Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Build Review - Roden 1/48 Pilatus PC-6B Turbo Porter
The Pilatus Porter is one of those aircraft that has quietly infiltrated military and civilian services worldwide without much of a fanfare. Don't be surprised if one pops up at your local aerodrome, they seem to be everywhere, although only a few hundred have ever been built. This has meant much scope for Roden to provide a significant number of alternative packagings of this mould, representing the aircraft in a variety of roles and liveries. Looking at the contents of the box shows eight dark grey sprues and one clear. The parts appear crisply moulded with pleasingly sharp surface detail, although a little flash is present in places and some of the sprue attachment points are not well considered. I wish manufacturers would be a little kinder to us modellers when it comes to smooth cylindrical parts like aerials and struts, and attach them to the sprues at the ends where possible. This would avoid the painful, and rarely perfect, process of cleaning them up, especially when they are so small!
The doors are all separate to allow them to be posed open, which is nice given the amount of seat detail inside the cabin that took so much effort to build. I opted to install the pilot doors closed but leave the passenger cabin doors open. But I fixed them in place for now with a dab of PVA glue which holds them well enough to act as masks for painting and finishing, but they could be removed easily without damaging the plastic, to fix them in the open position later.
The nose section is completely separate and is formed from two halves. There are a few vents moulded on as solid blocks which could benefit from being replaced with scratch built hollow housings, but I did not go to that extreme this time. The nose section butted on to the front of the fuselage very well with no alignment problems.
Now I had to return to the undercarriage, and this is where I wished I had fixed the struts in place before painting. I had already painted up the struts in the desert yellow colour. The location points for the struts are not particularly positive and are also highly visible. To ensure good adhesion and strength, I scraped off the paint at the location points and cleaned them up with a dab of cellulose thinner. This allowed me to carefully set the struts in place underneath the fuselage and to the front of the pilot windows. I was lucky, they took well and set hard quickly without the need for any significant messing around, but I still did need to re-spray the areas to cover up the tell tale signs of my activities. I'll do it differently next time.
Bob's Buckles system. Whilst primarily designed for biplane rigging, the tiny eyelets and tubes also permit a relatively easy to install (if you have very good eyesight) and secure means of attaching aerial wires. I highly recommend it.
And so, in conclusion, this is a first rate kit. Nicely detailed, and apart from the fuselage seam problems it goes together without any major complaints whatsoever. And a fascinating subject for one such as me who is more used to making machines designed for pure destruction.