Kit reference: HPA048025
Price around: £3.72 GBP (January 2015)
Review by Mick Stephen
Thanks to HPM Hobbies Pte Ltd for supplying the review sample. Order this kit from High Planes Models
I’m going to take an educated guess and say this is the smallest item yet reviewed on SMN, (Geoff will soon correct me if I’m in error here) I reckon you’re spot on Mick! Geoff.
High Planes Models have been a plastic model manufacturer in Australia for many years, they relocated to Singapore some years ago. HPM’s reputation is of producing a range of very accurate kits of typically neglected subjects, just check out their website to see what I mean.
HPM started with what is now known as “limited run” injection moulding, which uses low cost tooling and low pressure injection techniques. The downside with this method is that limited run kits require careful cleanup before assembly. Their recent range of Mirage 1:72 subjects utilizes the more commonly used method of high pressure injection and tooling, while maintaining the same standard of accuracy and detail, with the upside of becoming somewhat easier to build.
Now HPM are taking the next steps in modern technology and producing aftermarket detail sets using 3D printing.
In these times of precision attacks and the avoidance of collateral damage, guided weapons have become the norm. We have radar guidance, TV, infrared, GPS, inertial navigation and probably technologies we don’t know about yet, but the old firm favourite is the laser guided ‘bang’.
The GBU family
The GBU-Paveway II laser-guided bomb is an American designed aerial bomb, based on a standard freefall general-purpose bomb, but with the addition of a nose-mounted laser seeker and fins for guidance. A member of the Paveway series of weapons, Paveway II entered into service c. 1976. It is currently in service with various air forces across the world and fitted to a wide range of GP bomb manufacturers. Paveway II refers specifically to the guidance kit, rather than to the weapon itself as they can be fitted to most 500lb, 1000lb and 2000lb iron bombs.
Laser-guided bombs are often labeled “smart bombs” because they are able to follow a non-ballistic trajectory when laser designation of the intended target is undertaken, by either a ground or air based targeting team or by the dropping aircraft itself.
Most kit manufacturer’s supply weapons load outs for their subjects and in the case of a laser guided bomb these are typically reasonably detailed. However the most striking detail of the part is the seeker head and these are not always so well represented.
The detail set
Coming in a small pack, there are 8 seeker heads contained in a plastic vial to protect them.
The 3D printing medium is a translucent compound, making them very difficult to photograph, so I have added a coat of primer so you can get a closer look.
As you can see in the examples for comparison below, one from Italeri (left) and one from Kitty Hawk (right), the accuracy and detail varies. Compare them to the new HPM version (centre) using 3D printing technology, quite a difference eh?
How do they make them? Well, from my limited knowledge of this technology it all starts with a 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) drawing and then multiply that into a printable format; it’d be pretty tedious printing one at a time.
Here are some close-ups I have tried…
There are basic instructions that speak for themselves (see photo above)
Probably the best way to demonstrate these small additions is to put them on a subject weapon. So in good ‘Blue Peter’ tradition, here is one I prepared earlier.
This is the Italeri GBU12 Paveway II from the 1:48 Mirage 2000D kit.
I for one like my subject kits to be ‘tooled up’ as they say, so after spending all the modelling man-hours getting your kit accurate and finished to a high standard, what better way to enhance the end result than ensure the weapons look as good as the aircraft. I love it – but just beware of your carpet monster, as these wee beauties will soon get swallowed if you don’t take care. Well done HPM.
Very highly recommended
SMN Quick summary Star rating out of 5
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Here are HPM’s contact details:
HPM Hobbies Pte Ltd
28 Sin Ming Lane, #05-133 Midview City, Singapore 573972
Telephone: +65 6659 9319 (GMT +8)
Mon – Fri 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
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