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Fonderie Miniature's 1/48 scale
Handley Page Halifax

by Mick Evans

 

Handley Page Halifax



Fonderie Miniatures' 1/48 scale Halifax B.III is available online at Squadron.com

 

Introduction

 

Fonderie Miniature's Halifax In the Box

The Halifax was a crucial part of Bomber Command's night bombing strategy in WWII, but it is often overshadowed by the legendary Lancaster. It has been underrepresented in plastic too, with only the ancient Airfix offering and the long unavailable Matchbox kits in 1/72 scale (recently re-released by Modelcraft and also due in a Revell box during 2006).

Finally we have an option to build the Halifax in 1/48 scale.

Fonderie Miniature's 1/48 scale Halifax B.III comprises 150 parts in low-pressure injection moulded plastic, plus resin cockpit, engines, intake scoops, "hedgehog" exhausts, and other details; and white-metal landing gear legs, seats, gun barrels and other details. A small fret of photo-etched parts is also supplied.

The white plastic parts appear to be the best FM effort yet. Surface detail is by way of finely engraved panel lines and raised fabric detail. Unlike earlier kits, the surface of the plastic is quite smooth and the panel line detail is very consistent - impressive on such a big model. Flash is present around most of the main plastic parts, but it is quite fine and will be easy to remove before assembly. There are also some prominently raised ejector pins to remove from the interior of the larger parts, and a few sink marks - notably around the forward fuselage - that will need to be filled and sanded.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Resin detail is very good. I like the engines, the cleverly cast, one piece rear turret interior and the hedgehog exhausts.

The very chunky white metal landing gear will ensure adequate strength for this area of the model. Other white metal details include seats with textured cushions, tail gear and machine gun barrels.

 



The canopy, nose and turrets are supplied as vacform parts. Traditionally, FM's clear vacformed parts have been pebbly in texture, but these parts are perfectly smooth with raised frame detail. Spares are provided for all vacform parts - just as well because one of my nose cones was damaged in transit. In fact, three rear turrets were supplied in this sample!

Engineering is good, with the wings reinforced by two long spars. This ensures a secure connection and the correct dihedral. The big tailplanes are secured with locating tabs too. Flaps are provided separately so they may be depicted dropped if desired. All other control surface are moulded in neutral positions.

Three interesting decal options are included, with nose art and colourful tail markings..

Instructions are typical Fonderie Miniature fare - three folded black and white A4 pages, with one sheet dedicated to construction, one sheet to camouflage and the final sheet to background.

 

 

Construction

 

On opening the box the first thing that hit me was the overall size of the model. This was going to be one of the biggest models that I had built.

The build for the Halifax commenced with some very extensive cleanup of all of the mating surfaces of every part, including the resin and metal parts.

Construction started with the sanding of the fuselage halves until the dimensions equaled the width of the transparencies for the cockpit. The circular windows all required cleanup to make them circular and the nose side windows had some major flash that was required to be removed.

Once this was complete the fuselage walls were thinned down to accept the cockpit floor, bomb bay ceiling and bulkheads. This process requires constant thinning and trial fitting until a snug fit is achieved.

 



It was at this point that I decided that the bomb bay supplied with the kit needed to be trashed and a new one scratch built. This was quite a simple process using the kit part as a master and adding the structure and wiring details from plastic card and solder.

The cockpit, navigators area, and bombardiers area is quite a complex area to build requiring a fair amount of cleanup work and painting. The detail here is very good and requires little extra work or detail to be added.

When the assembly of all of the internal detail is complete, the fuselage assembly is a very easy assembly process. The fuselage halves do not match each other in width so some gentle bending is required until the two halves match up. A fair amount of filler was then required to fair the fuselage seam before any further assemble was continued.

Some major reshaping was required to make the upper turret opening circular instead of oval and fortunately I have a small tapered reamer for this task. I kept reshaping until the metal mounting ring for the upper turret fitted snuggly.

The wings then become the next big challenge. The halves need a huge amount of sanding to achieve the correct thickness at the leading and trailing edges. The wings also become a simple assembly process at this point. The flap area of the wings has semi circular inserts to complete the trailing edge of the wing. These are tricky to fit and require some trimming and trial fitting to get them right. The same process was repeated for the horizontal and vertical tail planes. Two spars are supplied to carry the weight of the wings through the fuselage. The spares form part of the kits sprue assembly and are very rough. These are easily cleaned up on some coarse emery paper. These require extensive trial fitting into the fuselage and wings to make sure the wings fit correctly to the mating surfaces on the fuselage. The horizontal tail and rudder were added after some cleanup of the mating surfaces and very little filler was required.

 



The last major project was the engine nacelles. The assembly of the nacelles is quite easy but the fit to wing is another story requiring lots of filler and sanding. The front firewalls did not line up and required lots of plastic card to act as a filler to achieve a flat firewall. The wheel wells are assembled and inserted into the inboard engine nacelle area before fitment of the nacelle to the wing. The engine cowls were a nightmare. The mating surfaces need to be sanded until the nacelles are round instead of egg shaped. Once again my trusty reamer was used to get the openings circular. The cowling flaps were then fitted and these need some persuasion to become circular and fit the engine cowls.

The engines in my kit were one piece cast in resin. I have heard that some kits have the crank case and cylinders and these I presume would have individual metal cylinders for both rows and these would then fit into the resin crankcase.

 

 

The engines require some cleanup before painting. They fit easily into the engine cowls and provide a good base to mount the assembly onto the nacelles.

The next major task was the transparencies. Firstly all parts were dipped in Future. The transparencies were an easy fit with super glue. The frames were all masked and any seams were filled and sanded. The masking was left on until after the kit was completely painted. I spent a lot of time blowing all of the sanding dust out of the fuselage, and a final complete immersion in water ensured that when the masking was removed no dust adhered to the inside of the transparencies due to static caused by the tape removal.

 



The undercarriage, flaps, and propellers were then fitted with the last assembly being the mid-upper and tail gun turret. This was a straightforward construction and paint.

 

 

Painting and Markings

 

The kit was finished in Xtracolors for the standard RAF night bomber scheme based on LV907, NP-F, a Halifax B MK III, called "Friday the 13th" which had flown with No 158 squadron RAF and had flown 128 operations while based at Lissett in 1944. The night bomber scheme of Dark Earth and Dark Green upper surfaces and night Black under surfaces was from the Xtra color range of paints.

The decals were very thin and snuggled down onto the paint very well with some decal set. I had to overspray the yellow fin stripes as the colour was very transparent. The kit was over sprayed with semi gloss before the circular cabin windows were filled with Krystal Klear, as the supplied transparencies were a bit average.

 

 

The end result was well worth the effort.

Highly recommended for very experienced modelers.

Thanks to Squadron for the review sample.
 

 

Additional Images

 

Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model and Text Copyright 2005 by Mick Evans 
Images and In-Box Text Copyright 2005 by Brett Green
Page Created 19 December, 2005
Last Updated 19 December, 2005

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