HighPlanes Models

Kit Reviews


1/48 Scale World Jet Mustang

At Reno 2001, one of the more exciting racer to return to Stead will undoubtedly be "Race 38," the Griffon powered Mustang once owned by the Whittington brothers. Now owned by Ron Buccarelli, the Mustang will be polishing the pylons once again.

It's fitting for High Planes to release their second 1/48 scale kit of this racer. The masters for the kit took a large amount of time to perfect and refine. The result is High Planes normal limited edition molding process that leaves a good deal of flash. Some simple cleanup and sanding will provide the builder with good mating surfaces. 

The surface detail of the kit is really nice, and modelers will find that with some attention to detail during construction, you will be able to shoot a good metailzer on the fuselage for the natural metal effect. 

Even though the detail parts of the kit are a bit thick and rough, this can be overcome by raiding another 1/48 P-51 kit for landing gear, gear doors, radiator and an interior. If you go all out, WarbirdAeroPress.com will have a full set of cockpit photos in line soon. A bit of work will be required here, but it is possible. You can also raid your parts box for two Griffon Spitfire exhaust stacks. Doing so with all of these parts will save you a lot of time in cleaning up the rather crude High Planes parts.

The kit shines with the canopy and decals. Top quality on these items; you can build several version from the decals provided, even Buccarelli's version at this year's race (minus the WarbirdAeroPress.com logos!) 

As I almost always say, High Planes is to be commended for putting this kit to market. Obviously, limited run injection kits are not Tamiya or Hawegawa quality, but this kit provides a springboard to model a really great replica of the Griffon Mustang. It wouldn't take a lot of work to thin out the interior fuselage where the cockpit it, and throw in a modified resin cockpit. Model the canopy open, use parts from another 1/48 injection kit, and you're going to have an award winning racer model on your hands.




1/72 Smirnoff Bearcat

This is a copy of the earlier 1/72 Greenamyer Bearcat racer kit from High Planes with new Smirnoff decals. There are options for two schemes; the Reno and World Speed Record paint jobs. Decal quality is top notch; for a kit review, see the below article on the 1/48 Bearcat racer, as the part breakdown and quality are the same.




1/72 Furias Sea Fury

High Planes released  a 1/72 scale kit of Furias a while back. The kit, featuring the bubble-canopy and red/gold paint scheme featured the large spinner and the skinny one used in 1984. The new kit is from the same mold, but features excellent decals for the new Desothane paint scheme.

The parts breakdown is the same as the earlier kit, and modelers will have to re-shape the vertical tail to the new, rounded configuration. In all, this new release is quite welcome and a must-buy.


1/72 Signal Sea Fury

Arguably, one of the most popular racers in the '60's and early '70's (and now in the 2000's) is the bright yellow Sea Fury with race number 87 emblazoned on her fuselage and wings. First called the Signal Sea Fury, then Miss Merced, the aircraft is now available as a scale model.

High Planes was good enough to send Warbird Aero Press a review sample of the 1/72 scale racer. The kit comes packaged in a sturdy box, and the three sprues of parts are sealed in a plastic baggie. There is one vac-formed canopy, and the landing gear is done in white metal and quite good.

Overall, the kit parts are standard High Planes issue; very good surface detail and some flash around the parts. If modelers take their time to cut the parts off of the rather large attach points, they will be rewarded with rather well-matched parts to assemble. The more delicate parts will need to be removed with a nail clipper or similar device.

This particular racer was modified with clipped wings, the small racing canopy and additional fuel tankage. You'll have to perform the wing clip yourself, which should not pose a problem. This kit will be a simple affair to assemble, with some clean up necessary along the seams and join lines. (Note: this paragraph was modified to point out the wing clip necessary to make this model more accurate. SG)

The decals are printed by Fantasy Printshop in the UK, and are in register and opaque. The trademark flames are in red, so the modeler will have to fire up his or her airbrush to add the appropriate colors over the decal once it is dry. The instructions will guide you properly. 

The Signal Sea Fury kit is most welcome! HighPlanes is adding more and more 1/72 and 1/48 racers this year, and their choices reflect their customer's interest and imagination. This particular model will make a spectacular addition to your racing collection, or add some wild contrast if you've already built a Sea Fury in wartime colors. 



1/48 Nemesis 

Name the one aircraft that came along and literally blew the doors off of the Formula One racing class, and most people will say, "Nemesis!" Jon and Tricia Sharp's composite racer was a product of the couple's drive and ingenuity, and now is part of the Smithsonian's collection of aircraft.

HighPlanes have just released their 1/48 scale kit of the carbon-fiber racer, which is to say this is still a pretty small kit. The parts come on a single sprue in a plastic bag so they wont be marred. A full instruction sheet is included, as well as a small decal sheet that includes seat belts and shoulder harnesses.

There are no white metal parts, but a clear vac-form canopy is included.

Even though the model is quite small, modelers will be delighted with the usual surface detail, and the correct shape of the aircraft. HighPlanes obviously takes pains to get it right the first time, and the Nemesis kit is no different.


1/48 Conquest 1 / American Jet

Building a 1/48 scale model of a modified unlimited air racer is not an easy task. For those that have done it, the cutting of plastic, endless sanding, filling and painting is only the beginning of the adventure. Before that, one must collect research material, photos and drawings, or simply eyeball it and go. The hard part really comes with the markings - try to make accurate, thin and opaque decals, and you will be banging your head against the wall for a long period of time.

HighPlanes models, of Corryong, Australia, has been previously reviewed on this site. The company is run by Greg Meggs, an enterprising soul that has taken the challenge of producing limited run injection kits of air racers, among other aviation subjects. HiPlanes 1/72 air racer line includes Czech Mate, Mr. Awesome, Conquest 1, Vendetta, Furias, The Red Baron and the World Jet Griffon Mustang. Several variations are available on a few of the kits with different decals.

For some time, HighPlanes have been advertising a 1/48 scale line of racers, and Warbird Aero Press is pleased to be the first to bring you a
review on the Conquest 1 / American Jet Bearcat.

The subject matter could not be better for HiPlanes choice of their first 1/48 scale kit. Pilot Darryl Greenamyer has won Reno seven times with the modified Bearcat, and held the piston-engine speed record at over 480 mph. The aircraft is now a part of the Smithsonian's collection, and is stored at Silver Hill.

As for the kit, the format follows previous kits from HighPlanes; a soft light blue plastic is the medium for the major components. White metal landing gear - crisply molded - is included, as well as one vac-formed canopy. A one sheet instruction sheet is included, and uses an exploded diagram for parts assembly. The decal sheet, as described later, is well printed and in register.

Overall, the kit represents a challenge to modelers of average skill, but the shortcoming of the molding process, namely flash and large sprue attach points, are easily overcome with care and patience. The fuselage halves, wings and horizontal stabs need some minor cleanup, and dry fit rather well. If the flash is the drawback, then the petite surface detail is the advantage. The panel lines that are visible are nicely done; but check your references! Greenamyer worked awfully hard at getting his Bearcat smooth, so some of the panel lines may not appear on the real aircraft.

For those that want to slap this kit together, so a bit of sanding, paint it and decal it; you will be disappointed with the end result. This kit requires craftsmanship; but don't let that dissuade you from purchasing the kit and giving it a try. Take your time, clean up the parts, fit twice and size once, fill in the joints, sand them smooth and you will have the crown jewel of your collection.

Other drawbacks of the kit include a simplified cockpit and only one vac-form canopy. Adding an aftermarket Bearcat cockpit may be a possibility, but whatever would be visible through the canopy would be minimal. However, if modelers pose the aircraft with the canopy removed (it didn't slide), then by all means, make the effort to superdetail the cockpit. This brings up another problem; who has cockpit photos of the aircraft?

Positive points of the kit include the correct airframe mods; the spinner, propeller blades, spar strap, vertical tail and tail stinger are included, along with the wing to fuselage fairings. The canopy is the correct shape, and the holes for the boil-off oil cooling system are present. Again, the parts, especially the concave wingtips, will have to be cleaned up, but look excellent when dry fit.

The decal sheet - a different one is included in each kit - is what makes this kit worth the purchase price. There are two versions of the same kit; the Conquest 1 kit comes with decals for the white scheme with red 1's on the wings and tails. The American Jet version of the kit comes with decals for the 1975 yellow version and includes the eagle head and claw motifs. The only markings missing are the names under the left horizontal stab.

Overall, if you want to build a racer model, HighPlanes is really the only game in town right now. With this in mind, it is hard to draw attention to the weaker aspects of the kit. Here we have a person willing to produce the kits - risky in this financially driven world. HighPlanes should be lauded for the effort, and supported by modelers and air race fans. With some effort and patience, modelers will be rewarded with an exciting and unique addition to their model collection.

Ask about HighPlanes kits at your local hobby shop, or contact Greg Meggs at hiplanes@corryongcec.net.au

Reviews by Scott Germain. Copyright 2001. All Rights Reserved.

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