f-4b 1/48 new tool 2021 tamiya 61121 dn models masks for scale models phanotm ii

Tamiya’s latest announcement – F-4B in 1/48!

 

F-4B in 1/48 !?!? That was probably the boldest move ever, on behalf of the Tamiya - the most famous Japanese model maker. This is promised to appear in early 2021 and it comes as a huge surprise. The reason is not the subject, nor the scale, but the fact that this legendary aircraft is already covered. And by covered, you don't need to read - "yeah, there is a kit out there". There are plenty. In that same scale. All of them - with very good quality.

There is the long-running Hasegawa, which - although 20+ years old - is still very good representation. And it is available in tons of variations. But there is also less-than-a-decade-old Academy, which is considered brilliant by many means. And they have covered the B variant from the get go. Multi-colored plastic, different releases, beyond decent pricing and all that. But that is not all. Oh no. There is the one and only Zoukei-Mura representation of J, S, E and EJ, again in quarter scale, and they are considered to be state of the art productions. Reasons for that are many, but mostly - Zoukei-Mura are a level above everybody in terms of finesse and detailing, thickness /or the lack of there of/ and precision. Plus the fact that they will most likely continue with other variants soon.

F-4B in 1 48 tamiya new tool 2021 #61121 dn models masks for scale models

That leads to the conclusion that Tamiya, being the dominant F-4 producer in 32nd scale might want to keep their reign there, but no. They decided to hit hard and try to swim with the sharks as bold as they could. But why? How?

Well, one of the reasons is the fact that Japan recently retired their F-4s after decades of service and it is only logical, that the most popular model maker in the World would commemorate their longest serving airplane so far. Even starting with different version. Another reason is the fact that Zoukei-Mura is not available everywhere, but in the same time Academy are not loved by everybody, because they have very high-quality models, but they have couple of let-downs as well. And Hasegawa, well, that is only getting older.

In terms of research and accuracy - Tamiya are relentless. They are always spot on. Same goes for the fit. Both those are key ingredients in terms of successful scale model. The pleasure that you experience building Tamiya cannot be substituted by any other model maker. Fit as well. And with that comes an army of devoted fans, that would prefer Tamiya, just because it is Tamiya and they swear by them. With all that in mind, 2021 comes with Tamiya #61121 - F-4B 1/48 Phantom II.

F-4B in 1 48 tamiya new tool 2021 #61121 dn models masks for scale models

Tamiya released only couple of renders, but they reveal a lot. Retractable refueling probe, folding wings, some armament and superb riveting are among those. Probably more features will be revealed when we get to see the box contents and there is no doubt about their qualities too. With that said, it is only logical to expect to see areas that requires improvement, like for example - the nozzles that Zoukei-Mura gave us with their kits. But is highly unlikely that Tamiya F-4B will need serious investment to be turned into a quarter scale miracle. Most likely, everything will be there OOTB and many customers will wait for Tamiya or will exchange their existing kits for the latest release.

F-4B in 1 48 tamiya new tool 2021 #61121 dn models masks for scale models

Another question is - are the sales gonna be sufficient for Tamiya, considering the market and the fact that probably there are thousands of stashed Phantoms in modelers' storages. In that same scale. But there is a little doubt that the humongous model maker made their research carefully and they know what they are doing. And most likely, there is a plan for an upcoming long-line of Phantoms ahead, that will be second to none and the losers will not be Tamiya, but everybody else that dared to step on the Phantom arena. Still, if we can hit them with a question or two, it would be - "Why not F-4E variant, when 2020 was its last year in Japan and it still flies in Korea, Turkey, Greece and Iran?". Or - "Tamiya new tool F-4? Why now, in 2021, but not sooner?!?"

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Wiesel A1 TOW 1/16 from TAKOM dn models masks for scale models

Wiesel A1 TOW 1/16 from TAKOM

 

1/16 is  a scale that you see significantly less-often compared to 35th. Probably, because of the significant size of Abrams or Leopard tanks in 16th scale. But if you remember, few years back, there was a Hobby Boss Dora kit in 72nd scale, which actually was spot on, again for the very same reasons. So in other words, there are kits that are suitable for 35th scale, but there are many that are definitely not. 

Takom somehow hit the right spot again, with this upcoming release of Wiesel A1 tankette. Previous time they did it was with their 1/16 Renault FT, another tank that in 35th scale is too small to be interesting. Others followed too. And even though Wiesel A1 is far less popular than the legendary FT light tank, it will still fit the bill perfectly.

The major advantages of the models in scale 1/16 are the enormous amount of details that you can work with. Again, that isn't a good choice for larger vehicles /or probably is, but it is an expensive one/, mostly due to their size when assembled, but for smaller tanks this is quite an option. Wiesel A1 is a relatively tiny vehicle, which features enough details on its exterior and definitely deserves a model in 16th scale. And TAKOM calculated the situation with impressive precision.

The german tankette, although not very popular and camera-friendly in real life, especially compared to the latest tanks, is actually interesting for the modelers. Both Revell and AFV Club have proven that over the years. In smaller scale of course. Now for the devoted fans, January 2021 is coming with the bigger and hopefully deeply re-engineered version of the Wiesel A1 TOW, which will probably be the start. And by that, we mean a new line of kits, with various options, because Wiesel has few of them that needs to be represented as models. 

Takom are one of the companies that are not releasing many kits as Trumpeter do on an annual basis. They are more modest and careful when expanding their catalogue. But sometimes when they do, they announce very interesting and potentially celebrity-type kits. Most likely, Wiesel A1 TOW will be one of those.

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

A-26B Invader 1/32 from Hobby Boss

Intro

A-26B Invader is the first of the A-26/B-26 line that Hobby Boss releases. Invader is a legendary plane, that’s why there is no doubt that other variants will follow. Let’s start with that, that Invader often is quoted as the plane that fought in the three major US wars: WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Many other conflicts as well. It takes something to be that sturdy and to survive through times when aviation technology was leaping every two years or so. Even more with two spinners attached.

Although later variants were modified and internally had little to do with the WWII examples, it was still the good ol’ A-26 in general. The plane was slightly ahead of its time with its sleek and sexy looks, laminar wing and speed achievements. It was a brain child of the genius Edward Heinemann, the same guy who designed Dauntless, A-1 Skyraider, A-4 Skyhawk and worked extensively on F-16.

The Invader, although somewhat lost in between the news about new and extremely fast jets for their time, atomic weapons and constant conflicts popping up here and there all the time, was still a very bright star in the aviation history if you take the time to explore it. In that terms, this kit can be considered overdue.

Packing

A-26B Invader is the typical Hobby Boss kit. It is packed the same way as Trumpeter and Hobby Boss always did it: in separate plastic bags, with couple sectors made from cardboard dividers. That’s in the box that is rather small for 32nd scale twin prop, but in the same time with enough space left to close the lid once you open and eventually re-arrange the order of the sprues.

Everything else is just like it always was, which is not a “top-notch“ appearance, but that is justified by the reasonable price tag and the fact that in the end, the box means nothing. The only thing that matters are the contents. And Hobby Boss are perfectly aware.

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

Instructions

Those are located on the bottom beneath everything else. Unfortunately, the style remains unchanged after two decades of experience in scale model producing. It is not bad per se, but the change was requested million times on different web platforms from plenty of modelers. We are living in an era of highly competitive market of scale models, where companies with innovations and superb quality products bloom. Keeping the sheet the same like it was in 2001 is not a good option. After all, this is your guide for getting through the increasingly complex building processes. On the other hand, the latter hasn’t changed much for Trumpeter/Hobby Boss, so again, this is justified. HB kept this build simple and straight-forward, so if you are not overly pretentious, you will probably be able to accept what comes OOTB in terms of instructions.

Unfortunately, same goes for the color schemes, which provide three options, two US and one French, but without any explanation what so ever. Eventually, the modeler should find out what is being built by personal research.

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

Plastic

The quality of the Hobby Boss plastic is good. This A-26B Invader is no exception. It is what we know and love from the Chinese model maker. It sands well, it cuts well, it can sustain decent amount of abuse. What more can a modeler want?

There is a room for extra detailing, especially on a rivet level, but even as it is, the Invader comes with a decent texture. The kit features interior as well and the same goes for that. Again, thanx to the plastic that we are used to get from Trumpeter/Hobby Boss, one can easily conclude that cutaways will be very easily doable and probably almost mandatory with this kit.

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

The sprues aren’t that many, but the focus isn’t on the part number as with armor kits. Just the contrary. That was the case with the Liberator recently released by the same company. So logically, here things are pretty much the same.

Speaking of which, Liberator was criticized widely for accuracy issues. There is a big BUT and the fact that there aren’t many other options on the market, so whoever wants to build – builds. The rest complain and search for discrepancies. Same goes for the Invader. And it is pretty sure that the accuracy will have flaws, possibly some major ones. But do we have an alternative?

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

Clear Parts

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

Decals

As mentioned above, the A-26B from Hobby Boss comes with three options. The decal sheet they are fitted in is not very large, although markings for this plane in this scale are more or less – substantial in size. Due to the lack of additional information though, aftermarket options will be probably more attractive than what we get OOTB. The reason is one – lack of information about the specific planes, two – more interesting and probably visually attractive options on the aftermarket scene.

With that said, the decals of Trumpeter/Hobby Boss were never an issue and if you want to stick to the box contents, they are more than acceptable option. With that scale though, decals are better put off and substituted with masks. This provides maximum realism and guarantees that there will be no issues with bubbles, silvering or ripped edges.

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

Extras

The A-26B Invader kit features two extras: rubber tires and small PE sheet. Neither of those deserves attention though. Not that they are bad, on the contrary. They are acceptable. However, PE is rather thick and for such a big bird it is insufficient in terms of part numbers. Rubber tires are also kinda useless. They are stiff and cannot provide the sag required, thus exchanging those for resin aftermarket parts is the better option.

The thing that is missing and will probably be one of the most important and almost mandatory add-on are the metal struts. One of the things that dictates their usage is the size and the weight of the plane in 32nd scale. The other is, that metal struts are often more detailed than the plastic OOTB parts, which in this scale is highly demanded option. So yes, there are extras that comes with the kit, but let’s get real – they are not enough nor at the required level.

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

Conclusion

Even if the above written might sound more on the negative side, the conclusion about this plane is mostly positive. All that is mentioned like a downsides is justified by the price and the fact that Trumpeter and Hobby Boss, despite their mass production of kits are a B player on the market. Even with that, they produce one of a kind kits on subjects that are with high demand.

Another thing mentioned above is that the Invader was overdue. This is another reason to get this kit immediately. It is a lovely looking plane and despite the expected inaccuracies /which OOTB builders prefer to forget/, the need for aftermarket and lack of historical reference, we have to give it to Hobby Boss. Another spot on hit, closely following the Liberator duo released last year.

So yes, the kit's worth it. It deserves attention and it looks great. You will never get the proper "A" quality from Trumpeter and Hobby Boss, but you will never get that subject from the A players either. So you cannot have your cake and eat it too …

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takom stug iii dn models masks for scale models 2020

Takom StuG III? Biggest news for armor in 2020

Takom StuG III

release was somewhat logical announcement. Although still not official news neither as scale nor as release date, Takom dropped the bomb with a single picture posted on their Facebook page. For armor modeling world, this is probably the biggest and most likely the greatest announcement of 2020. It is most definitely more interesting and important for armor modelers than corona virus is nowadays.

StuG III is the most produced vehicle of the German side of the Second World War. Not only that, but it has tons of fans around the World, modeling-wise. Interestingly, those who once take the StuG road, tend to stay on it, with few extreme examples. Latter one are builders that build either mostly or only StuG IIIs in 35th scale.

Here comes the question: “What scale will be Takom’s StuG III?”. It might seem like an easy answer, but it is not yet announced officially, which might mean that it can be 1/16th, just like their FT-17 tank. And why not, considering that Trumpeter are releasing StuG in 16th scale sometimes in the next 12 to 24 months. It is definitely a possibility.

Most likely though,

the 35th scale kit will emerge on the already flourishing armor market. And that means a lot. It means that this is just the beginning. Because Takom are not like Bronco, and they will expand their line and probably give the rights to others to re-pack. In the meantime, the most interesting object for modeling of the WWII will  probably be explored by others too. It is highly unlikely this speculation to be false as well. And if you wonder why, think about it:

MiniArt just announced Panzer IV and they already did some pre-production Panzer and StuG IIIs. Border model also entered the game with their Panzer IV, as well as the brilliant Rye Field Model representation of the same thing. It will be insane decision not to take a swing at the StuG III, considering that it is far more popular than Panzer III and IVs.

But let’s give time

to Takom and see what exactly they will offer us. And if expectations of everybody are correct, this will be 35th scale new tooling of a StuG III. Probably with interior. That will set the beginning of a new line of StuG IIIs and will put a huge pressure on Dragon, dethroning them as a StuG dominant on the market. Reasons for that are many, but none more important that this: Takom know how to make contemporary models and are highly competitive, while DML seems to have forgotten how to. One thing is certain: Takom StuG III is happening!

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eduard's upcoming spitfire 1/48 mk.i dn models masks for scale models

Eduard’s upcoming Spitfire Mk.I in 48th scale

 

Eduard's upcoming Spitfire Mk.I will be a definite hit. That is certain, even before any info about the kit's engineering or contents is made available. The reason for that certainty is the history the Czech company made with their 109, as well as with their MiG-21 family. Same goes for their later Spitfire versions. Now, we will have the first Spitfire as well. And this comes as a surprise, knowing that they produce a beautiful BIG Sin set for Tamiya's Spitfire Mk.I. Latter one, by itself - a piece of art.

Eduard's upcoming Spitfire will mark the beginning of a whole new sub-family. That will include Spitfires from the early versions. Even ones with two-blade propeller are already being hinted. It is surprising, because those options are not that popular. At least not among general modeling society. On the other hand, they are indispensable for Spitfire maniacs. As for the Mk.I and on, it is clearly a good decision. If Tamiya have decided to take that road, they probably did their research. We all know they pay insane amounts of money on research.

eduard's upcoming spitfire tamiya 61119 dn models masks for scale models

How will the two 48th scale Mk.Is compare is another story. It is true that many have made comparisons and drew parallels in between new tool Me-109s both from Tamiya and Eduard. There is still no clear winner though. If you ask for precision, rivets, small and intricate details, Eduard are there for you. But if you wan't to enjoy the pure pleasure of modeling, encounter less troubles and have almost guaranteed results - Tamiya is the path.

Eduard's upcoming Spitfire

will probably present us with the same dilemma. Either to choose the traditional Japanese approach, or the innovative Czech modeling design.

We, at DN Models found out that Tamiya kits are always welcomed and our products are very popular when it comes down to that specific brand. One of the main reasons is their accuracy in shape and size. Another is their superb research and spot-on markings and description. That's why, learning that we will get a new Spitfire from Eduard, we decided to update our line with Spitfire's markings included in Tamiya's kit. That will make them available option for the future Eduard buyers, giving them the option to build Eduard and make it look like Tamiya. Even maybe build them side to side with equal markings, but different plastic underneath. Lacking Tamiya's notorious decal troubles of course. 

Spitfire Mk.I Numbers and Insignia Paint Mask Set for Tamiya #61119 1/48 dn models masks for scale models

Eduard Spitfire would not disappoint. Nether Tamiya's option. But in the end, they are rather small airplanes even in quarter scale. Price tags are not scary either. So there is the obvious answer - get them both. Especially if you are a Spitfire fan. That way you will get whatever you want from both worlds. And with DN Models' masks? The end result will be even better!

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miniart new tool t-34 1/35 dn models masks for scale models

MiniArt New Tool T-34

 

New Tool T-34 is something that many wanted for quite some time now. Although not anything near as popular as the Panzer IVs that are now flooding the market, T-34 is a loved subject among modelers. It has its variations in 35th and 16th scale, but so far nobody managed to catch the perfect representation of that rather small vehicle in 35th scale.

miniart new tool t-34 1/35 dn models masks for scale models

At the beginning, MiniArt were flooding the market with their brilliant T-series. That surprisingly started with T-44 and continued with T-54-1, -2 and -3. Then on, they turned towards more popular and widespread versions of the T-series, reaching their peak with Czech, Chinese and Polish options now available for purchase.

Those kits are very sophisticated and demanding. They are full with small parts, feature separate track links, photo-etch and most importantly - usually full interior as well. We have reviewed plenty of them, so if you are interested, search the blog for more info.

The T-34 just announced at the Toy Fair in Germany is a continuation of that tradition that MiniArt created with the tanks mentioned. This new T-34 will feature Interior and most likely will be one of the best releases in terms of accuracy compared to the competition.

miniart new tool t-34 1/35 dn models masks for scale models

The reason for that assumption is because MiniArt are Ukrainian company, and Ukraine is one of the best places on earth to get information about old Soviet vehicles as the T-34. This to some extent answers the question why it took them so long to get it done. Knowing how deep they go into a project and how accurate they want it to be, it is only self-explanatory. Especially having in mind how many thousands of T-34s were produced during WWII. Plus the fact that variations existed in abundance. And made in different plants too.

miniart new tool t-34 1/35 dn models masks for scale models

T-34, together with their new tooled Panzer IV and some upcoming /hopefully/ aircraft kits this year, 2020 MiniArt made a great start for that new Decade. 2020 seems to be very promising for armor modelers thus far too. Two of the 3 most important subjects of the Second World War are already covered by MiniArt. New tool T-34 or "The Hero tank" as it is famous in the former Soviet block is one. The other is the Panzer IV, which is, alongside with StuG III,  the most popular German armored vehicles of that same period. Only the StuG III in production is missing from MiniArt's line thus far. But we can strongly hope that this will change rather soon. And as far as the Panzer IV and T-34, well, knowing MiniArt we can count on long-lasting and abundant line of new kits with superb quality!

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mi24 hind zvezda new tool 2020 dn models masks for scale models

Mi-24 1//48 New Tool from Zvezda – Finally!

 

Mi-24 Hind is the best looking helicopter of all time, no doubt about that. Quarter scale scale model of that bird is available, but the quality of the kit is obsolete. Both in 72nd and 35th scale you can get the kit with toolings from Zvezda and Trumpeter respectively, but no new one dared to test the 48th scale market. Trumpeter promised a release of that in he early 2000s, with that promise re-appearing every once in a while. Even in 2019, there was a short announcement of their new tooling Mi-24 in 48th scale. So far, none of that happened. 

However, Zvezda dropped the bomb with a small hint about Mi-24 in 48th, although still considered pending release. In 2020 we are getting Hind from the Russian model maker in quarter scale. Considering the award winning 72nd scale tooling that they did a while ago, we should expect a very serious contender on the Mi-24 scene. Their 72nd scale kit is repacked by many and is constantly re-issued. It is small, but nevertheless it is a great kit to build and have. Eduard's first Limited Edition Dual Combo re-rapck release was sold out within a day. They had to re-release it due to the great interest. So imagine now a bigger and hopefully a better tooling of Mi-24. Wouldn't that be something?

We are at the end of 2019 and Zvezda are not famous for postponing their releases indefinitely, like AMK for example. So in the next few months, probably less than half a year ahead, we might be able to enjoy the mighty Hind in quarter scale. And if Zvezda manage to pull this off properly, it might become the best kit of the Hind in any scale. That is mostly due to its size. Because 72nd is a bit tiny, while 35th is a bit big and very demanding. 48th might be the best option for Mi-24 fans. Fingers crossed it will happen and it will be good as we wish it to be! We, at DN Models are ready for it. A whole line of 48th scale masks for the Mi-24 Hind is just around the corner!

 

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italeri mig-23mf/bn already obsolete dn models masks for scale models

Italeri’s 2019 MiG-23MF/BN Combo Set – Already Obsolete? Maybe.

 

Italery's MiG-23MF/BN in 48th scale is the latest announcement to come from the Italian model maker. Just recently, we discussed MiG-23BN from Eduard, which supposedly should've been very cool and neat Limited Edition set. But not exactly. The reasons for that are many and probably they all apply to this Italeri upcoming release of the MiG-23MF/BN combo. With this start, one might feel already somewhat disappointed on what is coming next in the article. And to some extent - yes, the news are not exactly news and overall what you're about to see is not good.

Italeri's MiG-23 is an old tooling. There was quite a few releases of it before and there is nothing surprising about this set. The price is OK, the plastic is not bad and mostly what you get is typical 90s Italeri feel, which even though not sophisticated, is still pretty good. However in 2019, a re-release of a not-so-decent kit in 48th scale and of such an iconic jet fighter is a sin.

MiG-23 is considered by the critics as a gap filler in between MiG-21 and MiG-29. That is very far from the truth. MiG-23 was a success in many aspects, latest variants of which were competitive to the first MiG-29 variants. The reason for the bad name that MiG-23 received was the fact that the Western World clashed with its third-world variants, which are downgraded and were flown by ill-prepared pilots.

Another reason for MiG-23 to be easily forgotten is the fact that many Eastern European Air Forces dumped it, to keep MiG-21 instead. The reasons for that were purely economical and are considered as a very wrong move made under the financial pressure of the transition period. No, MiG-23 was not less capable fighter or bomber than the MiG-21. But it was tough to be maintained in worthy condition. Expensive too.

Trumpeter made an attempt to start a new line of MiG-23, both in 32nd and 48th scale, but that was a miss. Their kits have major flaws and shape-wise they were almost a disaster. Compared to Italeri and this upcoming kit of MiG-23MF/BN they seemed superior at first glance, but in reality they weren't. What is important to know about MiG-23 that Italeri offers is the fact that it is more accurate in many aspects compared to Trumpeter's release.

italeri mig-23mf/bn already obsolete dn models masks for scale models

If you wonder why such a combo: MiG-23MF and BN, here's to clarify. MiG-23MF that comes from Italeri is almost perfect if you want to do a conversion to the BN variant. The reasons for that are many, but comparing some decent drawings it appears, that Italeri's tooling, is brilliant for such a purpose. It is true, that it lacks the rivets and some of the panel lines need to be altered, but for modelers who are not scared of those modifications, Italeri's MiG-23 is probably the best and the most accurate kit to become MiG-23BN in quarter scale.

What Italeri are about to release with this kit in terms of the nose section of the MiG-23BN is another thing and still uncertain. However we are about to find out soon enough. But the rest is pretty much OK, especially if you'd like to spend some time riveting and doing panel lines over the kit. Especially with the fact that there is no alternative. Or the alternative is not good enough.

Another thing to consider is the variety of options included in Italeri's set. You are getting two-in-one set and with various markings. Actually, the boxart was changed from its original look for whatever reason. First the announcement featured Polish MiG-23MF which is one of the most famous light-gray schemes because of the white stripe on the tail section. Then that was changed from the picture above, to what you can see in the title picture of the article. Was that done for some political, copyright or artistic reasons is a mystery. The first option was better in any case.

italeri mig-23mf/bn already obsolete dn models masks for scale models

Whatever might've caused the change, the kit will feature plenty of options. Including the Polish one, as well as East German and Luftwaffe. And after all, whatever Air Force you might want to recreate, you can easily find decals or masks, but you can never substitute the accuracy of the plastic. Apparently, despite its age, with the Italeri's MiG-23 we have strong competitor to the Trumpeter kit. And for the accuracy maniacs it still presents the better option.

That is the saddest part though. So many decades have passed and we don't know if we're going to get a decent MiG-23 in any scale. More than 5000 were produced, very close the the mighty F-4 Phantom, but despite that the Flogger never came close in terms of fame. Pity, because it is a really beautiful bird. It looks aggressive and with its sweep wing technology it was an icon for its time. Some consider it the best MiG ever made. And maybe they are right.

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F-104 Starfighter AMK 48th scale 2020 new tool DN Models masks for scale models

F-104 Starfighter in 48th scale from AMK

AMK or Avantgarde Model Kits is a company that initially became famous with their MiG-31 releases, which was praised by the modelers globally and considered the best MiG-31 representation in any scale. This was due to two reasons: there weren’t many releases of MiG-31 besides HobbyBoss/Trumpeter that was worth mentioning, and most importantly – the kit was very good and above the expectations for a start-up company such as AMK. That was at the time of the release of course.

The other thing that AMK became famous for is that they are doing a great job in terms of procrastination. Their long awaited F-14 Tomcat was announced couple of years ago and it was pending release every 4 months since. That annoyed a lot of modelers, especially those who did bite the bait of pre-order option. Now we are at the end of 2019 and the kit is just starting to appear in the stores and that is just in limited numbers. Besides the disappointment, AMK left little room for their bright future that was initially expected when the MiG-31 appeared.

Surprisingly, AMK announced another kit in late 2019. A new F-104 Starfighter release in 48th scale. Now this can be considered as one of many things by the modelers/potential buyers. Firstly, there are those – of course – that will clap and scream in joy due to the fact that a new Starfighter is coming out. It was flown all around the planet and many are in close ties to that bird in one way or another. Considering the AMK MiG-31, there is some decent amount of hope that one might want to spare for 48th scale Lockheed needle. It might be a nice release. 

It must be added that a large part of that first group will be collectors of kits too, not real builders.

But... Aside from that and in general, most of the modelers are smart people – the hobby demands it – and they won’t bite the bait for the second time. Here we get to the second group - those who will pass by the "news" on any new AMK upcoming release, simply because they don't have a life to spare waiting. AMK Super Etendard never became a thing. Their Tomcat is beyond of any "new tooling" point, because it is already years after its announcement and it is still in its humble beginnings. That doesn't leave much room for hope.

And there is that too:

F-104 Starfighter was announced earlier in the year from Kinetic. Not a bad idea for any quarter scale Starfighter fan. On top of that there is a Hasegawa version that has been around for quite a while and most importantly – it is a very decent representation /with some well known flaws like the rivets on the wings/ which are fixable. We can give it to Hasegawa, since their Starfighter is old. Really old. Kinetic though, they are coming up with something probably very nice, considering the Hornet that they released recently. Some things are approached very differently in their line of kits, for example the thickness of the surfaces. Latter one, a very very important aspect of F-104 Starfighter as a whole.

Now AMK seems to be either extremely bold or extremely stupid. If they do not manage to release this in the first half of 2020, they will probably fade forever. Nobody will stand another five year delay on a kit that already has two decent substitutes. And let’s now fool ourselves – AMK does not have a religion-like army of fans, like Tamiya, Dragon or MENG Model. On the contrary - they have hundreds of disappointed buyers, who waited half a decade for a release. So with all that, if they manage to deliver their Starfighter soon, they might stand a chance of surviving. And that is only if the kit features something innovative, something unseen in terms of quality and also – a great price. Those are all highly unlikely eventualities.

Knowing the history of AMK with their MiG-31 releases and the delays of their Tomcat, it seems more like a mirage or a desperate attempt to do something, just anything. Something like shooting in the dark with that F-104 release.  Why Starfighter and why now?!

Because their MiG-31 has its issues and actually HobbyBoss is very acceptable option. Same goes for the Tomcat. Tamiya cannot be messed with, no matter the detail that AMK thought they might come up with. So in conclusion, this F-104 Starfighter from AMK might be just another indefinitely-postponed release that might never see the light of day, while people all around are showing off their Kinetic Starfighters at the shows and group meetings. Not the mention thousands of stashed Hasegawa options that have plenty of resin to be played with.

So is this really news? Maybe. Or maybe it is the last song that AMK will even going to sing. It all depends on them. One thing is certain: time is running out for AMK and they have to be fast. 

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Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Black Hawk by Kitty Hawk – MH-60L 1/35 Review

Intro:

Black Hawk Down is one of the very best war movies ever made. The flawless production, as well as the dynamics in the movie, made it one of the crown jewels in Ridley Scott’s portfolio. Not only that, but it made the Battle of Mogadishu famous Worldwide, and strengthened Black Hawk Helicopter fame as well. Black Hawk helicopter didn’t need any introduction even before that cinematic masterpiece, but after that, people somewhat started to respect the bird even more.

Kitty Hawk released 1/35 Little Bird helicopter with a boxart that was a scene from the battle of Mogadishu, which was a sign more or less. For Black Hawk lovers is was most definitely hope. In 35th scale, Academy’s obsolete toolings were not enough for the contemporary modeler. The market too, needed a new tooling of a modern helo in 35th scale, and alongside the most famous birds – AH-64 and Mil Mi-24, Black Hawk was very good contender.

So after an early announcement and the regular several release date changes, we received a new tooling of the Black Hawk from Kitty Hawk. Now let’s take a closer look at this kit and how well Kitty Hawk managed to deal with the challenge. Being the first one of a long line of versions, this deserves fair amount of attention.

Boxart:

Battle of Mogadishu seems to have been the basis for the boxart of this kit. The whole appearance: color-wise, action-wise, etc., seems very close to the Little Bird release of that same company. The movie, as many of you might remember, had some sort of grim appearance, probably based on more black color used overall. The boxart creates that same feeling.

It is very important for many, how the boxart will look. Kitty Hawk made their effort and the boxart here looks fantastic. That goes for the whole box of course, but the first thing that catches the attention in the picture of the top of the box, and here we have a brilliant execution.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Instructions:

Kitty Hawk make their instructions in an odd manner, placing the color schemes just in the middle of the booklet. That leave you no other option but to remove them for which some craftsmanship and thick tweezers will be needed most likely.

Overall, everything seems arranged nicely, however, it lacks a lot of information for this to be called satisfactory instruction sheet. By that I mean the fact that this helicopter is crammed with details on the inside, and there is not enough information about what is what and how it should be painted properly. There are basics, but this kit is massive, thus this will be all visible – no room for errors, half-measures or mediocre work. Especially with that price tag.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

The interior itself is enclosed in a capsule of a sort, which is placed in between the two halves of the Black Hawk. That capsule will be the most challenging part of the build in my opinion. Actually, it probably won’t be for Black Hawk experts and those who have the option of being in touch with the bird in real life. But I feel the need to remind Kitty Hawk that not all of the modelers live nearby Black Hawks, nor reference material is accessible for everybody easily. It is not free either.

So some improvement on that part of the instruction sheet is definitely needed. I can understand why this is skipped in an airplane model, but this beast here demands further explanation. Besides there are engines which /if you stick only to Kitty Hawk’s instructions/ will be left partially painted and will look under-detailed just because nobody gave enough attention to the instruction sheet regarding that section.

With that said, I can understand that Kitty Hawk is not Zoukei-Mura, but again – with that price – Kitty Hawk should’ve added more. Maybe booklet with picture references at least. Anything. Just not leave it like it is.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Plastic:

The plastic is light grey, with very good detailing overall and qualities, that have been well-accepted by modelers over time. With the fact that Kitty Hawk are not one of the old and established manufacturers, they’ve done pretty good choice with the plastic.

Engineering-wise there are some questionable decisions and you can get that simply by looking at the sprues. There is /at least to my understanding/ better approach to build a helicopter with an interior, plus the fact that there is way too many sub-assemblies, but the two halves of the kit could’ve been separated into more sections, for example the tail boom and/or the nose section. Probably the focus that Kitty Hawk had was oriented towards something more innovative. Who knows?

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Fit is yet to be tested and that requires more than one opinion. I am mentioning that because quite often, there are praise words said and written about a kit, that later appears to be with questionable qualities overall. That might be the case here too. Although I doubt it in all my honesty. Maybe there will be some tricky areas, but I can trust Kitty Hawk in general. Probably that was one of the reasons for the two huge halves of the fuselage as well. We’re soon to find out. But again – wait for what at least few modelers have to say about it.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale ModelsBlack Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Clear Parts:

The experience that I have and have shared with others in regards to Kitty Hawk clear parts is overall satisfactory. As with the grey plastic, there are some odd engineering decisions, but I can live with that. The thing that might be challenging is the fact that even though nicely packaged, some of the clear parts arrive with slight damages and some detached from the sprue. It is not that often, but it happens.

That is the thing that will eventually bother some modelers. Contrary to that, the plastic is clear and does not bend the light too much, although in general is far from perfect. Actually, the execution here is so-so, but as mentioned above: satisfactory. Definitely not the best nor the worst out there.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

DN Models has a mask set for the clear parts, and most likely will follow the whole line that Kitty Hawk is about to release. The main reason for that is the number of windows of this Black Hawk and the challenges that this might present to the modeler. Not only in real life, but in modeling, helicopters are complex machines and require additional attention compared to fixed wing aircraft. So this set might come as some form of relief.

Photo-etch:

Two PE sheets are included with this release. One of them is filled with equal elements, representing two types of seat belts. The other is filled with various parts, and they all look great. They are not thick and the material is OK to work with. Besides, there is some sort of a challenge, even only at first glance.

Not that Kitty Hawk are overly famous with their photo-etch, but with this release I think that they scored very nicely. The best thing about it is the variety of different parts /only on one of the sheets though/, that will definitely spice up the Black Hawk here. I am rarely thrilled with photo-etch, but I liked the inclusion here a lot.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Decals:

As with the photo-etch elements, the decal sheets are two. One of them is representing the dashboard and the side panels of the Black Hawk and for many will be useless. Master modelers usually prefer to paint, weather and modify the cockpit by themselves.

The other one features the stealth-insignia, the aviation art and the technical markings. Some of the latter ones are yellow, there are white lines too, but dark colors dominate the decal sheet. Now, as you might imagine, black helicopter with darker colored decals will be a challenge. First, to make the decals visible despite the fact that the colors will be awfully close. Second, the carrier film is very challenging on a dark base, which is the case here.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

With that said, I must add that there is no complaints regarding Kitty Hawk’s decals, so whoever has experience will be perfectly fine with that. That, and the fact that at first look the decals look very nice indeed and it is probably one of the highs of this kit.

Variants:

All of the variants included in this released are from 1993, Somalia. All of them are Special Operations helicopters and all seems like gunship oriented vehicles. The difference is the numbers and the small aviation art on the sides of the Black Hawks included.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

On the boxart though, there is the logo of Werner’s Wings, which is a hint, that promises a lot more upcoming. As we know Fl. Werner Jr. is one of the Gurus of helicopter modeling and we can expect not only decals, but resin add-ons and variations based on that release.

Not that four variants are not enough, but in general they are very similar one to another and that might cause some frustration among modelers. Of course, if you are devoted fan of the Black Hawk, there are many more that you can explore, but for the regular MH-60 fans, Kitty Hawk placed all the bets on Somalia ’93.

Black Hawk Kitty Hawk MH60L 135 Review DN Models Masks for Scale Models

Conclusion:

First and most important is how this kit compares to Academy’s tooling. And the answer is simple: it is way better. Especially detail-wise. This is a kit that follows all the trends in scale modeling and possesses all the qualities that modelers require from the detailing of the surface. Both, inside and out, the kit is superior to Academy, but that is only logical if you compare the prices of both toolings.

As a stand-alone release, this kit is one of the best works from Kitty Hawk. Although not with the smartest engineering and with some unusual complications in different areas, this should turn into a very decent representation of the Black Hawk in 35th scale. Maybe some aftermarket will try to improve the tooling here and there, but overall Kitty Hawk deserve a praise.

Prise-wise this is one of their boldest attempts in any scale, but considering the need for a new-tooling 35th scale Black Hawk, that price is most likely justified. If you are not ready to pay what they ask, you will have to struggle with Academy and the results will hardly be comparable.

Even with everything mentioned above, the kit is good and is a must for every helicopter modeler in 35th scale. There is no information for another tooling of the Black Hawk upcoming, but there is a line coming up from Kitty Hawk with various of Black Hawk’s siblings. That should say enough.

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