Saturday 10 December 2016

Airfix Sea Vixen 48th scale - fitting the undercarriage (7)

Part 7 of my Sea Vixen build.  This build has been sitting on the 'shelf of doom' since February 2011!   Nearly six years since this kit was released and I last touched it here ...err, what happened ?! Still, I'm on a roll with kits from the 'shelf of doom' this year, this is the fourth to be retrieved and with this post I've equalled last year's post count..

Last time I put the Vixen down I was struggling with the flaps, where the fit is poor and then the wing-fold option - a kit like this with so many options left me struggling to make up my mind how I wanted it to look. But now I have the lower surfaces painted and masked up for the EDSG and the gear is fitted - so far so good with the 'weighted' nose.

Completed model is here

Monday 5 December 2016

AZ Model Martin Baker MB 5 in 72nd scale in-box first look build review

The Martin Baker M.B. 5 or "V" otherwise known as the MB F.18/39 has been described by some as possibly the pinnacle of UK piston-engine fighter design during WWII. Resembling a 'P-51 on steroids' it was a quite large aircraft, much bigger than a Mustang (37 feet long vs 32 feet) and somewhat longer than a Thunderbolt (36 feet long). It had shorter wings than a P-51. Despite its outward apparent similarity to the Mustang it adopted some of the aerodynamic elements used on that aircraft, but was entirely its own machine. It could easily have been a world-beating fighter. But the fact that it was a piston engine fighter in late 1944 was largely its undoing. A one-off late-war prototype, it was swept away by the new jet fighters, being test flown just as the Meteor was entering service.  James Martin and 'Val' Baker developed five aeroplanes between 1929 and 1944 before specialising in the ejection seat technology for which they are still renowned today. This followed the crash of the M.B. 3 in which pilot 'Val' Baker was killed. The M.B. 5 was developed from the M.B.3, which in turn had been built in response to Air Ministry Spec F.18/39. The aircraft was powered by an enormous Rolls-Royce Griffon 83 V-12 engine developing some 2,340 h.p and had a maximum speed well in excess of 400 m.p.h. The Griffon though was not the most reliable of engines and the story goes that the Griffon engine failed during a demo in front of Sir Winston Churchill which didn't do much for its chances. But this was 1945 and with the end of the war in sight, the writing was most definitely on the wall for all new piston-engine fighters. Ultimately though of course piston engine fighters and other types were still in service for the next war - Korea.

According to the box blurb this is a "Limited run technology" kit.  After a first look at the parts and some dry-run fitting based on a build thread over on BM a few specific points to note ;

1/ the undercarriage bay surrounds seem to be a poor fit. I think the part numbers in the instructions may be incorrect, so make sure you check before applying glue.

2/ Check the rear cockpit bulkhead is square when seated - the modeller is supposed to put the rear bulkhead behind the cockpit floor, not on top of it. If you do that it all seems to fit fine ..

3/  Some comments suggest that the slot for the starboard tailplane had to be raised a bit to match the port, but on my model there seems to be no problem here. Note there are two sets of tailplanes (small and large) and two sets of fin/rudder including the early M.B. 3 -style 'triangular' fin/rudder.

4/ The fuselage halves fit pretty well and, apart from the rear cockpit bulkhead, so do the interior part. The  instrument panel looks neat with some nice raised detail, see the photo of the actual cockpit below. The starboard console seems to have been molded the wrong way round, but otherwise looks pretty neat. It should be possible to replicate the array of dials on this console with some slithers of sliced clear sprue.

5/ The intake below the spinner is very poor, not sure what to do about this. The wing halves are butt-joined as is the wing to fuselage join.

6/ The single piece canopy is rather thick and may not fit very well. The solution here would appear to be to cut it open..