Cluttering up the workbench recently has been Tamiya's masterful 1/48 rendition of what is arguably the ugliest (yet somehow rather appealing) and testosterone fuelled plane to have been designed since the Stuka, or maybe some of those WWII Italian efforts. But don't criticise it's looks to it's face, this is one seriously tooled up trooper.
I've took the trouble to order in the Eduard photo etch detailing set for this one, I think she needs all the make up she can get. I was really (not) looking forward to tackling the three tone camouflage, but these U.S. brown/green tricolours are definitely worth the effort as they look great when done well.
As usual, we start with the cockpit. A bit of sanding down was required to bed in the Eduard etch details on the dashboard but otherwise they slip in very well. The tub fitted into the fuselage perfectly and in no time the halves were together.
The wings and tail sections went on pretty darn near perfectly. Overall, very little filler was required. A little Tamiya primer was dribbled into the wing roots and there was a small ridge under the front air intake than needed filling and sanding to dispose of. Otherwise very little sanding was needed either, much less than most kits, to be honest.
After a couple of coats of Klear and an overnight set, the decals were applied. The tail decals are very delicate, as I found out to my cost, but managed to piece them together again, and I don't think anyone noticed. Micro Sol was used to bed them down, and as ever, this performed perfectly. Another coat of Klear and a good few hours curing.
While all the drying was going on, I set about the slightly tedious process of putting together the undercarriage and the vast array of ordnance. I have yet to find a manageable method of holding bombs whilst painting them but I did my usual method of painting on the sprues and then touching up later - still tedious but gave the right results. All the ordnance and tank slotted into the underside just fine and with the prop inserted all was done.
I can find no faults worth mentioning with this kit - no flash to speak of, perfect fit and all that ordnance really makes this plane look the business. Only thing I would like to see is more detail on the decal sheet, but this is by no means a deal breaker - there is always third party stuff available if you really want to go mad.
Another thumbs up from me!