Tag Archive: scale model


Sukhoi Su-17 series developed from the fixed wing Su-7 – the latter having poor low speed handling and the variable sweep wing on the -17 series improved this dramatically. First versions of Su-17 entered Soviet Air Force in 1970 and thus becoming the first swing-wing aircraft in Soviet inventory. The ground-pounder became very popular and was exported to many countries and saw combat action all around the globe. Several countries still use the type today, including Poland and Peru.

Su-17M3 evolved from the revised Su-17UM twin-seater, but instead of the second cockpit, it carries another fuel tank and some additional electronics in the enlarged hump. Doppler radar from the M2 was moved internally, air-to-air missile pylons were added under the wings and laser rangefinder/designator installed in the nose cone. Production of this variant lasted from 1976 until 1980 and almost a 1.000 were built.

Unfortunately I have not found a lot of information regarding Azeri Fitters. I would assume they remained in Azerbaijan after the collapse of Soviet Union in late 1991. The four aircraft were sent in 2003 to Ukraine for overhaul but have seen little use upon returning to their home base and were put into reserve.

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The kit

I have to admit, I love the Fitter family – not matter if it’s a fixed wing Su-7 or the swing wing -17, they have this kind of purposeful and powerful image to them that attracts me to them like moth to a flame. I guess part of this fascination comes from the fact, that I did take care of a museum Su-7 for a couple of years. So, when I’ve seen Modelsvit started expanding their -17 range, I was more than thrilled. Getting the kit, it struck me, as how much this small short-run company has advanced in just a few years. When I built their Su-7BM a few years back, I was really excited, as it was a new tool, fit well and looked great! I have to say that this new kit sets the quality bar really high – not just for short-run kits but injected moulded kits in any scale!

The level of detail in this kit is better than in 1:48 KittyHawk and HobbyBoss Su-17 kits! Just check the in-progress post! The fit is really good throught and the only problem that I’ve had were main wing fences (again check the in progress post) and even they were sorted out with some patience. And that’s not all – Modelsvit include a thin foil masks in the kit (for both inside and outside of transparencies plus doppler radar, gun blast areas,…) and a small photo-etched fret which includes counter-measures dispensers and several antennas and aerials. There are also options to pose airbrakes open or closed and the canopy comes in single part for closed option or divided into windshield and canopy for open position. Marking options include several Soviet Air Force machines that fought in the Afghanistan war in 1980’s. While I initially planned to build one of those war horses, I’ve stumbled upon a photo of Azerbaijani M3 with a striking splinter camouflage and upon finding Linden Hill decals for it, the decision was easy. I also chose to replace the plastic/PE combo of complicated pitot tube with new Master Model pitot tubes, which really improve the overall look of the model.

Step-by-step build: https://vvsmodelling.com/2017/12/06/modelsvit-172-su-17m3-fitter-h-build-article/

If you like Fitters, Soviet aircraft, or if you’re just looking for a first foray into the world of short-run models, I can’t say anything else but – GO FOR THIS KIT! You won’t be disappointed!

Model Data
Company: Modelsvit
Scale: 1:72
Aftermarket: Master Model brass pitots, Linden Hill Azerbaijani decals
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-197 Su-27/33 Light Blue Grey, Tan (Mix of MRP-167 Light Earth and MRP-214 Yellow Brown), MRP-166 Chestnut Brown, Dark Green (mixMRP-32 Green for Wheels and MRP-5 Basic Black), MRP–246 Light Arctic Grey, MRP-32 Green for Wheels, MRP-195 Sukhoi Cockpit Blue)
Alclad (ALC-103 Dark Aluminum, ALC-111 Magnesium, ALC-116 Semi Matt Aluminum, ALC-123 Exhaust Manifold, ALC-413 Hotmetal Blue)

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24th Slovenian Nationals

BIC, Ljubljana, Slovenia; 18th November 2017

MiG-21MF ‘Fishbed-J’

I don’t do a lot of commission builds so this is more of an exception. A flight-simming friend did me a lot of favors in the last few months for which I am very grateful. And he’s a big MiG-21 fan so one thing led to another and I present you a ‘Fishbed’ made for him. It’s a well known Eduard MiG-21MF model in 1:48 scale. As he wished that the aircraft is on ground with a pilot in the cockpit, I’ve decided to go for weekend edition of this popular kit. I used Aerobonus resin pilot with ejection seat and Begemot decals for the stars and bort number as the kit comes only with one Slovak option.

The build was pretty much uneventful although I did experience some minor fit problems in the lower fuselage/wings join to the fuselage. Painting was done with combination of Alclad metallics and Mr.Paint lacquers.

Model Data
Company: Eduard
Scale: 1:48
Aftermarket: Begemot 48-002 MiG-21, Aerobonus MiG-21 pilot with ejection seat
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-001 Russia Turquoise Cockpit, MRP-004 White, MRP-32 Green for Wheels, MRP-051 RLM04 Yellow, MRP-098 Light Gull Gray, MRP-049 Light Gray Blue, MRP-131 Interor Green, MRP-173 Tire-Rubber Matt, , MRP-186 Light Gray)
Alclad (ALC-101 Aluminum, ALC-103 Dark Aluminum, ALC-104 Pale Burnt Metal, ALC-106 White Aluminum, ALC-111 Magnesium, ALC-113 Jet Exhaust, ALC-123 Exhaust Manifold, ALC-405 Transparent Smoke, ALC-416 Hotmetal Sepia)

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Sukhoi Design Bureau doesn’t need special introduction. Established in 1939 by Pavel Sukhoi. While the WW2 designs didn’t reach much fame, it was the jet age, that made the OKB-51 (as the Bureau was labeled) most famous. Supersonic Su-7 fighter bomber developed into interceptor (-9 and -11) and attack line (-17, -20, -22 series), the Su-15 was made infamous shooting down KAL B747 and the sturdy attack jets Su-24 and Su-25 still form the backbone of Russian Air Force. But it was the Su-27 and the subsequent Flanker family, that made the Sukhoi name very famous in the West. Flanker’s long range, high payload and high maneuverability made this fighter an instant star of international airshows and a serious new threat to Western forces. Su-27 has evolved since its first flight 4 decades ago into a Su-35S ‘Flanker-E’, a highly capable super-maneuverable generation 4++ multirole fighter.

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After such a successful line of fighters, it is no surprise, Sukhoi OKB won the bid to produce new 5th generation stealth fighter with a factory designation T-50, also known as PAK-FA (Perspektivny Aviatsionny Kompleks Frontovoy Aviatsii). The prototype first flew in 2010 and to this day, 10 aircraft were built – 2 for static testing by TsAGI and 8 for flight testing. Currently, the aircraft use the same engine as Su-35S, the Saturn 117, while the production aircraft are expected to be powered by the izdelyie 30 engine, which will be even more powerful and have fewer parts and lower fuel consumption.

Modelling the PAK-FA prototypes however poses a challenge. As we are talking about developmental aircraft, each new aircraft has certain differences compared to the previous. And even the same airframe gets changed during the testing scheme. For example, all the aircraft from 3rd prototype on feature slightly enlarged wingtips and modified tailfin root intakes. Luckily, there are plenty of photos available – I recommend checking the russianplanes.net for references.

The subject of my build was the fifth flying prototype T-50-5 (Blue 055). The prototype first flew on 27th October 2013. While the first four prototypes shared the white-grey geometrical splinter camo, the T-50-5 was the first to sport the new light blue/grey camo with feathered edges which soon gained the name ‘shark’. In June 2014, while landing, the right engine caught fire – test pilot Sergey Bogdan managed to safely land the aircraft but the airframe was extensively damaged. The aircraft was sent for repairs and was later returned to flight testing with the new, hard-edged shark camo. It is also of interest, that despite being repainted, several parts of the airframe remain unpainted and/or are painted slightly differently.

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The kit

I have described my opinions of the kit during the work in progress articles (click HERE) so here’s just a little recap. There are only two injected plastic kits available on the market in 1:72 scale – Zvezda (also reboxed by Revell and Academy) and HobbyBoss (also reboxed by Ark Models). While both models suffer several shape-based inaccuracies, especially in the intake area, HobbyBoss made a better effort with the nose area. However, they also managed to misjudge the scale, making this model more of 1:60 scale, so forget of using any aftermarket items, not designed exactly for HobbyBoss kit – ejection seats for example. As with Zvezda, you can build the first two prototypes from the kit – with the included decals and two different canopies as option. The model builds rather nicely but the fit of the intakes is challenging and will require filling and sanding. Landing gear is rather complex to build while the rear wells are basic (front one is covered on ground). The exposed engine/exhaust area is also rather basic with some oversized details.
The decals used were the new Begemot T-50 decals designed especially for this kit. They are thin, settle down nicely but unfortunately, my copy was slight misaligned. While the wingwalk dotted lines are rather tricky to apply, the decals themselves are great, enabling you to build any airframe of the T-50 project. Stencils however are more oriented towards the first four prototypes so for a shark scheme, a trip to the spare decals folder or some ingenuity are necessary. And you get stencils for all the weapons that PAK-FAs were so far seen armed with during testing.

Model Data
Company: HobbyBoss
Scale: 1:72
Aftermarket: Begemot 72-065 Sukhoi T-50 (HobbyBoss)
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-197 Su-27/33 Light Blue Grey, MRP-40 Gunship Grey, MRP-105 USN Modern Blue Grey, MRP-202 Su-34 Light Blue, MRP-89 USN Light Gull Grey, MRP-38 Light Grey, MRP-90 Lemon Grey)
Alclad (ALC-110 Copper, ALC-123 Exhaust Manifold, ALC-113 Jet Exhaust, ALC-104 Pale Burnt Metal, ALC-416 Hotmetal Sepia)

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Beriev Be-200ChS Altair

Beriev Design Bureau was established in 1934 and is the synonym for the amphibian aircraft not only in Russia but on the world level as well. While most of the amphibians were propeller driven like WW2 era MBR-2 and Cold War Be-6 ‘Madge’ and Be-12 ‘Mail’ aka ‘Chaika’ with the advent of jet age, the constructors soon started to look into application of jet engines on amphibian aircraft. R-1 was the first experimental jet powered amphibian in the early ’50s with the Be-10 entering service later in the decade. Later in the ’70s, Beriev teamed up with Bartini for the experimental futuristic looking VVA-14 of which two prototypes were built. The next Beriev’s jet amphibian project was A-40 Albatros; developed in the ’80s only one prototype was finished with another in the works, when Soviet Union collapsed and the financial crisis shelved further development. To this day, the A-40 is the biggest jet-powered amphibian in the world and the single prototype set 140 world records. It’s current status is unknown as there were some reports of order for the Russian Navy.

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Beriev Be-200 is based on the A-40 Albatros design and entered service in 2003. It’s name, ‘Altair’, has two meanings – one is the name of the star in ‘Eagle’ constellation. The other one is the acronym for Al (as Albatros A-40), ta (Taganrog – the place where sea trials take place) and ir (Irkut – the production place). The aircraft is mainly used in firefighting role for which it can carry up to 12 tonnes of water but can also be used as maritime patrol, search and rescue, cargo and passenger roles, seating up to 72 passengers. While the aircraft was built in Irkut, the production line has recently moved to Taganrog.

Be-200s are currently in service with the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations and Azerbaijan with further orders from Russian MoD and China. It’s first operational use was in 2004 on Italian Sardinia, fighting the forest fires with the Italian services. The success of the operations saw the Be-200s used in Italy, Portugal, Indonesia, Greece, Israel, Serbia and Russia.

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The kit

EE’s Be-200 kit is a typical short run kit. Inconsistent panel lines (engraved though), clunky details and ill fit on most of the parts were plaguing this build. But I have to admit it is not that bad in the end. Engines, although rather complex to assemble, represent nicely the depth of D-436TP turbofans. While it is certainly not a ‘shake and bake’ kit, with a little bit of putty, sanding sticks and patience, the lump of plastic can be built into a nice miniature of this unique aircraft. Decals, although flat, are really thin and get into the engraved details without the need of setting solutions. The only inaccuracy I noticed were the main gear doors. They are designed to be attached to the sides of the well and close towards each other. Reference photos show, that they are actually hinged at the front of the wells and close backward. There’s also a third small door covering the forward support strut. I’ve scratchbuilt the missing doors and attached the others according to photographs. Oh, and don’t forget to add a lot of nose weight – the more the better. All in all, despite some problems during construction, this was a rather pleasurable build and brought me another unique looking aircraft into my collection.

 

Model Data
Company: Eastern Express
Scale: 1:144
Aftermarket: /
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-4 White, MRP-41 Red, MRP-45 Dark Blue, MRP-186 Light Grey)

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K-560 Severodvinsk is the first submarine of the new Russian Yasen class of nuclear powered attack subs. It is supposed to replace both Akula class SSNs as well as Oscar class SSGNs.

Construction work started in 1993 but due to the Russian financial crisis of the ’90s after the break-up of the Soviet Union, work on the newest sub restarted in 2003. Unfortunately launch date slipped even further when in the second half of decade, the Borei SSBNs were given a priority and Severodvinsk made its first sail and sea trials in September 2011, with official introduction to the Russian Navy in May 2014. There are 5 Yasen class submarines under construction at the moment, with the 6th scheduled for summer next year.

The submarine is equipped with the latest sensors and weapons of the Russian Navy. Besides 650mm and 530mm torpedoes, this sub also carries the latest anti-ship and anti-submarine missiles, cruise missiles, land-attack cruise missiles and mines. The heart of the sensor suite is spherical sonar MGK-600 Irtysh-Amfora mounted in the forward hull – the reason why the torpedo launchers were moved to the sides. The crew consists of only 90 sailors – 44 less than comparable USN Virginia class.

The kit

Modern nuclear submarines are quick and easy models to build and Yasen is no different. It goes together quite nicely but there is a hull long seam to take care of and unfortunately torpedo tubes are right in the way of it, so some care has to be taken of. Yasen subs are all grey – very dark grey. To break apart the monotonous single scheme, I’ve used an off-black paint as a basis and black for the sonar parts. I’ve noticed a tile pattern on one of the close up photos and tried to recreate that as well to even further break up the all grey scheme and I am quite happy with the result. Unfortunately the biggest fault of this kit are decals – especially the one on the bow as it doesn’t contour the shape of the bow well – I thought it was my fault but after checking several other builds on the internet, I’ve seen every modeller was struggling with that. That apart, it is a really nice kit and a welcome addition to any modern sub collection.

Model Data
Company: HobbyBoss
Scale: 1:350
Aftermarket: /
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-4 White, MRP-5 Black, MRP-173 Tire/Rubber)
Alclad (ALC-101 Aluminum, ALC-104 Pale Burnt Metal, ALC-110 Copper)

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23rd Slovenian Nationals

BIC, Ljubljana, Slovenia; 19th November 2016

Sukhoi Su-30 ‘Flankers’ are a two-seat multi-role derivative of the famous Su-27 fighter. There are two main versions of Su-30s. Irkut plant produces the canard and TVC equipped Su-30MK series (in use with Algeria, India, Malaysia, Russia), while the Komsomolsk-on-Amur KnAAZ (ex-KnAAPO) plant until recently produced the Su-30MK2 series, which don’t have canards and TVC engines but are easily recognizable by taller, straight tipped vertical fins and are in use with China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Venezuela, Uganda and in smaller numbers with Russian Air Force. Supposedly Su-30M2s in the Russian Air Force serve as training aircraft for the single-seat Su-27SM multi-role fighters.

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Pavel Sukhoi

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Pavel Osipovich Sukhoi was born in 1895 in near the now Belorussian town of Vitebsk. In 1915 he went to Moscow’s Technical School but with the outbreak of World War 1 he was drafted into the Imperial Russian Army and was discharged in 1920 and in 1925 finally graduated. In the same year he started working as designer/engineer with TsAGI aviation institute and in the following years designed aircraft like record breaking Tupolev ANT-25 and TB-1 and TB-3 bombers. His career then rose to top positions at TsAGI and in the late ’30s he designed a light multipurpose aircraft Su-2. In September 1939, Pavel established his own design bureau (OKB) and he designed an excellent ground attack aircraft but with Stalin’s preference to Il-2, Su-6 didn’t see mass production. In 1949, his OKB was closed on Stalin’s order and Pavel had to work as Tupolev’s lead designer, but in 1953, after Stalin’s death, Sukhoi OKB was reestablish. His first successful design was Su-7 fighter-bomber which was the main aircraft of the type in 1960s, while the derivatives Su-9, Su-11 and the Su-15 formed the backbone of the interceptor units. Sukhoi OKB was also pioneering the variable-sweep design, creating Su-17 and Su-24 series of attack aircraft. One of his most ambitious projects was a Mach-3 bomber called T-4 Sotka. Pavel Sukhoi’s last design was T-10 (Su-27) but unfortunately he died in 1975 and did not see it fly.

The kit

Trumpeter’s Su-27 kits are widely available now for a few years and while they are not expensive and are readily available, most of them share several mistakes. One of the worst and basically impossible to correct is the wrong cross-section of the forward fuselage towards the nose, making the aircraft look to thin and LERX’ ending too early. The other mistake is that the main landing gear wells are posed at an angle when they should be level. Su-30MKK kit I used as a basis also has the problem that the vertical fins are too short and had to be replaced or modified. While not really difficult to build, there are some problematic areas that could be avoided by Trumpeter, especially the wing insert on the bottom of the wing.

When I first saw the photos of this memorial scheme, carried by 4th Su-30M2 prototype (Red 504), I had to build it as a tribute to a great aviation designer. When Caracal decals announced release of decals, including this scheme, I was thrilled as I could finally recreate this bird. Unfortunately, the decal application process was not a great experience. Despite being printed by Cartograf, which normally produce decals of highest quality, Caracal decals were very thick, prone to silvering, did not lay down into recessed details well and were not responding to setting solutions well. Painting diagrams can also be misleading. Unfortunately there’s just a few photos of the real aircraft, as it carried this scheme only for a short amount of time. The black colour of Mr. Sukhoi’s jacket is printed black while it should be Dark Gray. Despite all the problems, I somehow managed to pull it off and create another new Flanker for my Flanker collection.

Model Data
Company: Trumpeter
Scale: 1:72
Aftermarket: Caracal models decals, Master pitot tube, DreamModel replacement fins
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-4 White, MRP-5 Black, MRP-32 Green for wheels, MRP-42 Red, MRP-47 Dark Gray, MRP-98 Light Gull Grey, MRP-196 Light Blue, MRP-198 Light Gray)
Alclad (ALC-101 Aluminum, ALC-104 Pale Burnt Metal, ALC-111 Magnesium, ALC-123 Exhaust Manifold, ALC-416 Hotmetal Sepia)

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MiG-29 9.13 Swifts pt.2

Painting is my favorite part of model building and this scheme provided some challenge.

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Some dread over painting white, but with Mr.Paint paints, opacity is not an issue – even with the dreaded White. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the suitable red from their range and had to resort to a Revell enamel from my collection. Masking the tails for the MiG inscriptions was a process of its own – first tracing the decal on a piece of paper, then cutting it out, retracing its outline on the tail with a 1mm offset and masking it.

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Metal shrouds on the exhaust are were painted alternating with two different Alclad paints – Dark Aluminum and Magnesium, but unfortunately the effect is not really shown in this photo.

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Exhausts on MiG-29s are truly interesting from the painting perspective. I’ve used a bunch of different Alclad paints, chipping, Tamiya weathering sets and oil washes to bring the details out. No, they are not as detailed as resin replacement, but with proper weathering techniques, they look great nevertheless.

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Decaling was an interesting affair as well. They perform nicely and do not silver. However the design is a bit complicated. The bird motive on the top is made of only 3 decals – the body and separate wings. The problem arises when you apply the wing decals over the tail extensions. I actually cut the decals to remedy this problem. Fortunately Zvezda’s design team was clever enough to include spare strips of blue, white and silver to correct such problems.

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Despite being broken into more pieces, the lower bird motive was even harder to apply than the upper one – mainly due to the fact, the shape of the fuselage with engine intakes is more complex. In the end though, with the help of hairdryer, the decals settled down and into the engravings nicely enough.

MiG-29 9.13 Swifts pt.1

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Hi everyone! Another day, another project!

Earlier this year, Zvezda released long anticipated new model of the famous MiG-29 fighter, namely the 9.13 version with slightly bigger spine than the baseline 9.12 version. Just a few months later, a new boxing was released with decals for the Swifts aerobatic group, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Upon first inspection, the model presents a typical new generation Zvezda kit. Finely engraved details but without rivet detail, nice wheelbay surfaces of correct shapes and dimensions but no wiring, basic cockpit and a nice selection of armament. Indeed, buying the Swifts version of the kit will considerably fill your armament spares box. Decals are printed in matt and appear slightly thick, but more on that when we get to decalling.

I will bring forward some downsides of the build so far, but follow closely, as not everything is as black as this post might suggest.

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Part of the main wheel wells. There are pin marks in there, but truth be told, when installed, they are hardly visible, they are easy to remove if spotted before assembly (or warned by me :D) and are the only visible pin marks I have noticed in the entire kit.

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Engine intakes are done similar to their Su-27SM – they are two part and split along the edge. I am not a fan of such design as it requires the seam cleanup along the entire length of the engine nacelle – luckily, there’s not a lot of details in this section, so the lost panel lines are easily rescribed and a plus – intake lips are really thin!

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An unusual design of the forward part of the fuselage leaves some gaps (I am quite sure it’s not my fault as I’ve seen other modellers with the same problem). Luckily, cleanup again is quite straightforward, especially using water based putty like (Deluxe Materials Perfect Plastic Putty).

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Cockpit and the ejection seat are basic – decals (slightly out of register) for the instruments mimic the photos of the real aircraft. As I am building this model OOB and with closed canopy, I didn’t bother with super detailing, but the next will certainly be improved.

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The new generation of Zvezda kits includes the transparent plastic which has a soft elastic feel to it. Good thing is that it is not as brittle as normally transparencies are but on the other hand, clarity of the parts can be an issue and in my case, the main canopy was sort of squashed a little, sitting too low and too wide. Due to its elasticity, I force-glued it to the fuselage but nevertheless I couldn’t get a really perfect fit.

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Despite my critics, I have to admit, those are the only ones I had during the construction of the model. Apart from some minor things mentioned before, the model really falls together, is very accurate and so far, I have been really enjoying building it.