Fisher Model and Pattern 1/32 Sea Fury T.20 Build Review
By Boyd Waechter
|Date of Review||July 2010||Manufacturer||Fisher Model and Pattern|
|Subject||Sea Fury T.20||Scale||1/32|
|Kit Number||3207||Primary Media||Resin|
|Pros||Unique subject, accurate, parts highly detailed||Cons||Alignment of landing gear and wheels difficult|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$195.00 + postage|
Over the past several years I have made a couple of attempts at building resin kits, but never found the fit, overall quality of the resin parts, and/or accuracy of the models all that great. However, after seeing the high quality of the resin kits produced by Fisher Models and Patterns, I ordered Paul’s 1/32nd Sea Fury T.20 kit liking the “high speed” silver finish with the yellow training bands used on these aircraft. Also, since my previous attempts at building resin kits, I had purchased several new tools and a primer which I felt would help give me a better experience.
A lot of positive reviews have been written about Paul’s Sea Fury kits and I can assure you they are all true. When ordering, you are given the choice of a kit with folded wings, or getting a solid wing from tip to tip, I chose the latter.
The kit arrived in a very large box with a one piece wing, one piece fuselage, and several bags of parts packaged together in the same sequence as the models construction (i.e., all cockpit parts are in one bag, all landing gear and wheels are in another, etc.). There is also a fret of PE parts and a bag of beautifully clear resin canopy pieces and lights. The large decal sheet has markings for two aircraft, an RAF T.20 training aircraft and a West German target tug that is overall red with minimal markings.
One unique item included in the kit is a jig that insures the five props get mounted in the proper position and angle, very nice idea to help the modeler.
A model of this size and magnitude can be overwhelming, but I overcame this by simply dividing up the kit into subassemblies and treated each one as an individual model. I started with the engine/prop assembly, then moved on to the cockpit, etc. sticking fairly close to Paul’s package of instructions.
The cockpit is basically one color, black, which I painted Humbrol Tire Black which has a lot of gray in it. I painted the tops of the consoles and instrument panels flat black, then dry brushed the entire assembly with some light gray paint to help pop-out the details. The seat backs were painted leather and the PE shoulder straps and seat belts khaki to provide some lighter color in an otherwise black hole.
The kit includes a film of instruments to go behind the PE panel, but I elected to use Mike Grant’s dial face instrument decals instead. I felt these had more detail and were brighter and more easily seen. As I did with the cockpit and side panels, I dry brushed these instrument panels with some light gray to give them a somewhat used look.
Prior to installing the cockpit, I added the horizontal stabilizers and blended them into the fuselage. Paul includes part of the fuselage on these stabilizers that fit into precut slots which help insure the correct alignment. Although the resin looks and feels smooth, I sprayed all of the major parts with Tamiya’s Fine Grain Primer (gray) and then spent over two weeks sanding and polishing the fuselage and wings smooth. I felt this was necessary since I elected to do the RAF T.20 painted in the “high speed” silver finish. Also, the primer highlighted some of the small blemishes in the resin and defects in the panel lines, so I spent another two weeks fixing, rescribing, and repriming these areas. This actually continued even after I had applied my first coat of silver. I need to mention that it is very important that ALL of the parts of this kit be thoroughly washed with soap and water prior to painting or priming. I failed to wash the wing prior to priming it, and when I did, the Tamiya primer started bubbling up. I immediately stopped and sanded it smooth, washed the wing in some warm soap and water, then continued without any subsequent problems. One more step up the learning curve.
Once the cockpit is complete and the side panels glued in place, the entire assembly slides up into the one piece fuselage from the bottom where the wing fits. The fit is really good, so it is just matter of gluing it in place. I also used some small pieces of two part ribbon epoxy stuffed around the edges of the tub to make sure it doesn’t ever come lose.
The only fit problem I encountered during the basic assembly was the fit of the wing to the fuselage. There is a large gap on each side that I filled with some white fine grain Milliput. I rolled out a thin ribbon of the putty, stuck it in place, and smoothed it out with some water. After some light sanding to blend them in, I coated both wing roots with some Mr. Surfacer 1000 and sanded them smooth. I then reshot them with some primer finished up by rescribing the panel lines lost during sanding.
The cowling came next and this is where I discovered a minor problem. On the actual aircraft, the top of the cowling flows smoothly into the forward part of the fuselage, but no matter how I positioned it, I got a very small step at the top and bottom. Looking at some other built up Sea Fury models, it appears that this is a common issue in these kits. I only mention this in case others of you discover the same issue. It does not take away from the general appearance of the model.
You do not see many T.20’s flying with the under wing auxiliary tanks, but I wanted to use them to add some interest to the model. Unfortunately, they are mounted directly over the yellow stripes on the wing, so your choice is to add them now or during the final finishing of the model. Because the fit of these was not all that great and I didn’t want any gaps, I super glued them in place, blended-in the pylons to the wing, and suffered through a lot of masking work later on.
At this point I was about 8 weeks into the build and it was ready for paint. Because I had decided to use Model Masters non-buffing aluminum which can be difficult to mask over, I painted the wing walks and upper fuselage antiglare areas black followed by the yellow stripes. After masking off the formation lights and wingtip lights, I gave the model a very light rubdown with alcohol to clean all surfaces and then started shooting the model with aluminum. Although Model Master metalizer paints look usable in the bottle, I always thin them 2/3’s paint and 1/3 lacquer thinner. I have found the paint goes on nicer and I think the lacquer thinner helps the pigments grip the plastic or resin better making it much more durable.
After finding a couple of glitches and fixing them, all masking tape was removed and I started the decal process. The decals in the kit are extremely thin and will curl up very badly if you are not careful. I also found the large numbers and letters had a tendency to split apart. After applying 4 or 5 decals, I decided using them as is was just not going to work for me. Master modeler, Frank Cuden, called and suggested that I coat the remaining decals with Microscale’s “Liquid Decal Film” thinking it might stiffen them up enough to get them in place. After brushing on a fair amount of this stuff across the sheet and allowing it to dry for an hour or so, I continued decaling the model with very little further trouble. Once done, I remasked the wing walks and antiglare areas and then shot the entire model with a coat of Humbrol’s Satin clear coat to tone down the glossy decals, seal them, and to help take off some of the shine from the overall finish. The RAF’s high speed silver finish tends to be on the dull side, so the Satin overcoat gave me the look I was after.
The next couple of weeks were spent finishing up and adding all of the accessory parts. To enhance the metal gear struts, I added some hydraulic lines using some soft wire and painted them black. I also added some data plates via Mike Grants decal sheet to the gear legs. Mounting these struts into the slots provided in the wheel well proved to be a bit problematic for me since there was a bit of play in their fit. I used some 5 minute epoxy which gave me time to position them at the correct angle and to align them the same. Also, the holes drilled in the resin tires is larger than the axle, so again, I used some epoxy that allowed me time to get the alignment correct as the glue set up. The rest of the parts went on fine with no real issues.
I finished up the project by adding the canopy parts that are made from resin and crystal clear, and the periscope assembly that mounts just ahead of the rear cockpit. I used some Bare Metal Foil to simulate the mirror on this piece.
The Sea Fury is only the second 1/32nd scale kit I have built and my first all resin kit to get complete. I am pretty pleased with the results and it is certainly a unique model. The Sea Fury is a large airplane and this model fits almost the same footprint as the Hasegawa 1/32nd P-47D sitting next to it in my display cabinet. Paul Fisher is to be congratulated for producing a kit that I doubt we will ever see done by a major manufacturer. It is amazing to me that Paul is able to get the detail and quality in these large castings that he does. I will look forward to building more of his kits.