In the preview I did of this kit a while back, I pointed out that the engine is almost a kit unto itself. When it came time to really begin to plan the build, I realized that wasn’t a bad way to approach the project.
The engine consists of 32 resin parts- 21 of them cyclinders. (The other 7 are cast into the rear firewall.) I’ve built 1/72 scale kits with fewer parts, and some 1/48 kits don’t have that many.
And if you really want to go all out, you could add the gazillion miles of wiring and tubing to simulate what was on the real engine.
I decided, as I normally do, to do it OOB.
So my advice? Put the engine parts in a small box, keep the instructions out, and treat it like a whole different kit. Just put the other parts away. (Or not…. whatever is fun! LOL)
Part 1: The engine
The engine will need some cleanup before assembly can start. The crank case parts, 3 of then, are cast with a small casting block backing them. A few passes with the razor saw will take care of that. The rear piece, which forms the firewall at the rear of the cowl assembly, presents a bit more of a problem.
It’s about as big across as a quarter, and the casting block is about 1/4″ thick. If you examine the piece, you’ll see where the line is between the resin you want to keep and what you want to get rid of- there are two tabs that help you see how much to remove.
I started by trying to go after it with my razor saw, but this proved very awkward. So I decided to sand it down by hand.
I’ll fast forward here a bit to say do not decide to sand it down by hand. :-/ Reason being- it just took to darn long. Use a dremel-type tool, and save yourself some time.
Anyway, I sanded and sanded and like a duffus did not stop and think to grab the dremel tool sitting under the workbench until I was finished. But finish I did.
The crank case pieces have small pins and holes to help align the pieces. This is very important, as the cylinder banks are offset just a bit from each other, and having the crank case pieces lined up is critical.
Another alignment issue is the angle of the cylinders themselves. They don’t face forward, as is typical on most engines. Each on is at an angle. And the instructions are not real clear what the angle is. However, the rear firewall, with it’s cylinders cast in, is a good guide for the angle.
You have two options at this point- glue the cylinders to the crankcases, and glue the crankcases together, or glue the crankcases together, and add the cylinders. I chose the latter, for two reasons. First, if the aforementioned angle of the cylinders was not correct, when the parts were all matched up, it could look pretty odd. By joining the crankcases first, I could line up the cylinders better. My second reason was that I’d seen a build report of the same kit, and the writer used that approach. Working on the theory that his engine looked pretty good, and he didn’t mention any problems, I went with that.
It worked out, mostly. Getting them all positioned was a bit of a pain. I ended up getting them all in place, and just sorta flowing thin CA around each one until everything was one mass of glue. It only took about 3 or 4 minutes to get it seperated from my fingers.
Once all of the parts were in place, the rest was simple. I painted the whole engine Model Master Metalizer Aluminum. With that cured, I flow Warpigs Washes around all the gaps anddetails. I forgot to paint the front of the crankcase gray, so i went back and did that, hit it with more wash, and threw it in the box, thankful to be done.
No doubt, it’s a fiddly bit of work. Given how little of it will be seen, it might be a bit much for many modelers.First time I’ve hoped that an aftermarket company would release an injection molded part to replace a kit’s resin. 😀
Part 2: The airframe
With the engine done, I moved on to the rest of the kit. Which means, of course, starting with the cockpit.
The cockpit is a mix of styrene, resin and photoetch. Typical of many Eastern European kits, there is little in the way of alignment pins and tabs. The front and rear bulkheads that need to be attached to the floor should be at an angle. I used the alignment tabs provided in the fuselage as a guide for lining things up. It took a bit of work, but I was able to get it all lined up.
Cockpit detail is a mixed bag. While the IP is a beautiful PE part with a clear backing printed with the instruments, much of the side panel detail is absent. A few levers and so forth are provided, but it looks like only about a third of the more visible detail is provided. I usually don’t think that’s a big deal, but in this case, I did wonder if you’re going to provide resin and P/E detail, why not go a step further and make it fairly complete. The F2Gs interior had several very prominent handles and wheels, and it just looks incomplete without them. Of course, scratch building is an option if you really want to get those parts in their. Since I’m an OOB guy, I decided to move on. But I feel it’s worth mentioning for other folks who might be interested in this kit.
Another minor problem I had was that since the sprues don’t contain parts numbers, and there did not appear to be a parts map, I never did find the two seat braces that attach from the seat to the rear firewall. I found a part that looked like one of them, but no match for it, and no apparent place where there was a sprue attachment point missing a part. So I did scratch build those two parts, which was not difficult.
Once the cockpit was finished, I did some test fitting and decided to join the fuselage together and then slip the cockpit in underneath. If you line the cockpit up with the alignment tabs in the fuselage, the aft deck behind the seat will be too low. I never could get the rear deck into the correct position, so I ended up snapping it off a day or two later, scratch building an extension onto it, and gluing it in on the outside of the opening behind the seat. A little unorthodox, I guess, but it worked. Overall, the fuselage went together OK. I used my typical method of gluing it a bit at a time, aligning as I went.
Once I had the fuselage together, I went after the wings. The lack of a parts map made this a bit difficult, having to rely on the drawings to figure out what pieces went where. Still, just a little patience and test fitting paid off. The short run nature of the kit showed up again- the fit was OK, but did take some squinting, pushing, shoving, and to a certain degree just accepting “that’s as good as it’ll get”.
A bright spot was how the wings fit to the fuselage- they actually have a small “lip” that goes under the edge of the fuselage, and fits quite well. So there was no gap at all. Very nice.
I fitted the horizontal stabilizers, which took a bit of snading and shapping to get a decent fit. I then assembled the cowl halves, and inserted the engine in. The directions want you to assemble the engine ahead of the cowl alignment tabs, but that leaves the crankcase protruding too much in my opinion. So I simply glued the engine in aft of the alignment tabs. That worked out well- you can deal with the seams on the cowl without damaging the engine. I then mounted the cowl/engine assebly to the fuselage.
The seam lines were not too difficult to deal with, though I did oversand the top part of the cowl, giving the nose a slightly “drooped” appearence…. oops. 🙂
Painting was simple- sea blue, using Pollyscale paints. I gave it a light coat of Future, not too much. I didn’t want to make it super glossy, just enough to give it a sheen, which seemed to be typical of Korean era naval aircraft.
Instead of applying the racing markings, or even the historically correct Navy markins, I purchased a set of Superscale decals for a Korean War F4U-4 bird, and applied those. I figured that it would look pretty neat to see the operational markings. The aircraft I chose had a cool checkerboard wrap on the nose, but the cowl was too big around, so I ditched that part.
I used a Prismacolor silver pencil to do some light chipping, and used a light grey oil wash for the panel lines. Exhaust staining was done with a very thinned mix of grey.
I finished off with the final bits… the landing gear was a bit frustrating. The pins that the wheels attached to were not fully cast, so I had to rig some sprue and do some sanding to join the wheels to the gear legs. It was only after I had that done, and tried to attach the front gear doors that I realized I’d made the landing gear too short…. and the gear doors would fit. After strategizing several ways to painstakingly and accurately correct the gears legs through a lengthy process of scratch building, I saw the spruse cutters on the work table, and grabbing those, cut of 1/4″ from the gear doors and tossed the scrach building plan. Waddaya know- it fit! 🙂
Two other notes- you have to scratch build a mounting post for the propeller. That was a bit odd. And the kit-supplied resin exhausts are really odd looking. And again- the lack of a parts map leaves you scratching your head about which ones to use where. I tossed them aside and made my own.
The final step, the one I had been avoiding, was to deal with my archrival and nemesis, Mr. Vacform canopy. It ended up looking OK, but I really hate dealing with those little monsters. It can be really frustrating to spend hours and hours working on a kit, and maybe do a really good job- only to have the whole thing look like a hack job with a sawed up bit of clear packaging plastic. I guess it passes the 3-foot test. It looks OK at about 3 feet away. I took some canopy closeups so you can see how it really looks…..
One day I hope to start an aftermarket company specializing in injection molded canopies with framing as thick as spaghetti to make masking easy….
Overall, I’m happy with it. It’s no shake-and-bake. It is definitely a short run kit. I wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner, or even in the first 10 or so kits you build. But it’s a good way to stretch your skills. And whether you get the Accurate Miniature boxing, or the Special Hobby one, it is the only game in town for an F2G. And if you like scratch building and detailing, it is a great platform for really going to town. Once completed, and it’s on your shelf, well, it’s an F2G Super Corsair.
Just don’t get closer than 3 feet. 🙂