certain is it going to be the last Draken on the line. However, it's not worth risking and missing this kit, so knowing what we have in the Hasegawa box, and knowing the usual high quality of Eduard's stuff, I can highly recommend it even before I got my own piece!

The Sound of Silence – the best Dual Set from Eduard so far.

The Sound of Silence is a 1964 song performed by Simon and Garfunkel, which was featured in the famous movie The Graduate starring Dustin Hoffman in 1967. It is a milestone in the music industry, and remakes are being made up until this day. It is a sad-ish, melancholic song, which usually drives up the image of young Hoffman driving his Alfa Romeo in the movie. These were the saddest times in the Vietnam war as well. Too many casualties from both sides, too much sorrow and desperation. Probably due to these reasons described above, Eduard decided to put out a dual set of MiG-21PFM and an A-4E, describing the period and the feeling that it brought. Very clever decision from the Czech company. They had a Phantom to show for, but in reality, second generation MiG-21 wasn't a matching platform to the Smokey Joe. The PFM was rather hunter for slower and more not-so-agile aircraft invading its airspace. So Eduard combined the PFM with A-4E. They combined Hasegawa with Eduard and provided probably the best Dual Combo released so far. sound of silence mig-21pfm a-4 skyhawk eduard limited edition dual combo dn models review Hasegawa kit is old, but it is still the best available. Czechs spiced it up with resin and photo-etch, just like in their Scooters Limited Edition set. Additionally, they used their famous -21 platform, already spiced up, and boxed it with the A-4E. I was considering getting another MiG-21 from the second generation options, and PFM was the most likely winner. And in the same time I wanted an A-4, but I wanted an Aggressor set. I believe Eduard will release one someday. Anyhow, this morning I woke up, checked for the news and I froze. It might not be something new, overly attractive, limited or even rare. But it was all that I was looking for. Even in my dreams such a dual set didn't existed, and now Eduard are hitting the market with it. What a surprise eh!?! We all know the qualities of both kits, they have been reviewed all around the web for years already. Now, we get them both in one box. And not just both, but both as superkits, with everything needed to complete them perfectly without any additional purchases. Thank you Eduard, I hope you will make more such sets in the future!! "And the vision that was planted in my brain Still remains Within the sound of silence" Simon & Garfunkel, The Sound of SIlence, 1964

Spitfire – 32nd or 48th?

Sptifire is a whole universe by itself in terms of scale modeling, history and aviation. That is the best airplane that Britain ever created and one of the top fighters of WWII. It is sleek, fast, agile and well armed. It won a lot of air battles and saved many lives. Spitfire built a reputation of a state-of-the-art aerodynamics, innovation and capabilities. And it was produced in numerous versions, featuring very different engineering decisions, and putting them into real action all over the World. Spitfire served from late 30s till the early 60s. For a single engine propeller fighter, and living through the emerging of the jet plane era, this is a unique and respectable fact. Let's talk Spitfire scale models now: Many companies have produced various of different Spitfires during the years, and many of them were great looking plastic kits. However, nothing comes close to the latest editions of Tamiya. The Japanese company did 3 versions of it, all Merlin Powered options, and they did them with insane precision. These are the best airplane kits ever produced, and nothing comes close to them. Except for maybe Eduard. And that's what we should discuss here. Eduard made a new tooling of the Spitfire in 2013, replacing their repack of Airfix, also a great model of its time. With the knowledge that they had repacking it, and the new technologies, they put out a beautiful 48th scale bird, second only to Tamiya's 32nd scale beast. But since 2013, they put out almost twenty /yes, 20!/ options, boxed in a fashionable manner, with various options from nothing, through PE and up to Resin add ons. Something for everybody. So the question for most of us here was, which one to get, if the scale is not the most important factor. Well, the answer is both, because two Spitfires are better than one. Always. But that aside, I want to share my opinion about the kits. Tamiya stands second to none. And that includes Eduard Spit as well. Not only in terms of scale, but quality, accuracy, engineering and even branding. Tamiya is the greatest modeling company ever, and there is no doubt about it. However, Eduard are not that far behind. Which is great! That means that the Czech company is evolving, and getting out there competing with the best. One thing is sure - in 48th scale their Spit is the most beautiful one. And probably with the most options. But not only that. They have delivered a kit from modelers to modelers, allowing us to make whatever possible with that airplane and steal attention even from bigger scaled Spitfires. There are Dual Combo sets, Limited Editions, Weekends, unusual camos and so on. And while Tamiya Spitfire does not have many options from the aftermarket sellers to be elevated /not that it needs to/, the Eduard Spit in that matter is unsurpassed. In terms of price, well, Eduard are not cheap, but are cheaper than Tamiya, giving us pretty much similar satisfaction in the end. And that is because their quality is at a very high level the last years. Also, in terms of options, they offer 3 or 4 times more than the Japanese.  And they alone as a company, offer a great line of add-ons for it. Wheels, cockpits, engines, you name it. So which one is better? Neither. They are kings in their own realms. In terms of comparing them, well, Tamiya have the upper hand, just because they are better in scale, and with amazing quality. Engineering is better, and the kit is suitable for almost any modeler. And while Eduard give us pretty much the same stunning Spitfire once built, the road to that is not for everybody. However, it is mandatory to be said that there are people who are devoted 48th scalers, and that is the Spitfire for them. Honestly, built one next to another, if the pictures does not show them measured, you will hardly tell the difference.  you can hardly tell that this above is 48th scale engine... Masks from DN Models are available for Tamiya 32nd scale birds, but not yet for Eduard's. Honestly, that is one thing Eduard are better than Tamiya - decals. Whatever the case with those is though, on large scale planes it is always wiser to paint the markings instead of using decals. But if you enjoyed the article, and/or DN Models' masks, feel free to contact me in terms of 48th scale Spitfire. A set quickly can come to life! My conclusion: Both. No matter if you are devoted 48th-er or LSP fan, they both worth the money. And the set they will become built together - priceless.... Spits you can get here: Tamiya - Ver.1 , Ver.2 , Ver.3 Eduard - Weekend , Profipack , Royal Class - and many more options. These are just the three main boxings. Masks for 32nd scale Tamiya