Saturday, December 4, 2010

Faces of Telford. Part 1

My good friend Mike Grzebien and I preparing for the clock to strike "Beer Thirty" in the lobby of the Holiday Inn in Telford. We have been friends for coming up on twenty years now.

Hi Guys.

One of the more under appreciated aspects of joining an organization such as the IPMS is the people you get to meet. IPMS takes a lot of flak over the contest and judging system. So much so, that the real benefits are often glossed over.

I joined IPMS/USA back in 1983. Since then, I have made many lifelong friends, not only locally, but around the world. Some modellers consider the hobby a solitary pursuit, but they are missing out, if you ask me.

I started Cooper Details back in late 1989, and the number of great people I have met has grown exponentially since then. I started attending the IPMS/UK National Convention sometime in the early 90s, when it was being held at the Stoneleigh Agricultural Centre. It was a very spartan facility, and I spent a couple of very cold nights sleeping in what amounted to a hostel (more hostile than hostel) designed by someone who had probably designed detention facilities in his past. Cinder block walls with a tin roof on beams with a one foot airgap all around. A narrow, flimsy vinyl mattress with one ratty little blanket woven from burlap castoffs, metal shavings and twine, it was not one of the more comfortable nights I had ever experienced. November in England can be a little brisk.
Almost too much talent for one image. The amazing Spencer Pollard is is arguably one of the best painters in the hobby. Daniel Zimarbide does some incredibly intricately detailed models. Both regularly display their work on the Plastic Pics Forum at

It was at Stoneleigh that I met Mike Grzebien, who started Avia Imports to bring Cooper Details into the UK. Mike and I have been mates ever since. I have stayed with him and met his family. We have been on Pub crawls in Peterborough that I kind of remember! LOL. We spent a miserable, cold afternoon at the Newark Air Museum crawling all over their Sea Vixen, talking photos and detailed measurements. Avia went on to become a much bigger company, and they carried a huge range of products. Mike was very busy with his career in the USAF, and eventually handed the reins of the company to his sister in North Carolina.

Many of you may remember Christina from Avia Imports USA. It was my great pleasure to get to know her and work with her. Cooper Details eventually shut down in the late 90s due to a number of factors, chief amongst those was my mother's declining health. Those were some dark days for me. Hard times rarely last forever, and I worked though them. Things have improved a lot since then. But I digress.
Mike Grzebien of Avia Imports fame. Barry Numerick, respected Bf-109 guru and master modeler. Kevin Baxter, former dictator of IPMS Ipswich and well known hen teaser. Me. Again.

I've been back many times to attend the UK Nats. Donnington was a step up , and the Telford Exhibition Centre is a huge improvement over both of these venues. Huge, well lit and heated, it is also supported by some very good hotels and great food and drinks is within a few minutes cab ride. Over the years I have met many modelers as well as fellow vendors.

One problem with being a vendor is that you meet so many nice people, but you only get to talk to them for a few minutes once a year or sometimes even less often. Remembering all the names is very tough. I try hard to remember, but the real problem is that I'm usually jetlagged and exhausted from working very long days leading up to the show, making recalling much more than my name and room number (which I forgot back in November and ended up pounding on some poor sods door to let me in) I'm surprised they didn't call security! So, if you see me at a show and you are not wearing a name tag, don't be hesitant to remind me of your name. Or don't be surprised if I call you guy, or chief or dude!
Too many Roys. Too many Norwegians. Mark Atrill, who can't find Norway on a map. Me, who is half Norwegian, but is not sure which half. Jens Haakon Brandal, exiled from Norway for unspecified acts. Roy Noraas, who wishes he would be exiled from Norway!

Annnnnnyway...I thought it might be interesting to share a few photos of some of the people I've befriended over the years. Some will be familiar names of people in the industry, or well known modelers, or even guys you may recognize from the various modelling website forums. I think its fun to put faces to these names. Hope you enjoy it.

This post was started over 3 weeks ago, but work and the holidays intervened. More on that later. I told myself that I'd post it before the end of the year. It's not under the wire, but its pretty dang close. Happy New Year to everyone.

Happy modelling! Roy

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tales of Telford 2010. Part 2.

The new Airfix Sea Vixen in 1/48th scale Built up on the Airfix trade stand. A very impressive model, and it shows the care in planning and design lavished on it.

Hi Guys.

The problem with a two day show is that there is so much to see and so many people to talk to, there just isn't enough time. It's worse... much worse when you are a vendor. You are torn between the desire to represent your company and talk to all of your customers face to face, and the need to get out and see the competition area, the many amazing club displays, and the other vendors and manufacturers booths.

As I said before, the Spitfire stuff was very popular and sold out early. The new decals garnered a lot of interest, especially the new Mosquito Stencil sheets in 1/72nd and 1/48th. The Sea Vixen book was also popular, especially with the imminent release of the new 1/48 Sea Vixen from Airfix. I am particularly excited about the new Airfix kit, as I had a small part in helping make the kit as accurate as it is. I gave Airfix a copy of my book last year, and they referred to it extensively during the development of the kit, which is all very thrilling to me, in a nerdy kind of way.

I was very impressed with this new kit. It was displayed in sprue form, as an unpainted build up, as well as a fully painted and assembled model at the Airfix stand. Having studied the Sea Vixen for over 20 years, I can tell you it is a very accurate looking kit. I look forward to building one.

The hall was packed with modelers and drop in visitors. There was little sign of the crappy economy at the show. Attendees were there to spend money, and spend they did! Lots of good feedback and suggestions for future products from customers were gratefully accepted and notes taken.

Also helping man the booth is my buddy Ken Kindler from Indianapolis. There were a number of modelers from the US over for the show. Make plans to attend next year. You will not regret it!

Day one of the show started winding down around 5PM. We closed down up the stand and headed back to the hotel to have a couple of beers with some friends. Later, we took a taxi to Beefeaters, a local Steakhouse in Telford. Dinner was good. We had some nice steaks, followed by desert of treacle sponge pudding. A traditional classic, it is sponge cake topped with treacle; a warm brown sweet syrup. Mighty fine. Brought back fond memories of growing up, as my dad was English.

Back to the hotel for more beers, then off to bed to try and combat the jetlag. A very busy and enjoyable day.

Happy modelling! Roy

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tales of Telford 2010. Part1

A general view of the hall we were in. While you can't see the whole thing, it gives an impression of the size. This room was one of 3. The third hall housed the cafeteria and its many tables, as well as a full scale replica of a Spitfire IX. It was actually a 1:1 scale model of sorts, complete with wonky landing gear attached at a goofy angle.

Hi Guys.

Well, I am home and recovering from the jetlag earned from crossing 8 time zones. It's a long way from Northern California to Telford, England. As you know, my plans for blogging during the show were scuttled by the amazing lack of Wi-Fi during the entire stay. How this can happen in 2010 is hard to fathom. The hotel is next to a gigantic convention center, where businessmen are constantly attending various and sundry trade shows. If this were to happen in the States, there would have been a crapstorm of angry complaints, and it would have been fixed in a matter of hours, no matter the cost. The inability to blog was a minor inconvenience for me, but for others I talked to who had business to conduct, it was a real pain in the ass. I digress.

I arrived on Friday afternoon and met up with my good friend Lee Coll, who often meets me for shows and helps me run the booth. Lee also has done some superb pattern work for Barracuda Studios. He did the lion's share of the work on the Meteor Intakes, the Sea Vixen Intakes, the Bear Props and a number of other products to be released in the near future. If you stopped by the booth at Phoenix or at Telford this year, you have met him. We met around 20 years ago through the now defunct Fleet Air Arm Special Interest Group (USA). We both have a abiding interest in RAN aircraft, especially the postwar stuff, from Sea Furies and Fireflies through Buccaneers and Phantoms, even extending to the Sea Harriers.

We headed over to the hall after checking in to see if the decals from Cartograf had arrived. They were not at the table. Not a good sign. I was told to see Paul Regan of IPMS/UK, who was very helpful (Thanks, Paul!), and gave me the good news that they had pulled them aside and locked them away for safe keeping. The package was collected and we headed back to the room. After a really good dinner with some IPMS Pittsburgh friends at a Chinese restaurant in the nearby town of Shifnal, we came back to the room, and packaged hundreds of decals until about 1:30 in the morning.

Lee Coll, of Baton Rouge helped me run the table for the show, as he has on many occasions in the past. Olga, from Russia, was running the MasterClub Models table next door. She was very nice and shared her special "tea" with us!

Up early Saturday morning for a quick breakfast in the hotel restaurant, then over to the Hall to get set up and ready for the assembled masses. Did not have time to shoot photos of the hall, but I'm sure you can find a good selection online. It's a very large building; well lit and climate controlled, with plenty of space for even this huge show. The doors opened at 9AM for IPMS members, and to the rest of the public at 10PM. Sales were brisk, and the 1/32 Spitfire cockpit sets sold out by early afternoon. I thought I had brought enough product, but obviously not.

Olga's beautiful Samovar. Instead of tea, its contents was a very nice Russian Vodka that had a name I could not pronounce, nor spell with a English Standard keyboard without the use of special keystrokes!
The new decals were well received, and are all available for sale now on the website. See earlier blog posts and the website for more information. Also new (and not yet up on the site, as production packaging has not yet been finished) are 1/48th scale small and large bore Meteor intakes for the Classic Airframe family of Meteor kits. There were released a number of years ago under the Cooper Details brand, but they were not available for long before Cooper Details went into hibernation. They're back! More on these later.

Also debuting at Telford is a new line: BarracudaMasks. The first two releases are both in 1/48th scale.

The first is a set of masks for the Airfix Canberra PR 9, including the canopy and the rest of the transparencies. There are even a couple small masks to be added to the airframe to simulate raised panels missing from the kit.

The second is a set of masks to paint the small, oddly shaped dialectric panel on the spine of the BAC Lightnings. 2 masks are included in the set. A quick and cheap time saver for your next Lightning build.

Enough for now. Part 2 to follow shortly.

Happy modelling! Roy

Monday, November 15, 2010

Post Show Report

Telford 2010. The very talented modeler and fellow cottage industry owner Radu Brinzan stops by the booth to say hello. The social aspect of model shows is one of the most enjoyable parts for me.

Hi guys.

I had the best of intentions regarding blogging every day of the show. The Holiday Inn in Telford, where we stayed,however, had other ideas. The wireless network was down for most of my stay. As a result, it was virtually impossible to post updates.

I am now visiting with my cousin Juliet, who runs a bed and breakfast in Banbury, in Oxfordshire. It is a beautiful part of the country, surrounded by sheep farms. I do not want to tie up her computer for long, so this will be a quick update. I will blog more when I get home.

The good news is that the new decals did arrive at the Convention Center on Friday. Guess what we were doing on Friday night til 1:30? If you guessed packaging decals like crazy, you are correct. The show was huge. Despite the tough economic times, the convention attendees seemed to be spending money, which is a welcome sign to us in the business.

Time to get back to spending time with the family. There is a lot to report on the show. In depth reports will follow later this week.

Happy modelling! Roy

A small taste of the organized chaos seen this year (and most every year to date) at Scale Model World 2010. This was the view from my trade stand, looking out over a sea of happy, slightly inebriated modelers!

I've gotta run. Jet lag has played havoc with my sleep schedule, and I've not slept more that 4.5 hours a day for the last 2 evenings. More soon.

Happy modelling! Roy

Friday, November 12, 2010

Live from the UK!

Hi guys.

I am blogging from Birmingham bus station, waiting for the bus to Telford.

I am here with my good friend Lee Coll, and am using his laptop to post this. The weather is about 50 degrees F and lightly raining. Typical November weather in England at this time of year.

Just a quick posting to say that we have arrived and will be heading over to the Exhibition Centre to start setting up. I will know soon if the news is good regarding the new decals. Cartograf has shipped them to the booth at the hall. If they are there, guess what we will be doing tonight? Yes.... packaging decals! We know how to party.

If you are attending the show. Please be sure to stop by and say hello.

More later.

Happy modelling! Roy

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Last Two New Decal Sheets!

Details, details! This closeup shot shows a number of interesting details. Note lower nose demarcation which most profiles show incorrectly for HL-K. Note high degree of wear and exhaust staining, the tight but soft edges to the uppersurface camo, and the very matt finish usually only seen on weathered desert equipment and dried salt spray covered naval aircraft.

OK, fellow Spit lovers.

A very quick posting to let you know the 1/32nd and 1/48th Spitfire VIII decal sheets are at the printers. They should be done now and hopefully winging their way to me. The delay in printing this sheet, as discussed here in the blog before, has resulted in a more accurate sheet.

I really like this sheet, and can't wait to see it. There are two, possibly three schemes that I will have to build from it. With all my free time....

Anyway, not much new to report on these two sheets, just a heads up that they are coming very soon. Now it's back to work. So much to do before the show.

Next up on the blog: New resin releases.

Happy modelling!


Note the big changes to A58-517 "Hava Go Jo". New information, which usually surfaces when it's too late, resulted in a reworking of this subject. Previously depicted in Dark Green and Light Green camo (interesting, but complete fiction) and more recently in desert colors, but with the Middle Stone overpainted in Foliage Green (also cool looking), new research has shown that this batch of Spitfire VIIIs were delivered in standard Grey/Green camo. Thanks to Peter Malone for sharing his knowledge!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mosquito Bytes!

The DH Mosquito NF Mk XIII on a daylight low level test hop over the English countryside. Actually a composite that I created in Photoshop featuring my 1/72 Tamiya FB VI converted to the AI MK VIII equipped night fighter

Hi Guys,

Mosquito bytes... get it? Another devastatingly clever in electronic memory assigned to hold information on the wooden wonder. Ok, it
is lame, but there is a payoff for suffering through it. Here is the next announcement of new product to be debuted at the Scale Modelworld 2010 on November 13th and 14th.

Mosquito stencils in 1/72nd and 1/48th scales.

Big deal, right? Well, the truth is, the kit stencils are pretty thick. No aftermarket decal sheet for the Mosquito I know of includes a full stencil suite on it. Not only that, but our sheet features an all new decal for the instrument panel that is more detailed and accurate. Placards and stencils for the TR1154 and 1155 radios, as well as the cockpit sidewalls are also included, a first in these scales. As a final touch, there is a selection of very small white stencils for use on various boxes and panels in the cockpit. Cockpit stencils are designed to fit the Tamiya Mossies, but will most likely work with any reasonably accurate kit as well.

Some external stencils are provided in both black and a proper dull red, which color used depending on the scheme carried on the aircraft to be modelled. Printed by Cartograf in Italy, the decals are thin, sharply reproduced with good color density, and features a bare minimum of clear carrier film.

Not the most thrilling decal sheet ever produced, but one that every Mosquito builder should have at least a couple examples of in his stash!

Finally, a really good set of stencils for all Mosquito variants in both 72nd and 48th scales.

As stated in other recent blog posts, these new decal sheets are NOT available yet. This is a pre-release announcement. They will be available for sale on the 13th in Telford, and on the website shortly afterward. I will post here to let you know when the sheets are available for pre-order on the website.

Happy modelling, and hope to see you at SMW 2010!


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tired of the same old Corsairs?

An early preview image of the forthcoming F4U Corsair sheet, featuring five new, never before seen F4U Corsairs.

Hi Guys.

Sorry, I know I promised a new blog post a day last week, but I have been working feverishly to get some orders filled as well as attending to the myriad details involved in getting new products to market. Even working very long days, this is the first chance I've had to sit down and post.

I am very pleased to bring you this new sheet. It's our first Corsair sheet, and features some aircraft never before represented in decal form before. Heck, most of these aircraft have never been seen before by all but the most serious F4U Corsair researchers. A nice selection of markings, with interesting noseart and one of the wildest inscriptions ever seen on an aircraft in WWII! Available in 1/48th scale only this time, it will follow shortly in the other popular scales.

Now, I must point out that these new sheets are not available yet! They are coming from the printers in a week or so, and will be available for sale for the first time at the UK Nationals on November 13 and 14. They will be up for pre-sale on the website around the same time. Go to:

White 126 is an extremely weatherbeaten Birdcage with an inscription that took four of us many hours trying to figure out what it said. We showed it to some fresh eyes, and he saw it immediately. When he told us, it instantly became readable. Let's just say it's not very politically correct!

Two more brand new decals sheets will be announced tomorrow. OK, consider yourself blogged. It's 2:30AM and I'm off to catch some shuteye... maybe I'll ever shut them both this time.

Happy modelling!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Product Announcements for Scale Modelworld 2010 - Part 1

Cover art for the New Dragon 1/72nd scale Meteor Mk. III. This is a beautiful kit, but the decals... well, lets just say they need a little help!


Dragon has kicked off their new Dragon Wings 72 product line with a kit that I have been not-so-secretly hoping Tamiya would shrink down from their 1/48 scale kit; the Gloster Meteor Mk III. Why Tamiya did not scale down some of their 1/48 scale kits to fill out their 1/72 scale line will have to remain speculation, but Dragon has now plugged the gap with a kit that might even be better than what Tamiya would have brought us.

Accurate in shape and nicely detailed, this kit also features separate flying surfaces, flaps and even gives you photoetched dive brakes that can be assembled in either closed or open positions.

While some of the scribing, such as on the rear fuselage, is a tad heavy, this should build up into a very impressive model.

The decals are even printed by Cartograf. A full suite of stencils are provided, as well as markings for seven aircraft. The decals are great; thin, cleanly printed with almost no excess carrier film and in perfect register. There is a glaring problem with the sheet, however. The colors on the roundels are awful. Neon lemon yellow and cherry red were not the real colors carried by RAF aircraft during WWII.

To correct this situation, BarracudaCals is proud to announce the next decal sheet in our growing 1/72 scale range. Printed by Cartograf, the acknowledged leader in decal printing, these are top quality decals printed in the correct dull red and dull blue shades, with proper identity yellow surrounds on the fuselage roundels. I have also thrown in the Sky codes and rear fuselage band for good measure. This sheet is priced to sell at $5.95

A quick and cheap upgrade to your Dragon Meteor, these will also upgrade the decals for your old Airfix kit. Printed in very limited numbers. Get your set before they sell out!

Watch this space. There will be a new product announcement every day for the next week or so. Got to run. I have lots of work to do before I leave for the UK in just over two weeks!

Happy modeling!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spitfire Mk IX Cockpits - Part 1

Hi Guys,

Today, I have a real treat for you. We have a guest blogger. Jeroen Veen, a talented modeler who's work can be regularly seen on Hyperscale, has agreed to share some images of his work on the fabulous Tamiya Spit IX. So far, he has used two of the three of the Barra upgrade sets for the cockpit (the door with separate crowbar is installed much later), and has written a short piece on his experiences building the cockpit and installing the sets.

Jeroen writes:

Earlier this year I finished my Tamiya 1:32 Spitfire Mk IX and I was so impressed with that kit that I ordered the Mk VIII as soon as it was released. Straight from the box this really is a beautiful kit, and the longer you talk about it, the longer the list of superlatives will become. But... does this mean there is no room for improvement? As soon as I saw Roy's upgrade sets for the cockpit I knew I wanted to use them, because they really add that extra touch

Jeroen's excellent paint work on the Tamiya Spitfire Mk. IX cockpit really makes it shine. He utilized all 3 of the BarracudaCast upgrade sets.

Set BR32003 gives you extra's and replacements. It is a bit strange that Tamiya missed the very present oxygen hose on the right hand side but BR32003 gives you a pretty and very subtle hose that is easy to attach. The set also has the gear retract quadrant which is a direct replacement for the kit one, but carries more refined detail. The four hydraulic lines that go to the front of the cockpit can easliy be fixed in the predrilled holes. The throttle on the left hand side is also a direct replacement for the kit part, but again more detailed. Most impressive is the stick. On the front of the stick are three wires that are to be fet through predrilled holes. How Roy managed to do this I don't know, but the wires -that come with the set - can be put in place without extra drilling. Great! I was thoroughly impressed with the detail on the stick.

Clicking on the images will bring up larger versions. Note the cockpit stencilling included in set 32002.

Now, is this all? It's getting better. The instructions (you don't really need them because this set is very easy to use) are enriched with a couple of color pictures which makes it very easy to see how everything should be painted. You can also see how Roy applied extra cabling on the sidewalls, which comes in very handy if you feel like spicing up you Spitty even more. Then there are the decals. Tamiya managed to miss the placards in the cockpit but this set has them all: for fuse boxes, landing gear retractor, instrument panel, throttle and so on. Thanks to the instructions it's not hard to see where they should go, and with some Micro Sol and Set they performed superb.

A closeup shot of the starboard sidewall shows the stencils applied to the resin throttle quadrant and other details in the cockpit.

I also used set BR32001, a direct replacement for the seat: it has the leather backpad which the kits seat lacks. Detail again is just wonderful, with a clear painting guide in the instructions. The seat comes with a big casting plug which is easily removed. When you have no experience with this, Roy's instructions will talk you through the process and you can't go wrong if you are careful.

Painting all these goodies is a real pleasure and puts the beautiful kit cockpit in a new dimension. I hope the enclosed pics show what I mean. These parts are delicately casted, very easy to use and I would advise them to everybody.

Happy modelling as always.

– Jeroen

Jeroen's cockpit, painted and ready for assembly. Hopefully, he will share more as his build progresses.

I'd like to thank Mr. Veen for allowing me to publish his work. There will be other guest posters soon. Takes the pressure off of me, and gives you a chance to see Barracuda Studios parts being used by actual customers. Much more to come in the next two weeks.

Happy modeling!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Upgrade Your Tamiya Spitfire IX for Less!

Hi guys!

Barracuda Studios has been working long hours to keep the flow of product coming to feed the demand. Seems the resin sets have been a welcome addition to the range. More are coming soon.

In the meantime, we have a special sale for you 1/32 devotees of the Spitfire. It comes to an end on Sunday at 11:59 and 59.99 seconds, so time is short to get your order in!

You get all of the new Spitfire Mk IX resin detail sets for the early production Spitfire Mk IX (with the resin 5 slot wheels and the early style wide blister corrected gun covers, plus the three cockpit upgrade sets) PLUS the BarracudaCals Spitfire Mk IX decal sheet with its 4 different and interesting schemes. Even if you don't want to model one of the schemes on the sheet, the roundels and stencils are a huge improvement over the kit decals. The roundel colors are much more accurate. Tamiya's roundel red is much too red. The kit decals are also quite thick, and some have reported the kit roundels splitting and cracking after application.

The package deal will save you almost 14% over normal retail prices, and Like I said, it's coming to an end soon!

Click HERE to go to the Early Production Spitfire Mk. IX Bundle

Next week, you can expect a slew of Blog postings showing forthcoming new decals that are at the printers as we speak. You know about the new Spitfire MK VIII sheet, but there are 3 other subjects yet to be debuted! More announcements will follow regarding new resin sets that will all be available for sale later next month.

Check back often. New posts will be coming at a greatly increased rate over the next 3-4 weeks.

Happy modelling! 

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Spitfire! The Second Wave. Coming in October!

You say you can't get enough Spitfire stuff? Well, you are in luck. We never get tired of them either.

The Spitfire VIII sheet was originally scheduled to be released in late August, but the release of the P-40 sheets took longer than expected due to the race to catch up on orders and the US National Convention last month in Phoenix. In order for the sheets to not overlap too much, they have been re-scheduled to be released in October.

It was a fortuitous turn of events, as the original announcement prompted two very helpful and knowledgeable individuals to email me with information that showed the profiles published back in July for the Spitfire VIII sheet to contain some errors. In the case of the 152 Squadron Spitfire , it was a simple transposition of the serial number, and a very easy quick fix.

For the second subject, the rework was extensive, based on 7 new very clear photos of the subject I had never seen before. A58-517, the Australian Spitfire VIII coded UP-F is an interesting aircraft. Originally described by Geoffrey Pentland in 1971 as being painted in a intriguing light and dark green camouflage scheme. While very colorful and different, this scheme has since been shown to have no basis in fact.

More recently, it was thought that the aircraft arrived in Australia painted in desert colors of Dark Earth and Middle Stone over Azure Blue. The thinking was that the Middle Stone was then painted over in Foliage Green. Most recently, it was discovered that this batch of Mk VIIIs were delivered in European Temperate scheme of Dark Green and Ocean Grey over Medium Sea Grey. A surviving wreck from this serial batch survives, and carries these colors. That's pretty much case closed, and is borne out in the contrast between the colors and the look of the paint application.

Closer photos also revealed the true look of the Elephant, which was, according to the pilot himself, painted grey, not pink. A number of other fine details have been reworked and refined, including the wrap around camo under the nose; the end result being a much more accurate representation of Hava Go Jo.

In answer to the many requests from Australian modellers for Australian style treaded tires (tyres) worn by many of the Mk VIIIs operational down under during WWII, we got you covered. The treaded tires are quite different than the postwar style or the modern style seen today. They are being developed in both 48th and 32nd scales, and should be released at the same time as the new decals. More resin for this epic kit is also being developed.

Also in development are some new resin upgrade sets for 1/72nd scale builders, and some interesting new resin sets in 1/48th scale that are not aircraft related.

On top of that, I am gearing up for the IPMS/UK show in November. As big and impressive as the IPMS/USA National Convention is, Scale Modelworld in Telford is considerably bigger. Easily 10,000 built models in one very large building is an impressive site. The Vendor room is bigger by a factor, with many major manufacturers and cottage industries displaying their wares. While the US Nats is dominated by new and used kits for sale, the Telford show is dominated by the aftermarket guys, small manufacturers, and model club displays, which are arguably the highlight of the show.

A number of new products will be targeted for the European market for the show. This will be something like my 10th UK nationals since I first attended in the late 1980s. It has grown considerably since I first stated showing up. highly recommended. Get there one day if you can swing it. You will not be disappointed.

Anyway, that's all for tonight. More soon on my very interesting road trip to Phoenix. Interesting as in "What else could possibly go wrong?", rather than "I'd be happy to give you a ride to Phoenix, Ms. Beckinsale... sorry about your Jaguar XKR breaking down in the middle of the desert". It was a great show. Getting there was NOT half the fun this time. Neither was getting home...

Happy modeling!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

New P-40 Decals now up on the Website.

A photo of AK772 GA-Y, clearly showing the very dark blue undersurfaces. This undersurface color is even darker than the Dark Earth uppersurface color. Azure blue is many shades lighter than dark Earth.

Hi Guys,

Its been a really busy time for Barracuda Studios. More on this later.

The good news is that the 6 new P-40 decals are now ready for purchase on the BarracudaCals website.

The new decals represent all 3 popular scales. 1/72 scale modelers take note; I have not forsaken you, despite the fact that sales of 1/72 decals are a fraction of what 48th and 32nd decals are. If you guys want to keep the decals coming, you have to actually BUY some once in a while!!! I'm teasing... but not really. :-)

Here's what's new and available:

1/72nd scale (with 1/144th scale markings included)

BC72005 P-40s of 112 Squadron RAF Part 1
BC72006 P-40E Warhawks Part 1

1/48th scale

BC48005 P-40s of 112 Squadron RAF Part 1
BC48006 P-40E Warhawks Part 1
BC48007 P-40K Warhawks Part 1

1/32nd scale

BC48007 P-40K Warhawks Part 1

A few interesting facts about these new sheets. The 1/32 P-40K sheet is the ONLY aftermarket decals available for the Hasegawa kit! The P-40K white 13 flown by Jay Overcash has been done before, but the markings were not very accurate and incomplete.The other Ks on this sheet have never been done before in any scale (maybe Patsy Ruth, but I'm not sure about that) making this a must have sheet for P-40 aficionados.

The P-40s of 112 squadron sheet has been shrunk down to 72nd and 48th scale with 2 new schemes added from the very early days of 112 Squadron in North Africa, before they were repainted into desert colors. Most of the schemes on this sheet have never been done before in decal form.

The P-40E sheet features 3 extremely well known pilots, including Scott's Old Exterminator, with accurately reproduced markings for the first time. Lander's P-40 is included, and while not as colorful as his P-51 Big Beautiful Doll, is nonetheless interesting. The Aleutian Tiger is a new scheme, with colorful red surrounded star and bar national marking.

Just a heads up for those of you who have been waiting for these sheets to be released!

Happy modelling. Roy

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Down to the Wire... 2 More Sheets for Phoenix!

The first and only aftermarket sheet ever made (so far) for the beautiful Hasegawa 1/32nd P-40K . Three interesting and different schemes are featured.

Hi Guys,

No time to be long winded today. I am racing to get out the door. I am already late for leaving. The drive to Phoenix is about 12 hours from here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I won't be arriving until around midnight tonight. Then its up early to get set up for the onslaught of customers in the vendor room! Looking forward to it. If you are going to be there, be prepared. I may look like death warmed over, as I have been surviving on about 4-5 hours of sleep for then last week or so.

Anyway, above is the new 1/32 P-40K sheet. White 13 is an interesting aircraft. While it has been done in decal form before in 1/48th scale, it has never been done even close to correctly. The Scorpion on the nose was not correct, and the markings on the rudder were missing altogether.

The 1/48 sheet has an additional scheme never done in decal form before.

OK, campers, thats it for me today. Sorry I couldn't go into more detail. The images will have to speak fro themselves for now. More information when I get back.

These sheets will go up on the website available for sale next week. I'll let you know when they are loaded!

Happy modelling!


Monday, August 2, 2010

New Decals to Debut This Thursday in Phoenix!

The cover of the new P-40E decal sheet in 1/48th scale. Col. Scott's "White 7" has never been done correctly before in 1/48th and 1/72 scales!

Tomahawks and Kittyhawks and Warhawks... Oh My!

Barracuda Studios is proud and excited to announce the first new decals since last year! The very popular P-40 sheets that were released in 1/32nd scale have been reworked, reformatted and released in both 1/72 and 1/48th scales.

The sheets have been expanded and feature additional subjects that there was not room to include on the 1/32nd scale sheets. The new sheets are as follows

BC48005 1/48 P-40s of 112 Squadron RAF Part 1

This sheet has been expanded to include 2 new P-40B Tomahawks from the early days of 112 Squadron in North Africa. These 2 airplanes still carry the European camouflage with Medium Sea Grey codes, but sport the new sharkmouth motif that was first applied in Egypt. The other 3 schemes are carryovers from the 1/32nd sheet and feature the famous ace pilots Neville Duke and Clive R. Caldwell. GA-Y carries the very unusual and decidedly non-standard dark blue undersides.

BC48006 1/48 P-40E Warhawks Part 1

The Aleutian Tiger faced P-40 on this sheet is not the same one from the 1/32nd sheet. This one has never been done in decal form before, and is more colorful. It sports the red surrounded stars and bars as well as the white cross on the rudder and a nickname under the windscreen. Col. Bob Scott's Old Exterminator has never been done correctly in decal form, and Preddy's Tarheel, the aircraft he almost bought the farm in when a student pilot collided with him are also featured on the 1/32nd sheet, while John Lander's Skeeter is a new scheme.

BC72005 1/72 P-40s of 112 Squadron RAF Part 1

Dispair not, oh builders of the one true scale! This sheet has been shrunk down to 1/72nd scale and expanded to include 2 new P-40B Tomahawks from the early days of 112 Squadron in North Africa. These 2 airplanes still carry the European camouflage with Medium Sea Grey codes, but sport the new sharkmouth motif that was first applied in Egypt. The other 3 schemes are carryovers from the 1/32nd sheet and feature the famous ace pilots Neville Duke and Clive R. Caldwell. GA-Y carries the very unusual and decidedly non-standard dark blue undersides.

BC72006 1/72 P-40E Warhawks Part 1

Here's another new sheet for the guys who can still see the really small stuff. The Aleutian Tiger faced P-40 on this sheet is not the same one from the 1/32nd sheet. This one has never been done in decal form before, and is more colorful. It sports the red surrounded stars and bars as well as the white cross on the rudder and a nickname under the windscreen. Col. Bob Scott's Old Exterminator has never been done correctly in decal form, and Preddy's Tarheel, the aircraft he almost bought the farm in when a student pilot collided with him are also featured on the 1/32nd sheet, while John Lander's Skeeter is a new scheme.
The cover of the new P-40s of 112 Squadron Sheet. Two new schemes have been added to the 1/48 and 1/72nd sheets, giving a better cross section of schemes worn by 112 Squadron in the early days of the North African Campaign.

These 4 sheets are printed and in-house. The instructions arrived today, and a mad dash of packaging will ensue. These 4 new sheets will be debuted at the IPMS/USA national Convention in Phoenix, AZ (110 degrees plus Fahrenheit!!) starting this Thursday morning, August 5th. If you are attending the show, please stop by and say hello!

I get home early next week, and after a few days to get caught up with shipping and packaging, these new sheets will be ready to start shipping.

Even MORE News!

Watch this space tomorrow for an announcement of two MORE new decal sheets. These are also printed and in the process of being packaged. They will also be available for sale at our tables on Thursday.

The 365th Fighter group book continues to progress. I flew out to Carson City, Nevada last Friday with Don Barnes, the man behind the book. We went to visit 378th FG pilot Allen Mundt. I interviewed him and we scanned his extensive personal photo albums. He is a great guy; very sharp and active. He pulled out his flight jacket (replete with Hell Hawks Squadron Badge), and his crush cap. I will post about this trip soon with images, but right now, I am in a huge rush to get ready to leave on Wednesday morning... early!

I have about 2 weeks of work to somehow smash into the next 36 hours. If anybody out there has made a breakthrough in time displacement between now and then, drop me a line. I'd like to figure a way to get a bit of sleep before I go!

Happy modelling! Roy

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Countdown begins!

This closeup of the Grand Phoenix Firefly Mk. I as built by the very talented Jean Barby showcases the BarracudaCast resin upgrades for this otherwise very nice kit. Shown are the Early Mainwheels, the Prop and Spinner, and the Cannon Barrels, as well as the vac canopy .

The IPMS USA National Convention is bearing down on me like a freight train with the throttle stuck wide open. I'm sure many other cottage industry guys and modelers trying to finish models in time know exactly what I am talking about. As the show approaches, plans are constantly redrawn and some projects I was sure would be done in time have had to be shelved.

We have tables booked at the show and will be there with all the new resin, plus six NEW decal sheets to be announced tomorrow. These sheets are done, printed and on site. I am awaiting instructions from the printers to get them packaged and ready for sale.

For those of you that have known me and seen me at the Nationals for many years, this will be an interesting show, as Cooper (my son), will be making his first appearance at an IPMS show since he was 3 or 4 years old. He is now 16, so you just might not recognize him! He will be working the tables with me, so stop by and say hello.

Just a quick word about the new resin. Those of you that have ordered some of the new sets know that there have been a few production problems that have delayed shipping. The second biggest was the card labels, which took forever to arrive. The printer claimed one day turnaround on their website. That may be true, but what they failed to mention that once they turned it around in one day, it would then take them an additional 5 days to ship! Then they found the cheapest possible mailing service that takes about 7 business days to get from the East Coast to the West Coast! The Pony Express would have been faster.

But the bigger problem was that my printer, who has been excellent for the last two years, royally screwed up my header cards. After much discussion, we agreed that I would have to find another printer for this job, as it was beyond their capabilities. I am expecting the reprinted header cards (the card shown in my earlier post showing the Firefly and Sea Fury packaging) on Wednesday. Once they arrive, the orders will again start shipping. My sincere apologies for the delays.

The good news is that all orders will be shipped before I leave next week, and that all new resin sets will be available for sale at the show.

The new 365th FG book will also be showcased in Phoenix. This is such a cool project. The weekend before last, I attended a Hell Hawks symposium in Vacaville, CA and got to meet nine surviving pilots. They were all very interesting and nice guys, and I enjoyed meeting them. They are very excited about the new book, but are all a little bemused by the attention they have received in the last two years, after almost 60 years of near anonymity!

Anyway, I better get back to casting and packaging. There are a lot of orders to fill, and I don't want to keep anyone waiting any longer that I have to.

Happy modelling! Roy

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A major announcement from BarracudaGraphs!

BarracudaGraphs is extremely proud to announce a new book in development, due to be released in September of 2010.

365th Fighter Bomber Group - The Hell Hawk Thunderbolts in Profile by Don Barnes, John Crump, and Roy Sutherland will shine a bright light on a Group that, until recently, has been almost completely overlooked. This new work was inspired by the excellent book "Hell Hawks!" by Robert Dorr and Thomas Jones, which recounts the history of the 365th FG during the last 2 years of the war.

The Hell Hawks were a ground attack unit flying P-47 Thunderbolts with the 9th Air Force. They provided critical tactical air support to the Allied ground forces from the Normandy breakout until the last day of the war in Europe. Their stories are incredible; as fascinating and heroic as anything you'll hear from any other unit in World War II. Ranging from anti-Diver missions, to whirling aerial combats with the best the Luftwaffe had to offer, to amazing close air support missions against the Wehrmacht armies, the 365th FG brought the war home to the German armed forces in a brutal and relentless assault. The Hell Hawks flew some of the most dangerous missions of the war, and paid a heavy price.

Spurred on by his growing interest in the 365th, professional graphic artist and friend Don Barnes started looking into this unit, and found almost nothing had been done to document the men and airplanes of this unit. He undertook many months of in-depth research, and in the process befriended a number of the surviving pilots and their families, many of whom provided much of the information that will feature prominently in the book.
Don's relentless digging has uncovered a wealth of new information never seen before. He has spent many hours piecing together the complex jigsaw of photos, and has amassed a collection of 48 fully documented profiles, an astounding feat or research. Before this book, I have only ever seen one profile of an aircraft from the 365th, and even that contained errors. Don's profiles are complete down to mission markings and crew names. These beautifully rendered profiles will be printed one per page, supported with closeups of the artwork and scrap views of starboard side markings where applicable. Each aircraft will be supported by an in-depth description of the aircraft and it's pilot.

With captions and sidebars by John Crump and a detailed unit history by Roy Sutherland, this book just might set some new standards for unit histories. The book will be full color from cover to cover, and will be supported by hundreds of original, mostly unpublished period photos, printed in a large size on high quality paper. The final count on photos is still to be determined, but there will also be a number of unique and interesting features that will add life and interest to this new book.

The question that I have heard from many of those who have been aware of what we have been working on is "Will there be decals to support this new book?" My answer is a quizzical one-eyebrow-raised look and a "Now why didn't I think of that?" response. It's sarcasm, needless to say.

Of course decals will be released at the same time as the book, and I think that everyone will be surprised at just how colorful and interesting some of these aircraft are.

In the meantime, I highly recommend you buy and read "Hell Hawks!". The two books are complimentary. The Dorr/Jones book will give you the more in-depth and personal stories, where as our book will provide the chronological history and document the airplanes and pilots of the unit.

Its about time, long overdue in fact, that the men and the machines of the Ninth Air Force have finally started getting the exposure and notoriety they so richly deserve. We plan to address this disparity again in the future.

More news on this exciting new book as the publication date approaches.

Happy modelling! Roy

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Quest for Perfection

To quote George Fisher "When you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target". This holds true for all areas of life, and decals are certainly no exception to this.

Producing decals is a tricky business. Th problem is, you can't possibly be an expert in all subjects. When planning a new sheet, I do all I can to research the subject. I talk to my network of guys who know way more than me on certain subjects... OK, more like MOST subjects! They often have other contacts that can flesh out the subject even more. Occasionally, a research impasse is reached, and a call for help goes out. As can be expected with anything that happened more than 60 years ago, not a lot of images and information have survived to the current day. So, you have to make due with what you have, sometimes making best guesses based on the surviving data.

The frustrating part is that once in a while, once a sheet has been released, someone comes forward with exactly what you had been looking for. Of course, the new information seldom shows that your informed interpretations were accurate! Thankfully, this has not happened a lot.

In this case, regarding the forthcoming Spitfire VIII sheet shown above, 2 guys came forward with corrections at the very last minute, spurred on by the announcement of the Spit VIII sheet as seen on the leading modelling websites.

The printers had not started burning the screens yet, so the job was put on hold to address the corrections. One correction is minor; a transposed serial, which is a quick and easy fix. The other involves a complete rework of some of the artwork based on much better photos, and a correction to the inaccurate interpretation of the color scheme based on research that has been superseded by new discoveries.

I am very grateful to these gentlemen for coming to the rescue at the last minute. A more accurate sheet will result.

The only downside to this is that the sheet will be delayed. Due to summer vacations from both my artist and my printer, the sheets (in both 1:32 and 1:48 scales) will be released later in August.

I mentioned in the original press release that there will be a bonus 6th scheme on the 1/48th scale sheet. The above image is the profile for this bonus scheme. While at first blush, a rather plain aircraft, it was flown by the beloved Kiwi pilot F/O Vic Bargh of 67 Squadron. It also has the great fortune to have my initials as its codes, thereby assuring itself a place on this sheet! Its good to be King...

So, the sheet will be delayed a little, but will be a better and more accurate sheet. A perfect sheet? Doubtful. But it is as accurate as it can be given the many hours of research that has gone into it.

As a final note, if you have any ideas for new decal sheets, especially if you have good documentation and photos of the subjects at hand, please contact me. I can't promise that every idea will wind up on a sheet, or that it may jump to the top of the cue, but if it is really interesting, it has a good shot! Email me at:

Happy modelling! Roy