MPM 1/48 Siebel Si 204D/Aero C-3A Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||June 2007||Manufacturer||MPM|
|Subject||Siebel Si 204D/Aero C-3A||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||48012||Primary Media||Styrene, Vac, Resin, PE|
|Pros||Only kit of the Siebel in this scale||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
With the phasing out of the Fh 104 Hallore, Siebel put in hand a considerably enlarged development of this aircraft know as the Si-204. This was, in fact, a completely new design having an all-metal structure, a single-spar wing, and a dihedral tailplane with twin fins and rudders. The main undercarriage members retracted backwards into the twin engine nacelles. The aircraft could carry a crew of two and eight passengers and was to fulfill the duties of instrument, radio, radar and navigation training for Luftwaffe crews.
The Si-204A flew for the first time in 1941, powered by two 360 hp Argus As 410 engines and fitted with a stepped cockpit, similar to the Fh 104. In the following year, the Si-204D (subject of this kit) appeared, with a shorter, fully-glazed, unstepped nose, and powered by two 600 hp Argus As 411 twelve-cylinder engines driving two-bladed propellers with pitch-changing vanes in front of the spinners. Principal production of the Si-204 was done in France, after it’s surrender to Germany, by the SNCAC concern. Five aircraft, per month, were being produced by the end of 1942.
The Si-204 was a very pleasant aircraft to fly, and it’s usefulness warranted production to continue after WWII. In the year 1943, production was initiated in the Czech aircraft factories of Aero and CKD Praga. After WWII, production continued from 1945 to 1949, reaching a production of 179 aircraft. The Czechoslovakian designation for the Siebel 204D was the C-3 (Army) and C-103 (civil version). Also, in France, SNCAC continued 48to build the Si-204A as the NC 702 and the Si-204D as the NC 701. Total post-war production there reached more than 300. Both versions were known by the name MARTINET.
The kit is manufactured in vacuformed plastic, with some injection molded parts, a fret of brass PE, 2 decal sheets and the instructions.
The vacuformed parts are molded in a thick chalk white plastic sheet. There are injection molded parts that are molded in jet black plastic, using a centrifuge molding process. This spins the mold as molten plastic is injected into the center and the parts come out looking like the spokes on a wagon wheel. The brass PE fret holds parts for the instrument panels and foot pedals and control levers. A piece of photo film provides faces for the instruments and is used behind the PE instrument panels. Clear vacuformed parts are provided for the nose and cabin windows. The vacuformed parts have nicely engraved panel lines (not very visible in my digital shots…sorry) and the nose windows have raised framing.
The instructions consist of a large sheet that is folded over into 4 pages and a second sheet that is printed on both sides. The larger instructions begin with a line drawing profile of the Siebel with no markings. This is followed by the history of the aircraft in Czech, English and German. Inside, a 1/48th scale 3-view drawing appears of the Siebel Si-204D. The last page has a 3-view drawing of a Siebel Si-204D, unknown unit, Germany 1944, with the call-sign SR+AD on the fuselage and underneath the wings. It is in a splinter of RLM 70 & 71 over RLM 65. A second side profile drawing shows the aircraft as a Aero C-3A of the Czech Air Force in 1950 in overall RLM 71 over RLM 65, with the the call-sign D-73 in white on the fuselage sides.
The second single sheet of instructions has the parts drawings on one side and a exploded drawing on the other to assemble the kit from. Although a scrap drawing shows the fuselage doors opened up, I think this would take some pretty hairy surgery to do and there are no detail parts to see if the doors were opened anyway.
This is one of the better detailed vacuformed kits that I have seen over the years. I would, however, only recommend it to modelers that have done a few other vacuformed aircraft kits. It is not for the beginner.
KZP brand (also from Czechoslovakia) does this aircraft in 1/72nd scale, but…to my knowledge this MPM kit is the “Only” one of the Siebel in a larger scale. Back in 1978, in the IPMS USA Update, Vol 14, No. 2, there was a review of this 72nd scale kit and some good detail drawings of the inside of the cockpit area, pilot’s seat, landing gear and the splinter pattern used on Siebel’s.