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…
Oof… it took quite a while to fix the gaps.
It was prime, fill, sand, buff, prime, fill, sand, buff over and over to finally get to the painting stage. I don’t think I did a banged-up job but it’ll have to do.
For the color scheme, I played around with the line-art and came up with the following. It’s not exactly a Soviet color scheme but I think it’ll be striking. It looks like a masking nightmare so I hope I can pull it off.
Colors begin with the usual black base.
Next a marble coat with white. I’m not sure how much of the marble coat will be visible once the camouflage is on so I made sure to add Glaze Medium to all the colors to make them less opaque.
The bottom and part of the top are one single color so these get tackled first with Mig AMMO Light Grey. With a color so light minor problems like scratches and spatters readily show up. These will be dealt with later.
For the digital camouflage, I decided to go from the dark to light colors so first on is Model Air Dark Panzer Grey which is really a very dark grey to the point of almost being black.
Then out with the masking tape to do the digital camouflage. Unfortunately I can’t see the immediate results until all 3 colors are painted on. So fingers crossed. 😀
Next is the dark blue using Game Air Sombre Grey.
Then more masking and the last color is Lifecolor Non Specular Blue Grey.
So how were the results? It turned out OK with no as much paint leak as expected. I think there needs to be less gray and more black though.
So I went back and added more camouflage. I think it looks better now. Not ideal but I’m moving on.
The stuff under the plane were also prepped and everything was gloss coated together. I lost one of my main wheels sp I modified the ones from the VF-0C kit to fit. They are the same height but different thickness. Luckily this is a fictional aircraft ey?
I kept the markings simple. The kit decals have degraded too much so 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.
Once wiped down and glossed the kit goes through the usual panel wash with Mig AMMO Deep Brown Wash.
While wiping off the panel wash, I managed to wipe off the paint on the peaks of sections on the bottom. /Face palm.
To blend the camouflage colors together, I did the oil paint dot filter method with white, dark gray, blue and yellow.
Once blended together, the contrast in the camouflage was reduced.
I then attached the (for lack of a better word) vanes in the exhaust area. Neither of their pegs fit into the their corresponding holes so I ended up cutting them off and butt joining with cement. I also sprayed some exhaust stains.
Next are the landing gear. The main gear doors are supposed to fit flush but they can’t due to the oleo on the landing gear. They also cannot be posed fully open because they would clear the bottom of the wheels. So I went with slightly opened instead. Since I couldn’t practically attach them without marring more of the painted surface, I left out the much smaller doors on the side. I took the opportunity to also patch up the paintwork that were stripped and re-weathered the areas.
I then handpainted the sensor bumps on the wingtips and fuselage before giving everything a flat coat. I then added the clear nose piece. I managed to lose the original so this is a replacement cut from a blister pack. Cockpit masking is as usual last off. All done!
Next up is what I initially hoped was a quick build. The MiG-37 is a fictional Soviet stealth aircraft designed by the Testors Model Company as the Eastern Bloc counterpart to their F-19 Ghostrider kit. My copy is a Italeri re-boxed kit.
Work begins with the cockpit which is very sparse and simplified although surprisingly, all the consoles have molded detail instead of decals. There’s even molded on harness details on the ejection seat.
I replaced the molded harness with 1mm tape instead.
The cockpit area itself is very bare.
So I spruced it up with bits of plastic plate. The kit comes with a clear part for the HUD but there’s no HUD mount so I made one up with plastic plate also.
Looks OK after a coat of paint, which is in the usual weird green color Soviet aircraft cockpits tend to be in.
After giving everything a thin wash of black, I added the HUD. Instead of the kit HUD though I made a thinner one from a battery blister pack.
The other parts came together quite quickly after that.
And then I sprayed white color to check for seamlines.
Yikes! The gaps that are revealed are quite bad, especially the wingroots at the bottom which look more like canals.
Elbow grease and time will be needed to get this to look decent which means this won’t be a quick build after all. Ah well… I should have known better.
Brand : Italeri No.1236
Media : Injection Plastic
Markings : Kit
The Sea Harrier is a further development of the Harrier Jump Jet. It is a naval short/vertical take-off and landing (S/VTOL) subsonic jet fighter designed to replace the de Havilland Sea Vixen. Largely based on the RAF’s Harrier GR.3, it features a ‘bubble’ canopy for better visibility, a longer fuselage to fit the Blue Fox radar and corrosion resistance alloys and coatings compared to the land-based variant.
The Sea Harrier features 4 rotatable nozzles which can be pointed down for the aircraft to lift off and land vertically (VTOL). Angling the nozzles also allows STOL operations, reducing the amount of runway needed for take-off and landing.
The Sea Harrier FRS.1 entered service with the Royal Navy in 1980. Affectionately called the ‘Shar’, its principal role in the Royal Navy was to provide air defense for task groups centered around the aircraft carriers. 57 would be built for the Royal Navy starting in 1978.
Sea Harrier FRS.1s took part in the Falklands War of 1982, flying off the carriers HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible. Primarily flown for the air defense role and armed with the latest AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles and Blue Fox radar, the 3 Sea Harrier squadrons totaling 28 aircraft would shoot down 20 Argentinian aircraft in air-to air combat and suffer 6 losses (2 to ground fire, 4 to accidents).
The lessons learned from this war would lead to an upgrade to the FA.2 standard starting in 1993. The last Sea Harrier FA.2 would retire in 2006. This build depicts a Sea Harrier FRS.1 ‘XZ 451’ flown by 801 Naval Air Squadron off HMS Invincible in the subdued color scheme applied in the run-up to the war. XZ 451 is credited with 3 air-to-air victories and 1 damaged during the conflict. She would be written off in 1989 off the Sardinia coast.
Info from Wikipedia
This kit is a rebox of the ESCI kit that was first released in 1983 so it’s actually an old kit. Features/options include:
The mold has held up and the panel lines are fine and quite nicely done. There’s not much flash and injection pin marks (one big one on the seat’s headrest though). Typical of Italeri, the plastic is softer than what you get from Tamigawa. Also typical of Italeri, the clear parts are a bit thick and lack clarity.
So, definitely a mixed bag. This kit has been superceded by a more modern tooling by Airfix. However, it’s still a good representation of the Sea Harrier by most accounts. It’s also cheaper. More importantly, it’s much easier to find here than the Airfix.
Kit manufacturers of this era hadn’t caught on to the idea of designing kits to accommodate various versions of the same aircraft so there’s a general lack of cutting and fitting of different parts together. So while lacking in finesse and details, they usually come together quite quickly. Fitting can be issue but that’s not really the case with this kit, which on the whole, fits well. Problem areas include:
It’s not all doom and gloom though:
Even with these problems, this is one of my faster aircraft builds due to the small number of parts.
Colors & Markings
I decided to go with the Falklands War option, which features a subdued color scheme and markings. The color scheme is a uniform Dark Sea Grey over every surface, including the missile rails. After seeing some photos, I decided to break up the monotony by going with Medium Sea Grey with the rails. To add some fading of the main color, I sprayed white over the black base first before the Dark Sea Grey went on.
In hindsight, the red color in the decals seems too bright but I don’t have aftermarket one for the kit so it will do.
I used a light gray wash for the panel lines. With the panel lines being so shallow, the effect is quite subdued. I also did some further fading over the top of the kit, since that’s the part that sees the Sun the most.
Doh! After the final photos were done, I realized I didn’t attach the small vane in front of the canopy. I decide that I should move on and not try to deal with the really small part.
Number 8 of 2017
Hey… my missing wheel turned up! So the casting work I did was all for naught. Oh well, it was good practice at least.
Anyway, on to finishing this build. First, for the base gloss coat, I sprayed AK Interactive Intermediate Gauzy. This is by far the easiest gloss coat I’ve ever used. I simply used a 0.5mm airbrush and sprayed it out of the bottle.
I then spent a few nights doing the decals. As usual, I leave some of the stencils off. Interestingly, while the main markings are muted, some of the stencils are brightly colored. The kit decals took a while to get off the backings but are easy to use and conform very well with Mark Softer even though they are slightly thick. They are also just slightly oversized compared to the instructions. I gave the decals a day to cure, wiped the kit down with a damp cloth, then sprayed another gloss coat to seal the decals.
Weathering is next. I find it a challenge to do panel lining on a dark subject but I find that light gray color works alright. It doesn’t give the most realistic finish, but it adds ‘depth’ to the finish. For this kit the panel lines are very shallow so the effect is quite subtle. I then did some filtering of the same light gray on random panels to add some variance to the color scheme.
Next are attaching the landing gear, stores and exhausts. These are done with superglue and reinforced by running diluted white glue on the joints. Thankfully, the landing gear all fitted OK and the kit sits flat on all 4 wheels. The exhausts were fricton fit and I posed them in a diagonal position since I find they look the most interesting this way.
Next are the small antennas. The thickness and general lack of finesse with these parts show the age of this mold. These were attached with superglue, reinforced with diluted PVA then quickly handpainted. The formation lights were as usual, painted in transparent colors and given a drop of Future to make them shine. The masking tape over the canopy was then removed. It turns out I didn’t fit the front canopy properly so there’s a minor gap between the front and back half. Dang.
The absolute last piece is the pitot tube, which I used stretched sprue instead of the piece that had broken off.
And I’m done. The work looks rushed in places, but all in all, it was a trouble-free build considering the age of this kit.