Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

IPMS Memphis
Classic Airframes Kit Contest


IPMS Memphis members with their Classic Airframes models

by Roger Rasor

Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale Messerschmitt Bf 109 C/D  is available online from Squadron




Each year, the IPMS-Memphis (Tennessee) Chapter schedules three club competitions that focus members’ skills on a specific theme or challenge. The 2006 March contest challenged members to build any of the kits marketed by Classic Airframes. The members of this aircraft-oriented chapter met the challenge in their usual way, by sharing their in-progress project work at the January and February meetings and displaying a table-full of finished models at the March meeting.



Classic Airframes Kit Contest


Members’ individual interests were demonstrated in subjects that ranged from pre-WW II single prop to Vietnam-era jet, and included some of the Classic Airframes’ earlier kit offerings as well as more current ones. Competition was stiff and judging took a little longer than usual. When the points were totaled, a South Vietnamese Air Force F-5A Skoshi Tiger by Richard Van Zandt took first place honors, a Brewster Model 239, in Finish markings, built by honorary chapter member (and IPMS Region 3 Coordinator) Phil Hale took second place and a Westland Wyvern, in Suez Crisis markings, by Scott Doyle took third place. Four others received special commendation. They included a Luftwaffe Bf-109B by Bill VonStaden, an IJN A5M-4 Claude by Kevin Wilson, a Royal Navy Hawker Sea Hawk by Roger Rasor and an RAF Mk. I Hawker Hurricane built by Jim Webb.


After the awards presentation, the modelers described their builds to the whole group. In commenting on his F-5A, Rich Van Zandt said his previous experience building the similar Sword T-38 kit served him well as he built the Classic Airframes release. Rich used Gunze and Alclad paints and kit decals to finish the model and he was very happy with the finished results.

In discussing his Finish Model 239, Phil Hale said that he enjoyed building what turned out to be his third Classic Airframes Brewster Buffalo kit…especially since he built this one for himself. HyperScale visitors who are familiar with Phil’s work will not be surprised at the highly realistic finish and weathering on his latest Brewster.


Scott Doyle noted that when he opened the Wyvern kit box, he was impressed with the contents inside. He said that he found a little bit of everything in this multimedia kit and, as can be imagined, alignment was the most difficult part of the build. Since there were no locating pins, it was necessary to carefully sand the butt joints for the horizontal stabilizers to achieve the proper 100 Angle, and Scott found it was necessary to fill and rescribe the multiple-piece vertical fin/rudder assembly to match the prototype. Scott said he also spent more time test fitting and aligning everything than is necessary with the average Tamiya kit and he warned that with an aircraft as complex as the Wyvern, reference material (like the soft cover 4+ Plus book) is a must.


Bill Von Staden jumped at the opportunity to build Classic Airframes’ recently released Bf-109 A/B kit. After building the Hobbycraft versions, the club’s resident Luftwaffe ‘Experten’ said the new kit was hands down the way to go for anyone wanting to build an accurate replica of an early 109. Bill said the build went smoothly and he felt that this kit comes closest to matching the fit and ease-of-assembly of most mainstream kits. The only real slowdown he experienced was when fitting the resin cowling to the fuselage. Bill experienced problems with the new Vallejo paints. Bill said that, when dry, the paint did not seem to adhere well to the surface of the plastic. So in the end, he resorted to using the tried-and-true Gunze RLM colors to replicate the finish on his Bf-109B. The results were striking.

Kevin Wilson finished Classic Airframes’ Mitsubishi A5M Claude kit in the vivid late-1930’s amber-colored varnished finish. Kevin said he spent quite a bit of time dry fitting components, filling seams and rescribing a number of panel lines before painting. To achieve the finish, Kevin airbrushed a light mist of an Alclad Aluminum/Gunze Gold mix over an Alclad basecoat and then used the kit decals. The paint scheme was definitely a showstopper! Since Kevin built this one from one of CA’s earlier releases, which lacks some of the refinements of their latest offerings, everyone was duly impressed.

Before assembling the Hawker Sea Hawk kit, Roger Rasor spent some extra time preparing the four-piece fuselage mating surfaces, carving out the gun ports and adjusting the fit of the resin castings into their respective locations. Roger said that he did not miss the missing locating pins. The horizontal tail planes fit nicely into the fin slot and he added evergreen styrene strips to the backside of the fuselage and wing parts before he mated them to one another to assure a firm and aligned attachment. He used a little Tamiya putty during the build and added a substantial number of small lead weight pieces to any and all nose cavities to keep the model from sitting on its tail hook. When finished, Roger said he enjoyed the challenges of building Classic Airframes’ kit of what he considers to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing jets ever to fly.


Jim Webb reported that, like others, he found the lack of locating pins on the Classic Airframes Hurricane kit to be the most challenging part of the build. Otherwise, the build was straightforward and Jim then finished the model in the kit’s early Battle of Britain camouflage scheme with the split white/black underside. Like Bill, Jim also experienced problems with the new Vallejo paints not adhering well to the plastic. Jim wasn’t sure whether it was the paint or the shinny surface of the plastic, but he found it necessary to touch up some areas of his paint job three times before he completed the model.

As the chapter members surveyed the results of their first 2006 club contest, everyone felt a little more satisfaction than usual with both the finished products and the whole experience. They expressed appreciation that Classic Airframes markets such a wide variety of aircraft subjects that each member was able to select a personal favorite while meeting the contest challenge. They acknowledged that building Classic Airframes kits did require a little more planning, preparation and skill than the typical build. But, all agreed that it was rewarding to see a table full of competitive models built from limited run kits that challenged everyone’s modeling skills.

The real proof of that shared opinion was born out at the IPMS-Memphis April club meeting when two of the newest in-progress models brought to the meeting were being built from more Classic Airframes kits. Thank you Jules!


Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Text Copyright © 2006 by Roger Rasor
Images Copyright © 2006 by Phil Hale
Page Created 20 April, 2006
Last Updated 20 April, 2006

Back to HyperScale Main Page