United States of America:
United States Air
Boeing E-3 AWACS
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Lockheed S-3 Viking
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
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
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18
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
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
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
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
United States Army
McDonnell Douglas AH-64
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
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
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
United States Coast
None at this time.
International Armed Forces
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 21s 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 isnt its looks and armament, but the aerial feats it
can perform. The first time Western nations saw the infamous "Cobra" maneuver,
many said it couldnt 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
The kit goes together good and is easy to work with. There arent 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 wont 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
Other than that, there isnt 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-37 “Berkut”
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
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.
World War II:
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 couldnt 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
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 wouldnt 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.