Battle Axe 1/48 SNB-2 Navigator (Beech 18) Kit Build Review
By Fotios Rouch
|Date of Review||January 2015||Manufacturer||Battle Axe|
|Subject||SNB-2 Navigator (Beech 18)||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||4803||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Only kit of this subject at the time||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
The Beech 18 is one of the most successful aircraft having had 9,000 with a production lasting over a period of thirty two years. It has been built in over 20 civilian versions and about forty military variants and sub-variants. It is always great to see this beautiful plane at the various airshows here in Arizona. Yet, no high grade model company bothered with this airplane. That is until the French Battle Axe model company made a low pressure and very tough build of this aircraft. I picked one up way back at ScaleFest in 2003 and built it over a period of a month which stretched my modeling skills and made me long for a Battle-Axe on occasion!
The plastic was plagued with all kinds of surface blemishes and deep sink marks, very indicative of the very low pressure processes used in its production. Lots of surface work was required to get a smooth finish that would not embarrass me with all that gloss paint. The clear parts for the cabin were not very useable at all so I opted for clear epoxy. I basically put tape on the outside of the fuselage and then poured slowly clear resin epoxy bought from Michael's on the inside of the fuselage. Same epoxy that restaurants put over their wooden tables so they clean up easily. Once the epoxy was dry the tape was removed and I polished the resin and plastic on the outside to a high shine. Just make sure you do not have any bubbles and that you you pick them out early before the epoxy start to heat up and cure. Bubbles left behind will definitely show in clear resin.
I used Lone Star's resin conversion for the longer upper nacelles.
The model was finished in a scheme that I liked out of the definitive publication "The Official Monogram US Navy & Marine Corps Aircraft Color Guide Vol 3" page 59. The decals were made with an inkjet printer and color scheme was based on the information above.
In the end the final result was very pleasing to me and fits my collection of Orange/White Navy aircraft.
The good news is that ICM is releasing an injected kit of Beech 18 and its variants that has to be better than the Battle Axe kit!