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Book Review
Model Expert

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Originally published on:

The titles aren't new - in fact the publication date is 2001 - but they don't seem to have received a great deal of coverage outside Greece, which is a great shame as they contain some really excellent aviation modelling articles. The two volumes fall somewhere in between a magazine and a soft-bound book; they are magazine size, but printed on high quality heavyweight paper. Each volume contains a selection of modelling and research articles by various authors, along with plans and colour profiles by the well-known aviation artist Richard Caruana.

Volume #1 - WW2 Aviation Showcase
IBSN: 960-86822-0-7. 98 pages.
There's certainly masses here to inspire WW2 modellers with 98 pages and 8 detailed builds which are well chosen to illustrate a variety of modelling challenges. Most of the builds really fall into the "experienced" category and a couple could definitely be branded "expert". The subjects covered are:

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress by Megas Tsonos. No prizes for guessing that it's the classic 1/48 scale Monogram kit, but it's detailed with a plethora of Paragon, Eduard and True Details aftermarket accessories and Superscale decals. Apart from the excellent detailing, what makes this build particularly interesting is that the entire model is rescribed and then finished with kitchen foil with miriads of rivets embossed. The article is rounded of by a neat little reference section with some colour photos of "Bit O'Lace" and a selection of colour profiles of various marks of Fortress.

North American P-51D Mustang by Thoedoros Orinos. Tamiya's 1/48 scale Mustang gets the benefit of a True Details resin cockpit and a Falcon canopy. Superscale provide the decals for "Big Beautiful Doll", but the author notes a number of detail changes he made to protray the aircraft accurately. Once again there are some useful reference pics and a selection of profiles.

Grumman TBM-1 Avenger by Dionysis Gardenelis. If it's a 1/48 scale Avenger, it has to be the Accurate Miniatures masterpiece, here improved further with Eduard etched details and Yellowhammer decals. The build is excellent, but it's perhaps the paint-job that will really catch eye with a very interesting faded effect that accentuates a "stressed" look of a heavily-worn airframe, achieved by using no less than 3 different mixes of each of the uppersurface blues. The article is rounded of with a reference block and 4 very neat profiles which include some unusual schemes to get the creative juices flowing.

Focke-Wulf Fw 190F-8 by Chris Mangion. Tamiya's 1/48 scale kit is beefed-up with Verlinden, Cavalier, Paragon and Eduard accessories, plus some scratchbuilding, to depict an aircraft with all the inspection panels open. The Cavalier engine bay looks superb as does the overall finish. There's no reference section this time, but no less than 25 profiles of various 'As and 'Fs complete an interesting article.

Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 by Dionysis Gardenelis. This time it's Hasegawa's 1/48 scale kit, with detail sets from Verlinden and CMK. The subject is Adolf Galland's well-known Emil and it's depicted with a fully exposed engine. The article includes an interesting biography of Galland and is completed with 5 profiles of various Bf 109Es (not Galland's).

Latin Messerschmitts by Richard Caruana. Time to take a break from modelling. Instead, we have a very interesting 11-page article on the Bf 109 in Italian service, including 1/48 scale plans and 3 pages of colour artwork. The article is well illustrated with B&W photos from the author's personal collection and includes a very useful analysis of the camouflage and markings employed.

Kawanishi N1K1-J and N1K2-J George by Christos Papathanasiou. The Tamiya and Hasegawa kits each come in for entirely different treatment. For the former, the author scratchbuilds an open gun-bay in one wing and adds an Aires machin gun. For the final finish, he goes for a really effective representation of a typically heavily weathered JNAF aircraft with acrylic paint scraped away to reveal Bare Metal Foil underneath. The Hasegawa build is pretty much OOB and a cleaner finish, but still exhibits some subtle shading. As usual there's a short reference section and a series of profiles to complete the article.

Macchi C.202 and C.205 by Nikos Kavathas. The excellent 1/48 scale Hasegawa kits form the basis of another double build. The author adds some simple but effective scratchbuilt extras to bring the cockpit to life before finishing the aircraft in 2 very different schemes. The C.202 receives a nicely done classic "smoke ring" camouflage, while the C.205 is finished as a postwar Egyptian machine with the help of Aeomaster decals. A reference section includes the expected photos and profiles along with a very handy painting guide giving FS.595a equivallents for Italian WW2 colours.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXc by Pavlos Tsekas. The author gives an interesting account of how he built the Occidental Mk. IX with a Tamiya Mk. V acting as donor for some of the details. He used an Eduard etched set for more extras. If the choice of kit seems a little odd today, remember that the article is five years old, but it still serves as a good example of what can be acheived with a little ingenuity. If you think the Spitfire has been rather done to death, you'll be relieved to see that the author manages to bring something very fresh to the subject by modelling his Spit in Greek markings. The reference section gives an interesting account of the Spitfire in Greek service and the volume is wrapped up with some more excellent profiles - 10 assorted Spitfires including some unusual schemes, although surprisingly there's no Greek a/c among them.

Volume #2 - Aviation Series
IBSN: 960-86822-4-X. 83 pages. Volume #2 offers another mixed bundle with a slightly different take on things; the builds aren't exclusively WW2 or 1/48 scale.

Avro Lancaster B.Mk. I/III by Megas Tsonos. The classic Tamiya 1/48 scale kit comes in for a major overhaul with plenty of scratchbuilt additions and extras from Reheat and Flightpath. The model is extensively detailed inside and out, with the rear fuselage interior visible through the open boarding hatch and an entirely scratchbuild bomb-bay with individual cradles. The article includes an historical overview of the Lancaster, along with a survey of the aftermarket sets available at the time of writing (2001). A neat section points out some of the pitfalls in using the RAF Museum exhibit as a reference, while the article is rounded off with a nice set of 6 profiles.

Lockheed F-104G Starfighter by Christos Papathanasiou. Hasegawa's 1/48 scale kit comes in for one of the most spectacular colour schemes I've ever seen; the Mount Olympos livery designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of 336 Sqn. The build encompasses a little scratchbuilding along with Eduard details, while the incredible "black eagle over the mountains" scheme comes courtesy of Icarus Decals. The article includes a reference section on the Starfighter's Greek career and a nice selection of 12 profiles of F-104s serving with various airforces wraps things up.

Junkers Ju 87B-2/U4 by Nikos Kavathas. The Hasegawa 1/48 scale kit gets the benefit of 2 Aires sets which provide a new cockpit, a detailed engine and open gun-bays. The Hasegawa kit itself is a "limited edition" encorporating resin skis. The article gives plenty of detail on the scope of the improvements the Aires sets provide. The article includes a short overview of the Ju 87's development.

Junkers Ju 87B-2 by Chris Mangion. Hot on its heels comes another Stuka, again Hasegawa 1/48 scale, but this time built straight from the box with just Eduard seatbelts added. The real fun comes in the form of a spectacular worn winter camouflage finish. The article concludes with a set of 4 nice Ju 87 profiles.

Italian Stukas Over Malta by Richard Caruana. Taking a break from modelling again is a brief article looking at the use of the Ju 87 by the Regia Aeronautica. The piece includes a number of interesting photos from the author's collection and a set of 8 profiles of Italian Stukas.

Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina by Nikos Kavathas. I must admit that I thought I'd misread the scale when I first looked at the photos of this superdetailed 1/72 scale Academy kit. The author has incorporated Eduard and Hi Tech aftermarket sets along with copious scratchbuilding to produce a real stunner. An incredible scratchbuilt engine has over 100 tiny pieces alone, and it's displayed with the cowls open and maintenance platforms in place. The article includes 4 nice profiles for a variety of Cats along with a really useful section on how to mask and apply painted national insignia.

Focke-Wulf Fw 190F-8 and D-9 by Yannis Asimakos and George Papadimitiou. The 'F-8 is constructed from the vintage Arii kit with improvements from Part aftermarket sets. Although the Arii kit is often overlooked these days after the arrival of more detailed and accurate modern models, the article shows just how attractive it can look, painted here in a mottled desert scheme. The Dora is the classic TriMaster kit which is still reckoned by many to be the most accurate 1/48 scale version available and has been re-issued by Dragon and re-boxed by Italeri. The model is built represent an abandoned aircraft with all the covers open to reveal a Verlinden engine and a lot of scratchbuilding. The article includes a very useful painting chart with RLM and FS.595 cross-matches, a handy walkaround of 2 preserved '190s and 3 pages of 1/72 scale plans of the 'A-8/'F-8 and 'D-9. Rounding everything off are 10 excellent colour profiles of Fw 190 As and Ds, along with a couple of Ta 152Hs.

From looking at the adverts at the front of each volume I'm guessing that the articles compiled here have appeared previously in the Greek magazine, but this represents the first time they've been translated into English. The varied articles offer a neat mix of modelling and background data and it's gratifying to see them given the chance to reach a wider audience. The standard of each build is high - some exceptionally so - and it's hardly surprising that some of the models shown here have been past winners at the IPMS-UK show. The cover price seems rather when compared with monthly magazines, but Model Expert really falls into a grey area somewhere beween a magazine and a reference book. There's certainly plenty of high quality content to help justify the price and the price is also offset somewhat as Model Expert is available direct from Periscopio Publications post-free worldwide. Thank you to Stelios Demiras for the review samples.

Contact Details
Periscopio publications
P.O. Box 3951, 10210 Athens, Greece.
Tel & Fax: ( 301) 36 21 985
E-mail: [email protected]
Model Expert is a modelling magazine which impressed me when I visited Athens last year and, naturally, made a B-line for the model shops. Unfortunately, the standard magazine is printed in Greek so, although I could tell the articles were very detailed and the modelling shown was of the highest standard, the copies only served to frustrate me at what I was missing out on. So it was a real delight when I opened a package from Greece and found two copies of an English language version of Model Expert.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Suggested Retail: 12 / $18
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Nov 12, 2006

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2020 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


Nice one Rowan! The Catalina really interests me, even if it's in 1/72. Could probably pcik something up regarding the maintenance platforms. Top notch!
NOV 11, 2006 - 08:12 PM
Hi Rowan! The models in this magazine are indeed top class! I just love the weathering of that B-17! Thanks for the review... Jean-Luc
NOV 11, 2006 - 09:35 PM

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