Magna Models 1/72 Martin Baker MB2

KIT #: 5772
PRICE: $24.00
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Peter Burstow
NOTES: Short run resin kit with metal and vac bits

HISTORY

 The second of the four Martin Baker designs to fly, the M.B.2 was a private venture aircraft designed broadly to fit specification F5/34, for an eight gun fighter with an air cooled engine for tropical use. First flown on 3 August 1938 by Captain Valentine Baker, it was powered by a Napier Dagger 24 cylinder air cooled H-type vertically opposed engine. Initial registered G-AEZD which was not applied, instead the aircraft was marked M-B-1, causing much later confusion. When acquired by the Air Ministry it was given the serial P9594.

Some difficulty with lateral control saw a vertical fin added, this was later extended. A distinctive feature was the fixed undercarriage, fitted with massive trouser fairings. The oil cooler was fitted in the port fairing. A retractable undercarriage and a Merlin engine were proposed but never fitted, development effort instead being concentrated on the M.B.3, which shared many structural features with the M.B.2.

After testing by the R.A.F. The aircraft was returned to Martin Baker in late 1939. It was still present there in 1941, though it's subsequent fate is unknown.

THE KIT

 Coming in a strong, top opening box, there are 12 white resin parts, 9 white metal parts and two vac-formed canopies. The resin parts are nicely formed, with both raised and engraved detail, some of which is a bit misplaced. One of the fuselage stringers has a distinct kink. The engraved lines are uneven in both width and depth and will benefit from cleaning up. All parts have bubbles, varying from tiny to quite large, including a large wing root bubble, which features in many Magna kits.

There is some cockpit detail, with a floor complete with a detailed seat, including moulded belts, and rudder pedals. There are some moulded details on the inside of the fuselage halves. White metal parts, a control column, instrument panel and turn over pylon enhance the cockpit detail. The flying surfaces have fine raised line detailing, and engraved control surface hinge lines.

The engine cowling is supplied as a separate casting, allowing a potential engine change, perhaps the proposed Merlin could be fitted. The smaller parts are all supplied as white metal, well formed with some flash, pouring lugs and mould joints.

As is Magna's normal practice two canopies are supplied, these are clear, but the framing lines, though visible are not well defined and will need care.  Decals provided are just four of the serial P9594, in black and two different styles for the rudder and rear fuselage.

 The instructions are two sheets of A4, with a parts list, three view with painting and marking information, construction notes, a short history and references. Side and scrap views show the original and interim vertical fin layouts, both of which can also be built from this kit with a bit of carving.

CONSTRUCTION

Usual start for a resin kit, saw, hack, file and sand to remove the pouring lugs, which were large and thick. Then a good wash in hot soapy water to remove dust and mould release wax. I gave the two vac-formed canopies a dip in floor polish and left them aside for later.

 Construction starts in the cockpit, painted and detailed the walls and floor, added the white metal instrument panel, control column and two part turn over pylon. Then closed up the fuselage halves. I tried to optimise the fit on the forward top joint, and ended up with a slight mismatch at the trailing edge of the rudder, and a step on the underside. Ran a bead of superglue along the joint to fill any irregularities. Later sanded the seams and ran a layer of Mr Surfacer 1000 to check the joint, then touched up a few places.

 Added the nacelle, wings, tailplane, wheels and pants and the major construction was done. Filled the seams with superglue and sanded the joints. Lightly rescribed the panel lines destroyed by the filling and sanding process. Drilled out the exhaust ports, the guns and the cowling intakes. Added the white metal tail wheel. Another wash in hot soapy water to remove the dust and any accelerator and mould release agent.

 Then added the vac-formed canopy using Krystal Klear. It was far too large so needed a lot cut off it to match the profile on the instructions. The framing lines were to vague to mask and paint, so I masked the whole canopy with tape and Humbrol Maskol.

COLORS & MARKINGS

I decided to do a scheme for an operational fighter from the North African campaign. First a prime with an automotive spray can, trying a new one. HiChem 'all surfaces primer'. It's matt white, and seems to stick OK to the washed and sanded resin. Found a few spots that needed more work, so another session with Mr Surfacer and another sand. Then another coat of primer.

 Dark earth and middle stone over light blue. Used Tamiya acrylic paints with the camouflage pattern done freehand. An overall coat of floor polish then I applied the decals. I used the Magna serials and roundels and fin flash from a Hasegawa Spitfire I sheet. I needed Mr Mark Softer to make the old Hasegawa decals settle down. The Magna decals worked fine.

 Added the final white metal bits, the two bladed propeller, a pitot and a instrument venturi. Unmasked the canopy and hand painted the framing. A little bit of touch up and detail painting, then an overall coat of Future.

CONCLUSIONS

 A typical Magna Models kit, bit of work cleaning up, but a quick and easy build. It certainly looks different, a large aircraft for a single engine fighter, with it's huge wheel trousers and the distinctive Dagger cowling, it really stands out. I might build another with a Merlin engine and retractable undercarriage.

 A much easier build and a more complete model then the old Airframe vac-formed kit. I don't know of any injected models of the M.B.2 in 1/72 scale.  Recommended for all, a easy resin and white metal kit for somebody wanting to try something different.

REFERENCES

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin-Baker_MB_2

 http://www.martin-baker.com/about/mb1-mb5

Peter Burstow

September 2013

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