Hasegawa 1/72 MS.406 'Finnish Air Force'

KIT #: 00925
PRICE: $19.95 at www.greatmodels.com 
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Another wonderful Hasegawa limited release.


The M.S.406 was a French Armée de l'Air fighter aircraft built by Morane-Saulnier starting in 1938. Numerically it was France's most important fighter during the opening stages of World War II but was under-powered, weakly-armed and lacked full armour protection when compared to its contemporaries. Most critically, it was out-performed by the Messerschmitt Bf 109E during the Battle of France. The M.S.406 held its own in the early stages of the war (the so-called Phony War), but when the war restarted in earnest in 1940, 387 were lost in combat or on the ground (for various reasons) for 183 kills in return. The type was more successful in the hands of Swiss and Finnish air forces who developed indigenous models.


Aside from perhaps a vacuformed or resin kit, the only other kits of this aircraft in 1/72 were produced by Frog and later by Heller. The Heller kit is not bad, but when Hasegawa released this one, it pretty well eclipsed both of these kits in terms of detailing.

The Hasegawa kit is pretty much what we come to expect. Fair, though rather barren cockpit, ejector pin marks on tires, gear struts, seat pan and inside gear doors. A nicely molded one-piece canopy. Crisply molded exterior detailing though some may think the fabric a bit overdone. The retractable radiator is molded in what looks to be the down position. it is nice to see that they got the rather extreme angle of the main wheels correct. Not really a ton of parts, which will appeal to many.

Instructions utilize the standard Gunze paint references and are well illustrated. Markings are for five Finnish AF aircraft, of course. Both are in Continuation War schemes of Olive Green/Black over Light Blue-Grey. Fuselage bands, forward cowling and lower wing tips are in yellow. One is the box art aircraft of L. Kurten of 1/LeLv 14 in mid 1943 with the rather interesting 'shark mouth'. The Second is P. Myllala's 1/LeLv 28 aircraft from mid 1942 with the black 2 on the fin. White 9 is U. Lehtovaara's plane from 2/LeLv 28 in late 1941. Black 8 is in a semi winter wash scheme with 1/LeLv 28 and flown by M. Vihinen. Finally, the same plane in a non-winter scheme. Decals are very nicely printed and of the newer variety (should be on a 2008 release). Unmarked insignia without swastikas are provided for those places where it is illegal. Though I don't know for sure, I'd bet that in Germany, either shop owners or the importers may well cut the swastika portion away from the sheet before selling the kit.


If you want your MS.406 in 1/72 scale, this is the one to have. Hasegawa kits are known for their good engineering and so assembly should go quickly with this one.



December 2008

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