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Fairey Fulmar Mk.II

by Stephen Tytko

 

Fairey Fulmar Mk.II

 


Smer's 1/72 scale Fairey Fulmar Mk.II is available online from Squadron.com

 

Introduction

 

The Fulmar was a British WWII two-seat Fleet Air Arm fighter.  Delivered first as Mk I and later as higher horse power Mk II variants between January, 1940 and February, 1943, Fulmar production totaled 600 aircraft.  Armament consisted of eight wing mounted .303 in. machine guns.  While not as nimble as Spitfires or Hurricanes, Fulmars gave good service in carrier operations and convoy protection roles.* 

 

Vista's 1/72 Scale Fulmar Mk.II

 

This is Vistaís 1/72 Fairey Fulmar Mk II in Operation Torch markings. I believe the kit has been reboxed at least once since I purchased my Vista copy a few years back, and the Smer kit of the Fulmar available from Squadron may be its current incarnation. 

Advantages Nice panel line detail, great canopy, interesting subject and markings, inexpensive.
Disadvantages Mismatched tooling, some vague parts placement/attachment, wing root/fuselage fit needs work. 
Recommendation Recommended to anyone willing to put in a little extra effort.

The kit uses injection molded styrene with nicely done engraved panel lines and includes 33 parts to make either a Fulmar Mk I or II and includes markings appropriate to each mark. 

Clear parts include a one-piece injection molded canopy, landing light cover and gun sight.  There were a couple sink and injector pin marks on the wing to be dealt with. 

The small single sheet of instructions outlines a brief subject history on one side and eight text-free drawings of assembly steps on the other.  The box provides color artwork showing paint scheme and decal placement.


 

Construction High and Low LightsÖ

 

I usually prefer 1/48 scale, but bought this kit because the Operation Torch box-art scheme appealed to me.  Not being a prolific model builder, coupled with a long spell of not working on anything, I was looking forward to a simple warm-up project.  The kit challenged me a bit more than Iíd hoped for, although Iím never sure just how many of my modeling difficulties arenít self inflicted! 

 

 

        One bright spot: Dipped in Future, the greenhouse canopy is wonderfully clear, and although closed, affords a decent view inside. It fits beautifully with minimal sanding and dry fitting, allowing me to white glue it in place after finishing all painting and weathering.  I used Bare Metal foil to mask the canopy.  There are a lot of little windows here!

        Pilot and navigator cockpit detail consists of floor, seats, stick, main instrument panel, gun sight, rudder pedals and a tiny instrument panel for the navigator.  Placement of a couple parts is a bit vague I added masking tape seat belts and painted/dry brushed the instrument panel and dials, adding Future to the dial faces to simulate glass.  The compass was missing from the compass/rudder pedal part, the result of a short-shot.  I ignored the problem. 

        The wing/fuselage joins required strip styrene, sanding, repeated dry fitting, some filler, and re-scribing of panel lines to get a tight fit.

 

 

        Panel line alignment discrepancies forward of the cockpit meant sanding away and reintroducing cowl panel lines so that they would meet across the top and bottom of the fuselage halves.  Worse yet, the left and right exhaust stub openings and panel lines are not on the same horizontal plane (no pun intended.)   As a result, the left side exhaust stubs and panel lines are about 1 mm lower than those on right side when viewed from head on!  A strategically positioned prop blade helps hide this tooling gaffe.

        Those nifty cowl cheek intakes, the chin scoop and landing gear doors were thinned, sanded, dry-fit (and sanded and dry-fit, andÖ) and attached.  No fancy locating tabs, pins or flashed over option holes here. 

Aside from the belts and antenna wires (mono-filament with white glue insulators), the only thing I added not provided in the kit box were styrene bits and a blob of Testors silver enamel paint used to box in the wing leading edge landing light opening and suggest a bulb/lens assembly.  Oddly, I was willing to overlook the missing compass and un-boxed in wheel well openings, but not this.  The kitís clear landing light cover fit nicely after a little sanding, fiddling and polishing.  

 

 

Painting, Markings and Weathering

 

        I airbrushed a combination of Floquil railroad, military and Polyscale acrylic colors for the paint scheme.  Model Master Metalizer Sealer served as gloss coat for decal placement and sealing.

        Happily, the kit decals performed very well.  One wing top star broke apart during positioning, but the pieces patched together perfectly.  The decals snuggled absolutely flat using Solvaset setting solution.  The decal whites and yellows are a bit transparent, but Iím pleased with the results.  Some homemade red decal strips represent taped over gun ports as the kit wing leading edges are devoid of any such detail.

        I used pencil lead on the panel lines, and washed the model with a thin brown acrylic wash.  Pastels simulate exhaust and gun powder residues.  Testors Dullcote sealed it all.  Silver artists pencil served to add a little wing root and panel edge wear. 

 

 

I photographed the model outside under a bright overcast sky, using a home made static grass base held up against a distant tree line for background.  I used a Ricoh RDC 5300 digital camera.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Although not an effortless build, my Fulmar was an interesting project, allowing me to practice a variety of modeling skills and built up into an interesting addition to my collection.  Itís an inexpensive kit delivering good bang for your buck with a little effort.

 

 

Reference

 

Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon, The Complete Book of Fighters, 2002, Salamander Books Ltd., London

  

 

Additional Images

 

Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Images and Text Copyright © 2003 by Stephen Tytko
Page Created 20 July, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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