On the Bench: 1/32 Hasegawa P-47D-27 in French Service

On October 1, Scale Plastic & Rail kicked off its second group build, “In Foreign Colours”. I’m still in the home stretch on my stealth build, but I’m already casting my glance toward what’s next.

I’d first aimed for Trumpeter’s 1/48 MiG-15bis, until I found it wasn’t going to be anything like a walk in the park. Back into the box it went.

Then, I settled on a French Jug. I was going to pull out a Tamiya 1/48 P-47 paired with decals from an Empire City sheet, until I found this:

I was smitten. Of course, the coolest schemes are never covered by decals, so I asked Joe at Scale Precision Masks about making me up some markings. Turns out the cowl text and the sortie marks are too small to pull off in 1/48, so, arm twisted, I decided to upsize to the Hasegawa 1/32 kit.

To be honest, this is a kit I’ve been wanting to build for a long time. My copy was actually a birthday gift from Mrs. Doogs back in 2010. At the time it was my sole 1/32 kit. Now I have a total of five 1/32 Jugs in the stash…

The Jug in French Service

After the Battle of France in 1940, several French pilots refused to surrender and stole out to Britain or French North Africa to carry on the fight. While a few, such as the famous Pierre Clostermann, were incorporated into the national air forces of the allies, many continued to serve in the Free French Air Force, which was equipped with Allied aircraft and which served more or less throughout Europe. Several FAFL (Forces Aériennes Françaises Libres) units participated in D-Day, while the famed Normandie-Niemen regiment flew Yak fighters alongside the Soviets on the Eastern Front. A bulk of the French units, however, operated in the Mediterranean and southern Europe, flying sorties against German ground targets in northern Italy and southern France.

The P-47 I’m planning to build was a member of Groupe de Chasse I/5 “Champagne”, which formed in September 1943 flying P-39 Airacobras before transitioning to the Jug toward the end of 1944. They were one of the many groups operating in southern Europe, with missions taking them into Italy, France and Germany before the end of the war.

I wish I could say that C9*I did something amazingly noteworthy, but to be honest I’ve been unable to track down more than a few pictures. But…the number of sortie markings it wears definitely indicates it was one active Jug.

Color Scheming

It’s pretty obvious that C9*I was finished in the standard olive drab over neutral gray scheme P-47s wore up until mid-1944, when the USAAF dictated that aircraft start being delivered in bare metal.It’s also clear that it wore the tricolor rudder typical of French P-47s, as well as yellow cowl flaps, wingtips, and ID bands just inboard of the guns.

But if you look closely at the forward edge of the engine cowl, particularly at the bottom, it appears that there is some different coloration there not depicted on the color profile.

My theory is that this is red, and that the image itself is somehow blue-filtered (hence the darkness of the yellow fuselage codes and tail numbers and the extreme lightness of the blue on the rudder). To see what a red cowl would look like under blue filtering, I had some Photoshop fun.

The topmost image is the red-cowled P-47, converted to black and white with a blue filter applied. The second is a straight grayscale conversion for comparison. Honestly…to me it looks entirely possible that the cowl ring was red, and this is backed up by every other GC I/5 Jug sporting a red ring up front.

So I’ll be doing C9*I with a red cowl ring.

Aftermarket

Of course no build would be complete without aftermarket, so here’s what I’ll be throwing at “Le Jug”:

  • Eduard interior and exterior photo etch + canopy mask
  • Mastercasters wheels
  • Mastercasters replacement cowl flaps (and maybe gear bays)
  • Hasegawa brass blast tubes for the eight .50 cals

Stay tuned, this one kicks off soon!

Review: 1/48 Eduard Brassin Il-2 Wheels (for Tamiya)

It wasn’t very long ago that Eduard, best known for their excellent (and prolific) selection of photo etch and masking sets, expanded into resin accessories with their “Brassin” line. Though they have only been at it less than two years, Eduard has, in this author’s opinion, become one of the premiere players in the resin market, routinely releasing products that stand toe-to-toe with the best Aires, Ultracast and others have to offer.

Today we’ll look at Eduard’s new Brassin wheel set for one of the hottest releases of the year, the 1/48 Tamiya Il-2M3 Shturmovik.

Read the rest over at Scale Plastic & Rail

On the Bench: 1/48 Tamiya P-47D-25 Thunderbolt in French Livery

On October 1, Scale Plastic & Rail kicked off its second group build, “In Foreign Colours”. I’m still full bore on my two stealth builds, but I also need something I can swing over to when I need a lighter night at the bench.

I’d first aimed for Trumpeter’s 1/48 MiG-15bis, until I found it wasn’t going to be anything like a walk in the park. Back into the box it went.

Casting about, I kept coming back to the idea of a French Jug. Tamiya’s 1/48 P-47 is pretty much my favorite kit (I’ve built two of them now), and it doesn’t take much to convince me to pull another out of the stash. I know it, I love it, and after  “Magic Carpet” took first place in 1/48 Allied Small Props at both ModelFiesta and the Austin contest this year, I have to say the kit’s been good to me.

The more I thought about it, the more inevitable it became.

The Jug in French Service

After the Battle of France in 1940, several French pilots refused to surrender and stole out to Britain or French North Africa to carry on the fight. While a few, such as the famous Pierre Clostermann, were incorporated into the national air forces of the allies, many continued to serve in the Free French Air Force, which was equipped with Allied aircraft and which served more or less throughout Europe. Several FAFL (Forces Aériennes Françaises Libres) units participated in D-Day, while the famed Normandie-Niemen regiment flew Yak fighters alongside the Soviets on the Eastern Front. A bulk of the French units, however, operated in the Mediterranean and southern Europe, flying sorties against German ground targets in northern Italy and southern France.

The P-47 I’m planning to build was a member of Groupe de Chasse I/5 “Champagne”, which formed in September 1943 flying P-39 Airacobras before transitioning to the Jug. They were one of the many groups operating in southern Europe, with missions taking them into Italy, France and Germany before the end of the war.

I wish I could say that C9-I did something amazingly noteworthy, but to be honest I’ve been unable to track down anything on the plane apart from its existence. Still…the striking yellow bands on the wings, tail and cowl flaps was more than enough to sell me on the machine.

Aftermarket Bonanza

In past P-47s, I’ve used a small but potent selection of aftermarket bits. Ultracast seats and tires, Eduard’s P-47 placards set, and Master blast tubes. This time around, I’m blowing it out a bit more:

  • Ultracast seat – still an amazing seat. This time I’ll be using one without the harness molded in, so I can use…
  • HGW microtextile harness – these things are the business. Seriously. Having used them once, I’m smitten. They put photo-etch belts to absolute shame.
  • Eduard interior photo-etch – in the past I’ve used the basic placard set. This time I’m going deeper with the interior PE, which will included a replacement instrument panel.
  • Ultracast block-tread tires – Because the diamond tread gets boring after awhile.
  • Quickboost R-2800 engine – Supposedly a drop-in replacement for the already solid Tamiya kit engine.
  • Marking masks – So far as I know, no one makes markings for C9-I, so I’m going to have some custom masks done up.

Right now I’m still waiting for everything to come in…but stay tuned for updates!

Science vs. Magic

 

Way back in 2007, I attended my first CES out in Las Vegas. Five (almost six) years on, most of the event is pretty hazy, but two things have stuck with me.

The first was the entire, massive show being completely overshadowed by Apple’s big reveal of the iPhone.

The other was a panel discussion I attended. I can’t recall the exact topic, but one of the panelists introduced his concept of “science versus magic”.

Science, he said, was logical, predictable, and repeatable. It had rules. In terms of technology and user interfaces, he referenced the iPod. Scroll the wheel one way, and it navigates down. Scroll the other way, and you go up. Simple. Logical. Repeatable.

Magic, on the other hand, was something not completely understood, something not predictable. He referenced Microsoft products. The way you stumble onto a fix to your problem with no idea how you got there or how to get back. The way that Word will just randomly reformat something one time, but not the next time.

This got me thinking – there’s a lot of magic in this hobby.

Here’s an example.

Recently, I was getting ready to spray some Alclad. Unhappy with the way my Tamiya X-1 Gloss Black base came out, I resprayed with some Tamiya TS-14 spray lacquer decanted from the rattlecan. It went down flawlessly, and turned mirror-smooth with a few swipes of micromesh.

Awesome! I’d found my new Alclad base!

Last night, I pulled out the TS-14 again. Decanted it again. Sprayed it again. And got a nasty, grainy finish. Same paint. Same airbrush. Same kit. Weather conditions more or less identical. Totally different result.

It struck me, as I stared at that finish in horror, that most of my tools and materials experiments are me seeking science in modeling. Predictable, repeatable results.

Something to think on…

Review: 1/48 Hobby Boss Fleet Air Arm Hellcat Mk.II

The Grumman F6F Hellcat was one of the most successful aircraft of World War II by pretty much any measure. By itself, the Hellcat boasted a staggering 19-to-1 kill ratio and created 305 aces on the way to recording 5,163 kills. But, let’s be honest, it’s also something of a bland design, and I think that’s why it often gets lost amid the sexier lines of the Mustang, Spitfire and Corsair, the sheer brutality of the Thunderbolt, and even the scrapiness of the P-40 Warhawk.

In preparing for this review, I did a brief census of the Hellcat’s representation in 1/48 scale, and was somewhat surprised to find kits from Arii, Eduard, Hasegawa, Hobby Boss, Lindberg and Revell. As with the real deal, the 1/48 Hellcat is a lot more prolific than common perception suggests.

Hobby Boss, like Eduard, has released several different boxings of the boxy fighter to cover different variants and markings. The latest of which is this Hellcat Mk.II serving with the British Fleet Air Arm. How does it stack up? Let’s find out.

Read the review over at Scale Plastic & Rail! And while you’re at it, check out the SPAR Forums!

Review: 1/48 Hobby Boss F8F-1B Bearcat

Perhaps the single best piston-engined fighter ever built, the Grumman F8F Bearcat was a creation caught between two worlds, but belonging to neither. While it technically entered service in 1945, it never saw active duty in World War II, and soon found itself squeezed out of usefulness by the jet age.

Despite its short and relatively uneventful career, the Bearcat remains a remarkably popular aircraft. My theory is because it was the last of its kind. That and the fact that it bears a family resemblance to the Wildcat and Hellcat with the exception that it’s actually attractive.

The enduring popularity of the Bearcat has seen it boxed several times, from the archaic Hawk/Testors kit to the more recent Hobbycraft, as well as the big 1/32 line released by Trumpeter a few years back.

Now, Hobby Boss has entered the ring with a 1/48 kit that one can only assume draws heavily on its 1/32 Trumpeter cousin. Is it any good? Let’s find out.

READ THE REST AT SCALE PLASTIC & RAIL

Interview: Returning to Modeling

Last week I was interviewed by Gerald Voigt – aka Hawkeye – of The Plastic Scale Modeling Hour about the experience of returning to modeling after an extended absence from the hobby. Have a listen below if you’re interested in hearing my awkward ramblings, and be sure to check out Hawkeye’s Squawkbox in the sidebar while you’re at it. Really solid blog with lots of excellent tips and insights!

The Plastic Scale Modeling Hour – Ep. 36