New KITS FOR 31/03/2018-01/04/2018

New stock pit-load PIT-ROAD S20SP 1/700 Working Russian Air Force machine (Metal made Su17 Su24 limited edition)

PIT-ROAD S39SP 1/700 Air Self Defense Force set 3 (limited to one with P2V Neptune made of metal)

Popular F-35 Lightning II 1/72 scale A is on sale from each company

Tamiya 1/48 Kawasaki Ki-61-id hien tony

1/72 IJA TYPE 3 FIGHTER Ki-61-1 hien tony

Kawasaki Ki61-i TEI TYPE 3 FIGHTER hien tony

Stunning SHARs and Blenheim update exclusive * ALL NEW FROM AIRFIX ART BOXES + NEW schemes + 1/48 Blenheim test shots Exclusive *

Welcome to this latest edition of Workbench and all the news, updates and exclusive announcements from the fascinating world of Airfix modelling. Before we let you know what we will be bringing you in this 70th edition of our blog, could we first send out a huge thank you to everyone who commented on how much they enjoyed our feature on David Gaspur’s magnificent 1/24th scale Hawker Typhoon museum diorama build and for all the positive social media activity it generated over the past two weeks. It is always rewarding to feature the modelling work of our readers, especially when a project is so imaginative that it is not only of great interest to modellers everywhere, but also provides modelling inspiration for the benefit of our hobby. As modest as he always is, David has been humbled by all these comments, but was pleased that the feature drew attention to the exciting project to potentially see a restored Hawker Typhoon returning to the skies once more. If ever this model has the opportunity to be displayed next to the restored aircraft, we will certainly endeavour to bring Workbench readers pictures of the occasion.

So, what do we have for you in this latest edition? Firstly, we take a look at a pair of recently released kits which joined the Airfix line-up with the announcement of the latest model range in January, but which so far have escaped our blog attentions. We look at the box artwork which helps to inspire thousands of modelling projects, before moving on to look a little more closely at the scheme options included with each kit. We also have the latest update from the stunning 1/48th scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF tooling, including a series of exclusive test shot images which will have us all planning some quality Blenheim building time later in the year. Finally, following on from his extremely well received guest appearance as a show review writer, our Lead Researcher, Mr Simon Owen, is back once more, as he brings us his latest review, this time from the recent Southern Expo show at Hornchurch in Essex. Without further delay, let’s begin with two kit reviews which feature quintessentially British aircraft designs, both of which offer us interesting new scheme options for these popular toolings.

Falklands Warrior comes of age

The magnificent artwork released in support of BAe Sea Harrier FA2 (A04052A)

Many Workbench readers will recall the times in the not too distant past, when Airshows used to be Airshows and the variety of aviation types on most display programmes was something we were all guilty of taking a little for granted – what we wouldn’t give for a Phantom, Nimrod or Buccaneer display now. Although Airshow popularity is never a consideration when developing new combat aircraft, one aircraft type which is still sorely missed and not only represented the very best of British aviation design and technology but also proved to be one of the most popular air display performers in UK Airshow history was the British Aerospace Sea Harrier.A navalised variant of the successful Harrier jump jet, the Sea Harrier was a fleet defender, capable of operating effectively from the Royal Navy’s diminutive aircraft carriers and offering a great deal of flexibility to Fleet Air Arm aircraft operations at sea.

Although widely dismissed as a credible, modern fighter aircraft by many in the aviation world, the professionalism of Fleet Air Arm pilots ensured that they obtained every last ounce of performance from their new aircraft and the Falklands War of 1982 highlighted the capabilities of both pilots and their machines to a global audience. Although pitted against faster and technically superior Argentine aircraft, which were able to operate from land bases, the Sea Harrier proved to be quite the modern dogfighter and posted incredible combat statistics during the conflict. Scoring 20(+3) air-to-air combat victories against Argentine attack aircraft, no Sea Harriers were lost in aerial combat, although several were destroyed due to ground fire and accidents. The Fleet Air Arm pilots proved to be so effective in aggressively engaging enemy aircraft that the Argentinean pilots nicknamed the Sea Harrier ‘Black Death’ and there were several reports of attack runs on the British Task Force being aborted, simply because of Sea Harrier activity in the area.

Although the Sea Harrier acquitted itself extremely well during the Falklands conflict, operating under such demanding conditions highlighted several deficiencies in the capabilities of the aircraft and an improved version would be needed. Reviving an earlier proposal to upgrade the aircraft, British Aerospace was awarded the contract to convert 33 existing FRS.1 Sea Harriers to Mk.II (FA2) standard and construct a further 18 new built aircraft. With the advantage of being able to speak to pilots who had operated the Sea Harrier in combat, the upgraded aircraft would be much more the versatile fleet defender the Royal Navy were looking for, whilst also possessing the flexibility to perform air to ground and reconnaissance roles. Upgrades in avionics, navigation, communications and cockpit ergonomics all made flying the new Sea Harrier much more efficient for the pilot, who could also now count on increased power from the Pegasus Mk.106 engine and better long distance interception capability from the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile. Outwardly, the shape of the aircraft did not appear to change too radically, except for the nose profile, which now housed the much more effective ARI 50019 Blue Vixen radar unit, which helped to ensure that the FA2 would be the most effective fleet defence fighter the Navy had ever deployed, even though it was perhaps less aggressive looking and a little more cultured in appearance when compared with its predecessor.

BAe Sea Harrier FA2, ZD608 ‘128’, No.800 Naval Air Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, HMS Invincible, Operation Deliberate Force, Mediterranean, July 1995.

This scheme is featured on the stunning box artwork which accompanies this popular release and shows the Sea Harrier employed in its secondary offensive strike role, as opposed to dedicated air defence. The Harrier and Sea Harrier are generally regarded as some of the most flexible aircraft to have ever served with the British military, possessing the capability to operate from almost any location at land or sea, whilst also having the speed and offensive firepower to destroy any strategic target. The undoubted qualities possessed by the aircraft make it seem all the more puzzling why they were withdrawn from service with what many still feel was undue haste, leaving the Royal Navy without a fixed wing sea defender and the Royal Air Force without arguably its most flexible offensive platform.

BAe Sea Harrier ZD608 was one of a batch of aircraft ordered in the months following the end of the Falklands War, making its first flight in 1985 and entering service with No.801 Naval Air Squadron in 1986. It was one of the many FRS.1 airframes upgraded to FA2 standard, with this later variant entering service in 1993 – a total of 56 aircraft were produced for the Royal Navy. Although its primary role was that of fleet defender, the FA2 was equally adept in a strike role, where its naval heritage allowed it to be deployed to trouble spots around the world and able to mount strike operations before other assets could be made available. To illustrate this flexibility, ZD608 took part in Operation Deliberate Force in 1995, flying from HMS Invincible in support of this NATO led air campaign to undermine the military capability of the Bosnian Serb Army. With around 400 aircraft from many nations taking part, approximately 340 targets were attacked between 30th August and 20th September 1995, many using precision guided munitions to minimise collateral damage and the risk of civilian casualties.

Following the Sea Harrier’s premature withdrawal from service in 2006, many aircraft were placed in long term storage and something of an uncertain future – would the aircraft be sold on to either India or Spain, or would they simply be used for spares? Eventually, ZD608 came into the possession of Jet Art Aviation Ltd, a specialist supplier of ex-military fast jet aircraft for museum, display and gate guardian use – she was sold to a private collector in Greece, making the journey from Yorkshire by road/ferry, with all the aircraft’s dismantled components carried on the same trailer. They discovered that with the Pegasus engine removed, the empty engine bay was cavernous and could hold a great many dismantled components. When she arrived in Greece, ZD608 was the only aircraft of its type in mainland Greece.

BAe Sea Harrier FA2, ZH809 ‘Admiral’s Barge’, No.899 Naval Air Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, Somerset, England 2004 – ’25 years of Sea Harrier Operations’ scheme.

Perhaps more than any other aircraft, Sea Harrier FA2 ZH809 served as a high profile flying epitaph to the passing of this unique British fleet fighter and one which exceeded all expectations during times of war. One of the most colourful and enigmatic performers on the UK Airshow circuit, this beautiful blue Sea Harrier FA2 starred at a number of events during the 2004/2005 seasons, where it instantly became one of the most sought after aircraft for photographers to capture, taking the already attractive lines of this handsome aircraft and giving it a welcome splash of colour. Known colloquially as the ‘Admiral’s Barge’, the aircraft was presented in this special scheme to commemorate 25 years of Fleet Air Arm Sea Harrier operations, even though by this time, it was already apparent that the aircraft’s days were numbered. Leaving the Royal Navy without a dedicated Fleet Defence fighter since its premature withdrawal in 2006, we are still waiting for the introduction of its intended replacement, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II twelve years later.

This particular aircraft was only delivered to the Fleet Air Arm in 1998 and at the time of its withdrawal from service had only been flying for eight years and clocked up a modest 1073 flying hours – it will, however, be remembered as one of the most famous Sea Harriers of them all, by nature of its flamboyant scheme and active participation on the UK Airshow circuit. Following her withdrawal from service, ZH809 went on to provide further support to the navy at the School of Flight Deck Operations at RNAS Culdrose, giving flight deck handlers the opportunity to work with a live aircraft in preparation for their posting to a Royal Navy ship. She did not spend long in this role and was seen languishing in open storage at Culdrose just months after her arrival, minus her nose and tail, looking rather sorry for herself, considering she had once been a major Airshow attraction. Interestingly, after a stint with Everett Aero at the former RAF Bentwaters in Suffolk, this airframe also found a new home in Greece, at an air museum at Karellas Koropiou, near Athens.

For an aircraft which is so inextricably linked with the Royal Navy, it is such a shame that no airworthy example of the Sea Harrier remains in Britain today, although if you wanted to see a former Fleet Air Arm Sea Harrier FA2 thrilling Airshow crowds once more, you could – but in Maryland, USA. Retired USMC test pilot Lt. Col. Art Nalls bought Sea Harrier FA2 XZ439 from a UK based collector in 2005, shipped the aircraft back to America where he and his team returned the aircraft to airworthy condition. Taking to the skies once more in November 2007, this is the first and only privately owned and flown Harrier of any description in the world and has gone on to star at many Airshows in North America since that date. As well as currently being the only airworthy Sea Harrier in the world, XZ439 is also the oldest surviving SHAR, as she was just the second aircraft to roll off the production line at Dunsfold. If one airworthy Sea Harrier in your collection were not enough, Mr Nalls now also owns a former Fleet Air Arm Mk.8 trainer, which he also intends to fly in the very near future – if only he could obtain clearance to fly them in the UK … there would not be a dry eye in the house (or perhaps more accurately, on the airfield).

British Aerospace Sea Harrier FA2 (A04052A) is available now on the Airfix website and in all good model stores.

The ‘Pocket Fighter’

Looking at images like this, is it any wonder that generations of people aspired to secure a career in the Royal Air Force

Thanks to the skill and professionalism of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team ‘The Red Arrows’ the diminutive Folland Gnat jet trainer

became one of the most famous British aircraft throughout the 60s and 70s, as it represented the force at countless Air Displays in the UK and overseas during this time. It did not however begin its development as a two seat training aircraft and was originally envisaged as a relatively cheap, light-weight yet high performance fighter/ground attack aircraft, which would not only be of interest to the RAF, but to many overseas air arms looking for a cost effective aeroplane. Despite possessing outstanding flight performance and showing promise in both the light fighter and ground attack roles, the British Government did not pursue this line of development and instead requested that the aircraft be developed as an advanced two-seat training aircraft. The new aircraft would be quite different from the original fighter variants, with the installation of a second seat and a more powerful engine necessitating some significant fuselage modifications, as well as a new wing configuration and tail unit. The first production Gnats for the Royal Air Force were delivered to the Central Flying School at Little Rissington in early 1962, but it would be No.4 Flying Training School at RAF Valley who would be the major operator of the Gnat in its RAF role.

Folland Gnat T.1, XS100 ‘57’, No.4 Flying Training School, Royal Air Force Valley, Anglesey, Wales, 1970.

For student pilots taking their first flight in the Folland Gnat, the experience must have been unforgettable. Having safely negotiated basic flight training in the steady and reliable Jet Provost, the Gnat must have seemed like something entirely different – real flying and surely what they had joined the air force to do. Like something of a pocket rocket, the Gnat was a delight to fly, fast and manoeuvrable and the ideal aircraft for future fast jet pilots to gain their first taste of real speed. The rather cramped cockpit must have felt reassuring for the student, almost as if they had strapped the aircraft on in preparation for their latest flight, but the diminutive stature of the Gnat also posed some significant drawbacks. Although it must have been thrilling for the student, in the rear seat, the instructor was having to do his work in an extremely cramped environment, with very poor visibility ahead, which would have been a significant drawback during critical phases of flight. It was also quickly found that taller pilots found it extremely difficult to fit in the Gnat and even worse than this, if they were forced to eject for any reason, there was the real chance that they could sustain severe injuries due to the cramped nature of the cockpit. This possibility saw taller pilots transferred to other aircraft in order to continue their training.

From an engineering perspective, although the Gnat was an extremely nice aeroplane to look at, it must have been a nightmare to work on. Everything was crammed into such a small airframe and with space at such a premium, a high degree of dexterity and even the ability to contort your body must have been prerequisites for the ground trades at RAF Valley. Despite this, the Gnat proved to be a successful training aeroplane, serving for 16 years with No.4 FTS at RAF Valley and the mount of both the Yellowjacks and Red Arrows display teams during their service life.

The box artwork which graces this release could hardly be more evocative and shows two 4 FTS Gnats in the skies high above Anglesey in what must have been a memorable playground for student pilots of the day and really captures the imagination of the rest of us mortals. Wearing what has to be considered the definitive livery for RAF training aircraft, it shows Gnat T.1 XS100 in company with a second aircraft being put through their paces on the latest training sortie and really effectively portrays the Hot Ship reputation of the aircraft. Produced in 1964, XS100 spent time in storage at a number of sites around the UK following its withdrawal from RAF service but was ultimately dismantled for something of an unusual future. After many years of outdoor storage, the rear fuselage from the instructor’s cockpit position backwards is now stored at North Weald, an airfield which is the current home for a pair of airworthy Gnats – the nose and front seat have been tastefully restored and is positioned inside the offices of an interior design studio in London.

Oscar EW-5894 Fallus Tactical Fighter Bomber, 80577-0, USS Essess, Mediterranean/Gulf, 1991.

For this rather special second scheme option, the distinctive Folland Gnat is given an attractive US Navy Ghost Grey finish, which could hardly be more different from the classic RAF training scheme which is the alternative. Gnat fans will probably be familiar with this unusual scheme, which is being included in an Airfix Gnat kit for the first time.

As with the Sea Harrier we featured earlier, 1/72nd scale Folland Gnat T.1 (A02105) is available now, both on the Airfix website and at your usual model supplier.

1/48th scale Blenheim test shots Exclusive

There is nothing we like more than bringing our readers the latest exclusive news and pictures from the most anticipated new tooling projects in the current Airfix range and do we have something special for you this time. In this Centenary year of the Royal Air Force, there can hardly be a more important aircraft in the development of a modern RAF than the beautiful Bristol Blenheim, which at the time it entered service as a light bomber in March 1937, was over 100 mph faster than the Hawker Hind it replaced. Indeed, the introduction of the Blenheim immediately presented the RAF a welcome increase in their offensive capability, as it was at that time, the fastest light/medium bomber in the world, able to outrun many front-line fighters of the day. Posting such outstanding performance statistics and representing the very latest in aircraft technology, the Blenheim was now the aircraft against which all other fighters would be judged and whilst it was undoubtedly an extremely capable aircraft at the time of its service introduction, its performance was now a benchmark for all future aircraft designs.

The incredible pace of aircraft development in the years preceding the Second World War ensured that the Blenheim did not receive the popular acclaim it deserved and is generally overlooked as one of Britain’s most significant aircraft, however despite this, we are certainly hoping that the release of our newly tooled 1/48th scale representation of the Blenheim Mk.IF will lead to more people looking into the history of the aircraft and the important position it holds in RAF history.

We are pleased to bring you the latest development update from the new Blenheim tooling, which marks an important stage in the production of any new Airfix model – the arrival of first test shots. For the Airfix design team, this must be a time both of great excitement and some trepidation, as they see the test frames from the new kit for the very first time and is the culmination of many hours of hard work – its arrival also heralds a further period of hectic activity, as every aspect of the kits component production and part assembly must be evaluated, which requires incredible concentration and attention to detail. This significant stage is where plastic is injected through the model tooling blocks for the first time, allowing the resultant component frames to be assessed by the Airfix design team and for test builds to be completed. At the end of this process, a full project review will take place and a report compiled which may include instructions for further alterations and refinements to the tooling block itself.

This series of images are exclusive to Workbench readers and show the test frames from the new 1/48th scale Blenheim Mk.IF tooling which have recently been reviewed by the Airfix team. The model is still at pre-production stage and the team will have already been assessing the tooling for accuracy and whilst these images may not represent the actual production kit components, they do allow modellers a fascinating insight into the work of the Airfix design team

The arrival of the first test frames also allows the Airfix team to construct the Blenheim kit from its component pieces for the first time, evaluating the fit and finish of individual parts as they proceed. Again, this important stage in the development process may highlight the need for some tooling refinements before the model can proceed any further – the build process may also result in the need for additional detail requirements or a construction order change to be included on the instruction sheet itself, which at this stage will be quite advanced. Our talented illustrator is more than capable of incorporating any suggested changes to this important document without too much trouble – our previous review of Instruction booklet production affords a fascinating insight into this process.

The exclusive Blenheim test build images included below show this important first build much earlier in the development process than Airfix enthusiasts would usually have the opportunity to see any new tooling project and are still very much in a pre-production state. Indeed, if you look at the second image in the group below, you can clearly see comments and instructions marked directly on the upper wing of the model – really fascinating detail for modelling enthusiasts to see.

This series of images show one of the test models constructed from the first component frames from the new 1/48th scale Bristol Blenheim tooling, which is used by the Airfix team to assess every aspect of the kits construction, fit and finish

It is already clear that the new 1/48th scale Bristol Blenheim Mk.IF is going to be an incredibly popular addition to the Airfix range and the sight of these fascinating test shot images show that the project is advancing as planned. The scheduled release date is November 2018 but as many of the recent new tooling releases have sold out within days of release, it would be advisable to reserve your example of this handsome new kit on the Airfix website or through your usual model supplier, if you are planning some quality Blenheim time. The next stage of the development process as far as Workbench readers are concerned will be to bring you pictures of a fully finished test model, which we look forward to doing in the near future, but until then, we hope you have enjoyed this exclusive Big Blenheim update.

Modelling ‘Scramble’ for Southern Expo 2018 Show

Regular Workbench readers will have enjoyed our recent review of the South West Model Show, which took place at Bovington Tank Museum in early February, which was compiled by Airfix Lead Researcher, Mr Simon Owen. Well, Simon has been out and about again and has kindly produced another review for our delectation, this time from the Southern Expo Show, which took place at Hornchurch Sports Centre in Essex over the weekend of 17th and 18th March. We are pleased to bring you Simon’s findings now, which we hope you enjoy.

The last trip I made to a modelling show was on a somewhat wet Saturday in February, with the drive down to the Bovington Tank museum being accompanied by a persistent rain shower. The good news for me is that for my second show of the year and my second chance to see what you, our modelling public, makes of our new releases, the weather had changed for the better (slightly). The bad news was that the rain had been replaced by snow and a temperature hovering around 0 (degrees Celsius in case our American readers are very alarmed).

The Southern Expo show is based in Hornchurch, just on the outskirts of London and describes itself as the friendly show, a title I certainly feel is well deserved. Based in a sports centre hall the show is somewhat smaller than the Bovington event, but the proximity of the tables and the way that traders, clubs and all sorts are mixed together certainly adds to the friendly atmosphere and vibe. While the temperature inside was not much higher than that outside, the quality of the modelling on display was certainly at the top of the scale.

My last report showcased some kits which we released some time ago, yet still build up into extremely fine models. This was again the same in Hornchurch, as the Nimrod which greeted me as soon as I walked in attests too. A model from just before the Hornby group take over, it is another kit that while not bad, is not on our current list to re-introduce, so it’s always good to see one built up and made, rather than simply lying dormant in somebody’s ‘stash’. This example is looking particularly good in its hemp colour scheme.

With Hornchurch being the site of a pivotal RAF Battle of Britain station, it was no surprise to see a few of our BoB era kits built up. But it was a refreshing surprise to see it was the Hurricane taking centre stage and that it was also accompanied by a number of our 1/48 BoB era figures too, as the two fine builds below showcase so readily.

If you haven’t already moved yourself out of your comfort zone by incorporating some vehicles or figures with your aeroplanes, you really should give it a go – you know they say that ‘a change is as good as a rest’ and the change in skill sets can only help a modeller improve his or her abilities. Especially when it comes to painting figures, as blending in skin and hair colours can improve the ability to do the same with aircraft interiors. Of course, if you usually build vehicles or figures, why not add an aeroplane to the mix?

I reported on some excellent builds by the Thames Valley Model Club in my Bovington report and this great club was back out in force at Hornchurch too. The beautiful Irish Walrus was back, but joined by some more of our latest releases, such as a number of fantastically finished Hawker Sea Furies.

Joining them on the table was this fantastic rendition of our recently released North American P-51D Mustang. This model has been completed using aftermarket decals, and the red Canadian scheme really sets off the lines of the sleek Mustang.

Moving up a few scales this glorious, motorized D.H. Mosquito was taking centre stage on the Medway Modelling Club stand, this model again utilising some accessories and also showing that minimal weathering can still result in a wonderful model.

Finally, as we left the show it was nice to see a range of Airfix smaller cars on display. From the Escort tooling released a fair time ago, to the more modern iterations of Mini, these lovely builds show that away from our main range of aircraft types, Airfix can still offer the modeller interesting subjects. And what review of a show held in the fair county of Essex would be complete without a Ford Escort?

All in all, this proved to be a great show and despite the cold conditions outside, the atmosphere in the hall was warm and the quality of the modelling was as ever, outstanding. My thanks to IPMS Hornchurch for organising such a fantastic event.

Thanks again to Simon for allowing us to enjoy another great review from a show which many of us would not have been able to view otherwise. For the modelling talent featured above, it must be nice to have your work acknowledged by someone with such industry pedigree as Simon and it is certainly great to see the current healthy state of modelling in the UK. We very much look forward to more of Simon’s contributions in future editions of Workbench.

All the images used in this review feature were taken by and are published with the permission of Neil Owen.

NEW FROM okbgrigorov

US Light Tank M24 Chaffee, Mammoth Edition 1.0 R72002

In addition to the standard plastic parts the Mammoth Edition 1.0 contain also the following sets:

Photo Etched Detail set for M24 Chaffee (OKB)

Photo Etched Side skirts for M24 Chaffee (OKB)

Photo Etched Turret bin for M24 (OKB)

Metal barrel for M24 Chaffee

Resin Idler wheel for M24 Chaffee

Choosing the Mammoth Edition 1.0 you are saving around 20% from the cost of the abovementioned sets. The are also available separately.


***PE parts***

plastic parts

Do not miss Asuka’s Red Box “Side” too!

A sight that this figure is often seen at the model shop. ↓ Do you not mind seeing a package around the box around the box for hands from the shelf ? On the side of Asuka’s red box there is a description of the features of the kit’s car and the contents such as decals. Can See Side You Of The Box Art At Model Shop. Asuka Box Shows Kit Details Too! Do Not Miss It. Please see in the model shop’s by all means! Red is dazzling! I will also blog. See you!