Saturday, 30 November 2013

SR-71A Blackbird

The SR-71A is a reconnaissance aircraft designed and build by the 'Skunk works' team of Lockheed. This is the same part of the company responsible for developing aircraft like the F-117 and U2. The SR-71A is the successor of the A-12 spy plane. Both of the look almost identical accept the for fuselage length (the A-12 is shorter) and the SR-71 is flown by one person instead of two like the SR-71A. It's is well known the SR-71 is the fasted operational aircraft in the world (flying at more then 3 times the speed of sound) and could reach an extremely altitude. The fact that the friction with air heated up the airframe during flight up to 230 degrees Celsius causing the airframe to expand several inches is also well known. The aircraft was designed to operate at this temperature, when taking off at about 20 degrees it leaked fuel because the fuel tanks pipers would not fit properly together until the aircraft was heated up to it's operating temperature. A single aircraft with an extra pilot cockpit for training was also made.

Designing and building such an extreme aircraft posses many engineering and building challenges. In addition to overcoming these the 'Sunk Works' team also experimented with stealth. These days it is hard to believe that the aircraft was engineered without aid from powerful computers, 3D drawing software, was made without the aid of CAM equipment and navigated on the stars instead of GPS. It was literally designed on a drawing board. The aircraft is not just an advanced military jet but also a pinnacle of human engineering in general and American engineering especially. More on the aircraft, it's development, production and operational history can be read on Wikipedia and many other sources as well.

Dragon released a model of the SR71A last year. ARII (or micro ace as it is called now) also produced a model of the SR-71 which was (very) briefly rereleased when Dragon announced the release of it's own version. I stumbled across it when browsing on the Hobbylink Japan webstore and bought a few. The model looks very good, the only weak point are the total lack of a cockpit and wheelbay interior. I painted the cockpit glass brown on the inside to make it look like tinted glass. I didn't do anything to the wheelbays since you really have to pick up the aircraft and turn it around to see this. There is a little more space between the wing and the right engine compared to the leftside of the aircraft making it not completely symmetrical. The real SR-71 was painted in a very dark blue colour, I painted mine in drakgray, painted the main panel lines solid black and gave the rest of the aircraft a black wash. The aircraft comes with decals for three variants. The markings are in white, red and a bit of yellow colouring very nicely with the almost black aircraft. Because the aircraft is so dark I painted a gloss finish on mine. On to the pictures:

I can recommend this model of the SR-71 but unfortunately it is not available which is quite strange since it is an popular subject. I haven't seen Dragons offering but it will nodoubtly look very good as well.

Friday, 15 November 2013

A look at the first 2014 releases from Revell, Masterbox, Armourfast, Trumpeter & MiniArt


Traditionally Revell only re-releases older kits and variants of existing kits not available before. This year is no difference but there are many very interesting releases in the total of 28 new models to be released in the first 4 months of the year.
1/72 armor:

Kit no.03301, A T-90A, the welded turret version of the T-90:

Kit no. 03300, The LKW 5t mil gl, a 2 axel variant of kit no. 03179 a 7 ton cargo truck used by the Bundeswehr:

Kit no 03131, The LeClerk French main battle tank (for a review click here):

In 1/35 a set of Wiesel 2 vehicles (kit no. 03205) is released:

Other noticeable releases include a 1/144 space shuttle (kit no. 04544), a 1/144 space shuttle with boosters and launchtower (kit no. 04911), and a 1/144 Saturn V rocket (kit no. 04909):

Also interesting are the Dutch demo F-16 in 1/72 (kit no. 03980) and demo Apache in 1/48 (kit no: 04896):


Masterbox from Ukraine announced two new releases for January 2014 and they are:
These are models of the first versions of the first tanks ever produced. This is the first 1/72 release from Masterbox and more WWI releases are said to follow these. On the website several CAD drawings can be seen and the models look very good on there and seem to have about 50 parts. For several parts photo etched material seems to be used. Take a look on the distributors page to find out where they are for sale in your country. HLJ took pre orders but none of these are vacant any more. The price is about €15,00 which is quite attractive for a kit with photo-etch parts.

A look at the boxart:

This model of a very old tank seems to be produced with a newest technology in model manufacturing. A very interesting release of a vehicle that should not be missing in any tank collection. For the female variant the same can be said.


After a long time of no new releases Amourfast releases the Valentine Mk. II (kit no. 99030) British tank, a very welcome addition to there range. I personally hope they also release a Priest howitzer and (later version of the) Matilda as well. The box comes with two models and can be pre ordered from Amourfast for those who can't wait. The price is about €10,00.


Trumpeter will release a 1/144 model of the Su-27 Flanker (kit no. 03909) early 2014. The only model previously available of this very good looking aircraft and aerodynamic perfection is the Dragon kit which is difficult to get and has a canopy and nose cone that differs quite in shape from the original. Trumpeters effort looks better and looks better on the photo's on trumpeters website. The price is about €15,00 at which is quite a lot for a 1/144 but it looks well worth it.

The Dutch Fennek in 1/35 (kit no. 05533) looks cool also:


Mentioned before in this post the release of 5 1/16th scale figures of medieval men at arms. Pictures of the archer are shown on the news section of MiniArt's website. This figure is released in an action pose!
  • Kit No. 16021 XV Century knight
  • Kit No. 16023 Crossbow man XV Century
  • Kit No. 16025 Medieval footsoldier
  • Kit No. 16027 Medieval archer
  • Kit No. 16031 Medieval handgunner