Brand: Italeri 162
Media: Injection Plastic
Markings: Various (see text)
In 1986, Testors Model Corporation released a conceptual model airplane dubbed the F-19 Ghostrider. Their design was based on Lockheed’s real life ‘HAVE BLUE’ stealth fighter project of the 1970s. This F-19 design became the shape of the stealth fighter in the eyes of the public until the official unveiling of the F-117 Nighthawk in 1990. The MiG-37 was Testor’s concept of the Soviet counterpart for the F-19. Testors surprisingly got the MiG-37’s shape closer to the F-117 Nighthawk than their F-19 design.
The MiG-37 is a more conventional design than the F-19 and as conceptualized, is powered by dual non-afterburning Kumansky turbojets. It is larger than the F-19 and used many components (like the landing gear) from earlier MiG designs. Armaments include tactical nuclear weapons and radar-seeking air-to-ground missiles.
Info adapted from the instruction sheet
The kit comes in the usual Italeri side opening box. There are 3 trees: 2 molded in black and 1 clear. This is a simple kit with only 54 parts. The quality of the plastic is typical of the 1980s: thick and brittle with simple details. What little panel lines there are are the raised type. Some things I’ve noted:
2 color options for the same aircraft, Bort 36, are included. I can’t determine the quality as my copy has yellowed and is already brittle but it looks to be typical Italeri stuff from the 1980s.
All in all, a very simple kit indeed with mold quality of its time.
Construction begins as usual with the cockpit. The details are simple but molded on. I added a harness with masking tape and busied the plain cockpit area with plastic plates. For the color I went with the weird green hue Soviet plane cockpits tend to come in. Perhaps the green is to keep the pilot’s Russuan bear tendencies at bay? Hah!
The kit came together very quickly but the fit is average in some spots while poor in others. I did the best I could and spent some time to eliminate the gaps that were as wide as 2mm wide. Stores-wise, I decided to keep the front bomb bay closed but I lost the aft bay doors so I mounted 1 of the bombs in there.
Colors & Markings
Both color schemes provided by Italeri are boring: 2-tone gray and white or all black. And since this is a Soviet aircraft, it deserves some splinter/digital camoflage. I went with all gray with a digital camo of black, blue and gray on the upper fuselage. Masking was a challenge but with the Aizu 1.5mm masking tape, the only real challenge was the time it took to mask the patterns. I’m glad to say the result was quite good with barely any paint bleeding or overspray.
Markings-wise, I had to trash the kit decals as they have degraded badly. I used markings from the Eagle Strike EP72092 ‘Sukhoi Su-27 641st Guards Fighter Aviation’ sheet. The stencils come from the Trumpeter Su-30MKK Flanker G kit. I also added a WWII-era Russian propaganda (??) marking on the starboard tail fin. This came from an Academy Il-2 Sturmovik kit.
Panel wash was with the usual Mig AMMO Deep Down panel wash. To blend and lower the contrast between the camo colors together I filtered using the oil paint dot method with dark gray, white, yellow and blue oil paints.
I botched a bit of the final assembly and ended with glue stains in some spots that I had to buff out, repaint and weather. Now the bottom looks more patchy which I think adds to the look of an operational machine. The main gear doors also didn’t fit correctly but I made do with them.
All in all, not my best build by any measurement and the age of the kit really shows in the fitting and details. Still, it’s amazing to see how close Testors got with the shape to the F-117. I really should build the F-19 counterpart to this one. /Looks at my to-build pile…
Brand: Italeri No. 2729
Media: Injection Plastic
The North American A-36 Apache (also listed as ‘Invader’ or ‘Mustang’) was the ground attack/dive bomber version of the P-51 Mustang. A total of 500 A-36s served in North Africa, the Mediterranean, Italy and the Chine-Burma-India theater during World War II before being withdrawn from service in 1944. The A-36 was a modified P-51 fitted with bomb racks, dive brakes and completely redesigned heavier-duty wings.
The A-36 proved to be a potent weapon as it could be consistently put into a vertical dive at 12,000 ft with the deployed dive brakes which limited the dive speed to 390 mph. Bomb release took place between 2,000 ft and 4,000 ft followed by an immediate sharp ‘pull up’. Besides dive bombing, the A-36 would also rack up 84 aerial victories and creating 1 ‘ace’, Lt. Michael T. Russo.
As fighting and hazardous missions intensified, the A-36 suffered a high loss rate of 177 falling to enemy action in all theaters. By June 1944, the A-36 in Europe were replaced by the P-40 Warhawk and P-47 Thunderbolt. Only the USAAF operated the A-36 with 1 lone aircraft supplied to the RAF for experimental purposes.
Info adapted from Wikipedia
This is a rebox of the Accurate Miniatures kit from 1994. The Italeri boxing was first released in 2013. Inside the box are 3 gray and 1 clear sprues of plastic parts that barely take up 2/3 of the space. The kit is made up of 81 parts with only 2 clear parts that are not used. I’m assuming these are for the P-51 variant.
Details of the parts are nice with fine and consistent panel lines although they are not as sharp as modern kits. No flash is in sight but there are a few sink marks on the fuselage parts. Parts breakdown is straightforward with my following observations:
Italeri provides for 3 USAAF and 1 RAF marking options that cover A-36s from the European, African and Chine-Burma-India theaters. The one on the box cover with the shark mouth is the most interesting to me. They are nicely printed with sharp details and good register.
I did a quick dryfit of the major parts and they fit quite well. All in all, it should be a straightforward build.
As with all the prop kits I’ve built so far, progress was fast. The cockpit was quickly painted and weathered and installed before both halves of the fuselage came together. The cockpit interior looks nicely busy with quite a bit of details in the sidewalls. Alas, these weren’t visible once the fuselage was put together. I scratchbuilt the seat harness since it’s good for practice and looks better than the decal.
I built each half first then joined them together instead of the called for assembly of the front and back separately. This way I avoided the chance of a step at the joint between the nose and the main body.
I decided to go with the flattened wheels and hope I can get the orientation correct when I install them. For the wings, I attached the 1 piece bottom wing to the fuselage first before attaching the top sides. This makes it easier to minimize any gaps in the wingroots.
The landing gear, propeller and bombs were all prepped separately. The tail gear had to be installed when the 2 fuselage halves were joined. Luckily I managed to not break this part throughout the build.
The kit includes 4 barrels for the wing guns but a check online of A-36 photos show that they don’t protrude so I left them off.
The only real issue I had was a seamline on an indented area on the nose. I tried to fill it some liquid putty without much luck. In the end, I decided to live with the seamline. I also managed to break off one of the nose gun barrels which I had to carefully re-attach at the end of the build.
/waves Jedi hand: ‘You did not see the gap on the nose. Move along…’
Colors & Markings
All the options are in the same color scheme: Olive Drab over Medium Gray. I did my usual combination of black base, white marble coat then main color. This time, I used Tamiya acrylic paint thinned with lacquer thinner for the marble coat which took less time and was much easier to control and execute. The main colors were thinned quite a bit with drops of flow improver and glaze medium added to reduce the opacity so the marble coat shows up more. I think they worked quite well and had an atypical satin smooth finish and I’ll be doing the same going forward. The demarcations were done with blutack so they are a bit soft.
Markings-wise I was going to model the A-36 piloted by Lt. Bert Benear of the 526th Fighter Squadron, 86th Fighter Group flying over Italy in 1944. The badass shark mouth sold it for me. The decals for the wing bands don’t account for the grills on the dive brakes so I decided to make my life easier by masking and painting them instead. These were a custom mix of yellow and a bit of orange. I think I might overdone the color, but they matched well with the yellow in the other decals. The decals were robust, went on easily and reacted well with Mark Softer.
I began with chipping using silver acrylic paint. I also used the main colors on the silver chips to knock the contrast down slightly. Once cured I did the usual panel wash with Mig AMMO Deep Brown panel line wash. Once the panel washes have been cleaned up I installed the landing gear.
I then used white, dark gray and dark brown oil paint as filters for the kit. These knock down the contrast even more so once dried, I went back in and added more chipping which gives the look of both ‘old’ and ‘new’ paint chips. The gun port residue was done with Tamiya Weathering Master. The exhaust stains were done in the same way but I also carefully sprayed some black gray acrylic paint to deepen the colors.
The whole kit was then given a flat coat and last on were the bombs, antenna and painting the wing lights. I decided not to add aerials this time.
So… not a bad result though I think I could improve on areas like the randomness of the chips and being more careful with masking of the canopy. The kit itself though, fits well and is recommended.
Number 02 of 2019
While finishing my Italeri 1/48 A-36 Apache, I decided to go ahead and paint up a pilot figure so I can use it as a size reference. It’s what I have been doing with my 1/72 modern pilot. This WWII pilot figure comes from the Hasegawa 1/48 WWII Pilot Figure Set. The instructions simply say ‘US pilot’ so I’m not sure if this represents a USAAF or USN pilot. I think it’s the latter though. In any case, this is the only option for a US pilot.
The details are decent but nothing to shout home about. Clean up however was minimal.
First I sprayed a base coat of black.
Then I sprayed white at a 45 degree angle from above. This simulates the Sun as the light source so I immediately get some highlights and shadows.
The basic colors are then handpainted. Some of the highlights and shadows can still be seen which is what we want.
Then I washed the figure with Army Painter Warpaints Soft Tone for the flesh with Army Painter Warpaints Dark Tone and Citadel Shade Nuln oil for the rest.
Once the washes have cured, I went back in to add highlights using the same basic colors.
The end result is… decent for an hour’s work. But it doesn’t look half bad posed with a plane so I’m more than happy with it.
The box comes with RAF, IJA/IJN and Luftwaffe pilots too so there’ll be more practice to come.
Brand: Bandai HGUC 051
Media: Injection plastic
The RGM-79GS is a late production GM deployed in the One Year War. It is an upgraded variant of the original RGM-79 GM with improvements in performance and maneuverability. Two variants were subsequently developed: the RGM-79G GM Command and the RGM-79GS GM Space Command. The RGM-79GS has performance that is onpar with the Zeon MS-14A Gelgoog and as its name implies, is optimized for space combat so it differs from the GM Command by having a backpack designed for space use, a 10% increase in output, more apogee motors and greater propellant capacity for longer operational time.
Production numbers are low and these were mostly assigned to platoon commanders. Several were featured in the OVA ‘Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket’.
Info adapted from Gundam Wiki
This kit was originally released in 2004. As such, it still suffered from some of the problems of the early HGUC line: a somewhat squat appearance, overly large hands, a short neck and limited articulation. Bandai also didn’t try too hard to hide seamlines during this time. Options include:
Of note is the lack of a clear beam saber while a clear visor is included. Parts breakdown is logical and straightforward with generally accurate colors as per the lineart. A small sticker sheet is also included.
I’ve had this kit snapped together for quite a while and decided it’ll be a ‘quickish’ build. Overall, it didn’t take too much time and any delay was simply due to my malaise.
To fix the proportion problem, I extended the upper legs, lower legs, front skirts, and forearms between 1.5mm to 2mm. I wasn’t neat about it which came back to bite me in the finishing stages. I also extended the neck polycap by 1mm to give the kit a longer-necked look and the base of the torso was extended 2mm.
I then proceeded to lose the left ‘ear muff’ which I replaced with a scratchbuilt antenna array and the cockpit door which I replaced with one fashioned from 0.25mm plastic plate. I also added verniers into the vents on the legs for added details.
Colors & Finishing
I kept the color scheme similar to the original lineart with additional red flourishes on the forehead and lower legs. I originally wanted 2-tones for the red areas but it didn’t work out. Other that that hiccup, everything went on without a hitch.
Markings were as usual from various decal sheets. I then added chipping with a sponge. Once these have cured and given an overall gloss coat, the kit went through the usual rounds of panel wash, fitering, streaks and fading with Mig AMMO Panel Line Wash Deep Brown, Mig AMMO Oilbrusher Starship Filth (a dark gray) and white oil paint. Last on is a light mist of flat coat to knock down some of the overall sheen and tie everything together.
I was supposed to finish this kit at the end of 2018 but it rolled over to 2019. In any case, add one more to my RGM collection.
Brand: Bandai HGUC 097
Media: Injection Plastic
Markings: Various aftermarket
Adopted in UC 0089, the RGM-89 Jegan is the Earth Federation’s general purpose mobile suit. Designed by Anaheim Electronics, the Jegan traces its lineage to the original RGM-79 GM and like the original, it’s only lightly armed with one beam saber, a beam rifle and a vulcan pod. For added firepower, it has three grenades and a shield with twin missile launchers. While lighter armed than the previous general purpose mobile suit RGM-86R GM III, its performance is significantly higher.
Due to its versatility, the RGM-89 and its many variants would go on to serve the EFSF for the next 30 years.
Info adapted from Gundam Wikia
First issued in 2009, this is a modern re-imagining of the Jegan (the original kit appeared in 1988) as it appeared in the anime movie Char’s Counterattack. Since this is a modern HGUC kit, it features modern color molding, snapfit assembly, good poseability and better proportions than the original. As a newer kit in the HGUC line, it doesn’t suffer from the stumpy look and overly large hands that plagued older HGUC kits. Parts breakdown are also nicely designed for it to be easily painted separately. As usual, stickers are provided which I pretty much ignore.
Building a Bandai kit nowadays feels like building a LEGO set: everything just fits. I added some minor details on the thighs, legs and inside the shield with plastic card and photoetch parts. I originally had more done but changed my mind and swapped out the modified parts and put back the original. I drilled 0.3mm or so holes all over the kit as a test to see how these added details look. I find that it’s a simple and quite effective way of adding details. I also added small nozzles from Kotobukiya onto the verniers.
Proportions-wise, I only lengthened the waist by about 1.5mm with plastic card. I also pretty much kept the kit uncemented the whole time as all the joint lines double as natural panel lines. I really like this attention to detail by Bandai with the newer kits. However, there are some obvious ones on the backpack binders and (as always) beam rifle. These were treated with filler and sanded down.
Colors & Markings
I decided to go with the standard color scheme this time round although I did go with a more subdued shade of all the colors. For example, I used a lighter green color than what’s on the lineart (which I affectionately call ‘puke green’). As I was able to paint this kit in its component parts I didn’t have to do much masking. I did have to handpaint the shield missiles and the grenades on the hip though.
The markings come from various sheets from Bandai and OEM stuff I bought throughout the years. The scorpion marking on the shield is from a HiQParts sheet. I think I used the wrong size for this. Oh well.
Weathering was kept light with a panel wash of dark brown followed by sponge chipping with dark brown paint and then various fading, filters and streaks with white and black oil paints. In hind sight, I should have added some exhaust stains but I’m moving on.
Once cured, everything was knocked down with a misting of AK ultra matt varnish.
Number 9 of 2018