First a little housecleaning. As the result of my ISP being gobbled up by a bigger one, I now have a new email address. My old one email@example.com will still work for the next five months if anyone insists on using it. But…my new and hopefully permanent email address is -drum roll please- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because there's gotta be at least one person out there who's wondering just where the heck that weird word 'tennexican' came from, a brief explanation. Rather than use rcm with a number after it (someone on mindspring was already using rcm) I opted to create something that would be totally unique. To wit: I was born in Memphis, Tennessee and have spent most of my life in Texas. In the 1830s, Texans referred to themselves as Texicans (Remember, Texas was part of Mexico prior to 1836. Mexicans/Texicans.), so I resorted to a little word splicing. TENNEssee + teXICAN = TENNEXICAN.
BLACK BOX has added six more cockpit detail sets to their list. Five of'em are 1/48 and one…lo and behold…is 1/32. They are: 48012 F-14D Tomcat (for the Hasegawa kit), 48013 F-16B Viper two-seater (for the Hasegawa kit), 48015 F-105G Wild Weasel (for the Monogram kit), 48018 AV-8B Harrier (for the Monogram kit), 48026 F-16A Fighting Falcon (for the Hasegawa kit) and 32004 F-16C Viper (for the Hasegawa kit). Prices range from $16.00 to $26.00.
If you're familiar with BLACK BOX, then you know what to expect. Detail is excellent with equally detailed instructions to keep you out of trouble. Jump over to the resin section of Internet Modeler for in-depth reviews of each kit.
Considering that they were first issued in the late 50s, nearly 45 years ago (Time flies!), you wonder how many are languishing on dusty shelves waiting to built someday. They are the original three 1/28 WW-I fighters from Revell: Sopwith Camel, Fokker Triplane and Spad XIII. About two or three years ago, they were finally joined by a fourth, the Fokker D.VII.
If you've been putting off building yours because you'd really like to do some super detailing but didn't think any aftermarket parts were available, you might want to reconsider. Drop in to the website of COPPER STATE MODELS www.amug.org/~copperst/ and you'll find a comprehensive list of photoetch detail parts for all of the 1/28 kits. They also offer a line of 1/48 multimedia WW-I aircraft kits and additional photoetch items in 1/32 and 1/48.
Because I have a Spad XIII kit on hand, I obtained six of their sets to help me breath a little life into it.
First up is set CSM 133, 1/28 Spad XIII Detail Set ($8.99). This is one of two sets you'll have to have before putting the fuselage together. You get everything from seat belts, buckles, throttle quadrant, dash switches and dashboards to control horns, access panels, engine covers, cabane rigging brackets and machine gun discharge chutes. Incidentally, all COPPER STATE photoetch is produced in nickel silver. Though stiffer than copper, it's actually easier to work with. You can also buff it, dull it or leave it natural to duplicate the exact effect you're looking for.
CSM 135 French Gauge Set ($7.99) is exactly what it says. You get gauge faces printed on clear and a fret of instrument bezels. Gauge faces are cut or punched out and mounted on the appropriate bezels. The result can then be mounted on the flat panel or you can scratch up gauge housings from round stock.
Since fighters need guns, CSM 109 Vickers MG Kit ($8.99) is essential. You get a pair of resin gun stocks and a PE fret for the rest of the guns. Since the barrels have to be rolled to form a tube, you'll need a healthy dose of patience. But by the time you've added the spring covers, cocking handles, ammo belt and all the rest, it'll be worth it.
Now that you're already hip deep in added detail, this next item is an absolute must. Instead of sticking with the stock plastic prop, consider adding a real, laminated, hand carved, wood propellor. COPPER STATE offers an entire line of wood props at very reasonable prices. If you need a wood prop that they don't carry, they can produce it in just a few weeks.
The one I have for my Spad XIII ($14.00) is a beaut. And since the prop is the most visible…or most obvious…component that visitors to your display case will see at first glance, how can you do without it?
Opt for the wood prop and you'll need two more items to finish things out. CSM 102 Prop Bosses ($8.99) and CSM 101 Nuts & Bolts ($6.99).
You get three different styles of prop bosses and two different sizes. It's simply a matter of selecting the correct size and bolt hole pattern. Once the bosses are installed (one on each side of the prop hub), cap things off with bolt heads and nuts added over the holes.
Incidentally, the nuts & bolts (which are miniscule to begin with) are not contained on a fret. Instead, they're mounted on a self-adhesive rubber backing. Be sure to read the instructions for the proper way to remove the individual parts.
ATTENTION: If you've been planning on ordering a B-25G conversion kit from ACCURATE MINIATURES, scrap those plans. All B-25G conversion sets have been sold. There are no more. E-Bay anyone?
Also, some of the B-25C/D kits that have been ordered directly from ACCURATE MINIATURES do contain B-25G conversion sets. Whether or not this applies to every B-25C/D kit, I can't say.
Modelbuilders are, for the most part, also tool freaks. Goes with the territory, really, because the right tool - no matter how exotic - can be indispensable in producing a better model. That's the attitude that's resulted in our adopting scalpels, hemostats, dental picks and God knows what else.
Now take a look at a cute little thing that's available from THE TOOL MAN. No idea what it's real name is, but I call it a Squissor for reasons that'll become obvious.
Only 4 1/2 inches long and with 1/2 inch long blades, this booger is essentially a miniature pair of scissors. What makes it different is that, instead of the familiar handles with finger loops, it's built more like cross-action tweezers with spring handles. To use it, you simply wrap your hand around it and squeeze to close the jaws. It takes only a moment to adapt to the squeeze/release/squeeze/release pattern to make it work. And it's the squeeze action design that resulted in my calling the thing a Squissor.
Because of it's small size, it's ideal for cutting decals from the inner areas of those overcrowded decal sheets we all have laying around. Sure beats using an X-Acto knife for the same purpose. And since there are no conventional handles, there's no getting your fingers stuck in the loops. The price? $9.95.
In 1967, a cartoon series about a boy and his Mach 5 race car hit American TV screens. Needless to say, kids took to it like a duck to water. As all series do, it ran it's course and vanished into the graveyard of old TV shows…but it wasn't forgotten. Thirty years later, in 1997, it returned to American screens and a new generation of youngsters where it has reaped as much success as it did the first time around.
The star of the show was, of course, the Speed Racer itself (also known as the Supercharged Formula 1 Mach 5). Described as one of the world's most futuristic cars, it was jammed to the gills with all manner of mind boggling devices and abilities. Twin rotary sawblades that rotated horizontally could be extended from the front fenders, there were built-in jackstands, bulletproof glass, the ability to travel underwater for short distances and even a homing robot. If you grew up on the Speed Racer show and have been lusting for a decent size kit of it, lust no more.
POLAR LIGHTS has released a dandy 1/25 scale glue kit that's rated as a level two. Price is $17.99.
As far as the kit is concerned, it's very nicely done. Parts are molded in white, chromeplated and clear styrene. They're all crisp and clean with virtually no flash. Chrome and clear parts, along with the tires and decal sheet are in one bag while all the white parts are contained in another. The only thing loose in the clamshell box are the instructions.
And as far as the instructions go, they're both thorough and clear. Do keep in mind that you have several options during the course of construction that are described at the appropriate time, so it wouldn't hurt to read them through at least once.
When you're finished, you'll have a model with a hinged engine cover, moveable homing robot cover and periscope. The steering is also functional. If you have a soft spot in your heart for the Mach 5 Speed Racer, your dreams have just become a reality.
By the way, as long as we're talking about POLAR LIGHTS, their bulletin board site is now showing the prototype of one of their future releases. A 1/72 scale kit of the C57D, the saucer ship that was featured in the classic science fiction movie FORBIDDEN PLANET. And just in case you're having a little trouble figuring the size, a 1/72 C57D would be a whopping 28 inches across! Considering that I'm a hard core science fiction enthusiast (nut?) and possess a soft spot for FORBIDDEN PLANET, I can't wait.
That's about it for this month. Besides running out of time, I'm trying to get this column finished and out of here before some nearby thunderstorms roll in and fry my computer's brain!