This kit is fairly simple, without a lot of parts involved, and in true Tamiya fashion, what there is, goes together very well. Detail is nicely represented in the interior as well as the exterior with finely engraved panel lines.
Notable Kit Features:
Nice cockpit details with raised detail instrument panel
Seated pilot figure included
Finely engraved panel lines
Open or closed radiator option
Flaps can be positioned up or down
Two spinners included (long and short nose)
Canopy can be displayed open or closed
I built this kit after reading up a bit on the French pilots in WWII. Pierre Le Gloan was the fourth highest scoring French ace of WWII with18 victories and had an unusual combat career. Of the highlights, following Italy's declaration of war on France, Le Gloan claimed "Ace-in-a-Day June 15, 1940 by downing five aircraft in a single sortie (four Italian CR.42s and a Breda BR.20 bomber). After the Fall of France, while stationed in Syria with the Vichy French he also shot down six RAF Hurricanes and one Gloster Gladiator during the heavy air combat in May-July 1941. His fighter unit was later withdrawn to Algiers.
Le Gloan later switched sides again after the Torch Landings, when his unit (GC III/6) joined the Free French Air Force and became GC 3/6 Roussillon in May 1943, at which time they converted to Bell P-39 Airacobras. Le Gloan was KIA on September 11, 1943 at the age of 30 while attempting to belly land his P-39 with a dead engine on the North African Coast near Algiers. Forgetting that his Airacobra had a belly tank, he touched down with it still attached and the entire aircraft blew up.
Instructions indicate to paint the cockpit a medium grey - cockpit colour is probably dark blue instead
Decals are a bit too transparent (and brittle in my example)
The shape of the kit nose may be off a tad?
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Painted French tri-colour tail
Added seatbelts made from painted masking tape strips
This kit was a straight-forward build without any real issues. The paint scheme for this aircraft was the standard French camouflage French Brown FS 30045 / French Green 34097 / French Blue 35190 / French Underside 35526. A "Salt Weathering" was used on the paint application to give it a worn appearance. I sprayed a bit heavy in places causing the salt to be absorbed into the paint which created a further distressed paint look in the brown pigments, but it actually added to the effect. Further oil washes were used to bring out the panel lines and add some subtle grime.
The After-Build Report:
This Tamiya kit is recommended in my books for novice as well as experienced model makers. The low parts count and good fit suit it well for a beginner and the pit detail as well as finely engraved details should keep the experienced modeler happy with the end result they can accomplish with this plastic.
The kit that I purchased was released in 1996 and the aircraft has been re-issued a few times since then, most notably in 2006 and 2011 when the kit included a nice Citroën Traction 11CV staff car as well as a few pilot and crew figures.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers