Hasegawa 1/72 MS.406 "Finnish AF"

KIT #: 00925
PRICE: $19.49 SRP
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Nathan Stevens
NOTES: Limited Reissue


From kit instructions:

 During the winter of 1939/40 Finland received 30 MS 406 fighters from France.  These planes were assembled from parts received via Sweden and flown to Finland in February 1940.  Following the occupation of France by Germany, more MS 406 fighters were received from German booty.  The Finnish Air Force used a total of 87 MS 406/410 aircraft during the war.  Regarded as a pleasant aircraft to fly, it had difficulty in gun aiming.  It was slow and lightly armed but had good agility, so equal fighting against the Soviet I-153 and I-16 fighters was possible; however the MS 406 was obsolete by 1943 when new Soviet fighters emerged.  In Finland, some MS406’s were re-engined with Soviet Klimov M-105P engines and rearmed with the German Mauser MG-151/20mm cannon.  This modified “Ghost Morane” conversion proved to be a tough opponent, even for the soviet La-5, but only two became operational prior to the end of the war.  Using the MS 406 Fighter, 121 aerial victories were achieved.  26 were lost in aerial combat or AAA fire.  Seven pilots scored 5 or more victories and the “Little Giant” Flight Sergeant U. Lehtovaara scored 14 victories while flying the MS 406.


This is another fine example of typical Hasegawa engineering.  Finely engraved panel lines, near flawless fit, crystal clear canopy, and a sparse interior just begging for aftermarket help.  The 3 main sprues are molded in the typical light gray, with a clear for the canopy and landing light.  Of course, being average Hasegawa the decals are temperamental at best but I managed to convince them to work this time!


 Interior first, right.  I used neutral gray as per usual with the French planes.  This was followed with an acrylic wash of black and burnt umber.  Both the instrument panel and seat are a bit heavy and simplified, but for an out of the box build, it’s business as usual.  The decal fit the panel well enough but with the compound surface it took a few applications of solvent to get it to settle.

 Once the fuselage was closed up, a little light sanding and just a touch of heavy primer was required to fully dispose of the seam.  The rear of the lower wing-to-fuselage butt joint was the hardest to clean up with the complex ribbing of the fuselage skin.  I generally leave the tailplanes off and paint them separately but with the braces on top distinctive of the MS 406, I decided to button things up a little more than usual.


Of the 5 options in this kit, 3 are in the typical Finnish scheme of green (I use RLM 71) and black, one of which also has the option of adding the temporary white ‘wash and the other is in the 3-tone French uppers.  I’m a sucker for white distemper schemes so this was an easy choice.  I started by spraying the nose, outer wing sections and fuselage band RLM 04 yellow.  I like Testors RLM 04 because of the extra pigment, it fills up faster with less coats than the other Model Master yellows and after weathering, I think it’s ‘dirty’ nature just looks better.  Next, mask the yellow and spray the underside in French light blue.  This includes the wells, gear, inner gear doors, and hubs.  After this the lowers were all masked off and the RLM 71 was sprayed.  I then dug out the old silly putty stash to mask and spray the black.  All masking was then removed except for the yellow markings.  I reapplied the silly putty and sprayed the white distemper loosely, allowing some of the first colors to show through.  Remove the remaining mask.

 By all accounts, this was a ragged job at best and it looked far too clean.  I took to a combination of solutions.  I brush painted some of the edges with more white to get a ‘sloppy’ look.  I then wet sanded with 1200 grit, both with water and alcohol, chipped away with toothpicks and scrubbed with Q-tips soaked in more alcohol until it not only looked hastily applied but also well-worn.  Wet sanding with alcohol had some particularly interesting effects as the alcohol helps soften the paint (yes, enamel) and it tends to scratch and peel just slightly.

Next came the decals, and the faded, dirty appearance of nearly all Hasegawa decals was actually welcome here.  With all the wet sanding, Future wasn’t required  anywhere but the underside.  The decals settled in tight with several quick applications of ModelMaster solvent.  I don’t let solvent sit on Hasegawa decals too long as they tend react poorly to this.  Once dry, I took to a similar method of weathering, sanding, scuffing and chipping to match the rest of the surface.  Once complete, Dullcoat was airbrushed over the entire airframe.

 To dirty things up a little further, I apply a water/acrylic wash to a couple panels at a time and then pull the mix either with a Q-tip, cloth or finger.  I’ve had good luck doing this over dullcoat as it tends to dirty up the entire surface slightly while the majority sticks in the panel lines.


I mask my wheel hubs with silly putty as well before spraying the black.  I’m still not sold on precut masks.  Putty is FAR cheaper and reusable.  The radiators were painted black and drybrushed silver.  The wells and all associated landing gear parts were treated to the same wash as the interior.  The landing gear is a bit fiddly to get a good ‘lean’ on the wheels (another MS406 characteristic) so care is needed here.  All the various antennas and gun barrels were added prior to airbrushing various exhaust, gun, and underside stains.  Done!


 Another nice little kit from Hasegawa that’s likely to never be eclipsed.  In fact, there’s really no need.  There is room for improvement but with or without, it still looks good on the shelf.  Though one must wonder with such a nice little kit of such an obscure aircraft, why are we still lacking so many of the ‘standards’ in the current mainstream, such as 109Fs, early P-40s, Yaks and Lavochkins.  Perhaps in time.  Until then, if looking to add some more variety to your 1/72 shelf, pick one of these up.  You won’t be disappointed!

 Review kit courtesy of daboss.

Nathan Stevens

June 2009

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