If you've ever wondered what can happen in a month, consider the following.
A few days after I completed the April manuscript for Scaleworld (that
would be the middle of March), an F2 tornado…some say an F3 or F4…plowed
thru downtown Ft. Worth. As the storm hopped and skipped it's way east,
other twisters hit Arlington and Grand Prairie. Over a thousand houses
were damaged and high rise office buildings lost thousands of panes of
structural glass. Days later, I found pieces of pink insulation and intact
pages from an accountant's office in my back yard…eight miles away.
Fortunately, the main twister never got closer than four miles to my
house but a smaller one did. The damaging winds missed my house by a paltry
half mile. Still not close enough for you? Consider that I was out driving
at the time. My dog and I wound up hunkered down beside the Humane Society
with a 6,000-lb car in front of us for shelter while I listened to the
sound of a cataract. Best I can figure, I was a few hundred yards from
a smaller twister that didn't quite touch down. That's a near miss in
Nothing like a little excitement to keep things interesting, is there?
Speaking of interesting, modelbuilders love to speculate. That's what
keeps the rumor mill grinding. Considering all the rumors that seem to
be generated on virtually a daily basis, sometime you wonder how we ever
manage to get a model built!
Right up there with the rumor mill are the perpetual surveys. If it
isn't your favorite paint, you'll see one for kit of the year, favorite
tool, best magazine, best website, etc., ad infinitum. Probably the most
prevalent surveys are those asking about products you'd like to see. While
future kits and conversions are most common, you'll find surveys asking
about just about any other subject you can think of. And they can get
Case in point is a new survey taken by Dan LoRusso for the 1/32 Scale
Aircraft page. Obviously, the subject is 1/32 scale aircraft and is not
limited to complete kits. The intent is to encourage manufacturers to
consider adding some of these subjects to their 1/32 line. Or to start
such a line if they don't have one. As you'll see from the headings below,
it ranges all the way from complete kits to conversions, detail sets and
decals. If nothing else, it shows that 1/32 has not gone the way of the
passenger pigeon but is, in fact, alive and well.
To whom it may concern,
The following is a list compiled by myself, Dan LoRusso, for the 1/32nd
Scale Aircraft Web Site. The survey was up for 30 days. These are the
top vote getters. We hope this will influence your decisions to create
more 1/32nd scale products. Please feel free to contact me with any questions
AIRCRAFT KITS WITH MULTIPLE VARIANTS
F4U-1/1A/1D & F4U-4/5/5N/ AU-1
Ki 61/Ki-100 variants
P-51, P-51A, A-36, P-51B/C
Hawker Tempest V, Fury, Sea Fury
AIRCRAFT WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT VARIANTS
CONVERSION / CORRECTION / ADD ONS SETS
WW II air to surface weapons
Ground/deck crew sets WW II
COCKPIT DETAIL SETS
Mosquito Mk. IV
Luftwaffe unit insignia
RAF Sky Codes 24"/30"
RAF Grey Codes 24"/30"
Weapons Data Stencils WW II/Korea
Since Dan has done all the work for a 1/32 survey, and keeping in the
spirit of wish lists and surveys, I'd like to hear from y'all where 1/48
scale aircraft are concerned. Let's use the same categories as Dan did.
So…what ONE subject would you want to see in each of the above categories?
If I get enough responses, I'll tabulate and post them in next month's
In the process of searching for an item…which had absolutely nothing
to do with modelbuilding…I stumbled across a source for tools and related
equipment that is an absolute treasure trove. Looking for a hinge to use
on a wooden bracelet, I ran across a website listing for a company called
RIO GRANDE. They
have an 800 number (800-545-6566), which I called. As it turned out, they
didn't think they had anything suitable but would I like a catalog. Nothing
ventured, nothing gained and there was no charge, so I said sure.
was on a Friday. The next Tuesday, the catalog showed up…in a very weighty
Airborne Express envelope. I was expecting maybe a 100 page catalog. Instead,
I got two, each one looking like a small version of ye olde Montgomery
The first one is called Gems & Findings 2000 and is exactly what the
name implies. 563 8 ½ x 11-inch pages of every form of jewelry and accessories
you can imagine. From semi-precious stones to diamonds, pendants, chains,
fittings, loops, settings and more. Much more. There's also a section
on watches. Besides the watches and watchbands, you can also buy those
thin, shouldered, spring bars that attach bands to the watches. These
would be perfect for operating shocks on larger scale aircraft models.
Then you'll find watch repair tools and colored casting resins for manufacturing
art jewelry. Just one word of warning. Don't let your wife or significant
other get their hands on this catalog or your credit card (along with
your credit rating) will become an endangered species!
But it's the second catalog that'll have you taking up semi-permanent
residence in Nirvana! With the title Tools & Equipment 2000, I don't think
I have to tell you what the subject is.
the same 8 ½ x 11-inch format, this one runs to 485 pages. While geared
to the jewelry designer, probably a good 10% of this catalog is directly
applicable to serious modeling projects and another 10% or more has indirect
applications. It just depends on how creative you are.
For example, there's all kinds of scribers, electroplating kits, flexible
stainless steel rulers in decimal gradations, casting resings, various
types of RTV and molding rubbers, mold forms, pouring points, clamps,
scales, magnetic stirrers and on and on and on. By the time you browse
thru this tome one time, you're gonna have a list of at least 20 or 30
items that you are absolutely going to have to buy. Remember what I said
about the Gems catalog and your significant other? The same comments apply
to you when it comes to this Tools catalog.
Think I'm kidding? Wait'll you come to the Lost Wax Casting section.
If you're interested in doing casting of original detail parts, this area
will get your attention. Then there's the flex tools as well as page after
page of grinder, cutter and polishing tips that are mounted on a 3/32"
shank (which means they'll fit your Dremel). How about ultra-fine sandpaper
that goes all the way down to 8000 grit? And the prices ain't bad either.
A 10-sheet package of 8000 grit sandpaper is only gonna set you back $7.95.
Not bad when you consider that each sheet is a generous 8 ½ x 11 inches.
I could go on. In fact, I could spend an entire column on nothing but
this catalog and not do it justice. All I can say is punch up their website
or call that 800 number and order these catalogs (you'll get'em both,
regardless of which one you ask for). Believe me, you won't regret it.
For some time, REVELL-MONOGRAM
has been releasing many of the older MONOGRAM kits (some of them dating
to the mid-60s) as Monogram Classics. They're essentially repops of the
original kits, complete with original boxes, instructions and stock codes.
Many, thanks to their simplicity of construction and operating parts,
will appeal primarily to youngsters…and that's probably as it should be.
There are some, however, that will get the attention of the serious modeler…not
because of what the kit is but for what you can make of it.
in point is their 1/48 scale kit of the North American T-28A. Granted,
it has operating landing gear, the canopy slides, surface detail is raised
and the interior leaves an awful lot to be desired by today's standards.
However, it's 1/48 scale, accurate in outline and looks like a T-28. When
you consider that it's the only kit in that scale (and possibly the only
T-28 in any scale, though I'm not sure of that), it gets your attention.
The raised surface detail is on the light side, making it easy to sand
off. It'll take a little more effort to remove the raised wing walks but,
again, not that much of a problem. Surprisingly, a number of small panels
are actually engraved, a fact that makes your job a little easier.
Cockpit interior is very basic, typical for 35 years ago (has it been
that long?), so the enthusiast will want to scratchbuild a new one. An
example of that is the fact that the pilot is molded into the front seat.
Instructions are replicas of the original style. Decals provide markings
for a typical USAF T-28A, exactly as they appeared in the original kit.
Keeping in mind that the T-28A was the first tricycle-geared trainer
in USAF inventory, that it was used as an advanced trainer to transition
pilots to jet fighters, as well as the fact that this kit is the only
game in town, you might want to think about adding one to your list of
future projects. Price? $ 11.00.
Monogram Classic is aimed directly at the car nu…ahem..enthusiast. Badman
was a 1955 Chevy 'Funny Car' and dragstrip gasser. Powered by a 396 c.i.
engine and connected to the road by wide slicks on the rear axle, it was
frequently seen with it's front wheels off the ground.
Badman was an excellent, fully detailed kit when Monogram first released
it and nothing's changed. Except for a modern day clamshell box and a
small trading card inside the box that duplicates the boxtop.
The kit is still molded in bright yellow and everything except for the
chrome sprue, tires, instructions and decals are bagged. Though the body
is molded in one piece, you can expose the engine room via an operable
hood. Incidentally, this kit does have one feature that's on the unusual
side, unless you've seen the real Badman. The window glass (including
the windshield) and the transparent hood-mounted supercharger shroud are
tinted red. So, no, you haven't suddenly walked into a photographic darkroom
(with it's red safelight). Suggested retail on this one is $12.25.
nostalgia being so prevalent where plastic kits are concerned, repops
sometimes show up in strange places. This is especially true where figure
kits are concerned. For example, quite a few of the old Aurora kits are
being marketed exclusively by Toys R Us. Two that I've gotten my hands
on lately recall the days of DC Comic Books circa the middle 60s.
The first one takes us back to a 1965 Aurora release of a 1/8 scale
Batman. Produced from the original molds, all the parts are the same.
The box, however, is a large clamshell affair, instructions are new, parts
are molded in China, the kit is now a Revell product and the price is
But not to worry. Unless you happen to collect original boxes, it's
the kit you're interested in. Right? Right! So, the kit is cleanly molded
with no obvious flash and consists of some 37 parts. Instructions, while
new, are quite clear...although they don't indicate the exact shade of
blue and gray that is identified with Batman. For that, you'll have to
rely on the boxtop, one of the old comic books or your memory (if that's
when you grew up). If you've been wishing you could find one of the old
Aurora Batman kits, now's your chance.
almost criminal to have Batman in your figure collection and not have
his cohort Robin right beside him. And you don't have to. Revell has also
repopped the Aurora kit of Robin as a companion piece.
Aside from the fact that the original kit was released a year later
in 1966, all comments relative to Batman apply to Robin. Of course, Robin
wears green and red with a yellow cape and much more exposed flesh.
JONATHAN THOMPSON/PUBLISHER, 1331 South Birch Street, Santa Ana, California
92707 (tel. 714-542-7145) has released a fifth volume in their aerospace
company history series. This one is particularly important because it
completes a 2-volume set on a company that has produced some of the greatest
aircraft ever built…North American Aviation.
North American Aircraft 1934-1999 Volume 2 by Kevin Thompson utilizes
an 8 ½ x 11 horizontal format. This semi-stiff cover book runs to 192
pages and carries a price tag of $35.95. But they also offer a deal for
individuals. Send'em $36 and they'll ship the book to you postpaid. Keep
in mind that they do not accept credit cards, but checks, money orders
or even (gasp!) cash is welcome.
that you know the price and where to order it, what do you get for your
money? Quite a lot. To begin with, photographic quality is excellent.
This is due in large part to the fact that this is a company history…meaning
most photos come from company archives. Over 290 photos (more than 30
in color) are packed into the book, along with 3-views, ghost views and
artist's renderings. This volume begins with the T-28 (making it an ideal
companion for the repopped Monogram T-28 kit) and covers all variants.
It even shows a T-28D in Viet Nam camouflage. Coverage continues thru
all subsequent North American designs, including the XFV-12, F-107, B-70,
Space Shuttle, B-1, X-31, even the proposed X-30 National AeroSpace Plane.
There's 11 pages of North American Model Numbers and Production Figures,
along with a 3 page bibliography.
If you have any interest in North American Aviation (and who among
us doesn't), this volume…along with Volume 1…belongs on your bookshelf.
The latest addition to Specialty Press' Warbird Tech line is Volume
27, Lockheed AH-56A Cheyenne by Tony Landis and Dennis R. Jenkins. Price
is their usual $16.95 and it can be ordered from Specialty Press, 11605
Kost Dam Road, North Branch, MN 55056 (tel. 800-895-4585). Be sure to
add $4.50 per order for shipping and handling.
years ago, or a little more, Aurora produced a 1/48 scale kit of the AH-56.
Shortly after that, I acquired a set of 3-views from Lockheed that just
happened to be in 1/48 scale. Interestingly, when I placed the kit parts
over the Lockheed drawing, it turned out that the kit was dead accurate.
I've been hoarding that kit ever since, hoping for two things. First,
that I could eventually find a second one that I could build while keeping
the one I have in it's box. Second, that a reference source would show
up with enough information to do the kit justice. Well, I'm still looking
for another kit but the reference source is now available.
The AH-56A book is everything we've come to expect from the Warbird
Tech series. 100 pages, semi-stiff covers, 160+ photos and drawings, including
4 pages of color and an 8 ½ x 11 vertical format. In fact, they've outdone
themselves this time.
Rather than jump right into the AH-56 design, the first 34 pages start
with helicopter aerodynamics (they don't fly, they beat the air into submission),
a condensed history of rotary wing development that takes you thru the
AH-1 Cobra and the background on the AAFSS (Advanced Aerial Fire Support
System) that would eventually culminate in the AH-56A. We also find out
what the primary stumbling block was to the Cheyenne's success…Robert
McNamara and his convoluted ideas on purchasing and production. Consider
what happened to the F-111 and you have a good idea of what the AH-56A
was up against. In the Cheyenne's case, it never even made it into service.
The AAFSS spawned some truly unique designs and these are covered as
well. Probably the wildest was the Convair Model 49. Basically a VTOL
with an articulated cockpit and crew of two, it was unusual to say the
least. Landis and Jenkins include a small dimensioned 3-view and an artist's
concept in the book.
From this point on, focus is strictly on the AH-56A. Development is
thoroughly covered, you'll find photos of the cockpit, drawings of the
instrument panel, tech manual illustrations of the gun turret and rotor
hub, along with a complete technical description of the aircraft. There's
also a page of Flight Test Duties, two pages of photos of surviving airframes
and a page of Significant Dates.
All in all, an excellent effort. As far as I know, this volume will
stand as the single source authority on a helicopter that was both ahead
of it's time and victim of Robert McNamara.
Prefer airliners? Then take a look at Volume 3 of the Airliner Tech
Series, also produced by Specialty Press. Airbus Industrie Airbus A340
by Scott E. Germain follows the same basic format as the Warbird Tech
Series. 100 pages, semi-stiff covers, 160+ photos that includes 4 pages
of color, an 8 ½ x 11 vertical format and a price of $16.95. See the preceding
review on the AH-56A for full ordering information.
aficionados will love the coverage. It starts with the initial development
and goes all the way thru the projected Very Large Aircraft development
proposal that will carry up to 600 passengers on two decks.
You'll find one chapter on engine choices and another large chapter
on detailed engineering. Incidentally, there's an inflight shot of the
A300 Beluga, an oversized, modified A300 that's touted as The Super Transporter.
Think of it as an all jet version of the Super Guppy. Color photos show
the A340 in various liveries, as well as one shot of the passenger compartment
and another of the very futuristic looking cockpit. There's also a chapter
on operating the aircraft, with much of it's success being attributed
to commonality (Shades of McNamara!) that works the way it's supposed
Finally, there are three pages of Appendices and the usual page of Significant
And that, folks, is about it for this month. Be sure to send me your
votes for the 1/48 aircraft survey.