HM HA6401 Su-33 Flanker D & Flanker roundup - DA.C
 

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Old 08-08-2019, 07:22 AM   #1
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Default HM HA6401 Su-33 Flanker D & Flanker roundup

Just picked this up from my local yesterday, got about 15% off the online/list price.





I’m now swimming in Flankers, with 1 of each of all operational variants. This will be the last one...seriously….I mean it this time….probably. For 30 years now, Flanker derivatives have been the backbone of Russia’s air power as well as that of its client states, even including China. The Su 33 was too hard to resist, as finally we have….



Soviet naval aviation was effectively a joke for most of the Cold war. Their 4 “carriers” were no bigger than cruisers and the Yak 38 was the only fixed-wing aircraft that could operate from them.



Rarely has there been an aircraft of such unparalleled ****ness as the Forger. Imagine a V/STOL aircraft far more dangerous to its pilots than the Harrier, with weaker engines, no radar, Soviet build quality and an absolutely pitiful payload and range. At best, the Soviet navy could try to stave off an invasion together with land-based bombers, but offensive operations would be suicidal. You really need to read this bit from the cracked website, it is genius:

https://www.cracked.com/article_1947...ood-ideas.html

“…it also had almost no capability to carry weapons, and statistics show that 100 percent of the time, the side with weapons will win the battle.”


Enter the admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s first proper carrier with the Su 27K or Su 33 likewise being Russia’s first proper carrierborne aircraft. Unlike American carriers, the Kuznetsov is technically still a heavily armed and very big cruiser that requires a smaller battle group to defend itself. On paper it all looked pretty good, but then the Soviet Union fell apart and the money disappeared rapidly. The Kuznetsov suffered badly from being the only carrier, with poor maintenance and only a very small pool of insufficiently trained crew capable of operating a carrier. Its deployment to Syria was supposed to showcase its capabilities, but because of all the breakdowns it had suffered over the years, it had to constantly be escorted by tugs. Needles to say it broke down on the way. It then managed to loose a Su 33 (this one in fact) to a broken arrestor cable and a Mig 29 that ran out of fuel after it took too long to repair an arrestor cable after yet another incident. It then limped back to Murmansk for repairs, where the entire dry dock sank and a crane assembly collapsed, damaging the Kuznetsov even further.



For its part, the Su 33 was quite a bit heavier than the Su 27, but could maintain much of its performance. Using a ski-jump launch with afterburners rather than steam catapults meant it would need to be able to fly at very slow speeds. Hence the canards, which would also help low-speed maneuverability. Range and payload were now also seriously impressive. The Su 33’s avionics were really obsolete already when it first entered into service in the late ‘90’s though. The Russians had some export interest, but in typical fashion, the Chinese opted to buy a prototype from Ukraine and reverse engineered the J 15 Flying Shark from it in stead. The Indians opted for the Mig 29K. As a result, there are only 24 Su 33’s in existence, with only about 8-10 being operational at any one time. Several minor upgrades to engines and systems took place, and they did carry out some successful bombing missions over Syria. Most of these ended being flown from land after the arrestor cable disasters on the Kuznetsov. At this point, many of the airframes are already nearing the end of their useful life. They were slated to be replaced by Mig 29K’s, but that seems unsure for a number of reasons. It would be expensive, and the Su 33 is able to carry more ordnance over longer distances, as the Mig 29 requires drop tanks to fly that far. However, the Mig can carry more types of air to ground weapons and has better avionics. It’s also smaller, so they could fit more of them on the carrier.



This Buck Danny album was a fun yarn, depicting a fictionalized version the run-up to the coup against Gorbachev just before the Soviet Union fell apart. The Kuznetsov and Su 33’s play a heroic role in opposing the coup forces, but it’s rather far removed from reality.



Building a blue water carrier force took the US decades of experience and mishaps and that was with vastly more resources, carriers, far more numerous and well-trained crews as well as solid, purpose-built aircraft. It’s the one area where both Russia and China are likely to lag behind for a few more decades at least.
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Old 08-08-2019, 07:25 AM   #2
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The model really looks pretty good as HM have captured the shape pretty well. It’s one of the few still being made in China. I opened two, the first one didn’t have any major defects, but lots of minor ones, with lots of tiny overspray or ugly blotches here and there. The second one was almost flawless, so that’s the one I took. But clearly it’s best if you can check yours out before buying as even though the paint quality is usually better in the Chinese factory, it is not immune to painting mistakes. It comes with open and closed canopy parts. Surface detail is typical HM, good but not excellent. They didn’t do very much with the wing hinges for example. HM’s Flankers are some of the few models in their lineup that actually contain engine intakes. On the Su 33 they contain filters, like the real jet. Most of it fit together well enough, requiring no filing, but some items were a bit loose. The missiles came off the rails far too easily, even though admittedly the R27 Alamo missiles are a very awkward shape. Using the stand means removing the rear fuselage R27, which you usually can’t see anyway. As for the paint, it’s of good quality. The colour accuracy may be a concern for some, but especially on Russian planes, the actual colour and markings can vary quite a lot between time periods and locations. Couple that to different lighting and weathering from being on a carrier deck for long periods and there probably isn’t a “correct” colour scheme for the Su 33. Overall, it’s much like HM’s other flankers, a solid release.



















It also fits fine on a Witty Su 27 stand.

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Old 08-08-2019, 07:29 AM   #3
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On to another topic, out of all the Flanker releases that are now out there, how do they stack up? I can't really comment on Gaincorp, as I've never even seen one. Personally, I feel HM’s flankers have captured the shape of the various flanker variants pretty well. The Su 35 and Su 34 have been well documented and are very similar to this Su 33 quality wise.



So what of the Witty releases? Well, the original Su 27 wasn’t brilliant, but not terrible either. It was my 3rd or 4th diecast model and was really all that was available back then. The nose shape is slightly off, the parts didn’t fit very well and the gear could only just about support the model. The colours were probably a bit off too. Surface detail was fine though, at least on par with HM’s. And I still like the shark mouth. Also, it’s easy to forget now, but it was very cheap for such a big plane, less than half of what HM are charging for their current Flankers.



However, the Witty Su 27 UB/Su 30 releases were something else. They would be my top pick. If you look at all the molds Witty made, they slowly upped their game. Towards the end, they produced this, their masterpiece. The shape of the real plane is rather strange, but Witty somehow managed to get very close. The detail on the surface is exceptional, a massive improvement over the standard Su 27. It’s not just down to the signature shallower panel lanes. The tiny riveting is just right. Also, notice the fine writing and detail on the missiles. It’s an absolutely cracking model. It’s too bad Witty went under just as they were starting to get really good. However they do kind of live on under JC and Herpa, so I’d guess their Su 30’s are also pretty good. For the Su 30 at least, I doubt very much HM’s version will be able to improve on this.





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Old 08-08-2019, 09:48 AM   #4
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Default Re: HM HA6401 Su-33 Flanker D & Flanker roundup

Thanks for the photos and interesting information.

Model looks good - HM made several improvements over pre-pro photos. Orange pilot is a nice touch. I´m afraid I won´t resist buying it, even when wing hinges should have been in metal color, also I´m missing air brake (I like Flanker´s look with deployed air brake). There are also omitted many tampos on topsides, on leading edges and engine air intakes.

Bad to hear about production quality issues - thanks for information about what should be watched at purchase.


With only 24 Su 33’s in existence, this mold won´t be exactly golden egg for HM imho. Maybe its J-15 siblings (depending on how good will HM render them) will have good sales, especially model with yellow/red stripes like HA6402.


Flanker group photo looks awesome!


Absolutely agree with your opinion on Witty SU-30 - best Witty´s mold, absolutely awesome, far better than all HM Sukhois efforts. The only serious issue of this tooling is for me the wrong nose division line.


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For the Su 30 at least, I doubt very much HM’s version will be able to improve on this.
Have you any information about HM is planning SU-30? Canards? No canards?

Thanks for reply
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:19 AM   #5
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kinda disappointing that for a naval su-33, they don't include any naval missile load but rocket pods and aam...
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Old 08-09-2019, 04:02 AM   #6
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kinda disappointing that for a naval su-33, they don't include any naval missile load but rocket pods and aam...
Kh-41 would have been nice.
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Old 08-09-2019, 04:36 AM   #7
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i went ahead and order one from TFM. it still shows preorder on their site so you can still use the 20% coupon. $109 shipping included.

su-34 and su-35 actually got a lot of neat air to ground weapons. many of HM pylons for su-34 and su-35 are compatible with each other. but it's so sad that those pylons are not compatible with the su-27 and su-33 (which has same pylon key as su-27)....

US has numerous supercarriers. just too bad they don't have a heavy fighter with the long range to go with it. f/a-18e/f and f-35c just don't have quite the range as su-33

Last edited by wildpig; 08-09-2019 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 08-09-2019, 06:58 AM   #8
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US has numerous supercarriers. just too bad they don't have a heavy fighter with the long range to go with it. f/a-18e/f and f-35c just don't have quite the range as su-33
There are specific reasons for this. When the Navy decided to focus on the Super Hornet and F35C, the expected trend was to start using more and more stand-off weapons (think cruise- and hyper-sonic missiles and even direct energy weapons) and drones, so there would be no need to get as close to an enemy's coastline anymore.

However, one major game-changer is the fact the Chinese have functional anti-ship ballistic missiles, which pushes the area a carrier can safely operate in much further back. Even with stand-off weapons, this puts many targets out of range of carrier aircraft. By this point, the F35 program was already way too big to fail and has been a black hole that's gobbled up any and all money that would be needed to develop specialized aircraft.

For the next generation, I would hope the US would go back to specialized aircraft for the branches rather than trying to fit a very square peg into very round holes. Only the marines have the plane they always wanted in the F35B, 15% of the total fleet. The F35A and C are very compromised because of the B version. The next big change will be when the Super Hornet airframes reach retirement flight hours.
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Old 08-09-2019, 07:06 AM   #9
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kinda disappointing that for a naval su-33, they don't include any naval missile load but rocket pods and aam...

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Originally Posted by wildpig View Post

su-34 and su-35 actually got a lot of neat air to ground weapons. many of HM pylons for su-34 and su-35 are compatible with each other. but it's so sad that those pylons are not compatible with the su-27 and su-33 (which has same pylon key as su-27)....

Valuable points. So sad you or other collectors (including me, I didn´t realize until your today´s posting) haven´t raised them back in November 2018 when prototypes were released and when was possible to discuss these changes with HM.

Anyway its still time now to send this information about SU-33 naval missile load and pylons compatibility to HM so you can save next SU-33 and J-15 releases.
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Old 08-09-2019, 11:14 AM   #10
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i wonder about the replacement of the su33 for the russian navy..there are new carriers planned? because if there are the switch to the mig29k is still possible but i doubt the russians will spend so much money for a new(erm...not really i guess..) aircraft if their carriers will not be replaced in a reasonable period of time.
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:50 PM   #11
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with all that's happened to admiral Kuznetsov, i am wondering if it's just cheaper for them to just start on building a new proper supercarrier instead of trying to get the old one to just limped along.... Will probably take them at least 10 yrs to get a new supercarrier into service but hopefully then it would be a much better one....

supercarriers may be more vulnerable, but they are still indispensable..

also Mig-29K is a backward step in range and carrying capacity. it doesn't have stealth to at least make up for that.... might be a little cheaper but i think they will regret this later...

Last edited by wildpig; 08-09-2019 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:55 PM   #12
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not sure if you can call the kuznetzsov a super carrier; for sure russians are one of the few that could build one o more if they want to but if we talk of a period of 10 years or more i think we might see a navy version of the su57, not a mig29k
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:32 PM   #13
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not sure if you can call the kuznetzsov a super carrier; for sure russians are one of the few that could build one o more if they want to but if we talk of a period of 10 years or more i think we might see a navy version of the su57, not a mig29k
Yep, hope that's already in the work. because the mig-29k just won't cut it in the long run.
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:59 PM   #14
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The caculus is different for Russian aircraft. They cost less than half of Western aircraft for a reason. None of the airframes or engines last anywhere near as long as they do on Western aircraft. So at some point your readiness drops through the floor, while your maintenance hours shoot through the roof unless you want to risk your expensive aircraft dropping out of the sky.
And the Su 33's are fast approaching the point where they are no longer economical. The Mig 29K may be their only available option for now and they too will need to be replaced in about 15-20 years.

The plan is to keep the Kuznetsov going on until the 2030's. Frankly, Russia doesn't have the infrastructure, funding or know-how to build supercarriers. They barely have enough money to buy a handful of Su 57's, which is the priority.

China is another story, they build most of the world's ships and are actively building their own class of supercarriers...
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Old 08-09-2019, 06:17 PM   #15
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The other problem Russia has is geography, the only fleets where it would be worth basing a carrier are the northern and pacific, neither bases being particularly suited to year round carrier operations. It was always a prestige project, Russia is better off developing long range replacement land-based maritime aircraft. It's not like Russia has far flung possessions that need carrier protection; they'd need three just to match the UK & France in the North Atlantic!
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Old 08-09-2019, 06:37 PM   #16
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with all that's happened to admiral Kuznetsov, i am wondering if it's just cheaper for them to just start on building a new proper supercarrier instead of trying to get the old one to just limped along.... Will probably take them at least 10 yrs to get a new supercarrier into service but hopefully then it would be a much better one ....

Hopefully? ... much better one ? Sorry me, don't want to mix politics, just sounds strange to hear from someone from Miami/USA he wishes Russians have much better weapons ....

Fortunately, Russia is fair, nonconfrontational and peaceful country without territorial / global ambitions ....
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Old 08-09-2019, 06:56 PM   #17
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Hopefully? ... much better one ? Sorry me, don't want to mix politics, just sounds strange to hear from someone from Miami/USA he wishes Russians have much better weapons ....

Fortunately, Russia is fair, nonconfrontational and peaceful country without territorial / global ambitions ....
I just look at it as a big competition...lol...you need competition to get things improved, be it the US, NATO, russia, or china... so it's actually a good thing that there is competition.
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Old 08-10-2019, 05:16 AM   #18
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I just look at it as a big competition...lol...you need competition to get things improved, be it the US, NATO, russia, or china... so it's actually a good thing that there is competition.
No. Arms races are not a good thing, ever.
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Old 08-10-2019, 05:34 AM   #19
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No. Arms races are not a good thing, ever.
Maybe in ideal world. but its a necessity in real life
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Old 08-10-2019, 07:15 AM   #20
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Maybe in ideal world. but its a necessity in real life
No it isn't, that's what verifiable treaties are for. They have to be verifiable because we don't live in an ideal world.

All arms races do is bankrupt nations and cause wars.
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Old 08-31-2019, 06:12 AM   #21
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This Su-33 is a great model. But I've the sensation the canard plan of the Su-33 isn't good. Am I alone to think that ?

Last edited by Ethan35; 08-31-2019 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 09-03-2019, 10:45 AM   #22
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This Su-33 is a great model. But I've the sensation the canard plan of the Su-33 isn't good. Am I alone to think that ?
Seemed OK to me, but the more I look at it, the more I think perhaps the trailing edge is too swept back. Unfortunately I've no good planform photographs to look at and I don't trust drawings. What do you think you see?
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Old 09-03-2019, 11:48 AM   #23
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Ok, according to your pictures, HM Su-33 canard plan forms an outward angle of 5 or 10°, instead of zero degrees like Su-34.

Last edited by Ethan35; 09-03-2019 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 09-03-2019, 11:53 AM   #24
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Ok, according your picture, HM Su-33 canard plan forms an outward angle of 10 or 15° instead zero degree, like Su-34
I think you're looking at something different to me. Do you mean dihedral should be about zero?
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Old 09-03-2019, 11:58 AM   #25
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Good catch paisano!
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Old 11-04-2019, 09:24 AM   #26
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Hey gents. I got mine a week ago. Decided to make a few improvements. Most notably I made the leading edges near the canards white and painted the wing hinges. Also converted it to the loadout they used in the Syrian Op. It also supposedly carried 2 general purpose bombs in the center but it'll be a few weeks before I could get my hands on those. So this will do for the moment.


Untitled5453 by timothy33csa, on Flickr

120 by timothy33csa, on Flickr

2 by timothy33csa, on Flickr

4 by timothy33csa, on Flickr

6 by timothy33csa, on Flickr

5 by timothy33csa, on Flickr

3 by timothy33csa, on Flickr

7 by timothy33csa, on Flickr

9 by timothy33csa, on Flickr

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Old 11-04-2019, 10:46 AM   #27
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Simply awesome, Tim!

Thanks for the photos.

Great work. Envy you. Just a few touches and how the model looks so much better....

That pilot, HUD and missiles are easily award winning quality. Pilot is from PJ Productions?

Was asking some of these changes from HM, but apparently there were not enough requests from collectors to HM to make these changes happen.
How much more would this model cost if HM made these touches in production?


Beautiful pictures, btw!
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Old 11-04-2019, 11:30 AM   #28
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Thanks Ladia. That's right, the body is from PJ productions but the head sculpt I made myself by modifying a head from another figure. And then I used after market parts for the belts.. I tried to copy the model below.

s-l300 by timothy33csa, on Flickr

Here she is next to the HM pilot
IMG_20190917_214623 by timothy33csa, on Flickr

DSC_0029 by timothy33csa, on Flickr

DSC_0025 by timothy33csa, on Flickr

I just couldn't use the HM figure. I'd rather have no figures than use them.

With regard to the cost, maybe they could just add a few more stencils. I think they can anyway. There's tons of stencils on the top but are noticeably absent in the bottom and the sides of the model. I could live with few stencils on the bottom since I don't care about the bottom that much but the sides are important . Anyway I think they addressed this in the Su-27 digi camo Ukranian. The art work looks like it'll feature tons of stencils even on the sides. hope it becomes the standard for future Su-27 releases

Also btw, just for full disclosure, it was my brother who took the photos. I suck at taking pics cause I only use my phone camera

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Old 11-04-2019, 12:11 PM   #29
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Cool pix! Both plane and pilot. I wish all pilots had such details

Did you modify and cut a slot underneath the model for what appears to me as a Air Commander clear display stand? or is HM now shipping that style of stand with this model?

On a humorous note ... you and or your brother may just have invented a pilots A$$ Airbag (represented by the putty under the pilot figure for picture taking) concept for real crash/hard landings... patent it!

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Old 11-05-2019, 06:27 AM   #30
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Cool pix! Both plane and pilot. I wish all pilots had such details

Did you modify and cut a slot underneath the model for what appears to me as a Air Commander clear display stand? or is HM now shipping that style of stand with this model?

On a humorous note ... you and or your brother may just have invented a pilots A$$ Airbag (represented by the putty under the pilot figure for picture taking) concept for real crash/hard landings... patent it!

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It works well though for holding small figures in place.

For the stand, yep you're right. I think it's a Century wings A-6 stand. Just had to sand down the stubs a little to fit the HM model. It now sits securely in place
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Old 11-05-2019, 08:21 AM   #31
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Cool pix!

On a humorous note ... you and or your brother may just have invented a pilots A$$ Airbag (represented by the putty under the pilot figure for picture taking) concept for real crash/hard landings... patent it!

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I though what appears to be a putty under the pilot figure is in fact magnified prototype of new HM pilots helmet.
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Originally Posted by tim_1/72 View Post

HM pilots are the worst pilot figure rendition ever in diecast and plastic kit history. Awful things. Helmet Mutilation. Hopeless Mockery.
Its below every standard. Wonder HM still makes them. They simply don´t care. They probably think its waste of money, but its actually quite the contrary - correct pilot figures would sell like hotcakes as an accessories.

Hoping at least Calibre will make correct sitting pilot figures one day. Maybe costly, but worth the money.
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