I continue to be amazed at the variety and quality of the product line from Master Models. I have had the pleasure to review their replacement ship gun barrels but this is the first opportunity I have had to review their aircraft accessories. This latest offering from Master Models is a pair of replacement .30 caliber barrels, perfect for the rear gun mount on most two-seater US Navy aircraft. These barrels are little jewels. Okay, I am not a machinist and so I am always impressed by quality lathe work. I was a bit astounded by the perforated cooling jackets. I will not even ask how it was done, but there had to be a computerized milling machine with an indexing arc to even space the dimples in this fine brass. Installation is easy, cut off the plastic barrel, drill a small hole and glue in the replacement barrel. Is the barrel worth the cost and effort?
In this set Quickboost offers a drop-in replacement set of exhaust pipes for the Trumpeter C-47. This set eliminates pesky mold seams and provides a deeper more realistic exhaust opening. The exhaust pipes in the kit and the QB replacements appear to have built-in mufflers. My guess is that Trumpeter depicted a later style exhaust. The Monogram kit, on the other hand, has a short pipe with a more turned out opening. This earlier style is more appropriate for the WWII aircraft. Working on the hunch that the QB pipes are a later style, I went through my reference and I have found pictures of Vietnam era Gooney Birds with such a pipe, including the AC-47 gunships. This also includes the C-47s the Army used for VIP transport in CONUS. So if you are modeling the later aircraft, including the Monogram AC-47 release, these mufflers would be more appropriate for your model. Highly recommended.
Those of us that enjoy building dioramas will like this new set from MiniArt. The kit titled “Flat Tile Roof” contains all the parts for two panels of tile roofing. These panels can be used single, covering a 9-1/2 x 5-3/4” area each, or used together to formed a peaked roof that will cover roughly twice the size of a single panel depending on the pitch.
First released in 1974, the Tamiya M8 Howitzer Motor Carriage still holds up reasonably well to more modern offerings by this company, as well as some of the new folks on the block. This is one of several 1/35 scale kits that Tamiya has decided to re-release this year, and I for one certainly enjoy having another opportunity to build some of the kits that I missed out on back when they were originally released, as I had not yet picked up the armor modeling bug. A few years ago, I recall seeing a photograph of an M8 built by another modeler, and I started a search that took me a little over a year to fulfill in finding one of the original kits. That one is still on a shelf (along with a Verlinden update set), but this was a great opportunity to build what is a very well designed kit, even by today’s standards.
Many times one of the areas that we find lacking in kits is the wheels. Usually the tread pattern is very shallow, incorrect, or incomplete. Plus, whatever tread is present on the kit parts tends to get removed when smoothing over the seam created from having the wheels in two halves.
Ultracast has recently released a series of 1/48 wheel sets for the P-38 Lightning. This review concentrates on the “diamond tread” version. The parts are cast in flawless cream colored resin and feature beautiful detail including valve stems. Also on the main wheels, the internal brake drum is visible through the open spokes. The tread pattern is good and defined, and is more accurate than that in the Hasegawa kit. Comparing photos of wartime P-38 wheels, the Ultracast pattern looks correct while the kit tread pattern is very small. There is also a very slight flattening effect in the resin parts, which looks far more authentic than the “other” more common resin wheels available.