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REVIEW
Mirage's PZL-23 finds its teeth!
Merlin
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Posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 02:48 AM UTC
Appearing under a new guise - the Warsaw Model Center - Mirage Hobby''s lovely Karaś gets the full treatment - an update to the ''B version, plus resin crew and bomb-load.

Link to Item

If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
TedMamere
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Posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 11:26 AM UTC
Hi Rowan!

Nice kit and nice review! But I don't like this "U.K. only" thing! Doh... I hope they have somethng similar in mind for France... with extra Red Wine, Camembert and Baguette resin parts! :-)

Jean-Luc
Merlin
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Posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 05:41 PM UTC
Hi Jean-luc

What a great idea! I just had a quick check in case I missed anything in the Karaś box - sadly, the UK Special Edition doesn't include a plate of fish & chips, with a pint of Tanglefoot to wash them down...

All the best

Rowan
Antoni
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Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2006 - 03:58 PM UTC
I think the policy is to issue the special edition in different language versions. While messing about on their web site last week I came across a screen that seemed to suggest that there would be French, German and other versions including I think Japanese. However I could not find the page today. For one Euro you can have your name printed on the box and for two some text to personalise it. NB the URL is www.wcm.com.pl. A magazine has already misprinted it as www.wmc.com.pl. If you go there you will find a Polish shopping site where you can buy lots of things but not a Karaś (Ka-rash).

I bought the Polish version a couple of months ago. Mirage must use low-pressure moulds as it suffers from their typical sink marks (more like pot-holes.) As well as the usual suspects (propeller) there are eight beautifully symmetrical holes around the exhaust collector ring. They are so good many people will think they are intentional. They are not and need to be filled. There is also a flow mark on one of the fuselage halves that looks like it will need attention. I donít think paint alone will hide it.

Despite the inclusion of bombs the choice of markings are curiously mostly for aircraft from 1938 not authentic September 1939 examples. In 1939, before war broke out, the under wing buzz codes changed from two digits to three. Some sources say that the colour changed as well. When you look at photos you see examples of black and white being used both before the war and during the September Campaign. Photographs of wrecks and captured aircraft taken by the Germans after the September Campaign show that mostly white codes on the Karaś whereas those of P.11s are mostly black. There is one very rare photograph taken during the September Campaign of 41 Eskadra aircraft parked under trees at Zdunowo airfield. It is not possible to identify any of them but you can see that the wingtips are painted white and there is a white letter N under the wing of the first aircraft. Itís not in the Mushroom book so donít waste your time looking for it there. There also seems to be a difference of opinion on the background colour of some of the emblems. Sometimes they are shown as white not pale blue. Techmod have even taken to printing two versions on some of their decal sheets.

As the editor of one model magazine has failed to realise when reviewing the Mushroom book, the home bases of the various air regiments were peace time only and not for use during conflict. The first stage of mobilisation was for the units to move to emergency airfields. That is airfields for use in a national emergency not for making emergency landings. The second stage, when conflict appeared imminent was to move to their secret war time airfields. These were extremely rough as it was imperative that enemy reconnaissance should not be able to identify them from the air. Polish aircraft were designed to operate from these rough airfields and the Air Force spent the summer months engaged in realistic exercises that duplicated the conditions of wartime operations. In the case of the Karaś, to facilitate operations from rough airstrips, the wheel spats could be removed. If you wish to show your model in that configuration it is quite legitimate and not a gimmick as they were very often removed. The bombs, however, are another matter. When operating from these rough airfields the bomb load was limited to a maximum of 400kg Ė thatís four of the six 100kg bombs in the kit. Other configurations that could be carried were one row of eight 50kg bombs, the extra two under the fuselage (it looks a tight squeeze) and two rows of six 12.5kg fragmentation bombs under each wing (24). Combinations of all three could also be carried. The 12.5kg fragmentation bombs are the same as could be carried by the PZL P.11. So you only need to buy six of the Mirage kit to have enough for a Karaś. I cannot find a single picture of a Karaś carrying bombs so what a typical load looked like is anybodyís guess.
Some people are confused about the configuration of the gun sights. If you can bend those tiny bits of brass, the spike goes at the front and the flaps bend back behind to each side like horseís blinkers. The originals were like a capital letter I in section with a top and bottom. The pencil sketch on page 89 of the Mushroom book shows them backwards.

Part 11W. A quick and easy enhancement is to drill out the circular vents.

Parts 32W are gun cameras and I think only used in training. The one of the machine gun was attached to a bracket that bolted to the left side of the gun. If you want to fit it you will have to scratch build the bracket. If you are desperate to know what it looked like email me and I will send you a picture. Genuine callers only please.

Part PE34 painted silver. This can be seen in photographs but not all aircraft had it. There is something similar on the PZL 11c which has been mistaken in the past for a window. It is in fact a data plaque with instructions for servicing the starter and fuel installation. So part PE34 is probably something very similar.

Part have issued two PE sets for the Karaś, interior and exterior. These are for the extreme modeller, replacing most of the interior with brass. In the set for the P.11C they left one of the instrument dials clear so you can paint the reverse in the correct red colour. They donít seem to have done this for the Karaś so you may prefer to use the kitís decals. Together they cost more than the kit. You can gaze in wonder at them here
http://www.jadar.com.pl/part/s48140/index.html
and here
http://www.jadar.com.pl/part/s48141/index.html
In the UK you should be able to get them from Aeroclub. Most will I think prefer Eduardís offerings. Techmod have already produced resin engines for the other Mirage kits of the P.11c and P.24 variants so I should think they will eventually provide one for the Karaś. If you are thinking of opening up panels then you might want to wait awhile to see if one turns up.

Painting your Karaś. This is a translation of what Mirage have to say on the matter. I expect the English version will have something similar.

"Preserved fragments of PZL P23s seem to prove the theory that the PZL factory at first used a khaki paint composed of FS20122 and FS30108. Later, the PZL factory changed the khaki colour to a greener shade - FS 34087. The colour used earlier most likely bleached quickly and in doing so lost its camouflaging properties and (probably) this is why the recipe for mixing the pigments in the paint was changed. The new khaki colour was most likely used for painting export aircraft and new types such as the PZL P37 Los or the PZL P43. This seems to confirm the colour photographs taken by the Germans at Okęcie in 1939. We managed to get hold of a fragment of paint from a PZL P37B Los and on the basis of this sample, we selected a mixture of Vallejo paints. The new khaki colour was most likely used on the late-series Karas B and most likely also on refurbished Karas As, and other aircraft repainted as the need arose. As of this moment, we've not been able to discover what colour the interior of the Karas was painted. No information on this subject has survived; we've not been able to find any artefacts. Studying photos, we can make out that the interior is painted in some dark colour, and neither silver nor light blue. The fragments of the P.23 interior exhibited from time to time at the Aviation Museum in Krakůw were painted a dark greyish blue. Summing up, the prototypes and early production examples were probably painted silver. Later production machines were probably painted dark greyish-blue or khaki green. The 'shelves' between crew members were painted khaki green. The most likely variant: walls painted dark greyish-blue, the floor black. All equipment, such as the camera, radio, bomb sight, were left in the colours that they were when they left the factories from which they originally came. Stencils (lit. 'utilisation lettering') (on the decal sheet nos. 20, 21, 22, 23) were probably not painted on Karaś. As; we've left them on the sheet as they might well have been applied when the aircraft were being refurbished. An example might be the inscription "NIE DEPTAC" (do not tread) which can be seen on a/c no. 44.30."

Mirage is the Polish agent for Vallejo and now only give mixtures from this range. Out of curiosity I obtained them to see what they produced. The colours, black, chestnut brown, yellow, and two greens, are not what I would expect to produce khaki. One of the greens is like hair dye, leaving the bristles of my paint brush green. I got what I expected, three slightly different shades of chocolate brown with a horrible dirty bottle green cast. When I put them through an airbrush the first layer paint appeared dark green turning to dark brown as the thickness of paint built up. The overspray was also a dirty bottle green. Nothing like the olive green of the illustrations on the instruction sheet which I assume is meant to represent the sort of colour you want. For a while I thought that these mixtures might have been made from a different range of paints and simply translated to the nearest Vallejo equivalents. Frankly I think you would be wasting your time and your money if you buy these paints for this purpose. (No complaints about the paint, itís the colours that are at fault.) There are easier and cheaper ways to get the right colour.

Early Faded Khaki. The PZL P.11c in Krakůw Museum has a history of restoration and repainting and cannot be relied on as an example of what was Polish Khaki. (It is said that the present colour is not correct, too green.) According to the instructions with Mirageís P.11 kit restoration work on Krakůwís P.11 revealed the colours faded khaki FS30118 and FS 30108/FS20122 in hidden areas. Now RAF Dark Earth is usually described as FS30118, so that colour must be what Polish aircraft looked like after they had been in the sun for a while. Eh, no! Mirage recommends (PZL P.11c kit) Humbrol H142 Ė Field Drab. For the colour in the hidden areas they say add 8% H163 (green). First obstacle. H142 is no longer available and nowhere have I been able to find out how you can mix it. But the local model shop has an old Humbrol booklet that has all the old colours in it and it turns out that H142 is, as I suspected, a khaki colour more greenish than Dark Earth. It has been suggested that Dark Earth can be substituted but I do not think so. I think it is too brown. When I was a boy everyone I asked, including one of my teachers who flew P.11s, said the colour was khaki. My father said it was similar to the colour of vehicles used by Post Office engineers. This fits with H142. Dark Earth is brown and I donít think anyone would call it khaki. But help is at hand. Agama have authentic colours for pre-war Polish aircraft but you can only get them from the Jadar Shop in Warsaw.

http://jadarhobby.home.pl/index.php?cPath=21_453&sort=2a&page=10

(NB On my laptop screen they looking nothing like the colour of the paint. When I printed the web page they looked very like the actual colours.) They have Polish Khaki. It looks right. A kind of dull khaki with a touch of green and it looks like H142. So I painted some on the end of a plastic plant label and off I went to the model shop. Agama Polish Khaki is an exact match for H142. So Agama is faded Polish Khaki FS30118. The nearest Humbrol colour is H155 Olive Drab. I bought some and painted some next to the Agama. Under a gloss coat you can hardly see any difference but under Matt Cote H155 became a darker, browner colour. I thought adding white would produce a too bleached effect but was surprised to find it matched the Agama colour quite well and I think many people would be happy with the result.

Late/Export Khaki. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence from veterans that the P.37 Łoś (pronounced like the English word wash not loss) in particular was painted a green or perhaps greener colour. When a boy I knew very well Group Captain Stanisław Cwynar who flew the P.37 before the war and in the September Campaign as commander of the XV Dwyizjon. He had two gouache sketches of a P.37 painted by one of his ground crew and the colour was green not brown. FS34087 is USAAF Olive Drab so why do you have to mix it? You donít. Mirage now have a pack of Vallejo paints for mixing the PZL colours

http://www.wcm.com.pl/index.php?action=show&id=12088

In it they include 70887/093 Brown Violet for Late Khaki in place of the mix they give in the instructions. This matches exactly Humbrol 155 Olive Drab. However, this still looks a little too much on the brown side, not what someone would describe as green or greenish. At the moment my own preference is White Ensignís ACUS15 Olive Drab 41. This has more of a green colour to it and look more like the olive colour of the instruction sheet illustrations.

Polish Light Blue. This is in fact a blue/grey colour something like a paler version of Humbrol 145 Medium Grey. Sometimes RLM 65 has been recommended as a substitute. It is too blue, certainly Humbrol H65 is. I could not find anything in the model shop to match the Agama version. The plastic top of Tamiya XF23 is very close. Thatís the colour of the plastic cap not the contents. The paint is darker and bluer. The nearest Humbrol colour is H127 US Ghost Gray. I was able to get an almost exact match by adding some H89 Middle Blue. I had to make the mix slightly lighter as it dries a darker shade. I should think that there are many other combinations of grey and blue that would give correct colour.

The interior.I have always thought that an aluminium interior seemed unlikely. All those reflections, especially from the cockpit framing wouldnít, I think, be tolerated. In their monographs on the PZL fighters Warren Eberspacher and Jan Koniarek say the interior of Polish aircraft were painted grey. The interior of the fuselage of the museumís P.11c is a light grey but I donít know if that is authentic or restoration. Vallejo 005 is Intermediate Blue so perhaps Humbrol H144 can be substituted? I havenít checked that out yet.

Other references.

White Eagles. The Aircraft, Men and Operations of the Polish Air Force 1918 Ė 1939, Belcarz & Pęczkowski, Hikoki. Some photographs not found in the Mushroom book. Colour profiles. Can get it for less than half price from Midland Counties.

Wrześniowe Straty 1939 September War Losses, A Glass, Mirage.
http://jadarhobby.home.pl/product_info.php?cPath=323_303&products_id=4528
Polish Text with English summary and captions. Some of the few hundred photographs taken by the Germans of crashed, abandoned and wrecked Polish aircraft from the September Campaign. Some large (A5) photos of Karaś with missing panels. Could be useful for super detailing. Higher standard of reproduction of photographs that have been published elsewhere. Was available from Hannants, still should be able to get it from Midland Counties.

Mini Replika 46. Polish model magazine. 12 page article on building the P.23A. Despite the all Polish text I thoroughly recommend getting a copy. There many black and white and colour photos of the build of the interior from which you can get ideas for adding more detail. (Yes it is possible to add more detail.) You can also get a good idea of what the interior should look like and help clarify any tricky bits that youíre not sure about. And yes, itís not painted with Vallejo paint mixes. It is easily obtained by mail order from the Jadar Shop. You can see some example pages here. Page down, donít click on enlarge.
http://jadarhobby.home.pl/product_info.php?cPath=47_52&products_id=11496

With the exception of some obvious items such as White Ensignís paint everything I have mentioned can be obtained from the Jadar Shop by mail order. There is an English version of the web site and you can see prices in US $ or Euros. No problem ifyou want to e-mail them in English. www.jadar.com.pl
TedMamere
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Moselle, France
Joined: May 15, 2005
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Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2006 - 04:58 PM UTC
Hi Antoni!

Thanks a lot for these informations! Interesting read...

Jean-Luc
Antoni
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England - East Midlands, United Kingdom
Joined: June 03, 2006
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Posted: Friday, September 08, 2006 - 11:54 PM UTC
Last week Midland Counties Bookstore sent me their latest list of second-hand books. On it was Monographie Lotnicze No 23 PZL P.23 the Karaś. Long out of print. I ordered it immediately and today it arrived. (£3 + £2.50 postage and packing, not quite more than the book.)

I thought there might not be anything new in it but it is quite useful. A few photos I havenít seen and a section of interior photos from the manual that are the best reproductions I have seen. A section with photos of Bulgarian and Rumanian aircraft. Plans also include interior detail. There are also four pages of colour profiles but these can be found in other publications as well. On the back cover is a colour cut-away drawing and a colour drawing of the cockpit. Despite being all Polish it makes a very useful reference.

Looking at it I am not sure it really is second-hand. It doesnít look to have been touched and the old price tag is still on the back. Perhaps it came from a book shop that closed or something like that. So there might be a remote possiblity that they have more than one copy. If you want one the code is B511. I suggest that you e-mail or phone them as I have never been able to find any of the second-hand books by searching the website.

Tel. 01455 254450
[email protected]

They also had listed both the PZL P.11c books.
Antoni
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England - East Midlands, United Kingdom
Joined: June 03, 2006
KitMaker: 574 posts
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Posted: Saturday, December 02, 2006 - 08:22 PM UTC
The latest release of Mirageís PZL P23.B Karaś appeared on the Jadar Shop website today (3/12/2006 or 12/3/2006 if you live on the other side of the Atlantic). This is the September 1939 issue. From what I can see it is very similar in contents to the first kit of the P23A. There are decals for four aircraft:

44.211 Ď5í of the 55th Independent Bomber Flight, Bomber Brigade (Tiger)

ĎN-08í Ď1í Personal aircraft of commander 12th Battle Flight 1st Air Regiment (Fox) Ė This aircraft actually dates form 1938, buzz codes changed to three digits in1939 shortly before war broke out.

44.62 ĎK-610í Ď5í Light Bomber Flight, Bomber Brigade (Lion)

ĎK-941í Ď9í 24th Reconnaissance Flight (Gazelle).

Polish Price is 119 zł (about £21 on a credit card rate of exchange), US$38 or 30 Euros.

http://www.jadarhobby.waw.pl/mirage-481305-pzl23b-karas-1939-campaign-p-12625.html
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