|PRICE:||€30 when new|
The Fairey Fulmar was a British carrier-borne
reconnaissance/fighter aircraft. Named after the northern fulmar, a seabird
native to the British Isles, it served with the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm (FAA)
during the Second World War.
The design of the Fulmar was based on that of the 1936 earlier Fairey P.4/34 land-based fighter, which was supposed to replace the Fairey Battle. Although performance was expected to be unspectacular, the design looked solid, reliable and sturdy, with long range and effective armament. The fact that it could be manufactured relatively quickly also contributed to the decision for the type’s mass production, with the first example making its first flight On 4 January 1940 and deliveries commencing shortly thereafter, followed by the improved Fulmar Mk II roughly one year later.
The type was used by the FAA and the RAF during the war, being withdrawn from front line service in February 1945. A total of 600 units were produced at Fairey’s Stockport factory between January 1940 and December 1942.
MPM came in 2007 with its new-tool quarter-scale Fulmar, a good number of
modelers thought it would more or less be a kit per the then “classic” MPM
tradition, meaning “limited run” style plastic parts with heavy sprue gates and
lots of flash, a gazillion of resin to cater for the “detailed” parts and,
maybe, a PE fret and vacform transparencies. To their surprise, the kit was done
in full styrene, including the clear parts, looking “mainstream” in almost every
Needless to say I grabbed a copy back then from one of my usual beloved Athens Hobby shops (which, gradually and sadly, either diminish or transform into “pure internetic” shops - meaning forgetting the epic visits and the usual modeling chat…). It was offered at a sensible price which became even more sensible upon the usual “pay cash” discount the owner treated me with!
The kit comes in a well made top opening box with a very nice box art of an HMS Victorious machine, lightly descending. The fact that the box is too big for the ingredients is not necessarily a negative thing, as you are more or less left with a big, sturdy box which you can use for your future projects that come in less than perfect or too small boxes.
Upon opening the box, I was greeted with 105 dark gray styrene parts arranged in 5 sprues. One sprue holds the fuselage halves, another holds the main wing parts, while the other three hold all the rest. Molding is first class and very crisp with almost no flash, just a couple of sink marks and some mold release agent at a few spots. I would put a bet that those molds were CAD/CAM designed and manufactured. All parts are numbered, there are locating pins and, in fact, the kit could easily be mistaken for a modern Hasegawa one!
Panel lines are recessed all over and very nicely done. The highly visible interior is very well appointed with a lot of “detail” parts. Indeed, I was pretty amazed to see MPM providing that multitude of small well cast cockpit “detailing” parts. The seats look tad plain, which might have nevertheless been the case in reality. No seat belts are provided.
The main wheel wells are nicely boxed and feature good wall detail. Landing gear is also well detailed, with its delicate parts featuring scale thickness. The distinctive air intake and radiator/oil cooler chin looks good. Two styles of prop blades are provided, but without clear explanation of which to use.
Transparencies are well molded and exhibit good clarity. Interestingly, the front canopy is one piece with the windscreen, meaning it cannot be posed “open”, whereas the rear canopy is provided as separate pieces. Instructions come per the usual MPM style: three A4 sheets folded in half, comprising a 12-page booklet, containing a history of the type and a parts list, with the construction spread in 16 clear and followable steps. Color callouts are provided where needed in both generic names and Gunze codes.
Three schemes are provided, for an 809, an 803 and an 800 Squadron machines, all in the usual FAA extra dark sea gray / dark slate gray over sky. Decals are very thin and well printed by AVIPRINT. The blues and reds might look a tiny tad on the bright side, but look good on finished models.
Instructions start with the quite extensive cockpit assembly and want you to first attach various components onto the sidewalls, then assemble the bulkheads, floor and top deck parts and trap everything between the fuselage halves. Next is wings assembly and installation, followed by the tail planes, radiator chin and arrestor hook housing.
The landing gear is then to be assembled and attached, followed by the arrestor hook itself. Next is prop assembly and installation (where you have to choose between two styles of blades, without any clear indication, so, best, check any references available). The exhausts, the two seats and the transparencies are finally to be added, ending a build of average complexity
This looks to be an excellent kit of this important
plane. It is well molded with the general shape of parts looking accurate. Panel
lines are nicely engraved and details at key areas are plentiful. Instructions
are nice and clear and decals look very good. The kit builds nicely and can
provide a spectacular result, as Bill Koppos demonstrated in his MM review here.
This nice kit can still be found today (as of 2022) in its original package or in its 2008 and 2015 reboxings by Special Hobby, which contain extra PE and (only in the 2015 reissue) resin goodies, still offered at very sensible prices (Eduard also reboxed it in 2008 with a PE fret and a set of masks, but looks not too easy to obtain).
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