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THE FLYING WAR BIRDS:

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In the realm of military aircraft, there are many suppliers that design and make model kits. The best are Hasegawa and Revell, though others come in close behind. The different scales give more or less challenge to the everyday model builder, but each scale also has something to give that other can't, and that is the pride you feel when you complete the model.

Personally, I like to work with 1:48 scale military aircraft. The scale gives the right amount of detail and makes sure that the model can be displayed well. 1:72 scale aircraft are nice too, but since they are smaller, the detail is usually low. 1:32 scale gives the most detail, but at the same time is so large that you run out of displaying room too fast. 1:48 seems to be a compromise between detail and space saving as well as difficulty.

Modern Military:

United States of America:

     United States Air Force

Boeing E-3 AWACS (1:144) 

In July of 1970, the Boeing Company flew became the primary contractor for the AWAC system, making a B707 into an E-3 AWACS for the United States Air Force. A crew of three and of course many stations inside the plane for electronic specialists, the E-3 was born. The E-3 Sentry was able to scan the airspace around itself for over 200 miles and track multiple targets at once. With the system of in-flight refueling, the airplane can stay up for days at a time if need be. The Sentry is the main AWACS for the United States and other nations, including NATO-OTAN, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  

Revell decided to bring out a Sentry kit a few years ago, but what was ingenious of this plan was that the kit had the option to make either the KC-135 or the E-3 Sentry “AWACS.” I of course bought two kits of this and made one of each, but in theory, one could make even more kits of this if they wanted to, such as in the form of the E-8 J-Stars, RC-135, or EC-135. In fact, you could also make the E-6 Mercury, but then again, to make this to the right scale, you’d have to get a B707-320, like the airliners flew. 

When I bought the kit, I made it into an E-3 Sentry. It went together very easy, and had some good detail, so it wasn’t by any means a waste. I painted the entire plane a gunship gray, with leading edges silver. I simply placed the decals that came with it on, in this case the decals of NATO-OTAN. The main difference in the E-3 is the large rotodome on top of the aft portion of the fuselage. The support was painted gray and the rotodome itself was black. To add to this aircraft, I placed a decal of a “devil” on the aft fuselage, for the appearance of “nose art.”  

The finished product is a NATO E-3 Sentry monitoring the skies of my room. The E-3 is a good kit, and as I said before, you can make multiple aircraft from the one kit with some creativity and ingenuity. If you see this kit, pick it up, and have fun.

Boeing C-32A (B757-200)

To date I’ve built more B757-200 kits than any other kit that is out on the shelves at local hobby stores. I’ve built them for myself and for friends, and still I build more. Just to name off the ones that I have built is interesting. United Airlines, American Airlines Retro (2), UPS, Canada 3000, Continental (-200 & -300), and a C-32 (Vice President’s plane), and US Airways. All of them were a challenge and interesting to build, and yet I have more to build.  

After the success of the B757 with the Rolls Royce engines, Minicraft put out a kit in C-32 livery and Pratt & Whitney engines. The kit of course comes with the “United States of America” livery decals found on the Vice Presidential plane commonly known as Air Force Two.   

Since I have already built some ten kits, it was once again a challenge to build another kit for yet another friend of mine. He wanted a B757 in the Air Force Two livery, so I bought this kit and began working on it. The kit is like all of those made by Minicraft in that the windscreen comes as a part of the upper-forward portion of the fuselage. It is hard to explain, but if you buy the kit, or any jetliner kit by Minicraft, you will know what I mean. This isn’t really a big problem as long as you take your time and putty and sand the “canopy” before you paint the plane. However, I suggest using tape to “mask” the actual windscreen of the plane. Other than that, the kit is awesome. 

Since the kit comes with decals for Air Force Two, I didn’t have to order any decals, but if you want to paint the plane in a livery of a different airline, you can always order decals for this plane. When I painted the plane, the upper fuselage was gloss white while the bottom was a grabber blue (Model Master paints). I masked between the two colors and as always, placed the gold stripe between them, making a perfect fit. The wings and stabilizers are white and of course the leading edges are silver. The engines are the grabber blue too. 

The decals went on fine, and look great on this aircraft. The America flag completes the plane with it emblazoned on the tail. I kept the gear extended so that my friend could either hang it or set it on the ground. Of course I did place about 5 cents in the front (5 pennies) for weight and balance, like I do with all models that I build anymore, it is a good number and a cheap way to use pennies that are just laying around. 

Currently, the B757-200 sits on a shelf in my room waiting for delivery. I kind of feel like Boeing now, waiting for the customer to arrange a time to deliver the aircraft to its final destination. This is of course a great kit, so if you see it at a local hobby store, pick it up, and possibly build a fleet of B757s yourself.

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress (1:144) 

In 1955, history was made when the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress entered service with the United States Air Force. Conceived as a strategic bomber, the B-52 eventually became a platform for conventional weapons, and is the legend in the air when it come to “carpet bombing” devastating miles of Earth from hundreds of tons of munitions. Today, some almost 50 years later, the B-52 remains a backbone in the USAF bombing fleet, and with extensive upgrades, this aircraft will see it’s 50th birthday. 

There have been a few models of the B-52, including Minicraft and Revell, and while the Revell kit is 1:72nd scale and huge, I didn’t have space for it so I opted for the 1:144th scale kit. This kit might be smaller, but it is till a great kit. Coming in at about 12-inches long and a wingspan of 14-inches, the kit is a good size. The flaps can be placed in the up or down position and the gear can be raised or lowered. Weaponry varies, and with my kit I decided to make it with cruise missiles on the under wing hard points. 

I painted the plane a dark green all over. The gear is raised since I wanted to have it being refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker. It went together fairly easy, and the finished plane is one that will serve well into the 21st century. The decals that come with the plane are nice and add color to the dull paint scheme, but then again, this BUFF is a dull plane until you’ve seen it up close. This eight-engine behemoth is now on my ceiling with a tanker giving it the life breathing fuel in which will keep it flying for another mission. 

To make the hook up to the tanker, I placed a small hole in the refueling port on top of the plane, that way the refueling boom actually goes into the B-52, for a secure connect. While this might not be the biggest plane, it is a good size and was fun to build. Besides, it is the same scale as the airliners in my room, so it is a good comparison too. If you see this kit, pick it up and have fun.  

Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker (1:144) 

In August of 1956, the Boeing Company flew its Dash 80 which was to become the United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker. A crew of three and of course one boom operator flew this aircraft, capable of pumping fuel to another plane while in mid-air. The KC-135 was able to carry 31,200 pounds of fuel on a given mission, and could fuel multiple aircraft in each mission. Of course the KC-135 was not able to refuel multiple aircraft at one time. 

Revell decided to bring out a Stratotanker kit a few years ago, but what was ingenious of this plan was that the kit had the option to make either the KC-135 or the E-3 AWACS. I of course bought two kits of this and made one of each, but in theory, one could make even more kits of this if they wanted to, such as in the form of the E-8 J-Stars, RC-135, or EC-135. In fact, you could also make the E-6 Mercury, but then again, to make this to the right scale, you’d have to get a B707-320, like the airliners flew. 

When I bought the kit, I made it into a KC-135. It went together very easy, but had some good detail, so it wasn’t by any means a waste. I painted the entire plane a gunship gray, with leading edges silver. I simply placed the decals that came with it on. The main step in this process was the refueling boom. The kit is made in the form of having the boom in the up position, not refueling a plane. But in this case I wanted it to be refueling a B-52 Stratofortress, so I added a sewing needle to the tip of the boom, making it look like it was actually extended. This needle slipped into the hole of the B-52, and a connection was made. 

It took some time to work with hanging the two planes from the ceiling, since they had to be at different flight levels to refuel. The KC-135 is slightly above and ahead of the B-52. After the two planes were in position, I glued the boom to the back of the KC-135. A refueling scene accomplished. 

The KC-135 is a good kit, and as I said before, you can make multiple aircraft from the one kit with some creativity and ingenuity. If you see this kit, pick it up, and have fun.

Boeing E-767 (1:144) 

In the past few years, the Japan Defense Ministry had wanted to upgrade its aging AWACS fleet, and turned to Boeing since they originally designed the current E-3 Sentry. This time Boeing presented an AWACS platform sing the Boeing 767-300. The Japanese were the first and so far, only nation to place an order for this aircraft. The E-767 AWACS is basically a B767 with a rotodome on the aft section. In fact now there are proposals to have the B767 in the role of an air-to-air tanker to replace the aging KC-135 fleet. 

When I saw a picture of the E-767, I immediately wanted a model of it, but unfortunately none existed, that is until I cam along. It was a simple process really. Since I had bought a couple kits of the KC-135/E-3 Revell models, I had an extra rotodome lying around so I decided to build a B767 and place the rotodome on top. 

I bought a Revell B767 model and went to work by building it normally. I kept the gear in the retracted position since I would place the E-767 in a refueling position with a KC-10. The main difficulty is that the E-767 doesn’t have the rows of windows as its commercial counterpart has, so I had to cover them, which I did with clear decal film. After this dries, I painted the plane an overall gray, with silver leading edges. The tail was gray too with a white rudder. 

The decals went on, not in Japanese markings but USAF markings, since I would hope that eventually the USAF would buy some of these machines. The final part of the model was to place on the rotodome and its sub-structure, which went on fine. The structure was gray and the done black. 

After this was completed, I hung it from the ceiling under and behind the KC-10, and glued the boom to the top receptacle, completing the refueling process. The two planes now fly in tight formation, forever refueling. If you would like to build an E-767, just buy the Revell KC-135/E-3 kit, make the KC-135, and use the rotodome from the kit. Of course if you want to make a really cool set up, buy two B767 kits, one KC-135/E-3 kit, and make an E-767 and a KC-767, and fly them in formation. With the remaining KC-135/E-3 kit, make an EC-135 or RC-135.

General Dynamics F-16 (1:48) 

The hottest airplane in the skies today might just be the sleek F-16 Falcon. Many of the new fighter pilots in the Air Force yearn for a slot to fly this advanced fighter. The single-pilot, single-engine plane was produced in 1974 and since then has taken the world by storm. With various munitions and a top speed of Mach 2, the F-16 is a very formidable adversary. 

There are many kits on the market of the F-16, and I have bought a few, but Hasegawa of Japan makes the best one I have seen so far. I bought this plane with the intention of making one of the best planes in my fleet. I wanted to get as much detail as I could for this plane, and so I camped outside the Iowa Air National Guard base at Des Moines International Airport and took pictures of their airplanes when they first received the F-16. 

After studying these pictures, I went to work on the plane. The model itself has a lot of detail and that is great. I followed the instructions to a “t” and completed the plane. I had decided early on in the game to have the canopy open, especially since a boarding ladder came with the model. 

I painted the plane two shades of gray, a gunship and a light gray. The gunship gray was placed on first over the entire plane. The light gray was painted on around the cockpit, as seen in pictures of the real plane. The nose cone was gunship gray. The engine exhaust was painted silver with wisps of black in for weathering. 

On this model, you have the option of leaving the speed brakes open, which I did for additional detail. The armament that came with the plane was all right, but I wanted more detail, and bought a weapons set for the plane too. There are two fuel tanks on the wings, six Mark 82 bombs, two AIM-120 AMRAAMs, and finally two AIM-9 Sidewinders on the wingtips. On the centerline is an ECM pod. 

The canopy is open as I said before and the boarding ladder is glued to the plane too. I even have a pilot climbing the ladder for another day at the office. I used the decals for everything except the tail, where I hand painted on the Iowa flag with the title “IOWA” on top of it, signifying the Iowa ANG at DSM. Since then their tail has changed, but this is when they were first getting the F-16s, so it stands today. 

This aircraft was very fun to work with, and sits proud on a shelf in my room. If you want to get a model of an F-16, buy any you want, but for a lot of detail, I’d suggest looking at the Japanese kits.

Lockheed C-5A Galaxy (1:144) 

The largest airplane in the United States Air Force took to the air in June 1968. This aircraft has the capability to haul some 261,000 pounds of equipment. This aircraft is remarkable in that it has 28 wheels and is 222-feet long, longer than many houses. The speed of the C-5 is 490 knots with a range of 3,400 miles. 

For the longest time, there were no kits of the C-5, then Revell came out with a C-5 kit in 1:144th scale. The plane is enormous, and it should be, but at the same time, it is a joy to build. I had bought one and built it a long time ago, and since then had moved to a new city, but I left the C-5 behind at my parents’ house. One day when I was home I fond the C-5 and decided to take it home with me. I had to refurbish it though. 

The first problem was that many of the wheels were missing, so I decided to get rid of the gear and have it in the retracted position, which caused my next problem of not having the gear doors. The solution to this was the use of model putty, which I applied in layers until it finally was flush with the rest of the fuselage. I sanded it down, and at that point, the majority of the fix-up was complete. I painted the plane a dark green with wisps of gunship gray for camouflage. 

The next problem I ran into was that I didn’t have the horizontal stabilizers. This was a problem I was sure was incurable, but after some time and ingenuity, I had a solution. I used the tail section from a 1:48th scale GR.1 Tornado and some sheet plastic. I cut the stabilizer from that and called it good. 

The decals for this plane came from a 1:32nd scale F-15, and while they don’t match up to a real squadron, they do look good on the plane. Even more impressive is after it was painted and built, I hung it from the ceiling. In addition to that, I “hooked” it up to another plane, in this case a KC-10 Extender. Now the two of these planes fly in tight formation, the KC-10 giving the C-5 the life-needed fuel to stay aloft indefinitely. 

I haven’t seen a 1:144th scale C-5 for a long time, so if you find one, make sure you buy it since they are extremely hard to find.

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird (1:144) 

In 1964, the fastest air breathing airplane entered service with the United States Air Force in the form of the SR-71 Blackbird. This Mach 3 plus aircraft is a twin-engine, two-crew reconnaissance aircraft that has a service ceiling of 85,000-feet. Kelly Johnson at the infamous Lockheed Skunk Works in California made the unique design. Still today, the SR-71 is the fastest known aircraft traversing the skies today. 

I was recently at a local hobby store and found a SR-71 in 1:144th scale. The kit is very easy to build, but is a great plane to have nevertheless. It has some detail, but not a whole lot of excess detail. The model was really designed to have the gear extended, but I wanted it to be retracted, so while I used the main gear doors, I placed putty in the nose gear and sanded it flush. 

I painted the entire plane a flat black, including the canopy. After it was painted, I placed on the decals and called it good. This plane might be very easy to build, but it looks great when finished. It now flies in my room with the other aircraft of that scale. I might at some time build a KC-135Q tanker and hook it up to the SR-71. If you see this plane, buy it, because the finished product is great.

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird (1:48) 

In 1964, the fastest air breathing airplane entered service with the United States Air Force in the form of the SR-71 Blackbird. This Mach 3 plus aircraft is a twin-engine, two-crew reconnaissance aircraft that has a service ceiling of 85,000-feet. Kelly Johnson at the infamous Lockheed Skunk Works in California made the unique design. Still today, the SR-71 is the fastest known aircraft traversing the skies today. 

Revell has a great kit currently on the market in the way of a 1:48th scale SR-71 Blackbird. The kit is fantastic with a lot of detail. I had built one of these kits when I was younger, but wanted to build another one and get it right. The first one I built isn’t wrong, except for the paint, a gloss black, though it looks cool even so. 

When I bought the second kit, I decided to try to do a really good job on it. I tried to put as much time and effort into every part of the plane, and the finished product looks great. I followed the paint chart in the instructions to make it look as realistic as Revell says. 

As I put the plane together, I painted it, but I had an idea to try. I painted each piece gloss black, and then put it together, with a final coat of gloss black over the entire plane once completed. The problem of course is that the real plane is a flat black, but this was all part of my plan. I took some dullcote spray and applied it to the entire plane and let it dry. The result was a plane that went from gloss to flat. It isn’t a true flat since it has a different finish, it’s hard to explain, but if you try it, you’ll get the idea. 

The plane now sits on a shelf, with 1:48th scale ground crew and pilots around it. In fact, it is now nose-to-nose with another great aircraft from the US arsenal, the Grumman F-14 of VF-84 “Jolly Rogers.” These two airplanes are my prize and joy of the military fleet. If you see the SR-71 at a local hobby store, pick it up and have fun, it is by far one of the best kits I’ve had the pleasure working with.

Lockheed U-2 Spy Plane (1:48) 

It is possibly the most famous spy plane built by and flown for the United States of America in the reconnaissance role. It is the plane which Gary Powers was shot down in while flying over the Soviet Union, and it is the plane that still flies today form missions with the USAF and NASA. The Lockheed U-2 spy plane is an amazing jet-glider, and has seen more flight time than most aircraft, including many flights which we do not know about, and will never know about. 

I found a 1:48th scale kit of the U-2, and while I enjoyed assembling it, I must say it is very simple. It is just a narrow tube with wings. The cockpit is detailed, as is the rest of the plane, but it doesn’t take too much time to put it together. I painted the plane an overall flat black, and slapped the decals on it. The guiding wheels were painted black with their struts orange. 

The plane is nice to have in the fleet, but it is not very tough. However, if you are a U-2 fan, then you might want to buy it if you see it at a local store, however, if you are more of a reconnaissance fane, I’d suggest buying the SR-71.

McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II (1:48) 

By far one of the most popular aircraft ever built, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II still flies today in some Air Forces and at select air shows around the United States. The twin-engine, two-crew airplane has the ability to attain Mach 2.25 and can carry up to 8,800-pounds of ordnance. In its heyday, the F-4 served with the USAF, USN, and USMC, as well as many other nations around the world, but most notably the Israeli Air Force. Also for a time the F-4 was the demonstration aircraft of the USAF Thunderbirds and USN Blue Angels, the only plane to serve both squadrons. 

There are countless kits of the F-4 on the market today, and therefore you have a wide range of model kits to choose from. Revell made my first kit. This plane did not have a gun, which worked well for me. I decided to not paint it in the colors of the Vietnam Conflict decals, but rather in the form of the Michigan Air National Guard. 

The plane ad some good detail, and it was a lot of fun to build. I painted the plane in an overall light gray. The nose cone was black and I added the shark mouth to it. I also kept the cone open to display my own radar dish, a dish that actually came from a 1:72nd scale F-111. Though not the same radar, it looks great on the F-4. 

The boundary layer splitter plate was painted a black and yellow checkerboard, all by hand. The tail has two arrow-like designs on the front of it, and a checkerboard yellow/black rudder. At the top of the rudder is a black square with the writing “Michigan,” which was once again free hand; in fact, the entire tail is a free hand paint job. 

The other decals that came with the plane went on fine. It is armed with a full load containing three fuel tanks, six Mark 82 bombs, four AIM-9s, three AIM-7s, and an ECM pod. The detail in the cockpit is great, including the ejection straps on top of the seats. The canopy is open for additional detail too. 

The second F-4 is actually a reconnaissance version, dubbed the RF-4 Phantom II. It is a commemorative paint scheme by the USMC. I painted it a light gray with a black nose cone. There are red/white decals that came with the kit, and are placed on the plane. The paint scheme is the “spirit of America,” and the tail is black with the decals of flags and “RF.” Armed with a camera on the underside of the nose and three fuel tanks, the plane looks sleek standing still. The canopy is open too. 

Both kits are fun to build, and of course if you want to make a paint scheme that doesn’t have a decal, have some fun and courage, and paint it on free hand, but at the same time, when you see a plane with a special paint scheme, its nice to buy and display too. 

McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extenders (1:144) 

In December 1977 The United States Air Force selected the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 to be converted into an air-to-air refueling platform, know as the KC-10 Extender. A total of 16 were ordered for the USAF, and they have served the military well since their inception. This three-crew, three-engine aircraft can carry 117,800-pounds of fuel to be transferred to aircraft in the inventory. 

My favorite airplane by far is the DC-10 aircraft, and when I saw the KC-10 in kit form, I had to buy it. I bought two of them with the idea of having them “hook up” with another aircraft in my inventory. The kit is a joy to work with and goes together great. The best part is that the windscreen is exactly that, a windscreen. 

The first aircraft was to be a white and blue color scheme with the second in the camouflage scheme. With the first aircraft, I painted the top a gloss white and the bottom a baby blue. Between the two colors is a French blue stripe that continues along the fuselage on to the windscreen and covers it. The tail and wings are also white, but the bottoms of the wings are the baby blue. The leading edges are silver. 

The second plane is a dark green on top and white on the underside. The wings are white with silver leading edges. The decals from the kits went on both airplanes, but on the second plane, I placed nose art from a B-1 that I had laying around, called “polarized.” It looked cool, so I slapped it on, and it looks great. 

The first plane, blue and white, is refueling an E-767 AWACS while the second KC-10 is refueling a C-5 Galaxy. Of course when I hung the planes to their refueling buddies it took time to position each one, but in the end it worked. I glued the booms to the refueling buddies so there would be a strong mating. 

Both kits are a dream to work with, mainly since they are the same kit, and are sometimes still found in stores but if you can’t find them you can always order them from Airline Hobby Supply of Canada. So if you see a KC-10 kit, buy it, because they are out of production, and won’t last long.

McDonnell Douglas F-15C/E Eagle/Strike Eagle (1:48) 

America’s air superiority fighter currently is the F-15C Eagle. This aircraft has two engines, which push the plane to a top speed of Mach 2.5. The aircraft is capable of carrying an assortment of air-to-air weapons ranging from the AIM-9 Sidewinder to the latest AIM-120 AMRAAM. In left wing root is a 20mm cannon for close in combat. This aircraft is a single pilot plane, which is incredible since it is such a huge airplane. 

I bought a kit of the F-15C and went to work. The plane is painted an overall light gray. Detail is good both in the cockpit and on the plane itself. Detail on the gear and in the wells is fabulous. It is fairly easy to put together, but also a challenge. It comes with decals for the 1st Tactical Fight Wing, but I bought some other decals and made it into a plane from the 318th FIS. This paint scheme has a seven-pointed star on the tail in blue. It is a cool tail art, and when I saw the decals, I had to have them. 

This aircraft is armed with four AIM-7 Sparrows, four AIM-9 Sidewinders, and an ECM pod. There is also a fuel tank on the centerline. The kit came is the option of having the nose cone open and detailed Hughes AGP-63 radar, which I of course put on the plane. The canopy is open and the access ladder is opened, and the speed brake is extended. This was a great kit. 

After the F-15 was such a successful airplane, the USAF decided to make it into a ground attack plane too, but with some modifications, mainly conformal fuel tanks and a two-crew cockpit. The creation of the F-15E Strike Eagle was born.

I found a kit of this plane too, and went to work for the F-15 fleet. This plane was painted gunship gray. The plane is the same except for the two-crew flight deck, which is highly detailed, and the conformal fuel tanks under the wings. This aircraft is armed with four AIM Sidewinders, two TV-guided bombs, two laser-guided bombs, four Rockeye cluster bombs, an ECM pod, a FLIR pod, and a fuel tank. A full load of armament for this remarkable airplane. The canopy is open and the speed brake is extended. 

Both of the planes now sit side-by-side, giving the comparison between the two. It is very cool to see these airplane on my shelf, and of course the time building them was well worth it.

Northrop B-2 Spirit (1:144) 

The Northrop B-2 Bomber is a stealth airplane, which means it cannot be seen on radar. The B-2 is a huge plane capable of carrying more powerful weaponry than the B-52 every carried. This twin engine, two-crew bomber is only 20 strong, but can bomb a target without being seen, making it a perfect weapon in the deadly game of war. 

The B-2 is available in kit for in 1:72nd scale mainly, but by chance I found one in 1:144th scale. The problem is it was a snap together plane, but since it was the scale that I like to build, I bought it anyways. The kit was a snap to put together. 

It came in about six pieces. And went together without any problems. I painted the plane flat black and then put the windscreen in. The decals went on fine, and so I had a B-2. It now hangs with the rest of my airplanes in that scale. Perhaps some day I’ll be able to buy another tanker and have it refueling, or I might let the B-52 relax from fueling, and put the B-2 in it’s place. Only time can tell. 

Though an easy model, it is a good example of the plane, and therefore worth buying. Also it was kind of fun to work with a snap model, taking me back to the old days of when I built them on a regular basis. Sometimes you have to step down a level in your abilities to get the plane you want.

Northrop F-5 Tiger (1:48) 

In November 1970, the US government chose the F-5 to be the main fighter plane for export to foreign nations for their own militaries. This single pilot, twin-engine fighter is very agile and inexpensive compared to other modern day fighters. With a top speed of Mach 1.6 and a ceiling of 36,000-feet, the plane is a great weapon for any air force. 

The F-5 has seen export to over 18 countries around the world, and many of them have served at one time with the United States military. The United States Navy picked up the Tiger in the form of an aggressor for a while, and in fact the aggressor F-5 is still in limited service. The rest of the F-5s are no longer in US service, only with foreign forces. However, I decided I wanted to get a model of the USAF and Navy Tigers. 

When you go to a local hobby store, usually you will see an example of the F-5. I have personally bought two of the Revell kits, mainly because Revell is a good company for models. The plane is easy to put together, without too much detail, but enough for the purpose of the plane. The first plane was painted tan with beige wisps to signify the camouflage. The Red Star of the old Soviet Union was then added. The wing tip missiles are painted blue to signify the “dummy” weapons. On this aircraft the canopy is closed. 

The second F-5 was painted all silver. The wingtip rails have white Sidewinders, to show that they are live weapons. The under wing stores are empty, so possibly at a later date I will add some more highly detailed armament. The decals went on in the form of the USAF star and title as well as the “United States Air Force” title. The canopy is open, but of course it is a unique one in that it close and open, so be careful when gluing the plane together. 

On both of the planes, the gear is extended as well as the speed brakes, just to show the added detail to the plane. If you see this plane at a hobby store, I would suggest buying it since it is a good kit.

Vought A-7 Corsair II (1:48) 

In 1964, Vought won a fly off competition to build a replacement for the A-4 Skyhawk. The answer was simple; a plane that would be a durable attack aircraft for the Navy, but eventually this airplane would also see service with the USAF. The A-7 Corsair II was a single engine, single pilot subsonic aircraft capable of carrying 15,000-pounds of bombs and other various munitions. 

I found a great kit of the Corsair made by Hasegawa in the form of a 1:48th scale special anniversary plane, The Spirit of South Dakota’s Air National Guard. I debated about buying this plane for a while since it cost a pretty penny, but I am very happy to have bought it since there is a lot of added detail. 

First of all, the plane’s detail itself is great, with a very good understanding of the aircraft’s cockpit, gear wells, and exterior detail. The additional detail came from an extended speed brake, open panels on the sides of the plane, and access ladder, extended slats and flaps, and of course the ability to fold the wings. The detail of all of this was mind boggling, and I wanted to make sure that I took special care of all of this, for it could be the best model I ever made. 

I started off by painting the entire plane a gloss white. The leading edges under the slats were painted red. The interior detail under the panels was painted a mix of black and gray, and the panels were left open. The speed brake was left extended to a point so that the plane could still sit on the ground. The flaps and slats were placed in the extended positions, and the canopy left open with the boarding ladder extended. Overall this was a great model in the detail realm. 

The final phase was to put on the decals, which were the special anniversary decals of the 25th anniversary of the South Dakota ANG. The American flag with an Air National Guardsman in front of it was placed on the tail. “The Spirit of South Dakota” title was placed along the fuselage along with red stripes. The finished product looks wonderful, and will always be a treasured plane. Though Hasegawa model kits tend to be more expensive, it is worth buying for the detail.

 

     United States Navy

Grumman A-6 Intruder (1:48) 

In April of 1960, Grumman flew the first A-6 Intruder, and into history. This twin-engine, two-crew all-weather attack aircraft flew extensively in the Vietnam Conflict and saw final action in the Persian Gulf War. The A-6 was a magnificent aircraft being able to carry some 18,000-pounds of munitions. In the past few years, the A-6 has been phased out of the US Navy and been replaced with the F/A-18. However, for the crews who flew in this plane, it will be remembered as a great aircraft and the backbone of the US Naval Attack Wing. 

For a long time, no one put out a kit of the A-6 in 1:48th scale, and then a couple years ago, Revell came out with a kit. When I saw it, I had to buy it since it was one of my favorite aircraft. I decided to paint it in the colors of the USS Saratoga air wing. The detail in and on the plane is great, with a nice cockpit and gear, as well as munitions. While the kit is nice, I had to add more detail to it by folding the wings like they do on the aircraft carrier for more space. 

The detail on the wings have recessed panel lines that match up perfectly to the fold of the wings, so I took a sharp exacto knife and cut the wings apart. Next I built the rest of the model, including the inner wing since that’s where the gear are located, and left the outer wings off. For a long time the plane looked really odd without the outer wings on it, but that was all part of the plan. 

I painted the entire plane gunship gray except for the nose, which I painted white, just to give some additional color. After all the decals were in place, as well as the canopy, which I left open too, I went to work on the outer wings. I put them together and painted them, then finally added the deals to them. The problem left was that there were holes where I had cut the wings apart. Using sheet plastic and cutting a section out to match those holes, then gluing it on to the plane solved this. The final step was to place the wings in the folded position. 

I took super glue and glue intensifier and simply place the wings how I wanted them and glued. The intensifying spray immediately hardened the glue, and kept the wings in position. They still move to the touch, but as of yet, they have held strong. 

This A-6 is armed with Rockeye bombs and Harpoon missiles for anti-shipping operations. There is a fuel tank on the centerline. The finished product is a plane that is waiting for a call that will unfortunately never come again, the call to get airborne to fight for American rights. Since the A-6 has been retired, they are now at museums across the US, such as one in Pensacola, Florida, the home of Naval Aviation. If you see an A-6 Intruder kit, buy it and have some fun, because just like the real plane, the kits too might soon go out of production.

Grumman EA-6B Prowler (1:48) 

In the summer of 1972, VAQ-132 began to operate an upgraded version of the A-6, known as the EA-6 Prowler. This aircraft is the same basic airframe, but that’s where the similarities stop. The EA-6 is an electronic countermeasures platform, with a crew of four and a large electronic countermeasures dome on the top of the tail. With upgraded engines, the plane has a top speed of 530 knots and the ability to have a maximum takeoff weight of 65,000 pounds. And unlike her older sister, the EA-6B is still in service with the United States Marine Corps. 

Revell came out with a kit of the EA-6B Prowler a few years ago, and of course I bought it. The plane is great for detail, especially in the cockpits. The jamming pods have nice detail too. I of course wanted to add more detail to this plane, so I opened one of the wings and added internal structure detail. 

I really studied the internal detail of the plane and went as far to include the actuators, which fold the wings, as well as the rib detail of the wing. It was a lot of fun and I used parts from other aircraft to add to the detail. It might not be 100% correct, but it looks really cool, and I have gotten a lot of complements on this plane. 

As for the paint scheme, it was a light gray, with a red and white tail, mainly for additional color. The squadron was VAQ-132, another wing based on the USS Saratoga aircraft carrier. The gear is extended and the canopy is opened. This model took some serious time for the additional detail, but in the end it was well worth it. If you see this plane, get it and enjoy, I sure did.

Grumman F-14 Tomcats (1:48) 

Perhaps my most favorite aircraft of all time in the military is the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. It might be because it was the featured plane in the movie “Top Gun,” but I think the main reason is it just looks fast even standing still. Entering service in September 1974, the Tomcat was a big twin-engine, two-crew aircraft capable of traveling Mach 2.3 and carrying 14,500-pounds of munitions. The Tomcat was originally envisioned for a fleet defense fighter, and so carried the AIM-54 Phoenix missile, the only plane ever built to carry this million dollar weapon. 

In the past few years, the Tomcat has grown into the role of a ground attack fighter too, as seen in the F-14D. Now the Tomcat has fully matured, and can carry ground and air-to-air weapons on a mission. The aircraft will unfortunately be retired in the next few years and be replaced by the F/A-18E Super Hornet, but for now, the Tomcat flies off the decks of carriers for various roles. 

I have bought many kits of the Tomcat throughout my modeling career, and currently, I have four kits in 1:48th scale. Revell/Monogram makes each of the kits, and each is a joy to work with. Revell might not have made the first kit, and since I built it so many years ago, I can’t remember. All I know is what separates it apart from the other kits is that it is a F-14A, so it has the glove vanes. I have been told that the F-14C/D does not have these vanes. Each aircraft though is highly detailed in the cockpits, gear wells, and weapons. 

I will go through each of the four planes and discuss what I did to them. The first plane of course had the glove vanes, and I kept them extended. The wings can move, but currently they are swept back. I tried to add internal wing detail to this plane, but it didn’t work out, so It was done on the bottom of a wing, so all you see is the panel sticking down, no detail. I did put the boarding ladder down and the canopy up, with a pilot and RIO in their seats. 

This plane was painted a light gray, with a red and white tail to signify it was part of my USS Saratoga fleet. The decals on this plane are for VF-74 Be-Devilers, which I love due to their tail art, a devil face with a lightning bolt through it, very cool. There are red highlights on the edges of all the gear doors for added color. The only other detail that came with the plane was the ability to leave the nose cone open, and display the AWG-9 radar, the heart of the F-14, which I did. 

The aircraft is armed with sic AIM-54 missiles and two AIM-9’s. Of course if you are a military buff, you would know that that armament would over gross the plane. Normally the plane carries four AIM-54 and two AIM-9s, but it is a small problem. I have never seen this particular kit around, and if you see it, it is by far on of the best kits ever made of the F-14. One note is that the VF-74 decals were bought separately. 

The second F-14 was painted in the colors of the Top Gun aggressor. The color scheme is a Warsaw Pact camouflage, with light and dark blue patches. I had seen a picture of this plane, and took a lot of time to “shape” the dark blue camouflage. The canopy is closed, and the gear is made so it looks like it is just ready to land, in other words, this airplane sits high off the ground with no pressure on the gear from the weight. The Red Star is on the tail and wings to signify an aggressor of the US Navy. In addition to the paint job, I had some fun with this plane and actually armed it with Russian missiles, making it look even more like an aggressor, though only the keen notice that these aren’t US missiles. 

The third F-14 was painted in the special “Black Bunny” paint scheme of VX-9, based at Pt. Mugu, California as a test and evaluation aircraft squadron. The plane is painted an overall gloss black with silver highlights on it. The leading edges are silver too. The decals that were bought separately work great, and to an additional effect, I placed the “Playboy” bunny on the front fuselage, as it is the Black Bunny Tomcat. This plane has the canopy open as well as the boarding ladder. The armament is two AIM-7 Sparrows on the hard points. 

The fourth and final Tomcat is one of the new metal kits made by Testors. The plane is die cast metal, and while I thought it would be an easy plane to build, it turned out to be challenging. The plane comes painted, but some of the plastic parts don’t match the paint scheme, so I had to buy some flat gull gray to match these parts. The plane does fit according to the instructions, but it takes time, which is fine for a kit of this quality. 

The decals are for VF-84 Jolly Rogers, which is the skull and cross bones. I have search all over for this most famous squadron, and hadn’t found it until this plane came out. I painted the tails gloss black with a silver leading edge. The aileron on the wings was painted white. The tires are rubber. The plane is armed with four AIM-54 and two AIM-9, a standard armament. The decals went on fine, and now the plane sits nose to nose with the SR-71. This is a pricey kit, but well worth the money, since it will surely last forever. In fact, not there are other metal kits out by Testor, such as the Black Bunny Tomcat, the F/A-18, and many more.    

I would still like to buy more F-14 kits in the future, and paint them in other squadron colors. Until then, the four aircraft are scattered throughout my room, waiting to take to the skies and fight for freedom and justice.

Lockheed S-3 Viking (1:48) 

Development of the S-3 gave the maiden flight in January 1972. The Viking is an anti-submarine warfare platform, with a crew of three this twin-turbofan engine-powered aircraft can stay aloft for hours at a time. The armament is torpedoes, Harpoons, and depth charges. These aircraft have also matured over time into the form of COD (carrier on-board delivery) and air-to-air refueling aircraft. 

I bought this kit some time ago, and decided to make it part of my USS Saratoga fleet. I of course wanted more detail on this plane, and went to the extreme. The plane was painted gunship gray with a red and white tail. Red highlights on the edges of the gear and bomb bay doors added extra color. The cockpit was fun to work with, but since the canopy windscreen is a dark plastic, you can’t see into the cockpit. The entrance door is however open. 

The folding of the wings was a tough job since they fold over the fuselage at an angle. Look at pictures and you’ll see what I mean. Once the wings were cut, I ran into the problem of open holes at the ends, so I used sheet plastic to cover this up. The glued the wings with super glue and intensifier, but for the left wing, I place a pole between it and the fuselage for additional support. This added some nice detail, but I went for more by also folding the tail, which is done on the real plane too. The tail folds down to the left, and so I did this for my tail too. Using super glue and intensifier, it worked out fine. 

The finished product is a gunship gray plane with a tan nose. The wings and tail are folded with the boarding hatch is open. Armament includes torpedoes in the internal bay, a detailed painted sono-buoy on the bottom aft, and two Harpoons on the wing hard points. The refueling probe is also extended. This is a great kit even if you don’t want to have the wings folded, but believe me, the wingspan is incredible, and if you don’t have a lot of room to display with aircraft, you might want to consider folding the wings.

McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet (1:48) 

Originally the loser in the light-weight fighter fly off to the YF-16, the Northrop YF-17 went on to become the Navy’s supreme fighter/attack aircraft in the form of the F/A-18 Hornet. The F/A-18 is a two-engine, single crew aircraft that is the backbone of the current US Navy. Able to fly to speeds in excess of Mach 1.8, this airplane can carry any weapon in the current US arsenal, excluding the AIM-54. 

There are numerous kits of the F/A-18 on the market, and I have bought four of those kits. Each kit I have bought of the Hornet is the one made by Revell, and each one is special in its own way. The first one was for my fleet of USS Saratoga aircraft. It was painted a gunship gray, with a red and white tail. The detail on all the planes is great, especially with the ability to have the speed brake extended, which all three aircraft share in common once completed. 

On the first aircraft, I bought Hughes APG-65 radar and placed it on the plane. The nose cone therefore is in the open position. The tail hook is extended, the canopy is open and a pilot is seated in the ejection seat. This aircraft is armed with two bullpup missiles, two walleye bombs, and two AIM-9 Sidewinders on the wing tips. 

The second aircraft is the special paint scheme of Chippy Ho, which is a flat light gray and green decals. The nose is covered in a decal of an eagle, and the tail has some nice artwork too. This plane is armed with four Mark 82 bombs, for Sidewinders, and a centerline fuel tank. The boarding ladder was cut out and made with some sheet plastic and a pilot is climbing toward his office, with the canopy open, awaiting him. 

Since I had some decals left over from other airplanes, I decided to make a Black FA-18. I call is the Black Ace, since it has an ace on the front fuselage. The boarding ladder was made again and is open. This time I folded the wings, and the Hornet is able to do on the carrier to make more room. The plane is an overall gloss black, with sliver rudders and leading edges. The canopy is open. I even have a hornet decal on the tails. 

The fourth and final kit was painted in the colors of the US Navy Blue Angels. This plane has the most detail of any of the Hornet planes I have made. The boarding ladder is down and the canopy is open. Flaps and slats are extended, as well as the speed brake. I bought the Hughes APG-65 radar and kept the nose cone open. The decals came in the kit, and I decided to paint the plane in the colors of the number 3 aircraft, while most people like the number 1 plane, I like the number 3 aircraft. This plane now sits in front of a picture of the number 6 plane. Though not the same number, they are from the same squadron. 

Each of these Revell kits are about $10 a piece at a good hobby store, and highly detailed in the cockpit and gear. The plane is always fun to build.

 

     United States Marine Corps

McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk II (1:48) 

First flown in prototype form in June 1954, the A-4 Skyhawk would go on to see fame in a life that few aircraft ever achieve. This single-engine, single-crew attack-fighter came of age in the Vietnam Conflict, and as it matured, it was selected by the United States Blue Angels as their demonstration aircraft. 

The A-4 can still be found every once in a while at your local hobby store. I bought one a while ago and went to work on it. The kit I bought and made was the two-seat version, the OA-4M Skyhawk, which first entered service with the USMC in 1979. The two-seat OA-4M is a great model. Detail is good overall, and you have the option of having the slats extended, which I took full liberty of. I also have the speed brakes extended too. 

The plane was painted in an overall gunship gray. The leading edge under the slats was painted red, and there are red highlights on the edges of the gear doors. The plane is armed with five Mark 82 bombs and two AGM-88 HARM anti-radar missiles. The best part of the model might be that there is a boarding ladder that comes with it. 

I built this ladder and attached it to the plane. On the top of the ladder I painted and glued a helmet. The helmet came from a set of ground crew, and is actually the head of one of the pilots, but it works great as a display helmet nevertheless. The aircraft of course is in the decals of the Marines, since they were the only US military branches to fly this aircraft. 

If you see a 1:48th scale OA-4M, pick it up. Is it a great model in all aspects, and of course has the boarding ladder for additional detail.

McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II (1:48) 

The origins of the Harrier come from the British Aerospace Mk.1 Harrier. With negotiations and trust, the McDonnell Douglas Corporation worked out an agreement with the British to upgrade the Harrier and produce this new version under license in the United States. The new and improved Harrier is much like it’s older sibling, in that it can take off and land vertically, and is also the only jet fighter that can hover in flight. However, the newer version of the remarkable plane gives more firepower and longer duration with added hard points and fuel tanks. The Harrier is currently the only jump jet in NATO service. The Russians have two types of the jump jet, the YAK-38 Forger and the YAK-141 Freestyle. 

Revell has once again come to the forefront and made a kit of the Harrier II. This plane of course has good detail, and shows the impressive fan blade of the Pegasus engine, which gives the Harrier its aggressive edge. The detail in the cockpit is all right, and the outer detail is good too. 

I painted the Harrier and overall green, and then went to paint some gunship gray camouflage on the plane, in some absurd pattern. The fan blade is silver, and the air intake walls are white. The decals are for a Marine squadron, the only branch of the military to operate this airplane. 

The plane is armed with two gun pods, two AIM-9 Sidewinders, two Rockeye bombs, and two fuel tanks. The only other additional detail is that the refueling probe is in the extended position, and of course the canopy is open, however, there is a pilot sitting in this plane, and the louvers for vertical take off are turned toward the ground, making it inevitable that the plane will be taking off soon. For now, the Harrier II sits poised for a quick launch from some secluded wilderness to attack an unknown aggressor.

 

     United States Army

McDonnell Douglas AH-64 Apache (1:48) 

In September 1983, the first production AH-64 Apache emerged from the factory, and took off into service with the United States Army. This two-crew helicopter is able to carry up to 4,000-pounds of weaponry, usually consisting of TOW anti-tank missiles and unguided rockets, as well as the chain gun on the front of the aircraft. This helicopter is by far a superior aircraft in the anti-tank role, with the precisions and grace of a natural born killer. 

The AH-64 Apache comes in a variety of kits, from 1:72nd all the way up to 1:32nd, but in between, at 1:48th, I bought a kit, and went to work. The detail is good on this plane, with special detail to the cockpit, with all the control mechanisms such as the throttle, yoke, and yaw control. The outside too is detailed, especially in the engine and rotor. 

I painted the helicopter an overall olive drab, with the only color the black wheels and silver chain gun. Weaponry is eight TOW and two unguided rocket pods. The kit came with pilots, but since I wasn’t impressed with their detail, I left them out. The canopy doors are closed, but you can easily see inside and look at the detail. Decals were for a production bird or the prototype, which I used. I’ve never seen decals with the “YAH-64” title, so I had to use them. It separates this kit from others. 

The finished product is an example of a tank killer poised ready for action at a moments notice. All that is missing are the pilots scrambling to their bird to fight off the enemy armor. This is a nice kit, and is worthy to buy for an example of a helicopter that our US Army flies.

United States Coast Guard
None at this time.

International Armed Forces

Russian:

MiG-29A Flanker "Ukraine Flight Demo Team"

MiG fighters have always had a bad rap with Americans and NATO allies. During the Korean and Vietnam Wars, MiG-19 and –21’s took to the sky and shot down American-built F-86 and –4 fighters. During the Cold War, many new versions of the MiG came out, including one of the best planes ever built. The MiG-29 was by far, and in many aspects still, the best fighter to ever come out of the Mikoyan Design Bureau.

With a sturdy airframe, two powerful engines, multiple external hard points, and a 30mm cannon, the MiG-29 represented the current technology of Russia at the time. Perhaps the most amazing part of the MiG-29 isn’t its looks and armament, but the aerial feats it can perform. The first time Western nations saw the infamous "Cobra" maneuver, many said it couldn’t be done. But the Fulcrum did it flawlessly. Many said a jet fighter could not perform a tail slide without the engines stalling, but once again, the MiG-29 proved that theory wrong too.

So with such an amazing plane, when Academy decided to come out with a MiG-29 kit in Ukraine Flight Demo colors, I had to buy it. In fact, sitting right next to it on the shelf was another model of the MiG-29, but it was the "UB" or the two-seat trainer version. Of course I bought that too, but so far I have only worked on the Ukraine MiG.

The kit goes together good and is easy to work with. There aren’t many decals, so the challenge lies in painting it. I chose to use a French blue and bright yellow for the topside colors. The bottom is an intermediate blue. The plane looks good with these colors, though it is not put together yet. The decals are few, but they do have the Russian writing for the name of the team and an interesting logo.

Putting the plane together was easy with good directions. The detail of the plane is all right, but not the greatest, however once completed, people won’t really care about the lack of detail when they see the paint job. It is very unique and does stand out. At an air show, they would be great to see and get photos of.

So far I am about half way through the project. The main sections are completed, and the painting has begun. The blue looks great, as does the yellow. The wings and horizontal stabs are easy to paint with a simple mask between the two colors. The tail is a little more difficult since it requires several different times of masking to get the blue arrow stripes on the yellow tail. Just remember, let the paint dry before masking the next stripe.

Other than that, there isn’t much else to know. It is a good model and the finished product should look like a work of art. Of course the missiles that came with it will not be used, but I would suggest to hang onto them, you never know when a Soviet missile will come in handy.

Sukhoi S-37Berkut” 

A couple years ago, the Russian Air Force announced they would have a fly-off for a new Mnogo-funktsional'ny Frontovoy Istrebitel' (MFI - multifunctional frontal fighter). The two candidates are the MiG 1.42 and the Sukhoi S-37. Sukhoi is a Russian aircraft manufacturer that has been building aircraft for what seems like forever. The most recent family of aircraft is the Flanker series, with aircraft such as the Su-27, -34, and –35. The S-37 is the newest airplane in the Sukhoi family, but unlike the other planes, this design is very advanced with a forward swept wing, twin thrust-vectoring engines, and up to 16 hard points on the wings and fuselage.  

It is kind of amazing to see a kit of this plane, but believe it or not, I have one. Who builds this you might ask, not a US or NATO company, this kit comes straight from Russia. Unfortunately I don’t even know who makes this kit since it is written in Russian, but it is a great kit nevertheless. The S-37 comes in 1:72nd scale, and is huge. I’d love to have a 1:48th scale of this plane, but for now the 1:72nd works fine. 

The plane is made from mold-injection, which makes it great to work with and build. I built this plane in about 8 hours. I wanted to keep working on it for some reason, and get it completed. The plane is just that awesome to look at and know that it came from Russia is an even bigger thrill. What I decided to do this time is to build the entire plane except for the gear, engines and canopy. After everything was done with the exception of the aforementioned, I painted the entire plane is a gloss black. This makes the plane look very sleek, with the high gloss shining in the light. 

Once I had a couple of coats on the plane and it had dried, I painted the wheel wells white and engines silver. I put the gear on, and finally the canopy. The decals that come with the plane are good to use, but I had some extra Red Stars laying around, so I opted to use them instead of the ones that came with the kit. The Stars in the kit are kind of small, but the ones I had are larger. 

I left the gear extended to I could either hang the plane or keep it on the ground. The canopy is closed, and the speed brakes are extended. There is Russian words on the side of the plane, and while I don’t know what they mean, it makes the plane look very authentic. The plane is comparable in size to a YF-23 in the same scale, which means it is a very larger plane in real life, dwarfing most US fighters, including the F/A-18, F-16, and F-15. 

For now the plane sits on a shelf, waiting to take to the air and hopefully win the Mnogo-funktsional'ny Frontovoy Istrebitel' (MFI - multifunctional frontal fighter) fly-off. This plane is by far a very imaginative design, and if it gets into production, it will be a great plane for air superiority.

 

German:

French:

Chinese:

North Korean:

 

World War II:

          Axis Powers:

Hienkel He-111 (Germany)

During World War II, the Hienkel He-111 was the main bomber used by the German forces. During Luftwaffe air superiority, the He-111 ruled the skies as it dropped bombs on city after city, however, as the Allied nations began to come back in the war, the He-111 began to die. The ineffective defensive weapons made the He-111 a sitting duck in the skies above Europe, and as German soil was breached, the He-111 saw the end of its life. When the war was won, the He-111 was dead, but before that day, the He-111 was the mainstay of the Luftwaffe. A tribute to a great plane.

When I first saw the He-111 in 1:48ths scale, I was impressed by the detail on the box and the size of the model. The interior of the plane is etched nicely and the detail for the entire aircraft is done superbly. The decals are beautiful and I couldn’t wait to work on it.

The plane is fairly large, so make sure you have the space for it. The plane is about one-foot long and has a 1.5-foot wingspan.

The plane was painted an "intermediate blue" on the underside and a green/gray camouflage on the upper side. The guns were all painted silver. The top camouflage job was done by painting the plane green, and then spraying lines on top of the green for the blending of green and gray. This technique seems to work good for camouflaging models.

The gear is perhaps some of the most highly-detailed pieces I've seen in a long time. It is nice to finally work with a model again that has so much detail. The only problem that I ran into with the gear is that aft of the main gear strut is a little too long. You'll have to guess at where to cut it so it will fit into the gear well, so cut a little bit at a time. Once this is completed though, it looks great on the model.

Since the gear is done and the wings have been coupled with the fuselage, I decided to give it a final coat of green paint. After masking the windows and the "intermediate blue line" I sprayed. When it was dry, I took "gunship gray" and sprayed some lines to camouflage the plane. After this had dried, I peeled off the 'masking tape.' It looks great with this paint scheme, but if you want to have just a green bird, don't camouflage the plane, or be more creative. Either way, it should look great.

The final item of business was to place the decals on. It is interesting that there are not too many decals, but the ones supplies make the plane look even better. There is a choice of decals for the plane, so choose which ones you want to use. After that, I had to arm the bomber. You have a couple of options, but the one I chose seemed unique. I slung two torpedoes on the underside of the plane. They were painted sliver, and the plane was complete. The torpedoes give it a menacing look, and probably make it a kit that most people wouldn’t build. Most would probably want the normal assortment of bombs, but the torpedoes give a unique look. Once again it is your decision. This is a great kit so if you see it and have the room, get it and have fun.

          Allied Powers:

 


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