|KIT:||Aerotech 1/32 Mew Gull|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin multimedia kit|
Allow me to paraphrase from the instruction's history section:
G-AEXF was the most famous of the Mew Gulls produced, this aircraft won the first race in which it was entered, the 1937 Folkstone Trophy. It's owner and pilot, Alex Henshaw had purchased the aircraft a year earlier and wanted to race it. The 1937 King's Cut showed this aircraft up against two other Mew Gulls, including one entered by its creator, Edgar Percival. This time EXF dropped out because of water in the fuel.
The aircraft was modified during the winter, including an uprated Gypsy Six type R as used in the DH.88 Comet. This sleeker aircraft placed 2nd in the Isle of Man race, and 3rd in the Manx Air Derby. It then won the 1938 King's Cup event at a speed of 236 mph, a record.
In 1939 it was decided to enter the arduous race to Cape Town South Africa and back. For this, the fuel tankage was increased and the somewhat less powerful but more reliable Gypsy Six series 2 engine was placed back in the aircraft. 106 hours and 16 minutes after taking off, the aircraft returned for a record that still stands today.
Imagine being cramped into a wooden aircraft with a cockpit not much bigger than a bathtub, surrounded by fuel. Alex Henshaw combated fatigue, poor weather, rain, fog, over flights of some of the most desolate landscape on the planet, all with little but courage and rudimentary navigation aids. No GPS, no TACAN; little more than a radio and a compass.
War impeded any additional racing and the aircraft was left to rot until found and restored by Tom Storey.
Some of you may be aware of Marsh Models from the various 1/43 kit builds I have done . Well John Simons of Marsh Models has delved into doing multi-media resin kits of famous aircraft as well. This Percival Mew Gull is the second of those kits.
Once you open the plain but sturdy box you will find several bags of bits and two well wrapped bubble-parcels. One includes the fuselage halves and one the single piece wing. You will be suitably impressed by the very high quality level of all the parts in this kit. The resin is absolutely first rate with no glitches whatsoever on any of the parts. They are totally free of imperfections. What's more, they are also totally free of large resin pour stubs. Those have been removed leaving just minor clean up on the various bits. The insides of the fuselage halves include appropriate sidewall detail and even the forward bulkhead is molded in place, making alignment of parts that much better. Test fitting the yet-to-be-cleaned parts shows that the fit is exemplary.
You also get a bag full of superbly cast metal parts, including the different bits to make either the King's Cup or the Cape Town racer. This is a choice that you'll have to make fairly early in construction as you have different spinners, forward cowling and some detail bits that will have to be installed. In amongst the metal bits are machined aluminum exhaust, control surface mass balances, prop, and interior bits such as the control stick, rudder pedals and compass. Etched metal frets take care of other bits such as the separate flaps, instrument panel, and some other detail pieces. In addition, you get two vacuformed canopies. Both are well formed though the framework is rather difficult to discern. To help in that area, canopy masks are provided. One can either mask the clear bits or use the framework sections as they are in white, the same color as the aircraft itself. A sheet of self-stick aluminum is provided if you are doing the Cape Dash version. One also gets several sections of wire for various other parts of the build.
For instructions you get three sheets. One is a certificate of authenticity stating which of the 150 kits being built is yours. Next sheet has color images of the various parts installed in the interior and for the flaps and instrument panel. No worries on how the bits fit on this one. The other side of this sheet has an exploded diagram of the model and provides an indication of which optional bits are to be used where. A color chart providing Humbrol color numbers and associating them with part numbers is also given. A third sheet, also in color, shows some external bits and decal placement. The decals themselves are a tad thick, superbly printed and in perfect registration. There is practically no clear film outside the marking itself, a huge help and something that just makes them that much better. The decals include stabilizer and wing tip patches, though the modeler would probably be better served by painting these to match the registration numbers. It looks like British Racing Green to me.
Overall, I'd have to say that it doesn't get any better than this. A superb resin multi-media kit and a subject that carries a lot of historical significance. If your penchant is for 30's racing planes or just very cool looking aircraft in general, then you really must have this one.
My thanks to Marsh Models for the review sample. You can order this kit from CoopersModels.
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