Mirage 1/48 PZL P.11c






Two aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Multi-media kit with etched brass and resin


For a look at what is in the box and some nice historical info, visit the preview.


Not wanting to sound trite. But construction began with the wings on this one. With this and all the parts, I made sure the mating surfaces were smooth and flat. There is a touch of flash or mold seam on most parts so this was mandatory. I also found that one of the sprues was not properly aligned in the mold so all the pieces were off-set from side to side. Not a problem with the bigger pieces, but a real headache for the small bits.

The interior is built up of a floor with a framework on either side of it. Inside this frame fits the seat and the aft frame. Sounds easy, but the fit is really fiddly and one has to really take one's time when assembling this portion of the kit. The upper foot supports on the rudder pedals are to be made from wire, but I blew it off, figuring most people would not realize they are missing. Before installing the seat, I made sure that the harness (which is etched brass) was installed and painted. Most of the interior of this aircraft is natural metal or silver so all the parts were given a coat of Alclad II Aluminum and then any other colors painted over it. There is an auxiliary instrument panel that goes on the right side. It is etched brass with film instruments behind it. After careful painting and assembly, I attached some superglue to the mounts and then heard the dreaded 'zing' as the piece went flying away, never to be seen before. This didn't happen with the instrument panel, thankfully. The instrument panel is made of several pieces and the central instrument is set back on its own framework. Rather fussy for those of us who aren't used to etched bits, but it can be done.

Eventually, the interior was done and then glued into the fuselage. The attachment points are not very clear, but there is a good drawing in the instructions that show how it should look when you get done. I found that  the framework was a bit too narrow at the top when it came time to glue the other fuselage half. Either that or I didn't have the interior properly centered. Something to be careful of when doing the installation.

Once the interior was in place, I did the usual filler and sanding routine, though it really didn't need much. I then attached all the etched metal bits to the outside of the fuselage. I suggest removing the old plastic bits that are to be replaced. I didn't on most of the pieces and they stick out more than I think they should. I also found that the etched fret was shy one circular access panel, so you need to make up your mind where you won't be putting one.

With the fuselage done, the wing then had its etched bits installed and then I glued the wing braces and the shell ejector chutes to the lower wing. I did this on the braces so they'd be solidly glued down prior to attaching to the fuselage. Meanwhile the wheel struts were glued in place. Fit is fairly good though I wasn't sure if I needed to trim back the insertion tabs as they seemed a bit long. I also glued the tail skid support. The skid needed quite a bit of filler to take care of a rather large gap. Next the wing was glued to the upper fuselage deck. Fit was good, though I did need filler to fair it in next to the cockpit. I let that dry before attending to attaching the struts to the fuselage.

It was here that I ran into a problem. Either the struts are too short or I needed to mount them closer to the fuselage. Really couldn't do the latter as there are ridges on the wing that would need removed. What I did do was to bend the wing and then when the struts were in place, I hit them both with super glue and accelerator. This caused the wings to bend a bit, but at least the gap was no longer there. It should hold as I'm using Acrabond super glue, which is the best I've ever used.

Once that was done, I moved to the rear of the plane and installed the tail planes. This was not an easy task. For one thing, there is supposed to be a gap in the tail so you have to sort of butt join the tail planes to each other. Then gently glue just the front and back of them  so there is a gap on the top and bottom. It doesn't work. I ended up gluing them to one section and then holding them up with the struts until they were sorta dry. Then I applied more glue to give them a more solid bond. Then there are the struts. Folks, I cut mine too short on one side. What I thought was just a sprue attachment was a portion of the strut. You need to take real care and do some trimming on these pieces or you'll make the same mistake I did.

Meanwhile, I worked on the engine section. The engine was painted steel with black rocker arm covers and an aluminum crankcase. The molding here had slipped rather badly so I made no attempt at any clean-up or things would have been worse. The exhaust collector is one piece and it was painted light burnt metal with a misting of jet exhaust, both paints from the Alclad II line. Then the exhaust collector was to be glued to the exhaust stubs that come out of the front of the engine. A bit of a problem was a large number of short shot engine exhaust stubs. Nothing to do to fix it as I know of no one who does a 1/48 replacement engine. I just glued as many as I could and then double glued them again to get as good a join as possible.

As this was drying, the cowling halves were painted aluminum inside then glued together. The join was sanded down  and the engine/collector portion test fit. Fit was excellent. The cowling joined the prop spinner and lower prop housing in the 'to be painted' box. The prop joined it to be painted black as the instructions suggested. At this time I also sanded down and glued on the exterior oil cooler.

It was now time for some paint.


The kit instructions suggest several Humbrol paints for the colors of this kit. Several have to be mixed. I headed for my fave hobby shop to peruse the Humbrol racks. They had one of the four colors I needed. Hmm. This was not good. Then only thing to do was to wing it with paints at hand. The colors may not be exact, but they look good. For the underside, I used RLM 65 from the Aeromaster line. This was then masked as best I could for the other colors. You see, only the underside of the wings and horizontal stabs are in the lower color. The struts and the rest of the plane are in the upper color. For this I used Aeromaster Kawasaki green, but when I was done, I thought it was too green so misted some Polly S RLM 61 on the kit to brown it up a bit more. I think it worked fairly well as the RLM 61 would have been way too dark by itself. With the paint on it was time to add some more bits.


Now that I had most of the paint on it, I added a few more pieces to it. This consisted of the windscreen, the etched brass wheel braces, gun sights and a couple of small etched pieces that I'd missed earlier. This was all painted again as I did above and when it was dry, I gave it a nice coat of clear gloss acrylic. Then it was time for the decals.

The kit's decals are by Techmod. I had a choice of either Skalski's plane (which probably everyone will do since he was Poland's top WWII Ace) or the other offering which was flown by Hieronim Dudwal, who was the second top scoring pilot of the 1939 campaign with 4 victories (Skalski had 4 1/2 during this time). His plane has an option of white lower wing  letters as used pre-war, and either white or light blue aircraft number. I chose the wartime plane and the light blue numbers as they matched the wing and tail stripes. Before you send me e-mails, the wing stripe is only on the top and the tail stripe is only on the starboard side. I didn't mess up (according to the instructions). The decals are quite thin and apt to be torn. I had a great deal of difficulty getting them to conform to the large ridges on the airframe, even after popping the many air bubbles. I used Solvaset and the decals were relatively immune to it, though most did eventually succumb after many applications. Had I any more Champ, I'd have tried it. The light colors are totally opaque with no bleed-through. I understand that there are several aftermarket sheets already out for this kit if you don't like what's in the box.


After all the decals were on and dried, the model was sprayed with my usual Future and Tamiya Flat base mix. I glued the various engine bits at this time. The engine/collector assembly fit the cowling perfectly and I had nearly as good a fit with the prop and spinner assembly. The shaft went through the engine and I glued the prop to it.  The control surfaces had their hinge lines accentuated as I usually do. Then the wheels were glued on, the prop and engine assembly glued in place and the masking taken off the windscreen. I also glued in the guns, headrest, venturi, and the pitot tube (which suffered greatly from mold mismatch). A bit of touch up painting and I was done. I didn't add any pastels to this one as I didn't think it would show up on the dark surface and I was a bit lazy on this one. I can add it later.


I must honestly tell you that I am quite pleased with this kit. Despite my problems with photo etched bits (which is something I have to overcome), the kit went together quite well. I think Mirage should congratulate itself on doing a very nice kit. I can only hope that it will sell well as it would be quite nice to see some other PZL types (like the P.7 or P.24) which can be easily done using much of this same kit. If you'd like a nice kit for your first multi-media model, then this one would be an excellent choice.

December 2002
#1253 in a series

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