Saturday, April 30, 2011

HASEGAWA SPACE SHUTTLE AND HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE - SEEING THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE


Mat Irvine sees stars
Getting a new lease of life out of an existing kit is hardly unusual, and this is precisely what Hasegawa has done with its 1:200 scale Space Shuttle Orbiter kit, by adding what was the Shuttle’s largest single payload, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). What is odd, given the number of Orbiter kits and the importance of this particular space observatory, is that no-one has done this before.


A multi-coloured kit, split usefully into related groups. The runner of grey components is newly produced for this kit.

Friday, April 29, 2011

BEST WISHES TO PRINCE WILLIAM AND KATE MIDDLETON ON THIS ROYAL WEDDING DAY


SMN report
We’ll be joining the two billion or so TV viewers later today, but there’s just time for a quick look at some of the aircraft flown by British royalty - who knows, there might be a model there somewhere, perhaps a Westland Sea King like the above.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

DUST IS THE ENEMY - DEFEAT IT WITH STORAGE SOLUTIONS


David Jefferis on ways to crack a problem
Once upon a time, my model gang used to meet up on Saturday mornings, pack-hunting for the latest model kit. When we’d parted with our pocket money, off to our homes we’d go, aiming to vote for the best-made model a few days later. Once homework and household chores were done, out came the cement, craft knife, and other tools needed to assemble that object of desire as neatly as possible.


A taster-size three-bottle port set formed this over-the-door storage solution. It’s supported by the door surround, and a single nail in the plasterboard wall.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

APPROACHING TOUCHDOWN - AIRFIX 1:72 SCALE VICKERS VALIANT V-BOMBER

SMN report
The Airfix 2011 catalogue promised the Valiant earlier this year (SMN story here), and the 1:72 scale kit is now coming in to land, with general sales expected around May 10. The subject is the four-engine Vickers-Armstrong Valiant jet bomber, developed after World War II to counter the Soviet threat in the early days of the Cold War. The swept-wing Valiant was the first design to fly of the ‘V-Force’, three British bombers designed to penetrate Soviet airspace and deliver nuclear weapons in the event of the Cold War turning hot. 

In the model world, there has been little shortage of the other two V-bombers, the dramatic-looking Handley-Page Victor, and the big-delta Avro Vulcan, but the comparatively no-frills Valiant has been something of a Cinderella. Still, here we are now with what looks a very interesting kit indeed.


Prototype Valiant about to land at the UK Farnborough Air Show, 1951.


Monday, April 25, 2011

YURI GAGARIN AND THE AIRFIX VOSTOK KIT - MAT IRVINE TALKS KIT UPDATES


Mat Irvine on a question of colour
Further to last week’s report on the Airfix 1:144 scale Vostok kit reissue (see it here) celebrating Yuri Gagarin's famous 1961 flight, as I provided the change of details needed to Airfix, here’s more of an explanation.

Secret Vostok shape
The kit itself was released way back in 1969, when we in the West had only recently found out what this Soviet rocket actually looked like. Although flown as early as 1957 to launch Sputnik 1, it wasn’t until 1965, four years after the Gagarin flight, that the shape was revealed.

Friday, April 22, 2011

GIANT-SIZE RUSSIAN T-34 TANK COMING FROM ARMORTEK


David Jefferis reports
The Devon-based Armortek company has announced its latest 1:6 scale AFV model, the Russian T34, in short and long barrel versions. Armortek bills itself as the world’s leading manufacturer of these big-scale kits, with service, reliability, and top build-quality coming with every model.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

AIRFIX DARRACQ - AN EARLY ‘STAR CAR’


A blast from the past with Mat Irvine
Given the nature of this website, most pieces here tend to be in the ‘what’s new’ category. However, others can turn up by serendipitous coincidence, such as this example. 





Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TWIN-FUSELAGE HEINKEL He111Z FROM HASEGAWA


SMN report
Hasegawa presents us with some good stuff this month, including the two-in-one Heinkel He111Z, created by mating two He111 airframes with a new centre-wing section and an extra, fifth engine. The He111Z was designed primarily as an air tug for the massive Messerschmitt Me321 Gigant heavy-lift military glider, but even five engines were not enough for the job - there was simply not enough power to haul a fully-loaded Me321 off the ground. Various solutions were tried, including the use of rocket pods to boost thrust at takeoff.



Monday, April 18, 2011

AIRFIX VOSTOK 1 - CLASSIC KIT TO CELEBRATE FIRST MAN IN SPACE, YURI GAGARIN


SMN report
Last week’s 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first human spaceflight - 12 April 1961 - had Mat Irvine looking at the well-produced magabook Space published at the same time. So now let’s have a look at the Airfix reissue of Vostok 1, the rocket that blasted the 27-year old cosmonaut Gagarin into his 108 minute orbital flight, and a certain place in the history books.



Saturday, April 16, 2011

SPACE - CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT


Mat Irvine reports on a magabook for space fans
Space is a colourful new release from Key Publishing, the outfit behind the recently-launched Airfix Model World magazine. Space is written by David Baker, a well-known space writer, as well as once being a NASA space scientist.


Friday, April 15, 2011

ANOTHER BIG ONE FROM CHINA - TRUMPETER A-4E SKYHAWK


David Jefferis looks at a miniature masterpiece
The A-4 Skyhawk was designed by Douglas Aircraft’s Ed Heinemann to be a bantam-weight carrier aircraft. Simplicity ran through the whole design, from a tiny wing that needed no folding mechanism, to leading-edge slats that worked without complex actuators. In fact, the A-4's small and nimble design tipped the scales at just half the weight demanded by the US Navy specification.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

INCOMING ATTACKER! ITALIAN FIAT BR 20 CICOGNA IN THE NEW-OLD ITALERI ‘VINTAGE COLLECTION’


SMN report
You have to hand it to Italy - the food tastes great, the sights are wonderful, the women gorgeous, and now we have Italeri showing us the Latin way with words to describe its new re-release Vintage Collection: “The glorious Italeri models are back in our catalogue!”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NO MORE UK HARRIERS, BUT THEY LIVE ON WITH TRUMPETER’S 1:32 SCALE KIT


SMN looks at a kit from China
The GR7 Harrier’s maiden flight was in May 1990, with first combat duties over the former Yugoslavia in August 1995. The aircraft was an important part of the UK Harrier fleet, all of which have recently been retired in a round of massive defence spending cuts. Now UK forces fly no Harriers at all, but you have a chance to make your own Harrier Memorial display with this fine 1:32 scale injection kit from the Chinese company Trumpeter.




REMEMBER THE HUGE DORA RAILWAY GUN? HERE’S THE MAN WHO MADE THE MASSIVE MASTERPIECE


SMN Report
Mat Irvine recently provided pictures of the huge 1:35 scale Metal Troops Creation Dora German railway gun, on display at the 2008 ModelKraft show. Said Mat: “It's about 4 feet long, maybe 5 - and with 3000 parts it probably counts as the most number of parts in a kit - period.” 

Monster gun builder
We may have featured the Dora but we didn’t know who built it. Now we do, so SMN thanks the builder, Simon Boness, who is wearing the red top in Mat’s picture above, while sitting behind the monster gun is Bob McIntosh.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

AFRICA CORPS SOLDIERS AND INSIGNIA FROM TAMIYA

SMN report
A useful release for 1:35 scale military fans is this group of five World War II Africa Corps infantrymen. The figures include an officer, NCO, rifleman, machine-gunner and loader. As usual with Tamiya, detail is precise and plentiful, with uniforms that feature goggles, boots, helmets and other equipment.

1:20 SCALE WOLF WR1 RACING CAR FROM TAMIYA

SMN report
Racing car enthusiasts are well catered for with this neat built-up 1:20 scale black-and-gold Wolf WR1, a racing car that the South African Jody Scheckter drove to victory in the 1977 Argentina Grand Prix. Experts of the time reckoned it was something of a lucky first outing for the car - Scheckter started in 10th place, but had to pass only three cars, as the other six retired during the race. But lucky or not that first time, the Wolf-Scheckter combo proved a winner, with victories at two other F1 races in 1977, Scheckter coming second in the World Championship, going on to be outright champ in 1979.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

V-2 ROCKET VENGEANCE WEAPON PRODUCED AS BIG-SCALE KIT


Mat Irvine looks at a new model company’s premier release
Despite the number of German V-2 rocket kits that have been made (and, ahem, a comprehensive list can be seen in my book Creating Space), 1:24 is a scale that’s not been used before. It is not a standard scale for military or aircraft models, which tend to be 1:32, 1:35, 1:48 or 1:72. However, 1:24 is one of the main automotive scales, so this new V-2 kit could open the door for those interested in building dioramas, with a whole range of interesting additions.

Friday, April 8, 2011

GORGEOUS FRENCH MODELS IN 1:18 SCALE FROM OTTOMOBILE


David Jefferis reports
Here are two new resin-based models from the French outfit OttOmobile, both to 1:18 scale. As OttO says of the model car business: “Pressure was stronger than in the real car business, but the product was so nice”. And these models look nice, too, though you’ll have to be quick as OttO’s pre-ordering philosophy means their releases often sell out very quickly indeed.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

ON THIS DAY 1945 - JAPANESE BATTLESHIP ‘YAMATO’ SUNK IN THE PACIFIC


SMN report
The Yamato, biggest battleship ever built and flagship of Japan's World War II fleet, was sunk on 7 April 1945 some 80 km (50 miles) south-west of Kyushu, Japan’s southerly main island, after multiple attacks by US Navy forces. By August that year, the Japanese High Command had destroyed all drawings and official photographs of the 72,800-tonne ship, to keep her details from approaching Allied forces.


The Yamato, seen here on patrol in the Pacific Ocean.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A CLOSE LOOK AT THE REISSUED 1:72 SCALE AIRFIX DH.88 COMET RACER


Mat Irvine builds a 1934 racing aircraft
When this kit was first issued it was regarded as a pretty nice little model of the aircraft that won the 1934 England to Australia MacRobertson Air Race. The slight trouble today is that the Airfix DH.88 was released more than half a century ago, in 1957, and things in the kit world have moved on considerably since then!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

IT’S AUCTION TIME THIS COMING WEEKEND, WITH SOME TASTY SALES TO TEMPT YOU


SMN Report
If you enjoy hunting for a bargain, then auctions can be the way to go - though for rare items, prices can sail through the roof to ‘infinity and beyond’. But nearer terra firma, there are all sorts of interesting items coming up this coming weekend, with guide prices that should suit most buyers’ pockets.

Dinky Toys for sale
For diecast collectors, there are some very handsome articles with Special Auction Services (SAS), including the attractive group of Dinky Toys shown here. Just think, I owned no less than five of these six items when they were new, my pocket money was not a lot, and I looked forward to birthday presents with a 'Dinky' on the box. Sad to say, all those toys of mine bit the dust in some shape or form maaany years ago! But for new owners this time around, the Dinkys pictured, plus a number of other items, have the very reasonable lot estimate of just £70-£90 GBP ($113-145 USD).

Monday, April 4, 2011

SCALE MODEL NEWS GOES MOBILE


SMN report
We’re pleased to say that Scale Model News is now available in a ‘small-screen’ Mobile Edition. It’s neat, elegant, and very personal: something you can read wherever you have a phone signal, though it’s fair to say that, as ever, 3G or wi-fi provide best results.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

WEEKEND MODEL WINDOW

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



The 2008 F1 Championship winning McLaren MP4-23 race car is the latest offering from partwork publisher DeAgostini, and the launch issue looks terrific. The 1:8 scale kit will measure some 594 mm (23.4 in) long when assembled, and has been developed with Kyosho, so should build into a fine replica. How long it will take to collect all the necessary parts is not revealed.



A recent AFV from Revell is the 1:35 scale Marder 1 A5, with supplied markings as used in the Kosovo and Afghanistan conflicts. The 196-part kit has detailed Milan missile launcher, machine gun and tracks, aspects which have earned it some very good reviews.

Friday, April 1, 2011

DORA BUILD PIX - A MEGA-KIT REVEALED


SMN Update
The 1:35 scale Dora really is quite something. Mat Irvine spotted the beast a while back and took these pix. In his words: “This was at the 2008 ‘ModelKraft’, which is the large model show run by the UK’s Milton Keynes Scale Model Club in February each year."

APRIL FOOL’S DAY OR WHAT? WORLD’S BIGGEST GUN, WORLD’S BIGGEST KIT


SMN Report
Looks like we have a conclusion to the ‘world’s biggest kit’ discussion, and the answer has to be the model world’s reproduction of a World War II mobile gun that was an extraordinary engineering feat, but in military terms, little more than an expensive joke.