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Model Bang for the Buck

Also: Doras of the Galland Circus in 1/48 Scale

n by Rafi Ben-Shahar


Modelling is generally considered as an inexpensive hobby thanks to the miniature nature of its components. Yet, when it boils down to the actual dealings with items one may groan at the total costs of plastic kits due to their high retail price or the costs of adding aftermarket products to improve the overall appearance of the final model. This conflict may offset the inherent "savings" of this hobby, particularly if one builds large quantities of models like myself or others who may store kits for the the day that never comes.

Three different (out of four possible) fuselage markings of the Sachsenberg Schwarm,
the unit which operated Fw 190D-9s for the famous "Galland Circus".

Click to enlarge

I present here one way of getting more for what you pay. Here, I chose a series of three JV44 support aircraft that accompanied the Me 262 jets during the pattern approach when they were most vulnerable to Allied aircraft attacks. The Focke Wulf 190Ds were painted with striking red and white stripes on their lower surfaces to facilitate identification by the anti-aircraft gun crews on the ground. The aircraft were also adorned with informal inscriptions that reflected the spirits among the German air crews during the last Months of the War. EagleCals decal sheet for JV44 Doras consolidated much information about the markings and camouflage patterns of these aircraft including the intricate variations of technical features to present four aircraft of the kind on one decal sheet.

The Trimaster 1/48 Fw 190D moulds (today mostly known through their reissues by Dragon, Monogram and Italeri, either as D-9 or D-11 variants) are the most accurate representation of the real aircraft in scale. Although long out of production, these kits are widely available at reasonable prices from second-hand sources. Purchasing older quality kits second-hand is the no. 1 recipe to reduce cost per model as opposed to the popular pre-ordering of the newest releases as soon they appear on the market. Hence, for a small price of three aircraft kits I could easily afford to add the EagleCals decal sheet. I was able to spend many hours investigating and replicating the intimate details that characterized each of the three aircraft. When my models were completed, I gave the sheet and markings of the fourth aircraft to a friend, another saving!

Is there any way better to spend your time and money on this hobby?

Additional images, click to enlarge

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