I alluded to having started this kit in my long-running 1/32 Fw 190S conversion thread in the WiP forum, but I've decided it deserves a WiP thread of its own, so here goes.
Here's the kit in question:
The flimsy box was getting pretty crushed, so along with having some synergies with my 1/32 build, it also seemed a good time to finally start this one lest the parts inside become damaged or lost.
While it's definitely a short-run kit (and my very first build of a kit of this type, believe it or not), I think it's actually pretty decent, though it does have its issues. Most of these are just the usual limitations of this type of kit - no locating pins, rough mating surfaces, lots of flash, agricultural fit in places, variable quality surface detail, etc.
On the plus side, it comes with some nice resin detail parts, as well as a photo-etched fret for the seat belts and instrument panels.
Two vacform canopies are supplied (representing the two main types of canopy style found on these machines), but seem to have suffered from the dreaded yellowing:
If you look closely, though, the actual canopy part seems relatively clear, but that could just be an optical illusion. I'll cut one out anyway and see what it looks like in isolation. If it doesn't scrub up, happily MPM also provides a single injection-moulded alternative:
It's not the nicest-looking canopy you'll ever see, but should work with a bit of polishing and rehabilitation.
Taping the fuselage together suggested that fit of the main parts would be OK, though they took quite a bit of preparation in terms of cleaning up the mating surfaces and removing flash and other ugly bits:
The casting block in the resin wheel bay was a bit of a pain to remove, and I damaged one side a little bit. In any case, it doesn't fit too badly:
The black stuff you can see in the photo is JB Weld Kwik, which I initially used to attach the resin part to the plastic wing. But it didn't cure properly, and let go when I accidentally dropped the wing. I had to resort the using CA instead; what you see is the JB Weld residue that I couldn't be bothered removing. My guess is that I didn't get close enough to the required 50:50 ratio of the two JB Weld components, so I'll have to be more careful next time. I decided to add the upper wings immediately to assist with keeping the wheel bays in place.
Since the cockpit is literally a resin tub that can be slid into the fuselage from below, I figured I could now join the fuselage halves in preparation for this operation. Here are the fuselage and wing assemblies being tested for fit relative to each other:
The gaps at the wing root very much remind me of the Dragon kit, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's a source of "inspiration" for this one:
Note also the large gap at the bottom of the forward fuselage:
I can push the two halves in to meet OK, but that would require reshaping the section where the wing meets it. I think it would be easier just to shim the gap.
OK, that's it for now! My next task is to prepare and paint the cockpit tub so that it can be inserted into the fuselage. I'm hoping this will also spread the fuselage somewhat, and help eliminate the wing root gaps. This kit also comes with the same markings that I'm planning to use on my 1/32 build, so I reckon this one will become something of a mini-me.