Models In Review
    Reviews of models and static display model products.
     This page was most recently updated  Wednesday, July 29, 2009

When a new friend from Australia sent new kits whose value far exceeded that of the pages of data I scanned and sent him via e,  I decided to show my appreciation for his support by launching this new page. I hope it sends some business to the kit makers included here. And if other kit manufacturers and/or retailers want to get aboard this page, please direct your good inentions to

Before sharing the material originally posted at the top of the page, I am pleased to share two reviews by modeler Kevin Panting who builds models on commission. His reviews will be a regular feature here as this page grows. If you have kits you don't want to, or don't have time to build, consider engaging Kevin. Enail him and tell him AeroKnow sent you.

Airfix  1/72  Junkers  Ju-87B/R  Stuka  Kit # A03030
by Kevin Panting 

 The Ju-87 Stuka entered Luftwaffe service in 1937.  One of the most well-known of all WWII dive bombers, it was used with great success in support of Germany’s Blitzkrieg.  The Stuka was pretty much outdated and outclassed by the time of the Battle of Britain, making it a prime target for Spitfire and Hurricane pilots.  It was used extensively by both German and Italian Air Force units from the Eastern Front to the Middle East.

 This kit is designated as a Skill Level 2 kit.  The kit consists of 52 light grey parts and 1 clear canopy.    The parts are nicely molded with moderate flash.  The panel lines and rivets are all raised and fairly precise.  The detailing is crisp and mostly accurate.  Some of the smaller parts are a little larger than they should be, but this isn’t a real issue with the finish of the kit.  Most flat surfaces do have some ejector pin marks that will require moderate sanding/filling to remove.  The one-piece clear canopy was flash-free, but it appears to be a little thick for a model of this scale.  The canopy frames are adequately raised and were easily masked and painted.


 The instruction sheet is printed in several languages.  The assembly steps correspond with the part numbers.  The assembly drawings are well-done and easy to follow.  The only drawbacks that I found with the instructions were the vague painting references.  All painting cues are given in Humbrol paint numbers with no written color notations.  The Humbrol numbers were easily cross-referenced at the Humbrol website


 This kit has very minor cockpit detailing.  As is with a lot of 1/72 kits, you get a couple of seats and some pilot figures.  The pilot figures in these 1/72 Airfix kits are amazingly well detailed.  T stick was well detailed also.  I decided to go the “extra mile” with this kit.  I scratch-built some ribs for the inside of the cockpit.  I added a throttle/mixture quadrant, pilot armor bulkhead and headrest, oxygen system, gun sight and various smaller details.  I also made some seat belts from masking tape, plastic bits and paper grocery bags. 


 The fit of this kit was inconsistent.  The cockpit floor will require the builder to pay close attention to the assembly drawings to make it fit correctly.  The fuselage halves fit together nicely with just a bit of sanding needed to blend in the seam lines.  The hardest part of that is trying to sand around the finely raised details.  The main wings and empennage fit on the fuselage nicely with little gapping.  It was after I glued the main wings on that I noticed that the port wing tip was much higher than the starboard one.  The angles of the port wing gull bend and the attachment point were not the same as the starboard wing.  The glue was set enough so that removing the wing was not really an option.  I ended up heating the wing at the gull angle and bending the outer wing down.   This did bring the wingtip down sufficiently.   Make sure of the angles of the mounting surfaces on the main wings prior to gluing and letting them set up.


 The only other small issue was the length of the horizontal stabilizer support struts.  The struts are slightly too short to be attached at the molded mounting holes.  I glued them at the correct position on the fuselage, and then moved them slightly inboard on the underside of the stabilizer.  This will allow for the correct 90 degree mounting angle of the stabilizers.  I also drilled out the cannons that were molded into the wings and removed the landing light from the port wing.  I put some tubing into the wings for the cannons and built a bulb and lens for the port wing landing light.


 This kit comes with painting instructions and decals for 2 different versions. 

 The painting and decaling instructions are concise and easy to understand.  The decals are very nice looking and mostly on register.  The decal film was very thin and adhered almost too well.  They dried and conformed to all of the surface details.

 I chose to build this kit as the Luftwaffe “Immelmann” Stuka based in France in 1940.



 Overall, this kit was a moderately easy build.  However, it did require more than a little modeling skill.  It should be easy for an intermediate modeler.  I found it enjoyable to build and paint.  I liked this small-scale Stuka.  The level of detailing is what would be expected for a kit at the price level it retails for.   I would have to rate this Stuka 2 Bombs out of 4.

 Thanks to Mike Phillips of Hornby Hobbies for the review copy of this kit.   The entire Airfix catalog can be seen at

Airfix 1/72 Cessna O-1E/F Bird Dog
Kit # A01058

by Kevin Panting
Bird Dog - 01.jpg (40463 bytes)   Bird Dog - 02.jpg (74015 bytes)

The Bird Dog is a 2-seat reconnaissance and liaison aircraft. It was first used during the Korean Conflict, as the L-19. Redesignated in 1962, the O-1 was more extensively used by the United States Army and Air Force during the Vietnam Conflict. Although slow, 115 MPH, it was a valuable asset for artillery spotting, forward air control and reconnaissance. The O-1 carried up to 4 target marking smoke rockets carried underwing.

This kit is sold as a skill level 1 kit. It appears to be a re-release from 1973. The parts consist of 4 sprues of light grey parts and 1 sprue of clear parts. They   are decently molded with moderate flash. The panel lines and rivets are all raised and fairly precise. The detailing was actually better than I expected for a kit this size. Most flat surfaces do have some ejector pin marks that will require moderate sanding/filling to remove. The clear parts are flash-free, but seem to be overly thick. This does, however, make handling them much easier.

Bird Dog - 10.jpg (33602 bytes)

The instruction sheet is printed in 10 languages. Also included is a separate sheet with alternate finishing/decaling options. The assembly instructions are fairly simplified. The assembly steps correspond with the part numbers. The assembly drawings are well-done and easy to follow. The only issue that I found with the instructions was the vague painting references. All painting cues are given in Humbrol paint numbers with no color notation. You can cross-reference the Humbrol numbers at

This kit was built out-of-the-box with no add-ons or modifications that weren’t necessary for kit construction.


The cockpit details are very sparse with a nicely detailed pilot figure. I recommend mounting the windscreen and back glass after painting. On the recessed portions of the main wings are some molding buildups that will have to be removed for the wing pieces to fit together properly. If mounting the rockets, make sure to clean out the holes underwing. You will want to test fit the clear parts in the upper part of the wing, and do a little clean-up before cementing. The main wings and the empennage fit on the fuselage nicely with little gapping.

Bird Dog - 14.jpg (35959 bytes)  

The nose piece was the only fiddly bit on this kit. It had to be trimmed and sanded quite a bit to fit correctly. I cemented the propeller on after cementing and shaping the nose piece.

The clear pieces fit nicely, in part, because of the oversize nature of them. They were also easy to mask with quality masking tape or liquid masking. The oval windows in the top of the wing are recessed enough to easily paint around.


This kit comes with painting instructions and decals for 3 different versions.

DJ-12503 Vietnamese Republic Air Force, Late 1960s

119705 Tactical Air Group Mobile Command, Canadian Armed Forces, 1974

0-72976 United States Air Force, Late 1960s

The painting instructions are concise and easy to understand. The decals are rather old, however. They are mostly on register, but rather thick and very yellowed; what would be expected for decals from a 1973 original release date. Upon application,   the problems began. The decals were cut-out and placed in water. After soaking for a minute or so, I took them out, and applied a little decal setting solution to them. When I tried to apply them, they broke into lots and lots of very small pieces. I contacted Airfix and was assured that some replacements were on their way. When I received them I coated them with some decal renewing solution and applied with no problems.

I chose to build this kit as the Vietnamese Republic Air Force O-1E.

Bird Dog - 18.jpg (27927 bytes) Bird Dog - 16.jpg (56478 bytes)


Overall, this kit requires more than a little modeling skills. It should be easy for an intermediate modeler. I found it fun to build and paint. The kit itself is not bad, but it shows its age a bit with the raised detailing. It makes a nice display model. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in Vietnam Era warbirds. For what it is, and the price, I give this re-release a  "2 Props out of 4" rating.

I would like to thank Mike Phillips of Hornby Hobbies for the review copy of this kit. Although I experienced a little trouble with the decals, the customer service was excellent. The entire Airfix catalog can be seen at   As this is my first attempt at a kit evaluation/review, I would like to dedicate this to the memory of my father, who encouraged me to start modeling when I was 7-years old. Thanks Dad.

Bird Dog - 17.jpg (48785 bytes)

          sefura3.jpg (34796 bytes)
   High Planes Models is probably the most esoteric kit producing enterprise going today. Their array of 1/72 and 1/48 kits of unlimited and midget racing aircraft and military birds makes my mouth water. After receiving three kits, I am determined to acquire and build everyone I can bet me 'ands on.
   Their 1/72 Hawker Sea Fury "Furias" (Racer 006 in the catalog) depicts a red and gold bird powered by Wright 3350 driving a four-blade prop. The box opens from the top; not the side which is The Way boxes should open.
          sefura2.jpg (51027 bytes)
   Contents are a mite flashy, but that's expected with limited run kits. It's nothing a razor saw and a little sandpaper can't fix easily. Details are moulded very finely engraved, perhaps too shallow for hamfisted reviewers like yours truly, but most experienced modelers will truly appreciate it.




           sefura4.jpg (57973 bytes)
     Notice the metal parts for landing gear struts, tail l.g., and cockpit stick. Two tail gear wheels and struts and a tail hook are included. I am guessing that a standard Sea Fury is either in or slated for their product line. Quality of the metal parts is first rate despite a little flash. Canopy is vacuformed.




        sefura11.jpg (14838 bytes)
   I've set up a special work table in my office to work on review kits. The certificate above the table displays my involvement with Abe Lincoln's Air Force. To learn more about this group, e me.







          sefura10.jpg (17024 bytes)
    Instructions are fine, but don't mention the extra parts. Top and bottom halves for a larger right wing radiator are included. Cockpit details are okay with panel, floor with side consoles a seat and back wall. Minimal effort is needed to fit these and the two piece engine. A hole for a prop shaft should be drilled before assembling the engine and installing it in a fuseage half. Getting it to fit, with just a little of the crankshaft extending past the cowling, will take significant effort. Note this is a very non-standard 3350, not a Centaurus, with an air scoop at the top. This also explains the four-blade prop instead of the five-blade Rotol original.
     This review will continue.
        sf9w.jpg (24333 bytes)
   This 3350 equipped two seat Sea Fury took an extended hiatus from flight at Springfield's airport a few years ago. Look for more pictures of this bird at my Sea Fury Gallery here








Return to my Modelair Museum page here
Return to AeroKnow home