KIT:

Silver Cloud 1/48 Martin Baker MB.5

KIT #

SC4820

PRICE:

$59.98 ($53,97 from Squadron)

DECALS:

The prototype

REVIEWER:

Scott Van Aken

NOTES:

Short run multimedia kit

 

HISTORY

Considered by many to be the ultimate expression of the piston-engined fighter, the MB.5 was the end of an era in terms of this branch of fighter development. Though it looks somewhat like a Mustang, none of its development arose from that aircraft. It owes its design to the earlier MB.3, which used the same wing and a similar layout, and the mating of the Griffon 83 engine and contra-rotating prop. In fact, the MB.5 was started as the second prototype MB.3 and modified.

First flying in May of 1944, the official report of  the A.E.E. was "..the general design and layout of the MB.5 is excellent and is infinitely better - from the engineering and maintenance aspects - than any other similar type of aircraft." Why it was not placed into service when other lesser types were is one of the mysteries of the the war. It would surely have out-performed many of the turbojet-powered aircraft that were produced during the same time period in all areas except for top speed.

THE KIT

 

Silver Cloud is one of the lines of short run, low pressure molded kits done by Pegasus. As such, it has many of the same traits as a Pegasus kit. The parts are well molded, though they all show flash to a certain amount. The larger pieces have mold flow lines on the inside, though it doesn't look as if they will cause any problems. Because it is low pressure injection molding, the machine Pegasus uses isn't large enough to allow the fuselage half to be molded as a single construct so is broken down into sections. Though the horizontal stabs are a single piece, the fin and rudder are four pieces. A rather odd way to do things. Also a bit odd is that the ailerons are separate, but the elevators are molded in place.  There is a rather thick, one-piece canopy included. Some of you may want to smash-mold a new one so that the interior can be more easily seen. A short length of rod is provided for retraction struts and other small bits.

Most of the smaller bits are cast in pewter. The metal moldings themselves are quite well done, but like the plastic parts, will need some clean-up prior to use. They will also need to be straightened out in some cases as the packaging is very tight. Picture a semi-large 1/48 fighter stuffed into the bag that your aftermarket decal sheets come in and you'll see what I mean! It is undoubtedly why there is little in the way of sprues for the larger parts or they wouldn't fit into the rather small box.

The instructions are rather minimal at best and on both sides of a single 8 x 11 sheet of paper. There are a number of b&w photos of the completed kit for painting/decal guides.  The construction image is a blow-up of all the parts. There is a single small photo showing the completed cockpit. There are general notes on building short run kits and a paragraph on the specifics for this particular one. It is most fortunate that the kit is relatively basic. It is most definitely only for the experienced builder. Decals are very well done and are for the single prototype in dark sea grey/dark green over trainer yellow. A warning is given not to use setting solutions on them as it will damage the decals. I've found Pegasus decals to usually be excellent and to work quite well if applied using warm water.

 

CONCLUSIONS

Personally, I'm delighted to see this kit. The only other 1/48 MB.5 has been the very nice vacuformed one by Falcon. However, most modelers have a phobia about vac kits and the Falcon one is not always that easy to find.

I've always liked the lines of the MB.5 and thought it was too bad that it wasn't put into production. It would have been a superb fighter. It is not a kit I'd recommend for someone new to the genre, mainly because of the minimalist instruction sheet. I've already started building it and can tell you that so far, I've not encountered any real problems. Now why can't the French do short run kits like this??

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