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Hasegawa 1/72 MS.406 Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review October 2007 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject Morane Saulnier MS.406 Scale 1/72
Kit Number 51319 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build, nice details Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $18.50

First Look


The Morane Saulnier M.S.406C-1 was the first modern fighter produced in France. In 1934, the French Military requested a modern aircraft to replace the outmoded fighters being used with WWI characteristics. Morane-Saulnier produced the M.S.406, with a welded steel fuselage, covered with light metal at the front, and fabric at the rear. It was a low-wing monoplane, with inward retracting landing gear and enclosed cockpit. The wings were duralumin and plywood, with fabric covered control surfaces.

Modified and improved with a Hispano-Suiza 860 hp engine and 7.7 mm machine-guns, the M.S.406C-1 flew in 1938 and was produced during the same time frame as the German Messerschmitt Bf-109. It was obvious that the Bf-109 outclassed the M.S.406C-1 in performance. However, the French had numerous expert pilots who were successful in downing the German aircraft at the outbreak of the war. The M.S.406 was also exported to Finland and Switzerland, remaining in service until the 1950’s.

The kit comes in a tray and lid type box. The box art shows a M.S.406 in the markings of the French Air Force GCII/3, 3/4 Escadrille. It has the squadron’s shield logo on the tail and a narrow diagonal red, white and blue fuselage band. (One of the marking offerings in the kit).

Inside the box is a large cello bag that holds everything but the instructions. There are two large light gray parts trees and one smaller one, a clear tree with 2 parts on it, the large decal sheet, the main instruction sheet and a smaller sheet of more instructions.

The main instructions consists of a single sheet that accordion folds out into eight pages.

Page one begins with a black and white photo of the model made up in the markings shown on the box art. This is followed by the history of the M.S. 406 in Japanese and English.

Pages two through five have eight assembly step drawings. Paint colors for individual parts are called out on these drawings as you go along with the assemblies. The bottom of the page has a listing of Gunze Sangyo paint colors suggested for decorating the finished kit.

Across pages six, seven and the right half of page 8 are the three painting and marking schemes offered in the kit.

  1. (The box art one) Aircraft of the French Air Force GCII/3, 3/4 Escadrille. It carries the large white lettering code L5-79 under its wings
  2. Aircraft of the French Air Force GCIII/7, 6 Escadrille with the squadron marking of a man’s head on the sides of the fuselage. It carries the large white lettering code N5-93 under its wings
  3. Aircraft of the Vichy Air Force, 2nd Escadrille with the fuselage white number 2, a horizontal white fuselage stripe and the Vichy red and yellow barber stripes on the tail and cowling. It carries the large white lettering code L7-51 under its wings

All these schemes are in a dark green, medium gray and tan wave pattern above and very pale gray undersides. The decal sheet also includes stenciling and the French roundels and tail tri-colors.

The right half of page 8 has the parts tree drawings with a customer service coupon below them in Japanese only.

The second smaller instruction sheet has “Read before assembly” and “Correct method for applying decals” instructions on it, on both sides, in numerous languages including English.

The first large light gray parts tree holds: the fuselage halves, the horizontal tail surfaces and their bracing rods, dashboard, landing gear legs, radio antenna, gun barrels and gun sight, an armor plate that goes behind the pilot’s seat and parts of the ventral air intake scoop (12 parts).

The second large light gray tree holds: the upper and lower wing halves (the lower wing is full span, setting the dihedral nicely), the cockpit floor and seat, the main wheels, propeller spinner, pitot tube, nose air intake and the center section of the ventral air intake scoop. (10 parts).

The third smaller light gray parts tree holds: the propeller, main landing gear doors, tail skid and support rods for the pilot’s back armor plate. (8 parts).

A tiny clear tree holds the cockpit transparency and an underwing landing light (2 parts)

The decal sheet completed the kits contents. The decal is very well printed and has a tissue for the face of it to prevent the lettering etc. from getting scratched.

Recommended to modelers of French WWII aircraft.