|Micro Scale Plastic Aircraft
With new acquisitions and new releases, I've expanded this section to cover plastic aircraft of all sorts in micro-scale. There are a reasonable selection these days, though it is by no means extensive. The original section contained details (some lacking...) on Nichimo's 1/300 scale collection of US Navy aircraft. This has now been expanded to include the 1/288 scale large aircraft out of Russia (or Ukraine), the 1/300 scale pre-finished models of Japanese large modern aircraft, assorted 1/300 WWII aircraft from China, and Nichimo's 1/300 WWII Japanese aircraft.
Overall, the quality of these models vary. Nichimo's offerings tend to be excellent, and at least on par with most of the traditional metal offerings. The Eastern Express models are somewhat lacking in detail, and the construction of them is challenging (though certainly no worse than, say, CinC's F-14).
Nichimo 1/300 Scale Modern US Naval Aircraft
Nichimo 1/300 Scale Imperial Japanese Aircraft
Yujin 1/300 World War II Aircraft
F-Toys 1/300 Scale Pre-Painted Aircraft
Toko/Eastern Express Aircraft
Merit 1/350 World War II Aircraft
Shapeways Micro Scale Aircraft
|Nichimo 1/300 Scale US
|Nichimo is an injection-molded plastic
model manufacturer out of Japan. While they no longer make them,
up until recently they had six sets of 1/300 aircraft available.
While no new sets are being produced, they are a common item on eBay.
Each set generally contains 2 US carrier aircraft, plus a plethora of decals for them. The boxes have full-color illustrations of the aircraft, greatly simplifying painting. In addition, the decals are excellent -- many colors, a lot of variety, and sturdy. Frankly, the kits are worth it for the decals alone. The quality of the models is good, and generally equals that of the cast metal kits available from regular micro armor manufacturers.
The six sets are:
No. 19 Hawkeye & Ground Support Equipment
No. 20 F-4 Phantom II & EA-6B Prowler
No. 21 F-18 Hornet & S-3 Viking
No. 22 F-14 Tomcat & A-7E Corsair II
No. 23 A-4F Skyhawk & RA-5C Vigilante
No. 24 A-6E Intruder & F-8E Crusader
I have including photos below of the sets that I have (4 of the 6 out there)
(The model on the rifght is from Nichimo, on left from Skytrex)
Same model, in Greek colors
Assembled, but not well painted
F-4 and EA-6B Kit
|Nichimo 1/300 Imperial Japanese Aircraft
Nichimo at one point produced a series of 1/300 World War II Japanese aircraft, packed two per box. They were labelled the "Samurai Super-Micro" series.
I have only acquired one so far, a daul kit with the Kawanishi Shiden-Kai "George" and the Mitsubishi Type 0 seaplane "Pete."
Type 0 "Pete"
Kawanishi N1K "Rex"
Aichi E13A "Jake"
|Yujin 1/300 World War
These are very small kits imported from China. There are two series, one of five Japanese aircraft, and another of five aircraft from other major powers.
Here is a typical example of the decals included in the kit:
No. 1 A6M5 Zero
Assembled model and sprues
No. 2 Ki-61 Hien
Assembled kit and sprues
No. 3 Kawanishi N1KJ Shiden Kai
Assembled kit and sprues
No. 4 Type 97 Nakajima B5N "Kate"
No. 5 J1N1 Gekkou "Irving"
Assembled kit and sprues
Major Aircraft Of World War II
Box and Contents
Assembled aircraft prior to painting
Box and Contents
Assembled model prior to painting
Painted model is on the right, next to an ISM model. Overall a good model, easy to assemble and with good, crisp detail.
F-Toys make a series of perhaps six modern Japanese aircraft -- all large aircraft. I have so far acquired two -- the P3J and the Shin Meiwa US1 amphibian. Both are pre-painted anti-submarine aircraft requiring minor assembly. The models are excellent, though of limited use on the gaming table. They are manufactured by F-Toys, a Japanese (?) company that specializes in pre-packaged miniatures. They are widely available on eBay, though the price varies widely.
Shin Meiwa US1
JASDF C-1 Transport
A series of 1/288 models of fairly obscure Soviet and post-Soviet era heavy aircraft from Russian or Ukrainian manufacturers. I've purchased most (or perhaps all?) of them, but only assembled the AN-72P naval patrol aircraft so far.
Assembly was more difficult than expected, as the parts did not fit well together. After much sanding, here is the assembled model:
The model required a fair bit of filling, for which I used Games Workshop's truly excellent liquid green stuff. Their paints may be decidedly sub-par, but this is a truly wonderful product. It goes on like a thick paint, and the granularity is very fine, so it sands down quite smooth.
The model is also off balanced -- the tail will sink to the ground on its own. To make up for this, I put about a 1/2 pound of scrap lead in the nose.
After I painted the model, I went to install the glass cockpit. Here is the sprue:
As you will note, there are quite a lot of glass canopies provided, but the instructions didn't specify which to use. Normally, this wouldn't have been a major problem, as you would just pick the one that fits best. However, none of these fit well. After a fair bit of sanding and swearing, I did get one in, though the fit required more filling.
The kit, while it has its faults, it does come with an excellent set of decals, which hold together well and go on easily.
Here is the completed model. I struggled with the windscreen, and ultimately chose to paint it rather than leave it clear.
|Merit Pre-Painted Aircraft|
These aircraft are pretty much the dirt-cheap option for putting together a World War II US force for the Pacific. The aircraft are pre-painted and come 6 to a pack, generally priced at under $10 from Great Models. Overall quality is reasonable, though models are rather fragile. Also, they all have landing gear out, though that can be cut off easily enough. Size-wise, they are a bit small but not shockingly so.
Nice model, though they punted on the dorsal turret.
|Shapeways Micro Scale Aircraft|
In some ways, I think that 3-D printed models are going to be the way of the future. The quality isn't there yet, but it is getting closer every month. The total range of models available from the major commercial manufacturer, Shapeways, is also rising dramatically. Here are some examples of the first batch that I have ordered. Overall, the detail is not great, but not bad either, and the models tend to be crisp and clear. However, with some of the models, texture is an issue... as is price. Both should improve with time.
From Dragoman's Depot on Shapeways.com. A good model, but texture needs some work... and really, take my advice, don't try sanding it.
Tupolov TU-28 Fiddler
B-10 USAAC Bomber
Japanese Ki-30 "Anne"