Built Kit Reviews

I have over the last ten years, built a few models since I came back into this hobby. So what I am going to do here is do a review on some of my favourite past builds and some of my current and future projects. I will post on the home page when a new review has been added.

Tamiya Lotus Europa Special : 1/24th scale

This was a car I remember from my childhood, a great British classic with a worldwide following. Tamiya, produced a gem of a kit when they decided to release the Lotus Europa in the 1/24th scale car range. In my own opinion, this is one of their best car kits that they have done. Yes, it is an older one from their range and not up to the standard of their newer releases. But it is a kit which I found a joy to build, due to the fact that it was not complicated or have fancy etched detailing parts to be added or brought. Plus it is not as expensive as a lot of Tamiya's other car kits, the price is usually very reasonable.

The Europa kit will appeal to modellers of all skills, from the experienced through to the novice. This is an ideal purchase for a modeller wanting to step up from the lower spec automotive kits, i.e. like the Airfix 1/32nd scale range to the 1/24th better details models. The Lotus assembled without any problems, with all of the parts joining together like a dream. The instructions showed each stage of the build precise and clear, great for the lesser experienced builder. To go wrong whilst building this lovely model would be hard to do. 

This is a nicely detailed model straight out of the box, so there is no need to add extra detail, it is already there. My example was basically built "OOB", I only added a few wires and hoses around the engine and chassis. These were the only items that I thought would be needed to finish the model off, as everything else was in the box. Tamiya supplied some metal decals and great waterslide decals which included the Gold pinstriping to go on the body. The only thing I did different from the instructions, was to use some Bare Metal Foil on the lower sills instead of painting them. The model is a perfect scaled down version of the real Europa, down to the how the chassis and engine are assembled, then mated with the completed bodyshell and interior. The potential for a garage scene diorama using the Europa model has plenty of options. I could just waffle on about this kit for ages, but that would just bore you. Just go and get one for yourself, it is a good and honest kit for any automotive modeller. Nothing fancy, but fun to build!

Airfix EE Canberra PR9 : 1/72nd scale

I do not know what it is, but the English Electric Canberra's have a special place in my heart. So far, I have built three of these kits and have another one waiting to be built with the SC9 conversion kit. There is also four 1/48th scale Canberra's from Airfix sitting in my stockpile to. Now back to this kit.

Airfix did produce a lovely kit in this PR9, the general construction of the model passed without any problems. When you do build it, ignore what Airfix say about the amount of grams of nose weight that you need to add, it is not enough, look at doubling the weight they say to add. The extra weight can be hidden in the navigators forward position, behind the cockpit and if needed, behind the air intakes on the engines. On top of the forward section of the bomb bay can be used as well. The general detail of the kit is good and miles better then the old Matchbox/Revell re-release kit of the PR9. But there are a couple of thing which are wrong on this kit, one being the rudder which is said to be the wrong shape. I also noticed that the panel lines on the kit did not match the ones shown on the painting diagrams. To confirm this, I would need to have a good look at some official diagrams of the aircraft and compare them with the kit. But unless you are a rivet counter, then why worry about this little issue. A few of the smaller detailing parts are oversized due to the restrictions of the older style of tooling, but this can be rectified by a little scratch-building or modification of the existing parts. 

On this version of the kit, it has four different schemes to choose from, three RAF schemes and one Chilean Air Force. The RAF options cover the all-over silver scheme to the green and dark grey over light grey to the final hemp over grey. There are plenty of aftermarket detailing items and decal sheets available to add a bigger range of variations and schemes to build your Canberra PR9 in. 

As I said earlier in this review, I have four Canberra's in 1/48th scale sitting in my stockpile. Two of these kits happen to be PR9's and from what I have seen by looking in the boxes, they are just a scaled up version of the 1/72nd scale kit, or visa versa. Mind you, for the 1/48th scale versions, I have the Eduards etch sets and CMK resin sets for them. Overall, a very nice kit in my opinion and I have had pleasure building my three so far. All we need is for Airfix to re-release all of their Canberra aircraft in both scales.


Airfix P-51D/F-51D Mustang : 1/72nd scale

When Airfix retooled the P-51D Mustang kit, it became one of the best WWII fighter kit in this scale in my opinion. So far, I have built two of these new tooled Mustangs and I have several more of them in my stash waiting to be done. These can be built straight out of the box without adding any aftermarket detailing sets and still produce a great looking model. My two built examples have only had Eduard's Super Fabric seat belts added to them and the aerial wire through the cockpit canopy, and that is all.

Construction was straight forward and without any trouble, I built both of mine at the same time. The cockpit is nicely detailed and can be highlighted with some careful painting and drybrushing. Assembly of the fuselage was very good, I did not have any issues joining the two halves together. The main wing assembly has detail in the undercarriage bays which can be brought to life with washes. There is also the option of having the flaps either raised or lowered and the tail has a separate rudder which you can pose as well. Depending on which kit you get, there is a choice of drop tanks, bombs or missiles for mounting under the wings. Plus with the choice of aftermarket ordinances, accessories and decal sheets, you have many option of aircraft to build from this kit.

Here are my examples the I have built. One is the F-51D "Korean War" Mustang and the other is the RAF Mustang IV (from the Starter Set). I used Alclad metal finish and Xtracrylix paints for the schemes on these two model.

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