Welcome to scalespot.com. My name is Gary Wickham and I live in Sydney, Australia. I've been scale modeling for the better part of 40 years and still going strong (mostly). On this site you will find the results of my labours at the modelling desk (and the computer keyboard)

I have a fairly wide range of interests when it comes to modelling subjects, but my first love is aircraft. Big, small, new or old I just can't get enough of them. I'm always interested in what other like minded modellers are doing around the world so if you feel inclined, please drop me an email

Thanks for stopping by and good modelling.
ICM 1:48 B-26K Counter Invader (48279) - Review
Nov 2021
I'm very impressed with the job that ICM have done in converting their base Invader kit into a B-26K. Overall I'd give this kit a 9/10 score because ICM have done their homework and made the effort to tool up all the specific parts that make a normal invader into a B-26K.

There is still scope for modellers to add more detail in the cockpit, engines and surface should they desire, but what you have in the box is a excellent 1:48 Counter-Invader.

I'm also very impressed with the range of weapons included in the box. ICM have not cut corners or taken any lazy shortcuts in this boxing. Very well done ICM.

As with the previous ICM Invader boxings I have no hesitation at all in recommending this kit

You can access the full review here
Eduard 1:48 Bf 109E-7 Trop, 2./JG27, Libya 1941
Aug 2021
I was very impressed with just how much detail that Eduard has packed into this 1:48 kit. I found the parts fit to be excellent, the Eduard made decals are super thin and much of the included detailing (such as the full engine) all represent excellent value for money.

I wanted to build an early 109E "Emil" finished in the distinctive RLM 79 Sand coloring and luckily Eduard had released just the markings I wanted in one of its Weekend edition boxing.

This aircraft was assigned to Lt. Werner Schroer, a member of 1st Staffel of JG 27 according to some sources. This seasoned pilot achieved 61 kills over Africa. The first of them was a Hurricane downed on April 19, 1941 over Tobruk, Libya. Later on, Schroer served as Gruppenadjutant of I./JG 27. The end of the war saw him as Geschwaderkommodore of JG 3 with 114 kills to his credit (including 26 four-engined bombers). He was awarded the Ritterkreuz on October 21, 1942 and on April 19, 1945 he became a recipient of the Schwerten. The red spinner and red outline of the fuselage number are 2nd Staffel identifiers.

You can access the gallery photos for this model here
Eduard 1:48 Do-17Z Kampfstift (ED11147) - Review
Apr 2021
Once again, by using their tried and tested Limited Edition recipe, Eduard have delivered us an interesting and inspiring release all for a reasonable price.

The modelling chefs at Eduard have firstly selected a well respected plastic kit, which has been unavailable in the market for several years. To this they have added a dash of resin, a pinch of photo-etch and topped it all off with an inspiring array of interesting and varied decal options.

As in the past, I think Eduard has another winner with their 1:48 Kampfstift Do 17Z kit. If you are at all interested I'd suggest you pick one up sooner rather than later as the Eduard Limited Edition kits tend to be fast movers.

You can access the full review here
Hong Kong Models 1:48 Avro Lancaster B Mk.I (01F005) - Review
Mar 2021
Even though I've not managed to do any serious assembly yet of this new HKM Lancaster, what I have so far observed in the box has impressed me.

HKM have clearly taken the time & effort to think through how to improve on their original 1/32 release, listening to feedback, tweaking/correcting their molds and simplifying the design of this new 1/48 kit. We should be so lucky that all kit manufacturers took it this seriously.

I have previously built the HKM 1:32 Mosquito and remembering enjoying it and I have no doubt this new Lanc will afford me the same experience (if not better).

It's been a long wait for a new tooled 1/48 Lancaster, but I believe that its safe to say "The King is dead. Long live the King"

You can access the full review here
Meng 1:12 Ford GT 40 Mk.II '66 Le Mans (CS-004) - First Look
Feb 2021
I'm not normally a car modeller, being far more at home with aircraft, but after I thoroughly enjoyed watching "Ford vs Ferrai", I was absolutely determined to find and build a model of the car that Ken Miles drove, in any scale. I did a bit of googling and found diecast models (no thanks) and a new kit from Meng in 1:12 of the exact car I wanted with the 1966 Le Mans colors and markings.

Luckily there seems to be adequate reference material for GT40's on the net to allow me to verify Mengs instructions, especially when it comes to colors. I have to say that so far, from what I have seen, they have been mostly on the money, which makes me feel like they have done their homework. As I said at the start, I'm no car expert but I can compare what I see on a model to the real thing.

You can access my initial thoughts here
ICM 1:32 Stearman PT-17/NS2-3 Kaydet (32050) - Review
Jan 2021
I've never had the pleasure of flying in a Stearman but have seen them up close at airshows. They represent an important chapter in aviation history and you will rarely see a Stearman in a boring color scheme. These two things alone make then a worthy subject for my modelling bench.

Whilst there have been models of Stearmans in 1:48 and 1:72 for some time now, I feel that given the size of the aircraft that 1:32 is the perfect scale for this subject. I note that Roden has also recently released a "new tooled" Stearman in 1:32 and given the timing wondered if this and the ICM kit had some shared development? I don't know but suspect it's just a coincidence.

Given the quality of this new ICM tooling and the overall fit of the parts I have no hesitation in recommending this kit to modellers of all skills levels.

You can access the full review here
KittyHawk 1:32 Mirage 2000C, Operation Daguet (1991)
Sept 2020
I have to say that the plastic in Kitty Hawk boxes is definitely improving. This build felt way less over-engineered than any other KH kit I have built or reviewed.

The fit and overall shape is good and the options, including decals and weapons, provided in the box represents good value for money.

In the end it really does make into a nice model, but the instructions really hinder rather than help get you there. If you are in the market for a large scale Mirage 2000 then this is the kit for you.

Just be warned that you will need to do the leg work on which options are the right ones for your build as KH will be of little or no help.

You can access the gallery photos for this model here and the full build report On The Bench
KittyHawk 1:48 FJ-2 Fury, VMF-334 Falcons
June 2020
Here is KittyHawk's 1:48 FJ-2 Fury and in many ways they have certainly improved.

The fit is generally very good, it does not feel as over-engineered as some of their previous releases and the occurence of mis-formed or short shot parts has pretty much been eliminated.

But ... the area where KittyHawk consistently drop the ball is around their research (or lack thereof) for the aircraft markings and paint schemes, especially in boxings where you have a choice of variants.

In my build I was able to use my own masks, but I feel sorry for other modellers who need to use the kit decals because they will ruin what is otherwise a truely nice kit.

You can access the gallery photos for this model here and the full build report On The Bench
Italeri 1:72 F-35B STOVL Rollout Scheme
11 May 2020
This kit is a very solid effort by Italeri. The fit is great, the inclusions such as full interior, tinted canopy, weapons and even a bomb trolley all add up to good value.

For the most part the detailing and accuracy also seems spot on. I'd be quite happy if they scaled this guy up to 1/48 as the only game in town in that scale right now is KittyHawk.

I've found Italeri kits to be very "hit and miss" in recent years but having now built this one I can definitely conclude its a hit.

You can access the gallery photos for this model here and the full build report On The Bench
Bronco 1:48 P-51D/K Mustang PLA
4 April 2020
This is my quick (2 weeks) build of the Bronco 1:48 P-51K in PLA markings. Despite the shortcomings of the kit I was happy with the end result and feel the PLA markings look very striking and the subdued rivet and surface detail looks quite convincing under some paint.

If you care a lot about accuracy and don't want to spend time fixing things then this kit is not for you, go buy the Eduard P-51.

If absolute accuracy is not as important, you like the marking options and are willing to invest some TLC to fix the easy things then as you can see it polishes up pretty well.

You can access the gallery photos for this model here and the full build report On The Bench
Tamiya 1:48 Vought F4U-1 Corsair "Birdcage"
30 July 2019
A very quick build for my IPMS NSW 2019 Group Build entry. I was impressed that the quality of this 1996 Tamiya kit still holds up today and even if you go against the grain and model this kit with wings extended, gear up and flaps retracted (each of which adds considerable work) you end up with a fantastic model of the venerable F4U.

The kit was built out-of-the-box (to comply with the GB rules) and the markings are from an old Aeromaster sheet (wish I had taken the extra time to mask and paint the markings though). One thing I did spend extra time on was the painting and weathering. If ever there was an ideal subject for "hard love" it would have to be a pacific theater Corsair.

The main paints were MRP with lots of pre and post shading applied. Oil dots and oil washes were used to further dirty things up. Some salt masking and pigments were used on the heavily stained wingroots.

You can access the gallery photos for this model here
Eduard 1:48 Hawker Tempest Mk.V Series I
25 June 2019
What a fantastic kit from Eduard!! Built straight from the box you really can't end up with anything but an excellent model. When you combine it with any of the extensive Brassin and third party accessories already available you have, what will be for a long time, the ultimate Tempest in any scale.

Not only is it an accurate kit, perhaps even more importantly, it is an enjoyable kit to build. At no point did I find the kit fighting me, instead all the parts are cleverly engineered to "just work".

I don't use such a comparison lightly, but this kit is closing in on Tamiya. I can't wait for their P-51 !! I'll also be curious to see if Eduard extends the molds into a Mk.II Tempest with the radial engine. I think that would be a welcome addition to their range.

You can access the gallery photos for this model here and the full build report On The Bench
ICM 1:72 Mikoyan MiG-25 RBT Foxbat B
15 May 2019
For some time I had been vaguely aware that ICM were producing new aircraft kits, but nothing they had produced seemed to make it onto my build list. That changed when I got hold of this lovely little MiG as I felt 1:72 was the prefect scale for the Foxbat. To be honest, I was half expecting a dimensionally accurate limited run kit which was challenging to build. To my pleasant surprise nothing could be further from the truth.

ICM seem to have come of age, having employed just about every modern technique available to injection molded plastic manufacturers to make a kit that is not only accurate but is cleverly engineered to be a pleasure to build. In truth the only phase of the build I stumbled on was the decaling. The kit decals just did not behave the same way I was used to and once I adapted my approach things went smoothly.

As always can access the gallery photos for this model here and the full build report On The Bench
Airfix 1:48 Curtiss Tomahawk Mk.II
21 October 2018
The 2018 annual group build subject for my local club was the new Airfix 1:48 P-40. You could build either release and it had to be essentially 'out of the box'. I did stray from that goal a little by adding some rivet detail and some Eduard seatbelts, but for the rest the kit was built as supplied by Airfix.

Even though I had plenty of time to make a start I left it till the last possible minute to begin work. With only three weeks remaining to the club meeting I knuckled down and set to work. Much to my surprise things flowed very well and I ended up finishing the model, the base and the figures in just over two weeks. A new speed record for me !!

I put to good use many of the weathering techniques I had learnt during my recent Crusader build and I think that helped lift the finish of the P-40 a lot.

Photos of the completed model can be found in the gallery
Eduard 1:48 F-8E Crusader Limited Edition
7 October 2018
For some time now Eduard have been reboxing Hasegawa kits, adding a bunch of resin & photo-etch goodies and marketing them as 'Limited Edition'. They come at a premium price and for the most part I personally have not been tempted by these kits, mainly because I had the original Hasegawa releases with heaps of addons already. When the F-8E Crusader boxing came along I paid attention as I have always liked the Crusader and figured that doing a build & review would be a great way to motivate me to finally get one finished.

I was immediately attracted to the heavily worn and bombed up finish of the Da Nang based US Marine F-8E's and given the Furball decal sheet that Eduard includes in the box includes a VMF(AW)235 'Death Angels' option I had my plan. Along the way I used a bunch of extra addons (like an Aerobonus Pilot, some Eduard Mk.82's etc) above and beyond what was included and I took the opportunity to stretch myself by trying out many new weathering techniques.

The Hasegawa kit has always built into a very convincing model of the 'Last of the Gunfighters' and for those of you have never picked one up the Eduard boxing maybe a good option. In my opinion it has enough extra's to justify the 'Limited Edition' asking price and will probably remain the best option in 1:48 for some time to come.

You can access the gallery photos for this model here and the full build report On The Bench
Horizon Models 1:72 Mercury Redstone / Mercury Atlas, Freedom 7 & Faith 7
27 April 2018
Needing a bit of a break from my steady diet of aircraft subjects, I took a step back and eyed my stash with a couple of objectives in mind. Firstly I wanted a model that could be built quickly and without too much risk of me getting bogged down in adding extras and secondly I wanted a subject that allowed me to explore non-aircraft subject matter that I was interested in. That left a few options, some Sci-fi, a Formula 1 car or a Real Space subject.

I have always been intrigued and more importantly inspired by the early Space program, when in the 1960's both NASA and the USSR were literally inventing how to put a man safely into space and return him home. For the USA the manned space program began with Project Mercury, where a total of seven astronauts were selected to be the first into space and orbit the earth.

In total there were six manned Mercury launches, the first two flights Freedom 7 and Liberty 7 were short 15min sub-orbital flights utilsing a converted Redstone missle. The remaining four flights used the more powerful Atlas missile to take the Mercury capsules into Earth orbit.

Horizon Models provides everything you need to model any of the Mercury missions (including the un-manned test flights) and as I wanted to build both their Redstone and Atlas kits I decided to depict the very first (Freedom 7) and last (Faith 7) missions.

These are lovely kits to work with and in 1:72 scale build into excellent additions to any real space collection.

You can access the gallery photos for this model here and the full build report On The Bench
Meng 1:48 F-35A Lightning II, RAAF 2OCU
15 March 2018
I think that Meng have another winner here. As a follow up to their very nice P-51D in 1/48 I think they have improved. The way they have engineered this kit makes the build super simple, the fit of the parts is excellent and the accuracy (as best I can tell based on reference photos) is spot on. Even though it took me forever to sort out my paint choices and Have Glass solution that was no fault of the kit itself, just me being an old fuddy duddy (more than usual).

I went back and looked at my initial impression in the Box Review and having now built and painted the model I believe that the RAM paneling is actually just about right for this scale.

With two Meng aircraft under my belt now I really like what they have been doing. I'm hoping they continue to work on new aircraft and that soon we hear of upcoming releases.

You can access the gallery photos for this model here and the full build On The Bench.
Airfix 1:72 F4F-4 Wildcat vs B5N1 Kate Dogfight Double
23 Aug 2017
It's August and that means time for my local clubs annual Group Build. This time around the subject is the Airfix 1/72 F4f-4 Wildcat. I really like Dogfight Doubles and so to go along with the Wildcat I built the new Airfix B5N1 Kate.

These builds are my first serious effort at applying rivet detail to a complete model (using the RB Productions wheels). Quite fiddly in 1/72 but I figured if I can get it to work in this scale then 1/48 and 1/32 should be a breeze :)

The Wildcat is finished using MR. Paint whilst the Kate in Alclad (mainly Stainless Steel). I tried to minimise the use of decals on both models (to preserve the surface detail) and made up paint masks using Frisket Film for the Wildcat roundel/stars. The only decal on the Kate was the tail number, everything else was masked.

You can access the gallery photos for these models here
Bronco 1:48 Curtiss Mk.IIB Tomahawk (P-40C)
13 June 2017
A relatively quick build out of the box, with the exception of the fishtail resin exhausts. I was inspired by the Bronco boxart showing Clive Caldwell in a dogfight with an Bf 109E over North Africa. The plan is to eventually build an Eduard 109E to mount with this guy but for now he's hunting the skys alone.

Being my first Bronco kit build I was happy to find the fit was very good as was the surface detail. This was also the first time I'd used Mr Paint colours and was very impressed with how they performed. The decal sheet in the kit has some major shape/size and most of all color problems so I opted instead for an Xtradecal sheet designed for the Airfix kit and this in turn caused me some extra work due to size differences (especially around the nose).

Access final photos and build report via the Gallery and On The Bench
MENG 1:48 P-51D Mustang - "Short Fuse Sallee"
11 April 2017
I have recently completed the new MENG P-51D Mustang kit. Overall impression ? I think its a great little kit, possibly the most detailed 1:48 P-51 kit yet released. I'll be curious to see how the upcoming Airfix and Eduard new tools compare. The surface detail is just right, the overall accuracy seems good to me (they got the main wheel well right) with the only thing that let the whole package down was the research (or lack thereof) for the painting/markings scheme.

Is this really a glue-free kit, no I don't believe so. Many of the parts would not have stayed in place properly had I not used some glue but frankly I don't see this as an issue, especially to serious modelers who would not buy this kit because of that "feature". I can certainly see myself building another one (or two) of this kit in the future.

Photos of the completed model can be found in the Gallery and the complete build report can be found On The Bench
Zoukei-mura 1:48 Horten Ho 229 Flying Wing
20 Oct 2016
Adding to my limited Luftwaffe collection, here we have the somewhat unusual Horten Ho229 Flying Wing. This model could very well be considered a 'what-if' as the Ho229 never saw operational service before end of the war. Zoukei-Mura originally released this aircraft in their 1:32 series and have since scaled it down to 1:48, my preferred scale.

The model is built entirely out of the box, with the only addition being some belts made from lead foil. The model is finished with a combination of Gunze Mr Color lacquer, Tamiya Acrylic and Alclad II metalic paints. Designed by ZM as one of those 'clear' or 'see thru' models I chose to instead finish my model in a more realistic finish.

Follow this link to see my step-by-step build report and the Gallery for final photos.
Airfix 1:72 Bristol Beaufighter TF.X - Gallery
16 Sept 2016
Completed as the latest model for my local clubs annual 'group build' event. This time around I left it too late to build my usual 'dogfight double' combination of two aircraft so here have the Beaufighter in SEAC colors flying a patrol alone. As with all our group builds the model has to be 100% out-of-the-box. I opted for the SEAC camo scheme (based out of Burma) rather than the coastal command grey.

I have grown quite found of these newer toolings from Airfix and when combined with the Cartograph decals in the box they have a winning combination. If I had one suggestion for Airfix to improve it would be the depth of the panel lines. They have made the lines thin enough but they are still too deep in opinion, its a small nitpick for sure but on the off chance someone from Airfix ever stumbles onto this page at least I've now said it out loud :).

The model was finished with Gunze Mr Color paints for the main colors with Tamiya Acrylics and Alclad metalisers for the rest.

Follow this link to see the completed model in the gallery
FineMolds 1/72 F-14D Tomcat - Gallery
24 March 2016
FineMolds recently released their brand new tooled F-14D Tomcat in 1:72. The kit sprues can only be purchased in conjunction with the Japanese monthly magazine, Model Graphix via HLJ. In all you need three issues of the magazine (plus one other for the weapons) to get the whole kit. The model is simply stunning with options out of the box to open the radome, avionics and gun bays, refueling probe, fuselage spine and rear air brakes. The detail that FineMolds has packed into 1:72 puts many 1:48 and even some 1:32 kits to shame. The fit and engineering is supurb and the model almost builds itself (yes, it really is that good).

I finished my model with Gunze Mr Color and Alclad paints and tried out some of the new MiG Ammo panel washes for weathering (these also performed very well). I wanted to model a lo viz TPS scheme F-14D and already had a set of the excellent Twobobs 72-026 VF-31 Tomcatters "Felix in the Fight" decals depicting OIF Tomcats. The deck crew and pilot figues are a mix of ModelKasten, ReedOak (excellent 3D printed), Fujumi and Verlinden and they are all sitting on top of a pre-printed base by Ushi Van Der Rosten.

Follow this link to see the finished gallery and the detailed build On The Bench
Hong Kong Models 1/32 Mosquito B Mk.IV - 627 Sqn, 1944
18 Oct 2015
Back in Feb 2015 I was fortunate enough to obtain a "test shot" of the new Hong Kong Models 1/32 Mosquito B Mk.IV via my mate Adam @ themodellingnews.com. It looked so good in the box that I really wanted to build it, even though I knew it was not the final kit. I had no decals and no instructions (at first, these were later provided in PDF format) but I pushed ahead anyway.

I kind of got carried away in the cockpit and nose interior detailing but I often find the need to push myself to try new things and in the end I found it very enjoyable and it certainly increased my level of confidence in my scratchbuilding ability.

This kit has unfortunately been overshadowed in many peoples mind by the Tamiya release. Having now built it I can say it is certainly worthy of your consideration. I know that many will buy the Tamiya kit just because it's a Tamiya and then leave it in the cupboard too intimidated at its complexity. The HK kit by comparison is extremely buildable and for the most part just clicks together.

You can find the full build report for this kit On The Bench
Falklands (Malvinas) War 1/72 Dogfight Double
11 July 2015
This is my third dogfight double display in 1/72. The project started with my local clubs annual Group Build and the subject this time was the Airfix A-4B Skyhawk. Now there are not too many marking options for the early model Skyhawks (when compared to the later E/F models) and I really was not too interested in doing a US Navy scheme.

I've always been interested in the Falklands conflict, and remember watching footage on TV back in 1982.

I normally like to pose the aircraft in some sort of 'dogfighting' display but given the size of the base I chose I couldn't think of a way to do that and make it look somewhat realistic. In the end I just decided to position them next to each other at slightly different heights to add some interest to the setting. The Skyhawk was finished with Gunze Mr Color laquer paints whilst the Sea Harrier was an experiment with Vallejo Air colors.In the end a fun little project and motivation to continue to add new 1/72 subjects to my stash.

I have not done a build log for this project but you can find the gallery of the finished models here
KA Models 1/48 Bf109G-10 "Rita" - Gallery
03 April 2015
This is the KA Models Bf109G-10 kit built for a quick review at TheModelingNews.com. The kit is actually the old Fujimi mold but builds up into a nice model in any case.

KA Models (from Korea) have given their kit some new decals, a small PE fret and a nice metal pitot tube for the wingtip. The build itself was straightforward with no fit problems and I decided to make a simple grass base with some figures to depict a typical European grass field.

This build was enjoyably relaxing and took me about 5 weeks. Paints were mostly Gunze Mr Color and the figures are from ICM with the pilot from Verlinden. If you would like to see some build progress photos and my complete review of the kit, jump over to the review at themodellingnews.com
Australian International Airshow 2015 - Avalon Victoria, Feb 28th - Mar 1st 2015
01 March 2015
Every second year at this time here in Australia, those of us with a passion for aviation turn our sights towards Avalon airport in Victoria. For three days we are treated to the largest airshow held in Australia. By European and US standards I'm sure its a bit humdrum, but for us airshow starved Aussies its time to slap on the sunscreen, charge the camera batteries and catch a flight to Melbourne.

Each year the organisers manage to introduce some new goodies for us to see. At Avalon 2013 it was flying displays by USAF F-22 Raptors. This year the Raptors did not fly but the USAF was nonetheless well represented with B-52's, KC-135, RQ-4 Global Hawk and two Misawa based F-16s. The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is always a large contributor and this time we got to see the Black Knights aerobatic team perform a two ship F-16 display. Of course our own Australian Defence Force (ADF) was on show with both classic and super F/A-18 Hornets, C-17s, E-7A Wedgetail, P-3C Orions, Hawk 127 etc from the RAAF and our Army contributed flight displays by the new ARH Tiger and MRH-90 helicopters.

Anyway, you get the idea, lots of flying and static displays to keep your camera very busy. I took hundreds of photos and have picked out a few of my favourites to give you a flavour of what it was like. As you would expect these sort of events help top up my modeling motivation reserves. Cruise over to the Albums page and enjoy some of the action from the2015 Avalon Airshow
Freedom Models 1/48 X-47B UCAS Build Review
21 Feb 2015
Freedom Models is a relatively new entrant in the plastic scale modeling market and for their debut kit they chose to model a subject that I found both interesting and topical, the Northrop Grumman X-47B UCAS in 1/48.

As a kit, the X-47B has been done before in 1/72 by Platz but never before in 1/48. Being an unmanned drone the X-47B seems (like most unmanned aircraft) to polarise the modeling community into those that love it and those that hate it. I definitely fall into the first camp. I find the concept of both remote piloted and now autonomous combat/recon aircraft to be a fascinating subject for modelers.

Overall I'd rate this kit an 8/10. It's an interesting subject, it's been well researched, it's been properly engineered with sensible parts breakdown and the assembly/painting instructions are clear. My only reservation is with the kit decals.

I have now completed my build page for this model which includes progress photos during the build and painting. These can be found in the On The Bench section.

I chose to model this kit as the 2014 demonstrator used in carrier trials. As the build is relatively simple I have taken a slightly different path for this build report. Typically I document my builds in chronological order (ie the sequence in which I do things, which is almost never strictly as the instructions specify) but this time I have used the kit assembly sequence as the ordering for the build report. Hope you find it useful.
Freedom Models 1/48 X-47B UCAS Gallery
11 Feb 2015
The U.S. Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat AirSystem (UCAS) program was designed to demonstrate the ability of a tailless, fighter-sized unmanned aircraft to land on and be launched from the flght deck of a Navy aircraft carrier while underway at sea, one of the most challenging aviation environments. Under a contract awarded in August 2007 by the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR),Northrop Grumman designed, produced and is flght testing two autonomous, low-observable relevant demonstrator aircraft designated the X-47B UCAS.

This 1/48 kit of the X-47B is manufactured by Freedom Models (kit FD18001). My model is built 99% out-of-box with only some minor detailing added to the landing gear and tail hook. The fit of the kit is excellent and based on my research is very accurate. I chose to model the X-47B as it appeared during carrier trials. Being a demonstrator airframe the specific configuration varied a lot.

The A/S32A-32 deck tractor is from Skunkmodels and the figures are from Verlinden and CMK. The display base is pre-printed cardboard from Uschi van der Rosten. The model was finished with Gunze Mr Color laquer paints.

I have added 28 photos to the gallery of this interesting and futuristic jet.
Airfix 1/72 P-51D vs Me-109 Dogfight Double
11 Jan 2015
After our very successful IPMS club group build in 2013, which was based on the newly tooled Airfix 1/72 F-86 Sabre (see my build here) we decided to have a second group build and this time selected the Airfix 1/72 P-51D kit. Like I had done with the F-86 I decided to match the P-51 up with a suitable adversary in the form of the Airfix Me-109.

I was a bit concerned that displaying propeller aircraft in flight would look a bit odd with the props frozen but decided to push on as I wanted to participate in the group build and was not interested in displaying the model on the ground. Note that I did consider using some form of prop blur but the rules of the group build required all models to be built 100% out of the box. As the build progressed my thoughts started to turn to the display base and following a quick google search I found a high quality color wartime photo of B-17's in formation (you can even see a red-tail P-51B escorting them) and so a plan started to hatch.

I have tried to position (and photograph) the two fighters in such a way so as to convey the high speed dynamics of the unfolding dogfight as the "Little Friend" (as the B-17 crews used to call their escort fighters) tries to dispatch the hunting Me-109 before he can make a successful run on the bombers.

I have added 16 photos to the gallery of these iconic fighters as they battle for supremecy in the skies over Germany.
Great Wall Hobby 1/48 F-15B/D Eagle Review Build
25 Oct 2014
The Great Wall Hobby F-15B/D Eagle build is now complete. I have updated the Gallery and finished off the build pages in On The Bench

The model includes the parts from the update set issued by GWH to correct a number of general shape issues. I did a bit of work to the cockpit (used Black Box resin seats), used the Aires resin nozzles designed for the Revell F-15E and added some scratchbuilt additions to more accurately depict a JASDF F-15DJ. The open radome and avioincs bays are provided in the kit but I did a lot of extra work in this area to more accurately detail them. I was not inspired by the two tone grey IAF or USAF F-15B/D schemes provided in the box so went looking for something a bit different. It did not take long to settle on one of the colorful "Aggresor" schemes applied to the JASDF Eagles.

The Hiko Kyodotai (Tactical Fighter Training Squadron) is the Japan Air Self Defence Force's dedicated aggressor squadron. Based at Nyutabaru, the unit provides air combat training for most of the JASDF's combat units. Something of an elite unit, the Hiko Kyodotai predominately operates the two-seat Mitsubishi F-15DJ Eagle, although some single seat F-15Js are also on strength. Most of the F-15s are painted in very colourful camouflage schemes, with each aircraft seemingly carrying unique colours. Aircraft of the Hiko Kyodotai regularly deploy to bases throughout Japan, in order to assist in the training of the regular squadrons. The two tone blue splinter scheme I chose was applied to aircraft 92-8068 in 2013.
Great Wall Hobby 1/48 F-15B/D Eagle Review Build
20 Sep 2014
My latest build is another review model for Adam @ TheModellingNews.com. This time I'm building the Great Wall Hobby F-15 two seater kit. I'm still chipping away on my other projects such as the T-2 Buckeye and HKM B-17G but for right now I'm working only on the F-15. Progress updates will be jointly posted on TheModelingNews and here "On The Bench".

Ever since I built the GWH P-61 I've watched with interest each of their new releases (I have a couple of the MiG-29) and this F-15 is a fantastic model. Like most manufacturers they got a few things wrong and to their credit they even issued a correction set for free. For a blow by blow comparison of what they fixed check out my review of the update set here.

For a full progress build of this model jump to On The Bench
Special Hobby 1/32 T-2C Buckeye Review Build
24 March 2014
After recent breaks away from the modeling bench over Christmas and New Year followed by extended time away traveling for work I found myself stalled a bit on the B-17G. Finding it hard to get into gear I wanted something new to get my juices flowing again.

In Jan this year (a couple of months ago) Special Hobby released a 1/32 scaled up version of their 1/48 T-2 Buckeye kit (well technically it was a kit they originally created for TwoBobs but anyway).

I was interested in this release (very much liking the ungainly "guppy" appearance of the Buckeye) but not enough to order it online. It was not until I was in Wellington, New Zealand for work that I stumbled across at ModelCrafts & Hobbies. I liked what I saw in the box and after an exchange of some currency it accompanied me home to Sydney. I started doing some reading and research on the Buckeye and one thing led to another and it ended up on my workbench. Out came the cutters and glue and well that was that.

I've started my usual progress build which I invite you to follow along with here
Kiyyhawk 1/48 MiG-25PD Foxbat E Review Build
10 January 2014
In late 2013 I was provided with a kit of the new 1/48 Kittyhawk MiG-25 by Adam who runs the Osprey Modelling News site. I've been working with Adam on reviews for most of 2013 and have enjoyed the opportunity to get access to new kits (and accessories) directly from the manufacturers. This is the second kit that I have built completely for a review (the other being out of the box reviews) and I was quite looking forward to this build as I have a strong interest in the Cold War era and the MiG-25 is such an iconic jet of that period.

The kit arrived during October and I set myself a self imposed deadline of finishing the kit and having the review posted on Adam's site by Christmas 2013. The build had some challenges along the way and at times I almost gave up on my goal of completing it before my Chistmas vacation due to work commitments, travel etc but I'm glad to say that my hard work paid off and the final photos of the finished models went live on Dec 25 :)

I'd encourage you to check out Adam's Modeling News Blog for regular updates of all forms of scale modeling news but for now sit back and enjoy the finished photos (and build article) of my MiG-25 if you have the time.
HK Models 1/32 B-17G Flying Fortress
27 August 2013
Thanks to the fine folks at Frontline Hobbies I picked up one of the HKM 1/32 B-17G's and figuring if I did not build it straight away it would never get built, I jumped straight in.

I also wanted to try to build it before the inevitable avalanche of after market parts got too big to resist, so to minimise the temptation my build will be finished (or well progressed hopefully) before they start to be purchasable.

Its a big kit for sure, but not a complicated kit from my intial analysis. At 577 parts its not really that complex by todays standards (the Tamiya 1/32 F-16 has 526, the Tamiya 1/32 F4U has 453 etc).

Storage for me is a problem. This model will be a monster with a 1 meter wing span when complete. I simply have no place to display a model that big in my home. So why buy it I hear you say ? Well the folks at HKM have come up with a clever idea. They provide us with a wall mounting kit. Thats right, a special jig thats designed to slot into the models bomb bay and allow you to hang it on the wall. I really liked that idea and so the single biggest roadblock to my purchasing this kit went away.

Anyway, the build is underway so follow along with my latest On The Bench updates as it progresses.
Airfix F-86 Sabre vs MiG-15
25 June 2013
Late in 2012 my local IPMS club put together an out-of-the-box group build based on the Airfix 1/72 F-86 kit. Modellers were allowed to use alternate decals but everthing else must be only from the box. I selected the Korean war Sabre boxing and as I sat pondering my build I looked hard at the actual box art and an idea began to form in my mind. The next day I tracked down and purchased the Airfix 1/72 MiG-15 kit and set about building them together with the idea of depecting the dramatic scene being played out on the Airfix boxart. This meant the models would be on stands and displayed in agressively manoeuvring attitudes.

Anyway cut a long story short, I built these two kits 100% out of the box (including kit decals) and despite some basic fit challenges I was impressed with how far Airfix has come since I was a youngster when Airfix 1/72 was all I could buy from the corner shop (I guess to be fair my modeling skills have come along as well). Once I had the models built I used the actual box top from the Sabre kit for my base and that was that. The group build was very successul with 15 of the 20 models we started with being on display at the June 2013 meeting. This is the first time I have participated in a group build and given how much I enjoyed it won't be the last time.

There is no build article for this project but the gallery has the finished pics for your review here
Eduard MiG-21 Bunny Fighter Founder Edition
29 Apr 2013
MiG-21 Early this year I was approached by Adam Norenberg from the The Modelling News asking if I would be interested in building some review kits. I had not done this before and was quite keen to give it a go. Since then Adam has provided me with a couple of kits, some aftermarket items (Eduard Brassin) to review and one special kit which he asked that I build.

To be honest, when I was asked to do a build review of this kit I did not relish the idea of using the crazy Bunny scheme, however, after I got the kit in my hands and looked it over, did some research on the historical significance of the "Carrot War" scheme I changed my mind and decided to have some fun (remember when your modeling was actually fun ??). This meant saving the Brassin resin parts and most of the PE for a future build (yes I have more of these kits in my stash). You see, Eduard gives you everything you need to build the kit with only plastic parts, they just happen to also include in the box the Brassin goodies as well.

I've done my usual build article which you can find here and if you want to jump straight to the finished photos they are in the gallery

Thanks to Adam for giving me the chance to do this and of course to Eduard for the kit.