Sword 1/48 N9MA






One aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Short run with resin bits and vac canopy


For information on the history of the N9M, I recommend reading the 1/72 preview of this kit.

Sword is a relative newcomer to the modeling world having started around the later part of the 1990's, and working, until now, exclusively in 1/72 scale. The first kit I can recall seeing of theirs was the P-66 Vanguard. It was 'typical Czech short run kit'. Now I must confess to never having built any Sword kits, but from all reports, they are not much different from any of the models produced by the MPM conglomerate of kits.

To my understanding, Sword is an independent and not part of MPM. This I can believe as there are differences. First of all, the sprue gates (where parts attach to the sprue) are somewhat larger and the surface of most parts is not shiny, but rather matte. The kits also generally do not contain etched metal frets and resin bits are kept to a minimum. Not that I don't like these things, but that I'd rather have my kits mostly styrene plastic.



 This is Sword's first 1/48 kit. Obviously the 1/72 N9M has sold quite well so they decided to make a larger scale version. There are several differences between this and the 1/72 kit. The first you notice is that the upper and lower wings are not a single continuous piece as on the smaller kit. This is as much due to mold machine size limitations as much as anything, I would imagine. You also won't find a full resin cockpit on this one. In fact, the only resin is for the small tail wheel well and  for the back part of the prop spinners. This one also has a vac canopy instead of the injected one found in the 1/72 kit.

The kit itself is very well molded. No visible sink marks, with one exception no visible ejector pin marks, very nice engraving of surface detail (of which there is little as this plane was made mostly of wood), no flash and minimal mold seams. The one ejector pin mark that will be a bear to take care of is the one in the nose wheel well. There are also some very thin parts attached to some very thick sprue gates so you'll need a razor saw and patience to remove them.

The instructions are basically several exploded view steps with drawn detail for any sub assemblies such as the cockpit. There are color call-outs; all of them in generic terms. A rather unnerving glitch on my kit is that construction steps 4 and 5 have been printed upside down. Not a real problem, but one that takes a bit of getting used to.  The decals are just a pair of insignia and a Northrop badge. That is it. The plane itself is Trainer Yellow on the top and Insignia Blue on the bottom, though I believe that there were other paint schemes applied to this plane during its life span.



If you like your wings in 1/48, then this kit will fill the bill quite nicely. It is well molded and looks like it will be a relatively rapid build. The areas I can see that may be a problem will be mating the wings to the center section and perhaps fitting the vac canopy. However, short run kits from a manufacturer tend to get better over time and with this being Sword's most recent, perhaps this is their best.

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