Friday, 3 February 2023

AZ Model 1:72 Martin-Baker MB 5 - greatest prop fighter and worst-ever 72nd kit !


" .. The M.B.5 came online at the beginning of the jet era, and never had a chance to prove its worth. With a P-51 sleekness and contra-rotating props, it would have been a frightful opponent for the Luftwaffe. Test-flown just two months before the Gloster Meteor jets went into R.A.F. service, the Martin-Baker M.B.5 promised much, but Whittle's invention took away its glory..."

Some six years after AZ's kit of the MB 5 first appeared I thought I'd build it, inspired by the neat article on Martin-Baker aircraft in the latest issue of Aerojournal magazine (issue no. 91). Aside from this there is good reference info in Air International, Vol. 16/2 (February 1979) and 'Wings of Fame', Vol. 9, 1997 which covers the whole MB fighter range and has some useful shots.

On with the build! Aside from the rear cockpit bulkhead, the interior parts were an OK fit. The instrument panel features nice raised detail that would benefit from careful painting and dry brushing to lift out the detail. Then the fun began! The fuselage halves were of different sizes. I lined up the upper surfaces and was left with a depression ahead of the radiator on the lower surface. The nose intake is 'solid' so was drilled open. 

The poor fit extended to the butt-joined wing halves. I drilled and pinned them to the fuselage but just couldn't achieve a decent fit. In the end I broke them off and stuck them together with Gorilla glue and filled the gaps. After a mammoth filing and sanding session I achieved a (sort of) reasonable result. Obviously I obliterated all the nice surface detailing and had to re-scribe - not my favourite job!

 Another tricky area is the ventral oil cooler intake. It is made up of 3 parts; a top half, a bottom half, and a cruciform grid that fits between them. The instructions are pretty hopeless here. Instead of assembling separate to the fuselage, I assembled the parts individually in-situ, and this worked well. Some clean up required, but not that much..

To get the gear legs on at what looks like a plausible angle is a trial. Rather than take a bit out of the front edge of the main landing gear bays - having already painted the undersurfaces -  I ended up re-drilling a location hole for them a little further back in the bay. The model simply doesn't look right in this area and certainly won't if built as per the instructions. The prop blades/spinner feature a mountain of flash and I didn't enjoy the clean-up job as the plastic that AZ use is so hard. 

Needless to say the rather thick bubble canopy didn't fit at all. I cut it into two parts so I wasn't left with massive gaps but its impossible to fit it 'properly' as it is too wide for the fuselage! Nor did the decals work - I lost one of the codes as it rolled up on itself and then 'shattered' into tiny pieces. Irretrieveably. 

The kit is 'short-run limited technology' - and pretty poor! It goes together like the 1958 vintage Airfix DH 88 Comet (see elsewhere on this blog)  ie with great difficulty!  To sum up the kit gets a poor 2 out 10 from me and is easily a contender in the 'worst scale model kit ever' Top 10, a subject we dealt with in a previous blog post (see link below). I certainly wouldn't build another. Short run shouldn't mean unbuildable and inaccurate- it certainly doesn't with other kit producers (RS Models for example). Okay, I managed to finish it - always a positive point - but really, I'm not sure why I bothered. Even now I still think the overall shape is 'wrong'. 

Also on this blog;

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Wing Nut Wings Gotha G.1 (Grossflugzeug) bomber in 32nd scale by Rod Janes


no, I haven't built the WnW Gotha G.1 ....but I do know someone who has.  Mr Rod Janes of the Medway and East Kent Scale modellers clubs. His build of this kit was on show at our first club meet of 2023 held at the RAF Manston History Museum.  The Gotha G.1 (G= Grossflugzeug, or 'large aeroplane') was a large (natch!) and somewhat unconventional twin engine bomber type built in small numbers and may even have participated in a raid on Dover during 1916. It was one of the first Gothaer Waggonfabrik bombers and forerunner of the even larger Kampfflugzeug types the company became known for.  The 1914 German Army Type III spec for a Kampfflugzeug ('battle plane') called for a 200hp  three-seater able to maintain 120 km/h for six hours carrying 450 kg of bombs. The kit from the now defunct WnW has well over 300 parts and there's one currently on offer on ebay via 'Mainly Military' at only £199...

Here's Rod at our club meet showing off his large model. At some stage in the future all of Rod's one hundred plus WNW builds will be on display in the museum at Manston. Note the 'neat' transportation aid in the lower photo - the model is placed on household scouring sponges....

Thursday, 12 January 2023

first completion of 2023 - another Eduard Bf 109 G-6 Heinz Bartels 11./JG 27


now that the house-move and the latest book project are out of the way I can get back to building some models. If only the airbrush would work 'properly'..

Here's my first completion of 2023, another of the 'old' new-tool Eduard Bf 109s, this time in the markings of 11./JG 27 ace Bartels. IV./JG 27 were at Kalamaki, Greece in the autumn of 1943 and intervened over Kos and Leros during October as German forces pushed out the British from these Dodecanese islands following the Italian 'change-of-sides'..

A couple of the images of the finished model show the 72nd Academy G-6 in the 'same' scheme as well, although as Gary Hatcher put it, how can Luftwaffe modellers be satisfied knowing that their mottling is always so 'hit and miss'? I mean all of the known images of this machine show the port side - not one shows the starboard side AFAIK. Upper surface 'saw-tooth' finish was a feature of some Erla 1943 production, re-created here easily enough with a P-Mask mask. The underwing 'R6' MG 151 cannon gondola have been opened up to display the Eduard resin cannon..

Friday, 11 November 2022

East Kent Scale Modellers at Telford Scale Model World 2022


 ..our club here in East Kent is displaying at Telford Scale Model World for the first time. Table set up finished this afternoon..

Monday, 17 October 2022

Airfix 1/35 Austin K2/Y Ambulance


 ..and David at East Kent Scale modellers has come up with the desert scheme in the box ..

.. some painting and masking job that!  As David put it;

"..Having done that, my next step is to cover it in mud. Still not sure if I've built an ambulance, an ice cream van or a portable circus tent.."

 And an 'embed' from twitter;

Sunday, 16 October 2022

Hawker Siddeley Hs 125 Dominie - Airfix Vintage classic


 Two recent completions of the Airfix HS 125 Dominie as built by David and Dale at East Kent Scale Modellers. Released a while back in the 'Vintage Classic' range, the original kit/box art dates from 1973.  Dale's burnt out wreck represents the machine as seen at RAF Manston's fire dump - and a view of the 'real' wreck at Manston (third picture down). 

Thursday, 13 October 2022

refurbished Airfix Hawk (1:72)

...Red Arrows Hawk giving an impromptu display over my garden yesterday ...