Magna Models 1/72 Martin-Baker MB.3

KIT #: 5672
PRICE: $25.00
DECALS: Only the P for prototype
REVIEWER: Peter Burstow
NOTES: Resin kit with metal parts and vac canopy


Designed by Sir James Martin, the third aircraft built by the Martin-Baker Aircraft Company, the M.B.3, was a prototype fighter. First flown on August 31, 1942. It was fast at 415 mph, and one of the heaviest armed single engined aircraft at the time, with six 20 mm cannon with 200 rounds per gun. It was powered by a 2000hp Napier Sabre II, 24 cylinder sleeve valve engine. On September 12, 1942, the aircraft crashed after engine failure, (a sleeve drive crank broke), killing the pilot, company partner Captain Valentine Baker.

 This crash spurred Sir James Martin's interest in aircrew safety, with the first Martin-Baker ejection seat test on the 24th of January 1945.  


 Coming in a small top opening box, there are 13 cream coloured resin, four vac-formed and 18 white metal parts supplied. Once you get past the pouring lugs, flash and general crud around the edges, the resin parts are well formed, with fine recessed panel line and rivet detail.

There are a few bubbles on the usual thin areas like the fin and trailing edges of the wings. There are a number of resin blobs on various surfaces. Judging by the amount of mould material in some of the recesses, the mould was coming near the end of it's useful life when my kit was made. There are scratches and gouges on the parts, and pimples, lumps, dimples and divots as well. It will all need a bit of filling and sanding, before I get to the joints.

All the resin parts have a liberal coating of mould release wax, and will need a lot of washing to clean up. I have found that rubbing alcohol or methylated spirits will help remove the wax. Ethanol might work as well, but there are better uses for it! The larger parts have sizeable pouring lugs, and care will be needed to remove these, as it is hard to tell where the part ends and the lug begins. Most of the smaller parts are supplied as white metal castings, which are covered in flash, but otherwise look OK. The six cannon barrels could be replaced by turned brass barrels from Master-Model, but you would need three sets to get the six barrels needed, which would almost double the price of the model.

The cockpit consists of a resin floor with integral seat and rudder pedals, and a white metal control stick and instrument panel. There is no sidewall detail on the fuselage halves, but the seat does have moulded belts. The undercarriage wells have some moulded detail, as well as a few resin blobs that will need removal. The wheels have moulded hub detail, but no tread detail. A small piece of plasticard is supplied to make the undercarriage inner doors, using a template on the instructions. The outer doors and legs are white metal.

There are four vacformed canopies supplied, two each of the bubble and razorback style. The razorback canopies include the fuselage fairing. Nice to have a spare of each. They are of thicker than usual plastic, not very clear and the framing lines are not crisp. They also have been scored, roughly on a line about where they need cut, probably a help as there is no obvious lip or other cutting guide.

The decals provided are only the yellow 'P in a ring' prototype marks, all other markings will need to come from the spares stash.

The instructions are two A4 sheets, with a short history, a profile and decalling guide and some construction notes. There is no detailed construction guide.

A dry fit shows that the cockpit is too wide and high for the fuselage, a lot of carving will be needed to get it to fit. The fuselage halves don't close up too well either. The fuselage halves are not the same size, so there will be a step somewhere.


A short run mixed media kit of an one-off British prototype fighter. Looks to be a straightforward build, with more than the usual parts clean-up required. All the parts are well formed. There are a number of surface problems to be fixed, which will destroy some of the detail. Some experience would be needed as the instructions are not comprehensive. The spare decals will need raided for markings.  

Recommended for an experienced modeller. It might make a good wiffer!


William Green, Fighters Volume 2, Macdonald, London 1961

Peter Burstow

April 2013

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