Monday, April 5, 2021

1/72 Fujimi KI-36 "Ida"


the classic old Japanese kits always had such cool box-art

       After the trauma of the Airfix BV 141 I needed something simple to restore my sense of balance. I entered The Vault and randomly selected a kit (knowing that it was unlikely that any of them could be worse than the nightmare that the BV 141 kit had been) and found myself with this tiny plane as my next project. Funny how different a model can be. Both kits were of single-engine multi-place recon/light bombers and as kits and aircraft they were about as far apart as is possible. the KI-36 was a simple aircraft  of conventional design; the kit was straightforward, well-designed, finely-detailed and the parts fit perfectly. What a relief!

       The real KI-36 was an army cooperation/recon/light bomber that performed satisfactorily but was outclassed as time went on. It served out its years flying over the "safer" Chinese front. A short Wiki can be found here.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

What is that THING!?!

mine was all marked up with sale stickers 
so I borrowed one from the web has a wonderful selection by the way

       There are certain things that are so unsettling that they make you look again to be certain that what you thought you saw really WAS what you saw. This abomination  (and a lot of other Blohm & Voss aircraft) is exactly one such thing. Looking a great deal like a bug that got caught in a window fan or perhaps something assembled with spare JU-88 parts this bizarre addition to the annals of flight is the product of B&V's habit of building asymmetric aircraft. It seems like they were trying to prove a point of style; but all it got them was a series of rejected ideas. A fuller description of the development and use of this odd bird can be found on Wikipedia.  I do have to think that the strutting little Nazi in his smartly turned-out uniform had nothing like this in mind when he wrote the specifications of a single-engine, multi-seat reconnaissance plane (doubtless he had something much more mundanely functional like a Henschel HS 126). One look at this aircraft would be enough to pop the monocle right out of your eye!

       But enough about the plane, what about the kit? Frankly, it is horrible. First released in 1971 it shows it's age; huge rivets, thick plastic that is badly warped, poor parts fit, thick glass (and this bird has a lot of glass) and thick, stiff decals that are off-register (and after forty years are a medium amber color). Not one of Aifix's high points!

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Heller 1/72 PZL 23 Karas review and build


bought while I was working at Squadron Shop late 1970's-early 80s  this is a classic

        First proposed in 1932 when the Polish Air Force was heavily committed to the idea of armed reconnaissance the PZL 23 was an advanced design for the time. By 1939 the rapid progress in engine and design had left this sturdy aircraft in a state of obsolesce.  Circumstances being as they were the PZL 23 was used for reconnaissance and as a light bomber, in fact it had the honor of being the first Allied aircraft to drop bombs on the Third Reich, striking a factory in Ohlau on 2SEP39. Further information can be found in this very informative Wiki.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

A simple post for my simple skills


So Having gone through and gotten all of my Japanese and Chinese Flames of War paraphenalia squard away I began thinking about an inexpensive and simple ways to ever so slightly expand the gaming reach of the collection.  I do not want to wander off down the FOW rabbit hole as it is very easy to fall into the "for a few dollars more ..." paradox.   And that is when I stumbled upon this simple idea.  The Brits had oodles of Universal carriers and used them in EVERY theater.  Since the British and Japanese fought in Malaysia, Singapore and Burma quite intensely in 1941-2.  I thought this could be an inexpensive way to alternate the opponents.  And since all the tanks are not really armored at all, it would still make for an "interesting game.  Unlike Anton I am NOT a modeler and do not like building models, so simple builds are paramount to me.  I like to play games, NOT glue my fingers together!  

Monday, March 22, 2021

A Quick Comparison of 28mm Napoleonic Figure Sizes

        Several readers have asked about the size comparison between various 28mm plastic figures; specifically the new Wargames Atlantic 95th Rifles and the products of Warlord and Perrys. To satisfy this query I dug deep into the bowels of The Vault and drew forth some sets of plastic minis that I had picked up over the years. I assembled a figure from three different sets and took photos using the same set up so that the readers may judge for themselves. I then assembled one of each of the poses from W.A. 95th Rifles set and took pictures of them as well.

hardly a scientific instrument but you can see how it works
the grid on the index card is in 5mm increments

A Little Something That I Whipped Up; 1/72 Panzer I Breda

a massive up-gunning from a pair of 8mm machine guns!

       I am afraid that my dear friend The Housemartin has known me far too long. He knows how to casually let something drop in conversation and then let the seed of an idea germinate in my head so that I think that the idea was mine. I have fallen for this a few times in the past, and will likely do so again in the future. Most recently he was bemoaning his shortage of Fascist armor for the 20mm SCW game that he has been collecting for the last couple of decades; specifically Panzer I and Panzer I Breda. He is aware of the Plastic Mountain that lives in The Vault and guessed (quite rightly) that there were a few stray Panzer I kits lurking in cobwebbed corners. He also knows me well enough to surmise that all I needed was a bit of goading to make good on his shortfall. Needless to say I rummaged around and found three Panzer I kits. I built two straight from the box and the the third one I built a Panzer I Breda turret for (as well as the standard turret). 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Monogram 1/72 P6-E Hawk


not the original box, but an old one

       I have built this kit several times in my lifetime. In every attempt I let the simplicity and excellent parts-fit trick me into assembling the kit all in one go and then trying to paint/decal it after the fact. Needless to say those efforts turned into a bit of a mess. U.S. Air Corps paint jobs in the late 20's/early 30's were a celebration of the fact that we had no nearby enemies and were unlikely to acquire any soon. To be kind they were garish. They certainly made for a different-looking aircraft. The model is molded in the alarming bright yellow that the U.S. applied to all flying surfaces at the time. The decals are old, thick and annoyingly translucent. But, armed with a full array of Micro-Scale products, I resolved to push on with my "Straight Out Of The Box" rule.

       Assembly was a breeze, the fit of the parts was nearly perfect. This time through I managed to constraint my enthusiasm and stop along the assembly process to get vital painting and decal  work done before final assembly.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

1/72 SMER Dewoitine D 510


once again I had to grab a photo from the internet as I lost my box

       I bought this kit simply ages ago and never got around to building it. It got dug out the the Plastic Mountain in The Vault and pushed to the front of the line largely because the landing gear. I just thought it looked cool. It was a straightforward build (the undercarriage was a bit tricky but tube cement and patience overcame that). I went with the all-silver paint job because I loved the "Grim Reaper" logo on the side, and it is a nice change from all that camouflage! This lead to the only real difficulty in the build as my primer (Rustoleum flat black) did not pair well with the Vallejo silver and a large spot on both sides of the left wing and a smaller area on the right wing and fuselage pucker and wrinkled up like Nancy Pelosi's neck! This had to be sanded out and repainted with the attendant loss of the fine surface detail in those areas. The decals were very thin and required careful handling. Overall (aside from the paint thing, which is my fault) this was a fun build and a neat model of an unusual aircraft. There is a Wiki that covers the entire D 500 series right here.

Gaming Update Saturday 20MAR21 7pm

        We will be gaming at my place this Saturday, 20MAR21 at 7pm.

 No certain plans as to the game but I'm open to suggestions.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Keep This In Mind! 15MAY21

I got this email from Rod Cain.

Rodney Cain <>
Mon, Feb 1 at 5:27 PM
By now hopefully you all are aware we had to move the date for flintcon and will not be able to hold it this Saturday Feb 6th.

We plan to try again in May so please look at your calendars and see if you can join us on Saturday, May 15th.  Same venue and format as always!

We hope by then to be back to some sense of normal and be able to host the convention safely with all the food and fun we usually have at flintcon.

I hope to see you there and we will keep you posted if things change.

For those that needed more time to prep that game, here you go!


JUST LOOK AT THE PAIR OF THEM! Williams Brothers 1/72 Northrop Gamma


the new winner in the Biggest Spats contest, the Northrop Gamma

        The thirties saw a succession of achievements and advances that laid the groundwork for the vast air armadas of the Second World War. The advances in aerodynamics went from boxy wire-braced biplanes to sleek monoplane racers and airliners in the space of a decade. One of the leading lights is design and development was the Northrop Corporation (one of three aircraft builders founded by the prolific Jack Northrop). The Gamma represented the cutting edge of aircraft design at the time and was used for several record-setting flights. The Williams Bros. kit can be built as either the "Sky Chief" which was used to set a new coast-to-coast record or the "Polar Star" which was used in the first cross-Antarctica flight. I chose to build the Sky Chief. The kit  was straightforward to build but needed careful attention to the instructions and a significant amount of sanding and trimming to get a good fit. 

        Most importantly the aircraft embodied the art-deco esthetic of the mid thirties; clean lines, HUGE spats and simple but noticeable paint schemes. Of course, what sold me was the enormous spats on the landing gear. Probably unnecessary in their size they could have been considerably smaller and still done the job of easing the airflow over the landing gear struts the massive fairings made a statement of style far beyond their  impact on airflow.