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Revell Rafale in 48th scale – an honest Review



Let’s start with an odd fact. It is nearly the end of 2020 and there is still no new tooling of the Rafale and Eurofighter in 48th scale. The only decent ones that we have are Revell’s which are rather outdated. And that goes for both. Here we’re gonna focus our attention on the Dassault Rafale. Being the less popular of the two, Rafale’s representation is also the better one of them.

It might be surprising, but despite both being the last 4th generation fighters and somewhat symbolic to the end of an era, European modern fighter planes were left aside from the modeling scene. That comes even with the fact that both are still produced/sold and amazingly – last couple of years even better than before. But let’s not rush it. Maybe Revell releases aren’t bad, but actually the opposite.

The Box

When it comes down to boxes, Revell is defenitely on the weaker side. They never actually made a really imrpessing box and on top of that, even with good kits, the finished model pictured on their boxes are ridiculous. Very good example is the MiG-21SMT which was released lately. That is Eduard’s re-box and the kit as we all know is superb. But the pictures show rather mediocre completion and paint job that might be mistaken for 12 year old’s. That is exactly the opposite of what you are getting with Eduard’s Fishbeds.

Luckily, the Rafale that we are unboxing today does not feature pictures of the built kit on its sides. And thank God for that! Other than that – the box is the typical Revell, with side opening and rather thin materials. Both unpractical and also easily damageable. Not a lot of information on it too, but we are living in an age that this comes easy.

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But wait. Oh no! There are built model pictures on the back of the box… But this time, it is not that bad. Actually this gives some justification of the real contents of this box. A rare sight and a pleasant one too. However, even with that said, if anyone from Revell is reading this – get rid of the pictures of completed models guys. This ruins the idea to some extent.

The boxart is decent, featuring a special scheme Rafale, making the overall look more impressive and tempting. Previous boxings of the same kit – which are several and date back from the end of the 90s – are also good, but probably this one is the best so far. This is something Revell did long ago with their F-16s and with others too. Germans are good with representing anniversary or special schemes airplanes. It is a clever marketting strategy as well.

When speaking about Rafale specifically, it is also worth mentioning that there were reboxings from other companies and all in all, M, B and C versions of the Rafale were all covered. We are looking at the latter version in this review. Among them all – this one is still the best in terms of packing appearance. In terms of contents – pretty much they are all close to another.

revell rafale honest review dn models masks for scale models


The instruction sheet is NOT the good old Revell that we are used to. This one is very improved. First thing to notice is that it features color. And it seems that this will make things a bit easier and definitely more pleasant for the eyes. Still it lacks the sophistications both in looks and information when compared to the best out there /ZM for example/, but it’s good. Quality of the paper is pretty decent and in general, for the price you pay for this release, it is over-delivery from Revell’s part. The color representation makes things a lot easier. German model maker made a good effort with it. Everything they picked – from the nuances through the icons and arrangement looks like a success story. Even if this is your first kit ever, the instructions are designed in a way to make your journey a breeze. Way to go Revell!

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Special emphasis on the paint sequence can be found in the end. The special scheme is splitted in two sections, the paint job you have to apply and the follow-up with decals. Again, clearly explained and in perfect coloring. No means were spared with this sheet. Nice touch, indeed.


Here is probably the strongest side of Revell’s Rafale. After all, boxing and instructions are just means to an end of a sort. And the end result is made by platic. So it is time to get serious here:

Light gray platic, all packed together in an transparent envelope, with surprisingly good detail. Actually quite great. Here is a good place to mention, that this is probably one of the reasons why there are new and improved Rafale toolings out there. The first glance here is an absolute eye candy. The quality of the material is typical Revell, so no complaints about that either.

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Now, when it comes down to details, things probably get a step back. A small one though. When you dig deeper in your research, you might find that Hobby Boss released their representation of the Rafale. It is very very /actually suspiciously/ close to this one, but features more rivets here and there. Lacks some details too. But the step back that was mentioned above, is the fact that a good Rafale in 48th, would’ve featured both from those two kits’ strong sides in one boxing. There is a feeling that Revell could’ve added a touch or two more here and there.

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For some, it is acceptable, because some old-school riveting and re-scribing might do the job and transfer this Revell’s Rafale into a quarter scale perfection. But for many – and especially in 2020 – this shoud’ve been included in the release. Just a hint about Hobby Boss – you will need some aftermarket to make that one good enough.

There are some accuracy issues with Revell’s Rafale wich will be mentioned in a link below, but the overall feeling is pleasant and again, for the price tag of this kit is over-delivery from German model maker’s part.

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Clear Parts

This is one thing that can be imrpoved significantly, but unfortunately aftermarket companies are not interested in Revell’s Rafale that much. The main reason is that it seems accurate in shape and size, but the thickness and quality are looking exactly like they are 20 years old. When compare it to anything relased in the last 2-3 years, you can note the difference.

We are not saying it is not acceptable. On the contrary. But this is a small sign that Rafale needs a re-tooling from another company. Or the same company. Whatever. Maybe a re-scaling too, but that is antoher subject. After all, after 20+ years on the market, somethings gotta change. It is inevitable.

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Decals are one of the best features of this kit. They are printed in Italy and with the large parts that they represent, we must give it to the Revell’s and their choice of decal maker – this was a good call.

The transparent films are visible, but they look like troubleless fraction of the elements. If this was created by Cartograf, that would’ve been definitely the case. We’ve read that they are probably the design work of Syh@rt, which also is a promising information. Whichever it is, not a lot of complaints out there, especially when compared to Tamiya’s decals of the same period and scale. Once again – decal sheet is great with this release. Probably only masks could make this kit better in the end.

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If you think that the special scheme is the only one you get with this kit because of the specific boxart, you are wrong. There are two. And they are as follows:

  • Tigermeet 2012 – EC 5/330, BA 118 Mont-de-Marsan – Arctic Tiger
  • Normandie-Niemen 2017 – 30-GF EC 2/30, BA 118 Mont-de-Marsan

One is the standard low-visibility grey scheme, the other one is the Tigermeet variant, one of the many Tiger variables that Rafales comes with in real life.

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Revell’s Rafale is actually a great kit. Being an old timer from 1999, this was pretty much top of the line release back then. As of today, this is the best Rafale representation in any scale. The really nice feature of this kit is the price tag. That, added to the fact that it is modeler-friendly to some extent, make this purchase a reasonable one.

The more detailed review of Revell’s and Hobby Boss’ Rafales can be found here. A great modeler and a friend of ours built those two and noted the most significant issues found with them. Besides, this is one of the best modelers we know and we strongly urge you to take a look at his Rafales. They are both very inspirational.

But being an honest review, this lead to the conclusion that this kit is not perfect, even though very good. A combination of the price, good decals and minor flaws, makes this Rafale a very tempting option for experienced and novice modelers. The other way to go is to wait for a new release. Which will be unlikely to happen having Revell’s acceptable quality and price already present.


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Kit Prices and the Future of Production


Prices of the kits that come from China to US are probably going to go up. That might be very soon the case for Europe as well, but that is not the point in the article. Just this morning /December 6th, 2019/, a well respected company for scale modeling re-selling announced that they will raise the prices due to the tariffs that are to be imposed on China. Nothing unexpected, nor nothing overly scary for the regular consumer. You buy kits only every once in a while, its not like one cannot live without them. Its not food or gas.

It deserves respect that the re-sellers are mentioning that in their news stream. That means they care for their clients and they care for what people think about their pricing policies. The issue comes with the fact that kits nowadays are coming mostly from China. Back in a day, kits were Revell, Heller, Airfix, Hasegawa, Tamiya and Italeri. They never offered way too much in terms of variety, but some of them produced decent kits that are still nice up to this day. Those who produced lower quality kits inspired scratch building, home-made alterations and all kinds of art-oriented improvements that showed the true colors of every modeler.

Nowadays we have tons of kits covering every subject and even some that are doubling or tripling on a specific model, just to make more money. They are almost perfect, however with that comes the slow but steady death of the artistic part in the building process, leaving more on the painting and weathering side. Good for some, very bad for others.

The main problem is, that China is not a market that can sustain that production by itself. Those Shermans, Tomcats or whatever are not made for Chinese modelers. Undoubtedly, there are many of them, but it is hard for one to imagine that they stimulate that production.
The case is that Western World is the main consumer. To them are all those kits oriented and that is why their subjects are such and such.

Then why the kits are still being produced in China? Why not see high-quality kits from Italeri, Revell or whatever company being designed as well produced on their homeland? Price is the answer.

In that terms, news that re-sellers are about to raise their prices are not bad. Maybe raising prices for the Chinese production kit will stimulate production and improvement of the stuff old players on the market make. If you have similar quality, similar abundance and easy access to a kit, what’s the point of paying the same price when you can get it from somewhere else? Because the main reason the production of new and modern kits is coming from China is that China offers the lowest prices for that. 

It is not the best thing to see Zoukei-Mura or Wingnut Wings being made in China. We don’t go and buy ZM or WnW because we want to get Chinese quality. There is Trumpeter for that. We buy them because we want something better in all aspects. And it is true that those companies too depend on the market to survive, but the struggle for quality must never step aside just to give way to quantity. Never.

Especially in a hobby where people are all about accuracy, clean and clear production, and precision. A hobby that you need your brain more than anything else so to be successful. 

Before China we had scale modeling. And a good one too. After China we will have it still. But now we are all dependent on their production. We are trapped in an endless struggle between paying less and getting more, which at some point becomes impossible.

Maybe its time for a change. Maybe its time for old companies to take some notes from producers like MiniArt who are produced in ex-communist country, but somehow manage to be competitive even to China. Better in many respects too. Maybe its time to bring all the production where it belongs. Bring it home. Even if we have to pay more for that. And wherever home might be.


Decent EF-2000 Typhoon. When?

After more than 600 aircraft produced, exported to various countries and very successfully used, Eurofighter 2000 Typhoon still doesn’t have a decent kit in any scale. It is true, that there are kits from Revell in both 32nd and 48th scale, also a Chinese options for 32nd too, but all the releases currently available are far from what they should be. They are lacking accuracy, details, engineering and plastic quality to be considered up to date. Especially with the constantly increasing standards in the modeling world.

One should just get a glimpse at the newest Zoukei-Mura F-4s to get an idea what a quarter scale kit should look like nowadays. Even Academy, with their latest Phantom are competitive to ZM kits, even though Academy are not famous for being overly good in making high-end plastic scale models. That should ring a bell. So why is the lack of the EF-2000 so neglected?

It is highly doubtful that there is a lack of fans for the Typhoon. Revell might cover for the German market, no doubt about that, but still there are many demanding modelers all-around the world asking for a decent tooling of the modern jet. And not all of them are ready to sacrifice time and efforts to turn a mediocre kit into a fine piece of art, when it is about time some company to release one.

I can understand why Zoukei-Mura does not release it. But Tamiya, Hasegawa, Academy and many other makers are waiting for something and what is it, is a mystery to me. EF-2000 is not that new to be inaccurate in 48th scale and 32nd is even less of a challenge in many aspects. The plane is not that big, nor that complex in shape, but still there is no new tooling to be seen in the foreseeable future.

One can only hope that Eduard, AMK, TAN model or a company similar in their perception about scale modeling will come to the light and show up with at least a plan to make the Typhoon soon. What we need is a new tooling, with a beautiful plastic, good engineering and gaps left for the aftermarket companies to develop their improvements sets. And those gaps should be clever and not ruining the OOTB kit, but still be there so the aftermarket maniacs can justify their purchases.

I don’t think that this is a lot to ask. And I believe that I am not the only one asking for such a tooling to appear on the market soon. EF-2000 is the backbone of modern Europe, it is exported in the Middle East and on top of that it is a regular star in the RED FLAG and many other joint exercises around the World. It is definitely a plane that deserves its share on the plastic scale market. Let’s hope we will see one soon!


Kitty Hawk 1/35 Killer Egg AH-6J

MH-6 /AH-6/ or Little Bird, is an attack helicopter used for special operations in the United States Army. It is also known as Killer Egg due to its distinctive shape. It was used in Grenada, Nicaragua, Panama, and Mogadishu /Somalia/ – all of them, places with specific requirements and somewhat obscure in strategic sense involvements. If you have seen the movie “Black Hawk Dawn” you will be familiar with the case.

That makes it quite an interesting object for modeling and Kitty Hawk delivers a 35th scale option for its fans. Killer Egg is not a big helicopter, so the scale is pretty self-explanatory in this case. We have a lot of helicopters in 35th scale available, however US birds are somewhat pushed back from the main stage by Mi-24s, Mi-17s /Trumpeter/ and some Eurocopters /Revell/. The rest is mostly Academy and they suffer from age problems. They do have their own version of the Little Bird, but it very old tooling and probably will be unsatisfactory for most of the modelers.

With their beautiful Venom and Huey, Kitty Hawk filled a gap in 48th scale market and are now a benchmark in it. The promise of a bigger Huey is undoubtedly the most anticipated one, but the AH-6 is a promising kit too. Both are on the way, however the Killer Egg will be the first to hit the shelves most likely.

What we have seen so far are some pictures of the built helo, in two variations: with and without armament, with engine, beautifully crafted clear parts and realistic main rotor. Latter one is a usual trouble-maker for modelers, since the bending of the blades is rarely replicated with precision. Surprisingly, here everything looks good enough and for myself the biggest surprise was that it looks thin and in scale. That is, of course, the toughest challenge for the manufacturer.

I cannot say more than this, not before I get my hands on the model, which I hope will happen soon, but at first glance it looks more than promising. Masks are being contemplated for the Little Bird AH-6, since it features rather large clear parts and they will be more than useful. DN Models will try to be there in time for the fellow modelers. Hopefully we will get it soon and right after – the bigger scale Huey. Kitty Hawk are definitely gaining popularity among Rotorcraft modelers and they are building a name for a very serious player on the scale modeling market!

You can guess from the pictures: engine, photo-etch parts, wonderful details – helicopter lovers will be busy for years to come with what’s on the horizon. All of that is great news and proves that this hobby is not dying like most of the people think. Just the contrary – plastic modeling is in resurrection phase.

Pictures used are from LSP.

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

The newest model of F-4J Phantom II in any scale is now for sale and thanks to Zoukei-Mura, we can enjoy now what is called the new approach in the hobby. It comes to newly casted parts with so sharp, crisp and thin details that some of them look like resin details. Other details are so complex and overwhelmed in surface ornaments like rivets and panel lines, that you can easily tell the quality of the kit from just taking a look at the first few parts.

There are plenty of other new design approaches that make this kit such an irresistible kit to have. For instance, the cockpit tub and the nose landing gear are assembled together, because they share the same pieces for the walls, while the cockpit floor has numerous details on the other side, which are for the top of the landing bay. Previously, the most typical assembly was to glue the nose landing gear bay to a separately assembled cockpit tub, or the bay itself may be molded to the fuselage parts. Nevertheless, this new F-4J kit has plenty of new features in it!

The corrected dimensions of this F-4J are also top notch and they can be found just about everywhere, compared to other F-4 kits. From the width of the windshield to the shape of the intake lips and the volume of the engine cowls – the SWS F-4J boasts a lot of improvements too. So, if you really want to have the most exact and accurate miniature of the real machine – then this kit really is irresistible to have.

Next, the amount of details even for a kit in 1/48 scale is overwhelming. The exuberant separate parts for the landing gear bays, the underwing pylons with options for fuel tanks and/or missiles, the meticulously detailed hot section on the tail, the slatted stabilators, the cockpit details – all of these and many other components make the SWS F-4J a very beautifully detailed kit. Then, the real quality of this kit is noticeable from the impeccable fit of the details. This is due to the technologies used for the making of the kit, which ensure the best fit of parts with very complex shapes. Some parts fit in such a way, that the seamlines look smaller than the rest of the normal panel lines. Or else, some parts fit seamlessly and with no need for filling/sanding at all.

Overall, the SWS F-4J is just another step closer to the real Phantom II, simply because we are talking about a 1/48 scale copy of the real plane. Otherwise, this kit has a full set of engines, complemented by lots of details and a special attention is turned at the visible parts such as the compressor fans, the afterburners and the piping above the APU doors. This plane has leading edge slats as separate pieces and the flaps are separate pieces too. The canopies can be glued open or closed, the airbrakes too. They are these airbrakes, which are so thin that they almost look fragile, yet in the meantime, they are dotted by frames and rivets. And of course, we are talking about a 1/48 scale F-4J.

(source: www.pinterest.com)


Duo Discus in 32nd scale from Revell – wings of peace

Duo Discus is a two-seat high-performance glider made by Schempp-Hirth in Germany. It is used primarily for advanced training and for cross-country flights. It production started in 1993, and it is still produced to this day. Over 500 are built. Duo Discus main rival is DG-1001, which is used in USAF as TG-15A for initial training. It has a roomy cockpit, with high ergonomics, clean canopy and it is very pleasant to be flown.

There is a T version, which features an engine, bigger cockpit with better comfort and increased safety. With glide ratio somewhere between 42 and 44 is one of the best gliders in its class despite its relatively aging design.

Revell released Duo Discus in 2009, and the kit gained popularity quite fast. It is an easy to be build but hard to be painted kits, however its engineering is great and the fit – decent. In 2016, Revell released its T version, with engine this time, which is the most popular thing among glider pilots nowadays – self-launching or at least self-sustainable planes with high performance. Eco-friendly on one side and on the other – independent from towing machines or winches.

Duo Discus from Revell includes the modest 65 parts, and is molded in white plastic to ease the process of painting. The size once built is decent though: 62cm wingspan with length – 26.8cm. If you wonder why, well, gliders are like that. The real Duo Discus have wingspan of 20m, and the kit is 32nd scale. Although not that fancy and popular among war machines modelers, Duo Discus is very nice addition to any modeling show. First – it is civil aircraft and goes into that category. There, 32nd scale is rare to be found. Second, in Europe gliding is very popular sport. Not only of course, as we know US and Australia/New Zealand fly sailplanes too, but still…Europe is the place to go. So with German company /Revell/ releasing German glider /Duo Discus/ is pretty self-explanatory case.

So whoever is interested in building a civil aircraft for the local model show, or even a national – this Duo Discus is a very nice option. Revell did a great job with it, for 32nd scale airplane is basically pennies and lastly – gliders are the most beautiful aircraft in the skies.

That seems enough for me!

Westland Wessex from Italeri in 48th scale

Westland Wessex is a license produced helicopter, and it comes from Sikorsky H-34 /S-58. It was produced by Westland Aircraft, later known as Wessex Helicopters. The main difference between Sikorsky H-34 and Westland Wessex was that the Sikorsky had a piston engine, while Wessex featured turboshaft one. It was successful in United Kingdom,  firstly used in Royal Navy and later on in Royal Air Force as well. Britons used it mainly as anti-submarine helicopter, utility or search and rescue /SAR/ missions. There was also a limited civilian use of that helo. It served from 1961 until 2003, and that was due to its reliability and successful design.

It saw real action in several local conflicts, but most notable was Wessex’s participation in Falklands War. Even though some were lost /nine in total/, the helo proved that is very useful and trustworthy. In Falklands Wessex transported a lot of Special Forces people in and out of war zones, and is one of the most loved and respected helicopters by the guys who worked with it due to the fact.

The Italeri kit appeared in 2012 with HS.5 modification, followed by HAS.3 and HAS.1 in the following years. Academy repacked it as their own HS.5 recently. The demand for so many options was due to the fact that the only decent kit before that was the old Revell kit, and the market was begging for a new tooling. Revell was obsolete already, and not so available either. So Italeri stepped up.

Unfortunately, we all know that Italeri are not especially famous with making highly detailed kits with abundant amount of parts inside. This Wessex is not exception to that rule. On the other hand, their kits are available widely, easy to assemble and cheap. The fit is not the best nor the worst out there, but in this particular case is better than old Revell for sure. So as you might expect, sprues are few, and the detail is sparse.

One thing that I noted and didn’t liked was the shallowness of the panel lines. If you work with thicker primers that might present a problem. Somewhere on the web I saw a guy who deepened them with scribing tool, which is nothing overly complex to be done, and works fine. Rivets are also not so deep, but they will do the job for most.

Another let down is the quality of the transparent parts. They were already scratched upon unpacking, which is not something to ruin your model, but it will definitely mess up your modeling session, when it comes down to windows. Aside of those mentioned above, the kit is OK. Despite the low amount of detail, everything is very decent. For Italeri, the kit itself is a high point. I’ve seen couple of enthusiasts, who used drawings to figure out the measurements, and it appears that the kit is pretty accurate, except of the tail, which is a bit shorter.

Aftermarket part for a folding tail is available, and being put on one side /the tail section/, this automatically eliminate the above problem. It is a nice add-on, made from resin and not that expensive too. I also have to mention, that there is a blade folding set which I will review separately. It is widely used, due to the fact that helo models require a lot of space and this kinda helps.

Now the high ponts of the kit:

This – after all – is a new tooling of the Westland Wessex. It is better engineered than anything on the market, and better moulded than anything on the market. End of story. There is no actual substitute for it. Either take it or leave it. Accurate dimensions spice up things a bit, providing every decent modeler with a wonderful base for upgrade. Weather scratch or aftermarket parts, all the options are there, just you need to take advantage!

There is a photo-etch sheet, which is not bad at all! Even though this is not typical for Italeri, we have a PE set. There are Eduard upgrades for interior and exterior, but even without them, Italeri did their job pretty well. Decals seems nice too. Although they are not Cartograf, they still look thin, and there are four camouflage options in the box offerings. The rotor blades are bent on the sprue, as they should sit in the resting position on the helo, and the tires are flat to simulate the pressure. Minor, but great add ons from Italy!

My conclusion is, that 48th scale helo should not be assembled by enormously large sub-assemblies and intricate parts, because the painting and weathering in that scale is a challenge itself when it comes down to blenders. The other thing is, that Wessex is a helicopter loved and respected by many, so a decent kit OOTB should be available out there. With that said, I gotta admit, that Italeri hit the spot with their kit. It has enough detail to satisfy most of the modelers out there and for the maniacs out there, there are aftermarket companies! Straight out of the box, the Wessex is just enough to pleasure everybody, from the novice to the master. In the end, this is what a kit should be OOTB! For the price, I highly recommend it!

You can get a mask set here: DN Models Windows Mask set for Westland Wessex

You can get the kit here:

Italeri Wessex UH.5

Academy Repack of the same kit

Check out my YouTube Channel for full Unboxing video if this review was not enough!




F-86D Kitty Hawk 1/32 – The Sabre Dog

F-86D is an all-weather interceptor, based on the day fighter and aviation legend – North American F-86 Sabre. Now, even if they basically look the same plane with different nose, they shared not more than 1/3 of the similarities in between them. Both were very popular of course, however, F-86 Sabre remained the “star” airplane, while Sabre Dog /the name of the F-86D/ was rather modest in its popularity. Don’t be fool by that though: Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Denmark, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Honduras, Taiwan, Turkey, Thailand, South Korea, Venezuela and of course USA used the bird quite actively. Little less than 3000 were built and the airplane flew well into the 70s. That does prove not only a successful design, but also the right mind set and the concept for the need of such specific aircraft. All those facts above makes the F-86D a real milestone in the interceptor aviation history and a basis for all what we have now in terms of interceptors. Don’t be fooled by the appearance. All the ideas were embedded already.

Now Kitty Hawk, a relatively new company, with rather small number of kits on the market are continuing to surprise with wonderful kits, well designed and all-around-engineered assembly. Talking about this kit, I will start backwards, because the real values of it comes that way. The decal sheet is very colorful and interesting as you might expect from a jet fighter from that age. It is big and features one of each for everybody out there. There are three Asian versions, South Korean, Republic of China and Japanese. One Texas Air National Guard and two USAF options with bright and colorful tailfins.

After that comes a small photo-etch set for the belts, but that is there only to say that there is one PE set in the box. Nothing major. The transparent parts are very clear and crisp and I gotta add that this is one of the highlights of the kit. Building aircraft, I encountered several troubles with canopies, but here I saw no reason to worry. This is equally important in small /72nd/ and large scales /32nd and above/. Kitty Hawk made an effort with the molding and gave us very fine detail and clear canopy for the F-86D. Those of course are minor highs of the kit – nice add ons and clear parts. The very good thing is worth mentioning is the build. It is pretty straight forward with nothing major as a problem. There are many rivets around the surface, and imagine if you had to put putty here and there, how many of those would’ve been lost and in need of repairs. Not the case with this one.

There is an engine included. I never enjoyed building my airplanes with a lot of open panels and parts, and even when I finished the engines, I made several pictures and close everything up. I believe planes are suppose to fly, and they don’t fly when the rear part is removed, or when all the technical doors are open to see what’s inside. So this – having an engine – is a nice addition, but it’s not for me. I know that many modelers will like that add on a lot, so that is why I mention it. Kitty Hawk did it very technically-looking, with the inlet and all the bells and whistles, that every aircraft engineer would appreciate when building the kit. That is another kit in the kit itself, so it definitely deserves admiration.

Now, as I’ve said we’re going backwards, so finally I am going to mention – clear molding, nice plastic material. Good looking instruction sheet and even better looking color profiles. Everything wrapped in a chunky box, not overly stashed, but more than a regular kit in that scale. I must say, this is a must-have for every jet fan out there and large scale aircraft modeler as well. Of course, if you are not happy with the versions included, Kitty Hawk released F-86K, another option based on that same kit with additional camo-schemes, Luftwaffe two tone included.

I would suggest to have them both, because one is more bare silver USAF looking bird, while the other is with two tone option included and more European looking. Even though K version also has tons of bare silver Sabre Dogs featured, the highlight is the Luftwaffe one depicted on the box. The price of each one of the kits is not that high, although it is high-ish. But is worth it! One thing is certain – whichever one of those you get, you will have one hell of a piece of plastic art! Great job by Kitty Hawk!

Pictures are from Kitty Hawk website.


Smaller scales /48 /72 – The Barkas Build kit options Part 5

The article picture is…48th scale StuG III. Can you believe that!?!? Two words – Michael Rinaldi…

…talking about different /smaller/ scales we have few options when it comes down to armor. It was once considered that 1/100 is an option for that, but nowadays no company which consider themselves a serious game player does not make those for armor. So except for 35th which is pretty much the standard, we have two more. 48th and 72nd.

Now, as I promised I will mention only kits worth buying and those suitable for The Barkas Build, but I really do hope that these articles will help other modelers /not participating/ as well. So here, again /!!!/ we have two main players. Tamiya and Dragon. But there is one difference. They do not compete because they offer kits in different scales this time. In other words – each of them is king in its class.

Let’s start with 48th scale following the path down from 35th. 48th scale is very popular in Japan, especially due to the fact that it is well suited for diorama mix in between aircraft and armor vehicles. Tamiya  have small in numbers but with amazing quality series of vehicles in that scale, sometimes even better than the ones in 35th released from other companies. But for The Barkas Build we are talking Panzer III and StuG III in particular so we will focus onto those. And yes, Tamiya have them. And they are extremely nice and worth the money – and by money I mean not much! Japanese manufacturer have two Panzer IIIs – Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf. L – Sd.Kfz. 141/1 #32524 issued in 2006 and Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf. N – Sd.Kfz. 141/2 #32543 released the following year – 2007.

Interesting to mention with those two is the die-cast lower part of the superstructure, made for balance and adequate position while resting at the bench. They are light because they are small, in case you wonder why. Both kits represents a bit different vehicle variant, but are based on the same thing Panzer III. Once build they are cute, do not take too much space and they are very accurate and competitive with 35th scale as well. Yes, the details are a bit chunky compared to the larger ones, but this is scale modeling not a engineering contest after all. Both of those kits are very highly recommended. Nothing bad to say about them honestly!

After those two, in 48th Tamiya hits hard with their StuGs. This time we have three options. First one is Tamiya 32507 Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. B (Sd.Kfz. 142) released in 2004. This is the best of the StuGs in 48th if you ask me. It has a large decal sheet and all the accurateness of the vehicle possible in that scale. Shake-and-Bake kit, suitable for every modeler, Tamiya does not disappoints with it. Lower part – again die-casted and for the same reasons as the above.

Then in 2006, Tamiya released two more, both Ausf.G – and both of them state of the art of scale modeling. The first option is Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G Sd. Kfz. 142/1 #32525 and it is a winter camouflaged option of the famous vehicle. I believe that winter camo is always nice to be applied because of the endless weathering options aftterwards. But it works with all the kits available anyhow, its not only because of the boxart. On the other hand,  if you decide that you want something slightly different /Early version/ you might want to try and go with the other one: Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G #32540

Here it might come down to which one you would like more or even which boxart catches your eye. But whichever you decide to go with, you will be spot on. They does not seem promising when you see the size of the box, but they are, trust me! And since Tamiya pull it off here, I might add – this is it guys, 48th scale is done. If you want 48th scale Panzer III or StuG III for The Barkas Build, this is what you will go for. Period.

Now let’s shrink things even more. Go to good ol’ fashioned 72nd scale. Again, suitable for dioramas, and even crowded ones this time. I never believed that a tank might worth something in that scale, but Dragon proved me wrong with their Armor Pro series. No real competition here, so I will just list the options:

Dragon 7385 – Panzer III ausf.L

Dragon 7290 – Panzer III Ausf.M w/Wadding Muffler

Dragon 7407 – Panzer III Ausf.N with Side Skirts

Dragon 7372 – Panzer III Ausf.J

Dragon 7323 – Panzer III Ausf.M with Schurzen

Same goes for StuGs. Cheap, accurate /according to the scale of course/ with good fit and not a great need of any aftermarket. We have only three options here which is a bit worse compared to the bigger diversity we get with standard Pz.Kpwf.III in 72nd, but I believe they are just enough. Actually the options are two in terms of versions, because Ausf.G appears twice but one of them have schurzen, the other doesn’t. And the third of course is StuH.

Dragon 7283 – StuG III Ausf.G Early Production

Dragon 7284 – 10.5cm Sturmhaubitze Ausf.G

Dragon 7354 – Stug III Ausf. G Early w/schurzen

Concluding everything, in 48th scale the player is Tamiya, in 72nd is Dragon. And I am mentioning all those because they are all worth it. So in case you are wondering which, go for the boxart or for the type that fit your preferences best. Also, I deliberately missed to mention Revell in 72nd scale, which makes some options. But honestly, I haven’t had one before and what I found was somewhat controversial as quality description. So I decided to sick to the well known and most used brands, because for those I can pretty much guarantee that the quality is nice.

In other words, if you are entering The Barkas Build with smaller scale vehicle – 48th or 72nd, and you are still wondering what to get, take another look on the written above. They are all there!

Proving my words of quality is the art that Michael Rinaldi does in plastic. Check out his 48th and 72nd built kits here:


Modeling Madness reviews of DN Models Mask sets

Recently, Scott Van Aken, owner of Modeling Madness, one of the oldest and most respected websites about scale modeling on the web acquired two sets of DN Models Mask sets. We were delighted that famous person like Scott expressed interest in our products, and we were very excited to see his review of our mask sets.

His work in Modeling Madness is very well known, so DN Models was counting on what he was about to say. The reviews that he makes are honest, straight to the point and leave you with no option for a surprise once you get the item in your hands. That’s why, DN Models mask sets were both in good hands, and in the same time creating a little pressure inside of our minds. Scott’s words are to be taken seriously and what he was about to write was of high importance. The quality of DN Models is generally well accepted, however from time to time we receive some odd questions about the usage of the sheets, or some comments about the instructions.

Not that we expected some negative comments from Scott, but as I’ve said above – his words are to be taken seriously, and I believe that written review from him are of great importance. There are many reviewers out there, but we all know that they are reviewing for different reasons, and Modeling Madness is one of the few websites that give you a fair description without painting unnecessary pink or gray colors around their words.

So, we got two reviews from Mr. Scott Van Aken, which I would like to share with you. This is a small portion of the line that DN Models offer on the market, but you can get the general idea. Thanks to Modeling Madness for the kind words and I hope you will find those links useful:

Review of the ZTZ-99 MBT from DN Models

the item can be found here: ZTZ-99 MBT Digital Camo Mask set

Review of Me-109K Mask Set from DN Models

the item can be found here: Me-109K Mask Set Insignia and Canopy


Mask Sets – DN Models : the humble beginnings. Background story of…

This mask company has humble beginnings, dating back in the late 1990s. I thought you might like the story of how the idea came to live, and I will present it to you here.

Back in those days, I was building 1/72 aircraft. All kinds of them, all eras. Two main reasons for that. First was, these were the most popular scales in Eastern Europe back then. Second, these were the only one available on the tiny market share that scale modeling had in the 90s. There were mostly Italeri, Revell /late 90s/, Airfix and Heller. Czech companies I won’t mention, because their models were awful.

Same thing goes for the airbrushes. There were practically two options. First /available throughout the 90s/ was Russian crappy airbrush, which costed 10$ but was working as if it were sold for $2. Second was Revell single-action airbrush, which costed around 18$ back then, and was restricted by the lack of air supply. No compressors out there. None! Just home DIY stuff, made from old refrigerators. Other option – Revell gas cans which were everything but cost-effective.

So with all that at hand/which is pretty much jack $hit/ your options were – either become very good no-errors-in-the-process modeler, or be mediocre, paint with brushes and waste the kits /which were limited by all means/.

And a problem which is not to be skipped – enamel paints. Only. So except for using masks, leaving fingerprints is the other option.

So how do you make a mottling camo? How do you make a desert camo scheme on a Hs-129??? How?! The moment I got the Italeri kit in 72nd scale, I knew I was in trouble. And I like that bird a lot. So what do you do? Well, pretty much: explore, invent, risk it all. Mask it!

So I painted it all green, I made small balls of plasto, put it on the green and painted it yellow. And that was it with the desert camo of that 72nd scale nazi plane. But it worked actually. Hiding out with plasto the green spots. Masking them out in a way… Especially according to my humble standards back in a day that was the deal! Masking the canopy wasn’t still reached my mind, and I was painting the canopies with brush. Blah!

So next, I decided to try out more complex things. Splinter camo schemes on early Messerschmitts, F-16 two-tone gray separation and so on. Then a friend of mine asked me how he can make MiG-21MF 7701 /czech splinter camo/, and he was somehow having the idea that this is impossible to be done. Well, masks! So I masked it for him, and he painted it for less than 48 hours. And that was the way I did my Flanker too /check out previous articles. Flanker 32nd scale./

Meantime Eduard and Montex entered that business. They were having a lot of mask sets, mainly canopy and basic camo-schemes. They did a lot, but with different mediums. For me, Eduard was preferable. And then I got the idea of making specific masks for my own purposes. Special schemes windows and so on.

Yep, good idea, but with what material? So another friend of mine, who was in the business with marketing and commercials, told me that there are a lot of masking foil options and I just have to try out few before risk it on a model, and luckily for me, the 4th option was very suitable for masking and not peeling of paint out of the build model. And that was that!


Withing a matter of months, I did my first mask set, called a “window masking set” /very lame, I know/, which appeared to be very attractive and a lot of modelers wanted to buy it. Then, a friend of mine from US told me – “you should turn that into a business…”

And the rest is history. Now DN Models have more than 50 sets of masks, with another 20 in the works just for the first half of 2016. We made some custom sets, as well as “upon request” items, and we still accept such offers. In general, the idea is to help fellow modelers. Nobody wants to build a kit for 5 hours and mask it for 4. Not a soul.

But with those products, we try to make our lifes easier. And the biggest appreciation we had was being published and praised by the Maste Modeler Michael Rinaldi, who featured our products in his TankArt 4 book /German Armor/. He used ambush camo mask sets to build his Nashorn and some markings mask sets for some other vehicles. We are very proud about that fact, and very grateful to Mr. Rinaldi for spreading the word about our existence. Not only, but we know that he enjoys working with our products. Which is a great boost for our will to make even more and variable sets of masks for all the fellow modelers out there!


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