PRODUCT REVIEW: TSR takes a look at J.M. Villalba’s new instructional DVD: Painting and Weathering Luftwaffe WW2 Aircraft


BW_Bust V2I pride myself on my knowledge of aircraft construction, history and immensely enjoy scratchbuilding and superdetailing 1:48 scale ww2 aircraft kits.

I revel at the amazing number of excellent modelers across the globe who excel not only in the construction of great model aircraft, but the painting and finishing.  I had a great mentor when I got started back in the early 1990s, but a lot has changed since then, and I have not stayed current enough with the plethora of new paint and weathering products that have flooded the market.

I mean, there are just so many to choose from –  acrylic or lacquer-based paints, for instance (the never ending debate), post-shade or no post-shade?  Should I pre-shade?  How do I know if if I am going overboard on weathering techniques?  Well, these are just some of the questions that I struggle with each time I get to the painting stage of aircraft model construction.

I have long admired J.M.’s mastery of model aircraft painting, so when I saw that he had this new DVD, I simply had to bring a review to the TSR audience.  I must say, I walked away inspired, as opposed to my normal ambiguous and fearful frame of mind as it relates to painting!

Thank you to J.M. for providing TSR of a copy of this DVD to review.


Continue reading PRODUCT REVIEW: TSR takes a look at J.M. Villalba’s new instructional DVD: Painting and Weathering Luftwaffe WW2 Aircraft

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Proud to Announce Release of Resin2Detail Skink Turret in 1/72!


Well, it has certainly been a long time in the making, but is finally live, and has it’s first release.

Filling a long-sought need in the small-scale armor world, Resin2detail’s conversion will take your M4A1 turret and turn it into an impressive 4-barreled AA battery as seen right at the end of the European conflict in 1945.

The master was designed completely in 3D and printed on a world-class high-resolution printer.  What you get is unparalleled accuracy and finesse at a very reasonable price: $14.99!

Order through by clicking HERE.

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Progress continues on my Model Kit and Aftermarket Accessories Company: Dreamscale Model Works


BW_Bust V2Not sure how many loyal TSR readers still check in with any frequency for updates … I have been greatly remiss in providing updates.  I have been dealing with some major changes career-wise over the past 6 months.  TSR is going to experience a renaissance of sorts – more meaty articles, reviews and frequent updates. [please contact me through Facebook to submit content :-)]

In July, I finally decided to leave my full-time HR position with a fortune 100 company to pursue design work, and more specifically Model Design work, full time.  Luckily, I have millions of ideas floating around in my head about which projects are wanted/needed in the scale aircraft/armor/diorama arenas.  I also have reached out to one of my long-time friends and mentors for his thoughts and advisement.  He has dozens of years in the modelling industry and knows the trade inside and out.

The struggle is balancing “need” / demand with practicality and production requirements.  I’ll probably start out with a blend; perhaps a full kit with a bevy of diorama accessories.  Moreover, I will likely stay away from kit detail sets due to fit issues (I do not currently own a 3D scanner).  Conversions are still very much a possibility, and I have a number of contenders there ;-).

In any event, my first full kit release may be a  Junkers Ju-86  in 1/48.  I am a huge fan of WWII bombers, the more obscure – the better!  So, when I really delved into the story of the Ju-86, I was utterly fascinated by the number of unique variants, power plants and the like.  I was also very surprised to learn that there is only one Ju-86 left in tact in the whole world – and it is in Sweden of all places, at the Swedish Air Force Museum in Malmo.  Well, as it turns out, the Swedes used a K-4 variant with Bristol Pegasus (and later Perseus) engines well into the 1950s as sub hunters.  Great markings and camo patterns, along with cool torpedoes have all of the trappings of an interesting niche subject.

Here are some screenshots of where I am so far in the design process – I would say about 30% complete.  I need to complete the wings/landing gear, and then move onto the interior components.  The wings (I feel) will be the trickiest of the parts to model.  The fuselage shell is already established, so I will need to add bulkheads, cockpit goodies and gunner stations.

Release date: Unknown at this point in time.  Design will hopefully be locked down by the end of October.
Future releases: D (Jumo 205 Diesel Power Plant) P/R (my favorite) Release dates for these: Q1/2 2016.

Please stay tuned for updates – as always, comments most sincerely welcomed!


Copyright Brian Watkins © 2015


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TSR Exclusive Interview: Author and Master Modeler April Welles Drops by TSR!

Hello everyone!

As I sit here inside on this cool snowy day in New Jersey, my thoughts turn to modelling.  Over the weekend, I setup my new basement workshop which has been beckoning me to come and finally finish my father’s 1/48 Roden Mohawk!  I am constantly inspired by the great modelers and friends I have made through Facebook.

I am excited to present this outstanding interview with noted Sci-Fi Modeler and Author April Welles from Halo, HI!  Not only is her model of the Daedalus Icarus outstanding – she did it using only her non-dominant hand!  It is so easy to get into the same old routine when starting a new model – this approach shatters the mold.  It is like luminosity for the modeling brain – take those challenges that come along or come up with one of your own!


April Welles and TSR © 2015

USS Icarus

1) Can you tell us a little about yourself – how long have you been modeling?  

I have been building models, mostly, for about 17 years. I started when I was a child, but I did not receive a lot of encouragement from my family. They did not like that I built them. My first model I recall building was the 1/32 F4U Corsair from Testors (I believe). I enjoyed building it, and, I admit that I did play with it a bit afterwards. Heck I was 7. Why not.

I got the model as a gift because I used to enjoy watching ‘Black Sheep Squadron’ and thought the planes were cool (although my favorite WWII plane is the P-38).

How, if I received very little encouragement from my family, did I get a model kit? They didn’t think I would want to do more. They thought it was a small phase, and after trying to build one I would give up.

I did not, entirely. But I did get scorned looks from my step-fathers, and confused looks from my mother. Why did I like building Naval Vessels, and occasional aircraft? Then when I got into Science Fiction models, well, that’s when things went downhill for me.

Without getting further into it, suffice to say the effect upon me was enough to make me stop building for about 10 years.

I started for a short time as an adult in Santa Clara, CA. But stopped again after less than a year. Until I finally moved to Oregon. THERE is where I was able to build to my heart’s content. That was 17 years ago.

2) Where do you hail from?

I have moved a lot in my life. A lot. But I was born in North Dakota, then at six months I was brought to Northern California. After many, many, many other moves, I finally spent my longest years in Portland Oregon, before moving to The Big Island of Hawai’i five years ago.

3) I know it’s a little off-topic, but you are a female modeler in a hobby dominated by males.  Do you compete or belong to any clubs?   

I belong to a great club called The Co.M.Mi.E.S., The Colorado Modelling Militia Enjoying Sci-fi, led by our Fearless Leader, Dan Holmes. A very wonderful group. Filled with very encouraging and enlightened males, some of whom are married with very supportive, and in many cases, very artistic wives as well.

There are no competitions in the group that I am able to attend. Although, they have been recognized as an IPMS Chapter about 6 years ago (possibly a bit longer).

I have submitted my builds at the local IPMS challenges in Oregon a few times and won 1st place for a few of my builds, as well as Best Science Fiction subject.  I have also entered many of my builds into the contest at Wonderfest in Louisville, KY.

I have won many Bronze medals, as well as a Silver for my modified 1/32 Monogram Viper from Star Wolves Squadron (my own squadron).

Here in Hawai’i there are no model stores, or hobby stores. Nor are there any modeling groups or clubs on The Big Island.

4) Have you had an uphill battle to gain the respect of your fellow modelers?

Before I was asked to join the CoMMiES (after meeting me at my second Wonderfest in Louisville, KY), yes, I had a challenge being accepted by males.

I built many Sci-fi subjects (what I primarily focus on) and put some on display at my local hobby store, in Portland, 17 years ago.

They were a pair of 1/43 AMT X-Wings that I had kitbashed and modified with my own ideas.

One was painted in shades of blue with six forward-firing cannons, with a female pilot standing nearby checking the landing area for possible threats. I detailed the cockpit and made the forest clearing terrain using railroad supplies. The plaque was titled ‘Arctic Phoenix’ as that was the pilot’s name for her fighter, as well as a play on her own name (Daranah Fenix).

The other X-Wing I built as an Experimental one. It had a bare metal finish except for blue stripes along the fuselage and the wings. It had a rear-firing Ion Cannon and the standard forward wing cannons.

This build also had battle damage and showed some of the internal machinery; Blasted wing cannon, power conduits, lowered Proton Torpedo Launcher (for maintenance and reloading), the nose sensors, and a detailed cockpit. The base was a desert terrain, with some scratchbuilt droids and other tools and equipment about, with ground crew working on the fighter.

The pilot was standing beside it, hand touching it, caressing it, thanking it for bringing her home. The title on the plaque was ‘Incom T-65A-IC: “The Caress”‘.

    As I was standing in the hobby store admiring those builds a couple of young men (late teens-early 20’s) entered the hobby store, stood in front of me and were admiring my builds. Making comments like, ‘That’s so cool.’,  ‘Man, that’s really original.’, ‘Awesome work.’

Feeling bolstered, I stepped forward and expressed my thanks.

Continue reading TSR Exclusive Interview: Author and Master Modeler April Welles Drops by TSR!

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Product Spotlight – TSR takes a look at Dio Dump’s French Village in 1/72!

Make: Dio Dump

Model: French Village Street “Faumont” (Item # DD020)

Scale: 1/72

Price: €20.95

By Brian Watkins

Copyright TSR © 2015

BW_Bust V2Seared into my mind when I think about WWII, are the quaint war-torn streets of the French villages in and around Normandy and Brittany (think Saving Private Ryan).  The architecture in this region is exemplified by steeply pitched slate roofs, stucco exteriors, faded advertisements painted onto the walls and fenced in courtyards.  This cute little set gives you everything you need to transport your model back into just such as place.

The Kit Header

IMG_1801The modeler is presented with a very well-packaged bundle.  A sturdy corrugated cardboard box protects the individually bubble-wrapped pieces, most of which are made out of plaster.  Small parts and printed items are further protected in their own clear ziplock baggies, consistent with other Dio Dump releases.

Continue reading Product Spotlight – TSR takes a look at Dio Dump’s French Village in 1/72!

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Product Review: TSR Dives into GasPatches Blockbuster 1/48 2A2 Salmson Release!

Make: GasPatch Models

Model: Salmson 2A2 Late Type

Scale: 1/48

Price: €39.50 (Retail)

By Brian Watkins

Copyright TSR © 2015



IMG_1857The founder of the Salmson aircraft company, Emile Salmson was apparently a very underrated designer, having come from obscure upbringings and starting out with hydraulics and pump engineering.  Success came with the development of reliable seven-cylinder and nine-cylinder inline aircraft engines.

Further development of aircraft designs resulted in the ‘Salmson D’ which was ultimately unsuccessful, but led to the more successful 2A2 which went on to equip 52 Aremee d l’Air squadrons beginning in 1917.  Far-flung nations such as Japan, Greece and Poland ordered the aircraft for their inventories.

[Source: Gaspatch instruction manual; p 1]

Continue reading Product Review: TSR Dives into GasPatches Blockbuster 1/48 2A2 Salmson Release!

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Up to the CHALLENGE – R – Bernd Muller brings us his excellent build report on the Revell Challenger1 in 1/72!








Model: Challenger I

Make: Revell

Scale: 1/72 scale

All text and photos copyright Bernd Muller © 2014


Bernd_ProfileHi, my name is Bernd.  I am living in Germany and I have been modelling since my youth.  2014 changed a lot in my life, I opened my own online shop for plastic modelling “stuff” and decided to post my modelling in the WWW, quite a move! Aircraft, tanks and ships in various scales  are rolling down my “production line”. I did some Tanks in 1/72 and 1/76 in my youth but switched later to 1/35.  I came back to 1/72 since I needed an additional kit to get free shipping on an order.  It was Revell’s T-72, and I was impressed about the precise appearance and the high level of detail found in the box. The T-72 landed almost immediately on my bench and stalled out the running projects with ease. It was fun to build and after this — modeling 1/72 AFVs became some sort of an addiction (in the positive way, of course!) My idea is to build my own “World of Tanks” in 1/72, ranging from the WWI vehicles to modern tanks.



[Credit: From Wikipedia]
[Credit: From Wikipedia]
The British main battle tank Challenger I was developed from a design for the Iranian Army.  It was introduced into the British Army in 1983.  It was very well armored for its time and was a response to the newest Soviet armor piercing grenades fired from the T-62/T-64 tanks and newer Soviet tanks as well.

The key behind the armour was a new developed Chobham type, a mixture between steel and ceramic materials.


  • One 120mm L11A5 gun from the Chieftain tank, the ammunition was separated, this was considered as a disadvantage, because this reduced the speed of fire, compared with other modern tanks of its time.
  • Two L8A2 7.62mm MGs, one coaxial with the main gun, another on the commander’s cupola acting as an anti-aircraft gun.
  • A full 360-degree turnaround from the turret lasted 13 seconds, firing the gun on the move was possible.
  • Engine: One 1200 h.p. Condor V12 Diesel engine
    • Speed: 56 Km/h /35 mls on the road
    • Weight: 62t
    • Length: 11.5 m /37 ft 9 in gun facing forward
    • Widht: 3.51 m / 11 ft 6 in
    • Height: 2,95m /9 ft 8 in

The Challengers’ finest hour was Operation Desert Storm/Shield in 1990; some vehicles were damaged but no losses at all. This was possible because the enemy had no up-to-date armor piercing ammunition and Iraq’s tank units were largely out of order due to countless air strikes.

The Challenger I was replaced with the Challenger II in 1998.  Production reached 420 tanks.
[The source for this data comes mainly from Wikipedia and the instructions.]

The Kit Header

Port Side View
Port Side View

Revell’s Challenger is a very nice kit to build, fit is good and no real problems. The “baskets” around the turret were replaced with photo etched parts from Extra Tech.


Continue reading Up to the CHALLENGE – R – Bernd Muller brings us his excellent build report on the Revell Challenger1 in 1/72!

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Product Review: TSR takes a peek at Value Gear’s 1/35 Universal Stowage sets!

BW_Bust V2I contacted Value Gear Details last year, and they were kind enough to send me some really nice review samples to feature here on TSR and take them for a test drive!  Their products have become very popular, especially among modelers active on Facebook.  I wanted to bring some reviews here to the broader web and share what I learned with my valued TSR readers.

Personally, I love the extras that accompany a model, fiddly bits if you will, that enhance a good model.  They make them even better & more realistic.  Double true when it comes to armor.  Historically,  tank crews lived in their machines … they took along un-ditching logs, buckets, blankets, sticks. tents, etc., everything they might need.  If you were on the front, you could be hundreds of miles from the nearest home base.

In Situ
In-Situ on 1/35 Marder II (Alan)

Value Gear Details™ brings you everything you need to jazz up your tank’s display – adding a touch of life to it!  I’ve worked in one of the blanket sets to my own Marder II and I am very pleased with how it looks!  Longtime TSR reviewer Paul Tomczak has taken some 1/72 cargo stowage for spin in the Model Cave forums (CLICK HERE) to read.

My sincere “thank  you” to Value Gear Details™ for graciously providing these review samples.  Please check back for more stowage reviews in the coming months.




All photos and text Copyright TSR ©2015

Continue reading Product Review: TSR takes a peek at Value Gear’s 1/35 Universal Stowage sets!

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