Merlin 1/72 XF5F-1 Skyrocket
Kit Number: 15
Price: approx $18.00 US
Media: Short run Injected Plastic
Decals : one version, the prototype
Overall: see review
Comments: I have built a few Merlin kits in my time and one thing you can say about them is that they are all a great starting place for a nice kit. They are kits that have some of the thickest plastic I have ever seen and often I have wondered what is more difficult to finish; a Merlin kit or a vacuform kit. It seems to be a toss-up.
Anyway, Merlin does offer a complete kit, with decals, plastic transparencies and a selection of white metal parts for some of the smaller bits, this includes seat, control stick, instrument panel, landing gear, wheels and engines. i started with the engine nacelles which were not only incredibly thick, but were a real chore to carve out to leave room for the engines. Once those were finished, I then attacked the fuselage, putting in the interior bits and after gluing the halves together, liberally applied putty to smooth things out. Then I attached the engine nacelles to the wings, again using a ton of putty and attached the tailplane to the fuselage (putty here, too). Once that was done, the wing was attached to the fuselage (you guessed it, more putty). The canopy was attached and masked and the entire aircraft painted gloss white awaiting its aluminum and yellow paint scheme.
Once the aircraft was painted, and decaled, it looked pretty good. It is also a good thing that the landing gear are made of metal as this is one heavy little kit. If I had to do it again, I would replace the wheels and propellers with aftermarket items as Merlin's were horrid. Since then MPM has produced one, and while it is also a short run kit, I am sure that it is heads and shoulders above Merlin's attempt. While it might sound like I was whining about the entire experience, Short run kits are supposed to require a lot of work, and I can thank Merlin for producing some of the more interesting aircraft. If you would like to exercise your modeling skills, pick up a Merlin kit.
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