So anyone wanting such a model to grace their (suitably large) shelves either has to bite the bullet and go for it, or else commission someone else to build it, i.e. me. Thus I find myself turning out the large number of soft plastic sprues onto the workbench and wondering where to start. And its a commission, so it had better turn out well!
But I am always up for a challenge, and actually had built one of these some time ago. But I had forgotten what a pig of a kit it is. The plastic is very soft and the kit has a definite "limited run" feel about it. There are no locating lugs or pins to be found anywhere, the detail on the parts is very shallow and the instructions are suitably vague in many places. The wings appeared rather warped and misaligned and there is significant flash throughout. That's the bad news, on the upside there is an exquisite amount of detail supplied on the "K" sprues including control levers and other details that rival the best etch or resin possibilities and will undoubtedly look great when painted up carefully. This is not the "High Tech" version so there is no etch and only a few bits of resin to work with, but there is a commendable attempt here to provide levels of detail to rival it. So in summary something of a curate's egg of a kit that will undoubtedly prove a challenge but should scrub up well with a little care.
The wings were slightly warped, and so more heat treatment was needed to correct this. There is no real engine component to worry about, just a front plate that represents them to a reasonable degree which wont be too visible behind those massive props and so just a bit of dry brushing does the job there. Putting the wing halves together, though, was more of a challenge. They simply don't align properly. After much foul language and strong tape, I got them to the best compromise, and after setting got through a couple of sanding sponges cleaning up the mess.
The next challenge was the wing fixing - never an easy task on a model of this size. There is very little support for the wings and of course they don't fit particularly will either. So much shaping, sanding and packing was needed to get them on with a strong joint, and after an overnight curing balanced on paint pots to get the dihedral, much filling and sanding to hide the resulting scene of destruction.
As you can imagine on this plane, masking the canopies was no easy task - this took the best part of a day and at this point I wished I had the "High Tech" version which includes canopy masks, but it was not to be.
Couple of coats of Klear and an overnight dry later, decaling was very easy. The kit decals were to be used and they worked wonderfully well. They are pretty thin and loosened quickly, which I always like, and settled down nicely with a couple of applications of Micro-Sol. Even the multitude of step marker line went on like a breeze, no breakages to report!
Fitting the undercarriage needed a bit of patience. The dual leg approach of this plane combined with the lack of positively locating parts makes for some interesting work, especially since you cannot afford to risk weak joints given the weight of this model. But I got there eventually with a few wings and prayers and finally she was on her feet.
So overall a mixed experience with this build. The kit leaves a lot to be desired in the macro scale but also has some really nice detail touches that are worth spending time on. I have to say though, the "high tech" version of this kit, which includes extra resin and etch detail and some more goodies is probably not worth the extra money since I don't believe it will fix the major shortcomings, i.e. poor fit of he major parts and this could spoil the super-detailing experience.
But when all is said and done, there is enormous satisfaction from producing such an imposing model and if you have the shelf space, and plenty of time and patience, maybe you should get your one down from the loft.