Thursday, February 10, 2011

Crown/AHM Axis Lilliputians

When I started shopping for model airplanes at Peterson's in Lancaster, my eyes were opened to a whole new world of imported kits, mostly from Japan. Peterson's was well-stocked with all the latest stuff from LS, Hasegawa, Tamiya, Fujimi, Mania, Otaki, and Crown. They were not all that expensive either compared to domestic brands. I usually went in there with only a couple bucks at a time, rather than saving for a nice large, deluxe kit. For a while I got stuck in a rut of buying cheap 1/144 Japanese kits, because I thought I was getting more for my money. The first time I tried this was with a four-set collection of Crown airplanes in 1/144 scale: Ju-87 Stuka, Me-110, Ki-61 Tony, and Zero with floats. The kit boxes were shrink-wrapped together like you see in the picture here. This was serious eye candy for a kid like me. I didn't know what "1/144 scale" meant size wise, so this set looked like I was getting four airplanes the size I was used to - 1/72 scale. When I got it home however, I was a little disappointed that the airplanes were so tiny. I built them any way, and the results were pretty good I thought. I went on to buy a few more models in 1/144 scale, which will be covered in later blog entries.
These little kits were fun to build again, and they took about as long to complete as one 1/48 scale kit! I didn't do much detailing; one could get real elaborate with these, but I stuck to my original project philosophy of "build it like you were a kid again." Standard painting was done in accordance with the box illustrations. The original decals went on well, despite their forty years of age.
My favorite plane in this group was the "Tony" because I thought it was the sleekest, most bad-ass looking fighter of WWII, along with the Mig-3, and the Westland Whirlwind. The minuscule Tony was the only one I ever built as a kid, even though there were larger Tony kits available at the time.

Crown/AHM had a whole series of these 1/144 scale fighters but these four were the only ones I got. The whole series would make a very impressive collection displayed all together. You can still piece together the whole series by finding them individually on EBay.

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