Monday, February 28, 2011

BUY YOURSELF A SUB-ORBITAL XCOR LYNX SPACECRAFT - WELL, A COLLECTIBLE MODEL ANYWAY



David Jefferis reports
For a limited time, the California-based XCOR Aerospace rocket engineering company is offering a numbered, limited edition of hand-carved 1:24 scale display models of its Lynx spacecraft, currently under development. Only 100 models were made and there are still some available. Many are now on the desks of various VIPs and XCOR investors, but the rest are on offer to space fans.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

THE WONDER OF WONDER WOMAN - A SUPERHEROINE KIT FROM MOEBIUS MODELS



A Mat Irvine review
Although Wonder Woman is most likely best known from the 1970s TV series starring Lynda Carter, the character existed long before that. In fact, the original Aurora kit of 1965 was based on the comic books that first featured the character in the 1940s. Along with Wonder Woman, Aurora issued others in the same vein, such as Superman, Superboy, Spider-Man, Batman, Robin, and The Penguin. However, amongst all those boys (and a bird), Wonder Woman never seemed to have quite the appeal - must be all that testosterone (and fish) - and the Wonder Woman kit was only available for a couple of years.

Friday, February 25, 2011

ANOTHER BIG JET FROM REVELL WITH A 1:32 SCALE RED ARROWS HAWK



David Jefferis reports
The BAe Systems Hawk is one of the best known jet trainers, and the Red Arrows one of the world’s top aerobatic teams, so it’s great to see a new-tool kit of the two-seater on sale. The Hawk is not a large aircraft, but at 1:32 scale the wings span 294 mm (11.6 in) and the fuselage is some 368 mm (14.5 in) long, so the benefits of sheer size are clear. There are 158 components in the kit, including the ventral tank carrying the diesel fuel used by the smoke system. As a vet of many a Reds display, I reckon they use more smoke during a show than any other team I’ve seen - in Guernsey one year, a vast mist of the stuff wafted across the crowd in a multi-coloured haze, but everyone loved it!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NOTE TO WORLD NAVIES - CANCEL F-35, BUY NAVAL TYPHOON. NOTE TO MODEL MAKERS - HERE’S A GREAT KIT-BASH OPPORTUNITY


SMN report
Eurofighter has released details of its proposed navalised Typhoon jet, and a glance at the details makes it seem the answer to a defence planner’s budget problems. The basic aircraft is already in service and proven, the development cost would be far less than a clean-sheet design, and best of all, there’s enough power from the two EJ200 engines to allow carrier takeoffs using a ski-jump - no catapult equipment needed.

Typhoon-N to replace the F-35?
For the UK’s Royal Navy, the Typhoon-N looks particularly interesting. The lift-fan F-35 has been cancelled already, to be replaced by the standard catapult-launched version. So here’s a way to cut out the F-35 completely, and keep the cost of new aircraft carriers down as well, for ski-jump installation and operations are far cheaper than using catapults. Commonality between Typhoon and Typhoon-N has another benefit too - maintenance ought to work out cheaper, from flight and technical training to the supply and cost of spares.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

LEONARDO DA VINCI LIVES ON WITH THE REVELL ‘AERIAL SCREW’ KIT - A RENAISSANCE-ERA HELICOPTER DESIGN



Mat Irvine inspects an interesting mixed media kit
In the middle of 2010, Scale Model News carried a report on one of the new kits from Italeri, originated by Academy, that explore the technological design marvels from the pen of that Renaissance Man, Leonardo da Vinci. At the time it was said that this literally was a rebirth of interest as you would be getting models from not one, but three different kit companies. Two would use conventional plastic - as does the Academy/Italeri - but Revell planned kits that would use materials that Leonardo would certainly be familiar with - wood, cloth, and cord.

Monday, February 21, 2011

AIRFIX TSR2 SCI-FI VERSION NOW AVAILABLE



SMN report.
The 1:72 scale Airfix TSR.2MS, a rocket-boosted, missile-equipped aircraft designed to destroy deadly space rocks, is now available. And the good news is that if you change your mind and decide against the sci-fi version - based on the Japanese anime series Stratos 4 - then the box still contains the decals that allow you to finish the aircraft as an epitaph to British aerospace achievement and while you’re at it, a blaming finger at the sadly misguided politicians who cancelled so many brilliant projects in that era.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

WEEKEND MODEL WINDOW

Weekend Model Window is an occasional spot to show you some interesting stuff we've come across recently. 


The 1:43 scale Ferrari F40 is a Herpa plastic readybuilt, full of detail and a beautiful little product that sold to a lucky eBay buyer recently. 


The Messerschmitt Me163 Komet diorama was created by SMN star Mat Irvine, and very neatly done, too.

Friday, February 18, 2011

BIG-SCALE LONDON BUS KIT COMING LATER THIS YEAR


Mat Irvine reports
I made a quick trip to the London Toy Fair at the end of January, and one of the biggest surprises of my visit was to find Revell-Germany announcing a 1:24 scale London Transport RM Routemaster double-decker bus plastic kit. Often suggested as an idea - and I recall there were rumours back in the 1970s that Airfix was planning such a venture - but the general consensus was that it would have been far too large a kit, and so that put the kibosh on the concept.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

BRIGHTON MODELWORLD 2011 OPENS THIS FRIDAY, OPEN ALL WEEKEND


David Jefferis reports
Here’s something for Brits to visit by the seaside from Friday to Sunday, Brighton’s ModelWorld Exhibition, which trails itself as the model show that: ‘has to be seen to be believed’. This is the 33rd show, so it’s certainly been popular down the years.

Victoriana at the ModelWorld
Brighton ModelWorld should have something to suit everyone, from model trains and RC tanks, to scale aircraft and cars. A previous year’s exhibit featured a charming model of the Volks ‘electric tramroad’ that trundled along the beach in the early 1890s. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

LITTLE AND LARGE TYPHOONS INCOMING - REVELL PROVIDES 1:32 AND 1:144 OPTIONS.



SMN report
The big, 349 mm (13.7 in) wingspan 1:32 scale Eurofighter Typhoon is an imposing beast when you open up the box. It’s got 391 parts, a fuselage length just short of 500 mm (19.7 in), and it’s a completely new mould, with decent surface details and recessed panel lines. The level of detail rivals Revell’s other big-scale kits, with an 11-piece ejector seat, moveable canards,  jet nozzles in two configurations, detailed air brake, landing gear and bay, plus separate ailerons, flaps and rudder. 

This Typhoon is ready for combat
ECM pods are provided, as are the in-flight refuelling probe optionally extended or retracted, and two drop tanks. Revell has really gone to town with the weapons fit, with a total of 14 missiles ready for bear - four Meteors, four AMRAAMs, two Sidewinders, two IRIS-Ts, and finally a brace of ASRAAMs for the RAF version. There's also a maintenance stand with supports and suspension points to display one of the two EJ200 engines. Decals for the German Luftwaffe and British RAF round out the kit.

ST. VALENTINE’S DAY REMINDER TO ALL MODEL MAKERS - DON’T FORGET THE SIGNIFICANT OTHER IN YOUR LIFE!

SMN note
Model making (if you discount doll’s house miniatures and the like) is an overwhelmingly male activity. We’re not sure if there has ever been any serious research into the ‘why’ of this, but it’s true nevertheless. So, here’s a reminder for all Scale Model News readers that, much as we all like our favourite hobby, let’s not forget those significant others out there!

On the other hand, let’s not forget our scale models either, in the form of the really rather tasty Eurofighter Typhoon from Revell. Another large scale kit, this one looks good straight from the box, with potential to be a showstopper, so more pix next post.   


Friday, February 11, 2011

CORGI TOYS TIE-UP WITH BLOODHOUND SSC LAND SPEED RECORD ATTEMPT




David Jefferis reports
Interesting news from Corgi that the company is linking up with the British Land Speed Record (LSR) team, headed by former record-holder Sir Richard Noble. The team's aim is to build the Bloodhound SSC jet-and-rocket-powered car, its target, to smash the current LSR with an amazing 1000 mph (1609 km/h) two-way run - that’s a Mach 1.4 machine, running at ground level! 

Model maker and Bloodhound SSC partnership
Corgi’s role is to be the official toy and model partner for a series of replica models of the Bloodhound, as the vehicle is developed into its final record-ready form. So there should be a mini-collection opportunity for tech-hungry diecast fans.

Bloodhound SSC at the Farnborough Air Show
I saw the Bloodhound display at the Farnborough Air Show last summer, and took the set of iPhone pix shown here. It’s a hugely impressive project, even if the Farnborough Bloodhound SSC was only a life-size development mockup. The Bloodhound's triple-engine technology is a complex combination of EJ200 turbofan engine, a type normally seen powering the EFA Typhoon combat jet, plus a hybrid Falcon rocket motor. Fuel for the EJ200 and Falcon is pumped by a third power plant, an 800 bhp racing engine.

Construction on the real car started just a few days ago, the aim being to have it ready for runway trials in Spring 2012. If all goes well with the trials, then the Bloodhound SSC team will move on to high-speed runs in South Africa later the same year. There’s a choice of 14 possible sites for the actual LSR attempt, but that final choice is not yet finalized. 

Corgi Bloodhound SSC model
The sneak peeks above show what Corgi has in mind for the Bloodhound SSC. It looks pretty good, but we’ll wait to see if the finished thing is a match for Corgi’s excellent scale aircraft, which is the sort of standard we’d like to see at Scale Model News. Fingers crossed then!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

LAST-EVER BATTLESHIP COMING SOON IN 1:450 SCALE



SMN report
Talking of Hasegawa, there’s an interesting naval kit coming up soon: a 1:450 scale model of the British battleship HMS Vanguard. The attractive box art shows Vanguard sailing past the Rock of Gibraltar, and Hasegawa promises a 150-component parts count in the box. It should be worth looking out for, not least for its historical appeal. The photograph shows a much smarter and more shipshape vessel than Hasegawa's somewhat rusty version, but maybe that's a touch of artist's license!

Too late for the war
HMS Vanguard was ordered in 1941, launched in 1944, but not commissioned until August 1946, 13 months after the end of World War II. She was the last battleship built in the world, and the Royal Navy’s biggest and fastest. She was broken up for scrap in 1960, after a peacetime career in which she never fired her guns in anger.

This is the first plastic kit of HMS Vanguard, but it’s a pity the scale is 1:450, instead of 1:700 or 1:350, which are starting to become the warship kit standard scales. Still, as a one-off, the kit should be worth having.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

HASEGAWA Ma.K SCI-FI SERIES ‘NUTCRACKER’ HOVER-TANK FLOATS ACROSS OUR MODEL SHELF



David Jefferis discusses
Long-term readers will know how enthusiastic we are of science-fiction models, and in particular the Hasegawa kits featuring the Ma.K (Maschinen Krieger) sci-fi universe, first created in the 1980s by Japanese artist Kow Yokoyama. Ma.K is set in the 2800s, with a storyline based on the fighting between various factions as the Earth repopulates after a nuclear war.

Hover-tank ahead
Thanks to Hasegawa, Ma.K models continue to be released, and now we have one with real appeal for armoured fighting vehicle fans. The 1:35 scale PKH 103 Nutcracker hover-tank is a neatly crafted addition to the Ma. K range, and a delight for all sci-fi buffs, with bolts-and-rivets steampunk overtones into the bargain. As envisaged, the Nutcracker (once named ‘Nutrocker’ btw) is a robotic AFV with no humans aboard - but to make up for that lack, Hasegawa supplies a pair of new-tool troopers wearing armoured Battle Suits. These are works of model art in their own right, and will reward extra care with the brushwork - and like the Nutcracker, are an absolute natural for the war-weary scarred and weathered look.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

AIRFIX VICKERS VALIANT DISPLAYED AT NUREMBERG TOY FAIR


SMN report
Today's the last day of this year's Toy Fair, and it has certainly lived up to expectations, with many attractive kits due for release through 2011.

British nuclear bomber
Here’s the hotly awaited 139-part Vickers Valiant V-bomber kit from Airfix, just seen on display on the Airfix stand at Nuremberg Toy Fair 2011. The display model has been finished in anti-flash white overall, with the pale RAF roundels that went with that finish. Markings for the ‘Val’ are included for four versions, including a camouflage scheme.

Valiant available soon
The Valiant has been largely ignored by mainstream manufacturers over the years, so it’s good to see the gap filled, at least in 1:72 scale. To this reviewer, the Valiant has always been the Plain-Jane of the British V-bomber trio, but none the less important for all that. The kit will be available soon.

More info from Airfix here.

Thanks to our friends at Toy Collector for the heads-up on this model.

Monday, February 7, 2011

THE TAMIYA TOYOTA LFA 1:24 SCALE KIT AT THE NUREMBERG TOY FAIR 2011




David Jefferis looks at the show and the kit
The German city of Nuremberg’s annual Toy Fair is far and away the biggest of its kind anywhere, with sheer size something of a mind-boggler - the venue boasts some 160,000 square metres (nearly 40 acres!), providing room for nearly 2700 hobby, toy and craft manufacturers to display their wares. Whether your thing is plastic kits, radio-control, model trains, diecasts, they’re all at Nuremberg for your delectation, as are clear pointers to the latest trends in upcoming products.

Visitors at the Nuremberg Toy Fair 2011
This year is the the 61st such show and the organizers are expecting 76,000-plus visitors to visit before the turnstiles close tomorrow. And many of those showgoers will be poring over the wares of long-standing exhibitor, Japan’s Tamiya, which is at Nuremberg this year for the 44th time in succession.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

WHAT'S IN A NAME? THE NEW FRANKENSTEIN FROM MOEBIUS




A Mat Irvine review
You had the same situation with the classic Aurora monster kits - all had their own names: Dracula, Wolfman, The Mummy, Creature from the Black Lagoon... except Frankenstein, for it was of course a monster of his own creation, not Dr Frankenstein himself. But over the years the two have ended up as virtually interchangeable names. 

Moebius breeds a new monster in the cellar
Although the original Aurora kit has reigned supreme for nearly half a century, there’s now a new kid on the block, or in this case, monster in the cellar: the new kit of Frankenstein’s Monster from Moebius Models. Some Moebius kits have simply been recreations of Aurora kits, but this kit is brand new. However, it is made in a similar style to those of Aurora, to the same 1:8  scale, and posed in some appropriate scenic setting, but in a completely different location. Also, and although Aurora modelled the actor most associated with the creature - Boris Karloff - pretty closely, this monster bears an uncanny resemblance. It recreates the scene where the creature opens the door to the basement, and in fact the box-art is a still of the same scene from the movie.

Building the Moebius kit
Besides the figure you get a sizable chunk of floor, walls, and cellar door. The overall construction, as is the case with most of this style of kit, is not difficult as the scenery comes in very large chunks of plastic. In fact there are just 32 components in all. Maybe a bit of filler is required on a few of the seams, but in a model like this, these are easy to conceal in folds of the clothing. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FIGHTING FALCON - THE F-16 FIRST FLEW 37 YEARS AGO



The General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) F-16 Fighting Falcon first flew on February 2, 1974, and since its active entry in August four years later, has been in continuous service ever since.

From lightweight fighter to heavyweight attacker
The F-16 was developed originally as a lightweight day fighter, but has evolved into a much bigger, heavier, and more powerful beast since then - it’s now a highly successful all-weather multirole machine  that is flown by the air arms of some 26 different countries. For a jet fighter, production numbers are eyebrow-raising at 4450 manufactured so far, with more orders to come. However, to put that production number into perspective, Russia’s MiG-15 tops the charts with a likely total of some 18,000-plus, though a precise figure doesn’t seem to be available.

1:48 scale F-16 kits to buy
There are more F-16 kits than you can shake a stick at, so we’re just going to pick three of our faves - they come from Hasegawa, and are in big scales. The 1:48 scale F-16E Limited Edition has 146 components, including the conformal fuel tanks that give the aircraft much added range. Aesthetically, they don’t add the the F-16’s dainty looks, but to our eyes, the bumps, blisters, sensors, and other military extras give the aircraft a tough appeal of its own.

F-16 at Red Flag
The Hasegawa F-16i is an Israeli version, also in 1:48 scale. Like the original it has those conformal fuel tanks, very noticeable in the pic above, where you can see a pair of these jets, flying at the 2009 Red Flag combat-training exercise in the skies of the US Nevada Test and Training Range.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

GIANT-SIZE REVELL HEINKEL He 111 - DOES THIS MEAN 1:32 SCALE IS THE NEW 1:48?




The Revell He 111 is a BIG bomber in 1:32 scale, and joins the ever-growing ranks of kits in this scale. Whether 1:32 will ever replace 1:48 is a moot point, but it is not too far from the widespread military 1:35 scale, and there are plenty of cars out there too, including Scalextric slot racers, which get more attention to detail and so more model-like (rather than toy-like) with each succeeding year.

What’s the He 111 kit like?
The pictures (courtesy Revell) reveal an attractive model of this World War II medium bomber, with plenty of detail, which looks particularly neat in and around the nose glazing zone. Once assembled, the seams are filled, paint applied, and weathering completed, this could well be the biggest and best He 111 available. It’s good to see tyre and undercarriage detail so carefully attended to, and the bomb bay looks to be particularly well done. In this large scale, it’s fair to say that diorama fans in particular might want (even expect) a pair of detailed engines and more in the way of fuselage interior to be part of the package - in fact (just to dream) how good it would be to see a cutaway version of this kit, along the lines of the U-2540 sub we looked at the other day. Ah well, a future plan perhaps!