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Richard Marmo's


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 anyone's book!

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 very specific.

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 or comments.


F4U-1/1A/1D & F4U-4/5/5N/ AU-1


Bf 109B/C/D/E/F/G/K


Ki 61/Ki-100 variants






Fw 190D-9/11/12/13/15


Ta 152C/H




F9F Panther/Cougar


P-51, P-51A, A-36, P-51B/C




Hawker Tempest V, Fury, Sea Fury




Ar 234B/C/D


Ju 87A/B/D/G





He 162




Ki 44



Fw 190D-11/12/13/15


Ju 87A/D/G


Ta 152C/H


FM-2 Wildcat


Bf 110G






WW II air to surface weapons


Hawk 75


Ground/deck crew sets WW II





Fw 190D-9/11/12/13/15


Fw 190A/F/G




Bf 110C/D/G






Mosquito Mk. IV


F4F/FM-2 Wildcat


P-47D Razorback/Bubble


Ki 84





Fw 190D-9/11/12/13/15


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 Scaleworld.


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.

This 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 Ward catalog.

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.

Using 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.


Case 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.


Another 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.


With 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 $9.99.

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.


It's 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.

Now 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.

Thirty 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.

Airliner 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 to.

Finally, there are three pages of Appendices and the usual page of Significant Dates.

And that, folks, is about it for this month. Be sure to send me your votes for the 1/48 aircraft survey.

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