Hasegawa 1/72 MS.406 'French Air Force'
|KIT #:||51319 (Ap19)|
|PRICE:||1200 yen SRP when new|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The M.S.406 was a French Armée de l'Air fighter aircraft built by Morane-Saulnier starting in 1938. Numerically it was France's most important fighter during the opening stages of World War II but was under-powered, weakly-armed and lacked full armour protection when compared to its contemporaries. Most critically, it was out-performed by the Messerschmitt Bf 109E during the Battle of France. The M.S.406 held its own in the early stages of the war (the so-called Phony War), but when the war restarted in earnest in 1940, 387 were lost in combat or on the ground (for various reasons) for 183 kills in return. The type was more successful in the hands of Swiss and Finnish air forces who developed indigenous models.
Aside from perhaps a vacuformed or resin kit, the only other kits of this aircraft in 1/72 were produced by Frog and later by Heller. The Heller kit is not bad, but when Hasegawa released this one, it pretty well eclipsed both of these kits in terms of detailing.
The Hasegawa kit is pretty much what we come to expect. Fair, though rather barren cockpit, ejector pin marks on tires, gear struts, seat pan and inside gear doors. A nicely molded one-piece canopy. Crisply molded exterior detailing though some may think the fabric a bit overdone. The retractable radiator is molded in what looks to be the down position. it is nice to see that they got the rather extreme angle of the main wheels correct. Not really a ton of parts, which will appeal to many.
This is one of those kits that doesn't get re-issued very often and surprisingly, there have only been three other boxings besides this one that feature 'real' planes. A fifth has a fantasy livery.
Instructions utilize the standard Gunze paint references and are well illustrated. Markings are for three aircraft in the rather neat camouflage scheme of the day. What makes those schemes neat is that no two are alike. No pattern was specified. First up is the box art plane from GC II/3. Second is one from GC III/7, while the third is in full Vichy red and yellow stripes. The decal sheet provides all these stripes though a bit of painting where the gaps are located will be in order. The sheet is nicely printed and typical of their older sheets, will work best with hot water.
If you want your MS.406 in 1/72 scale, this is probably the one to have. RS Models does one as well, but I've not built it and if it is typical of their line, will be fiddly to say the least. Hasegawa kits are known for their good engineering and so assembly should go quickly with this one.
You can find this kit and many more kits and accessories at www.greatmodels.com
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