by Ronn Gibson
Decals 2 aircraft, one variant
An eagerly awaited kit; that lives up to the wait. The surface is finely scribed. As for scale the model scales to within 1/4" in length, and is 3/4"(scale) too wide. As long as the foot measurement is the same I say it's accurate.
As most people that have the kit can tell there is a flaw on the left fuselage. I now heard that the mold has been repaired by Monogram. For the rest of us that have the flawed version. The repair is quite simple. Just a little bit of filler then some re-scribbing.
The kit is wonderfully tooled, with excellent detail both inside and out. The only spot that might benefit from an after market product might the radar. Since they are very difficult to mold from plastic. The decals are of excellent quality, printed by scalemaster. When I built mine there were no after market options. The kit options may be a little boring when compared to the jazzy donut and mottling schemes provided by areomaster. I've also heard that the instructions will be updated in the future also. The detail shots with the information provided are a helpful feature to the builder. One note though, in the instructions templates are given for appliqué armour yet no specific references if they are to be used on any of the kit options. One would have thought that it would have applied to at least one of the two options.
The fit of the kit is excellent, and the parts breakdown suggests that other releases are possible. The cockpit is very well detailed, perhaps one of the best I've encountered. I'm speaking only on the quality of the moldings; I never flew the aircraft so the VSI is in the wrong spot I'll never know. With the odd rear seat I was unsure of the types or location of the seat belts. So I decided to show the belts draped off the seat onto the floor. This way there can be no argument over types of buckles used. Cockpit construction concludes, after final assembly, with the addition of the gun sights, locking levers, voltage regulators, and other instruments that are added to glass.
The fuselage halves join without any difficulty, only the regular seam to sanded. There are small antennae posts under the fuselage, which are sanded off during the building process this need to be replaced when the model is complete. The nose cap and tail assembly fit perfectly. The assembly of the engine nacelles seem odd in that the attach to the upper wing before being jointed to the lower wing. The nacelles fit quite well requiring a little sanding and re-scribing. The lower wing sections join on a unique 2/3 1/3 split under the fuselage. The under wing radiators need a bit of fairing in to achieve a good fit. The drop tanks support system is very weak so care is required when assembling and handling. Parts of mine had to be rebuilt from brass rod, since I broke a few of the legs off. Another note about wings, the instructions suggest leaving the wing tips off until after painting. They should be incorporated into the building process, since the fit isn't very good.
I painted the aircraft with Polly Scale paints, in the RLM colours recommended by the instructions. The paint is excellent very thin with great coverage. The scheme that I chose was 2z NU. A very simple paint job with hard edges, masked off with Tamiya masking tape. The decals were of excellent quality, and went on without a problem. Quick dull coat, then some basic weathering.
Now the time consuming part, all that glass and the antennas. The landing gear assembles very easily, and has weighed tires. The glass sections are easily masked just requiring some extra time due to the amount of it. Some debate has arose regarding the strange music cannons that fire upwards through the glass. Some say that the rearward machine guns were removed, and that the panes of glass the cannons went through were also removed. I found that to get the rear canopy to fit over the cannons, the glass needed to file with a round file on a sharper angle so it could slide over the barrels. After that the rest of the glass fits very well, as do the small parts that attach to it. This antennas would be have been better had they been photo-etched. As they are they appear to be over scale in appearance. I'm referring to the whip antennas and pitot tubes, and not the most important radar arrays. The radar antennas need some special care when attaching to the aircraft. Since they are very delicate, and will fall off with handling. With mine I drilled slots into the finished aircraft, and inserted the base of the radar post in the holes. The result is a very strong fit, although care is still required when handling the aircraft.
I completed the kit about two months ago, and it is still my favorite one on the shelf. The kit would be recommended to any intermediate and advanced builders. Beginners could handle most of the building process, but may be deterred by the amount of masking required for the canopies, and the radar assemblies.
Overall the kit is of excellent quality, an easy build that requires little in the form of after market, or scratch building. I hope Monogram continues to release kits of this quality, especially the SBC2 Helldiver, and hopefully a Battle of Britain variant of the Bf-110. I think this has been their finest release to date, and firmly establishes them with their Asian competitors.
If you have recently built a kit and would like to share your experiences
with others, please e-mail it to me
along with any photos for inclusion in this section.
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