MPM 1/72 A-300 Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||June 2009||Manufacturer||MPM|
|Kit Number||-||Primary Media||Vac, Styrene|
|Pros||Unique vacuformed kit of a one-off prototype Czech bomber||Cons||Crude molding on some vac parts and green injection molded parts. Panel lines near nil|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
The mock-up of the A-300 proposed by the Czech firm Aero was exhibited for the first time at the National Exhibition in Prague, in 1937, on August 3rd. The Ministry of National Defense asked for the building of the prototype, which was designed by ing. Ant. Husnik. It was a two-engined aircraft, with extensive glassy front cockpit and an upper fuselage gunner’s turret that could be extended. Members of the crew were the pilot, bombardier/observer, upper gunner, and radio-operator/gunner.
The aircraft was powered by Bristol Mercury IX engines, that were license produced by the firm Walter. During the building , the aircraft had problems with the petrol used and the retractable undercarriage doors. Therefore the prototype was flown with the gear extended and fixed in the down position in April 1938. During tests, the aircraft was aerodynamically improved, especially the tailplane part. On August 4, 1938, the prototype A-300.1 was turned over to the VTLU/Military Aircraft Establishment. It was further tested and flown with very good results. The aircraft was much better than the Avia B-71 bomber, and it was recommended to introduce it as the B-72 bomber.
Unfortunately, this was not realized, because of the occupation of the Germans as they advanced. The aircraft was later flown by the Luftwaffe at Letnany and also at Bremen by Focke Wulf pilots. There, it’s track is lost.
Before the occupation of Czechoslovakia, Greece was seriously interested in the aircraft and also the American Military Attache in Prague asked for material about the type.
A-300 was a Czech low-wing monoplane of mixed construction with twin tailplanes. The wing was of wooden construction with two spars and plywood covering. The fuselage had framework made from chrome molybdenum tubes. The front part was covered by metal sheets, the rest by fabric. The tailplanes were made from metal with ailerons being fabric covered.
MPM is a model company based in Prague, Czech Republic. This kit was released in the 80’s in vacuform. MPM has since gone to injection molding their kits. It comes in a generic white tray and lid type box. The box art on a separate sheet of paper that has been glued to the lid. It shows the A-300 prototype parked on a runway in front of hangar buildings. It is in overall khaki with bare metal propeller blades attached to metal hubs. It carries the red, white and blue Czech segmented roundels on the outside of the twin rudders and above and below the wings. It has the fuselage code of 5 s that straddles the rearmost fuselage windows. These are in white that is shadowed on one edge. On each side the 5 is nearest the tail and the small s forward. This is how the aircraft appeared at Prague-Letnany in August 1938.
Inside the box are three white sheets of vacuformed parts, a tree of dark green injection molded parts and a sheet of vacuformed clear parts. The decal sheet and the instructions complete the kit’s contents.
The instructions consist of 3 sheets. Two of these are folded in the center to create 4 pages in 8 ½” x 11 ¾” format. The third sheet is a single sheet this size printed on one side only.
The first one folded into 4 pages begins with a black and white line drawing of the A-300 in profile, followed by it’s history in Czech, English and German.
Page 2 and 3 have a 5-view line drawing, in 1/72nd scale, of the A-300. This drawing is minus any markings.
Page 4 has a very busy single exploded drawing to use for assembly of the kit. This should be carefully studied, so as to not go wrong. Injection molded parts are marked with a * symbol. The vacuformed ones are not marked. Below this is tech data about the A-300 in Czech only.
The other large 4 page sheet is printed on one side only and is a second copy of the 5-view line drawing again.
The single sheet, printed on one side has line drawings of the A-300 showing both sides and above and below the wings. The overall khaki paint job is called out in the FS number 34088. The red, white and blue of the Czech roundels is also called out in FS numbers…which is really un-necessary, unless you intend to paint the roundels instead of using the decals.
The first white vacuformed sheet holds: engine nacelles, cockpit floor, dashboard, bulkheads, main landing gear doors, a half cylinder part (which I see nowhere on the instructions) and cockpit and dorsal gun blisters that have been molded on this sheet so that the clear vacuformed sheet parts will rest atop them and be protected from denting in shipment. (14 parts)
The second white vacuformed sheet holds: the fuselage halves, Horizontal tail surface halves, twin rudder halves, and the lower wing center section (9 parts)
The third, and final, white vacuformed sheet holds the outer upper and lower wing sections. (4 parts) The injection molded dark green parts tree apparently was molded from two colors of plastic, because it has white marbling in it. It is packed in a sealed cello bag along with the decal sheet. This tree holds: the engine faces, propellers, main wheels and struts, tailwheel, machine guns, exhaust pipes, gear retraction arms, crew seats, dashboard, control column and air intake scoops (25 parts) Molding is rather crude of these parts. They will need a lot of cleanup and possibly some will have to be replaced.
The decals sheet, already described above, completes the kit’s contents.
The kit provides no side fuselage windows. However, after whittling these out, excess clear vacuformed material from that sheet of parts can be cut to size and inserted. The cockpit area and the nose of the aircraft have to be trimmed away also. Some of the vacuformed parts are blemished with bumps, that were created by nail heads. Nails were used to hold the male forms that were vacuformed over. Panel lines, except for the ailerons and elevators are near nil. More can be scribed into the parts using the 5-view 1/72nd scale line drawings as a guide.
This kit can probably be turned into a decent model in the right skilled hands. I don’t recommend it to modelers who have never tackled a vacuformed model kit before.