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P4M-1/1Q Kit

Nostalgic Plastic 1/72 P4M-1/1Q Mercator Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2008 Manufacturer Nostalgic Plastic
Subject P4M-1/1Q Mercator Scale 1/72
Kit Number 72002 Primary Media Resin
Pros Nice looking model of P4M that isn't vacuformed! Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of production

First Look

P4M-1/1Q Kit
P4M-1/1Q Kit
P4M-1/1Q Kit

The Martin P4M Mercator was designed in response to a US Navy requirement for a long range maritime patrol aircraft to replace the PB4Y Privateer. While Martin lost the competition to Lockheed's P2V Neptune, two prototypes and 19 operational aircraft were produced. These later examples would enter service in the maritime partol mission, but would later be configured for the electronic surveillance mission to replace the PB4Y Privateers previously performing that function. The Mercator entered service in the late 1940s and was retired by 1960.

The aircraft was notable in that it was powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney R4360 24 cylinder engines rated at 3250 horsepower each. The PB4Y was one of the first operational compound aircraft as two J33 turbojets were mounted in the rear of the engine fairings to provide supplemental power during take-off.

With a range of over 2800 miles, P4Ms could easily patrol the Chinese and Soviet coasts from their base in the Philippines while P4Ms flying out of Morocco could survey the southwestern regions of the Soviet Union. Even so, these missions were not without risk - Chinese fighters downed a P4M in 1956 while Soviet MiGs jumped a Morocco-based Mercator. While this aircraft used its jet engines to help its getaway from the short-ranged MiGs, the aircraft ultimately crashed into the Mediterranean with the loss of all crewman.

Nostalgic Plastic has released its third kit and its second in 1/72 scale. Like the previous releases, this kit is crafted by Anigrand Craftswork and the nicely cast and packaged parts reflect that quality.

In 1/72 scale, the P4M is nearly 14 inches long. The parts are all cast in tan resin, and you can see from the images that these are hollow-cast wherever possible to save weight.

The fuselage has several cast-in bulkheads to help retain the shape of the fuselage and dry-fitting of the fuselage halves revealed only a slight shift in fit along the dorsal side. This will be easy to adjust after the fuselage halves are cyanoed together and a little wet-sanding with a sanding stick will blend everything together.

The wings are molded in upper and lower halves, with nice wheel well interior detail cast into the inside of the upper wing halves. Two large pins are used to mount the wings to the fuselage, but after eyeballing this joint, I am going to remove the pins, drill out the pin locations, and run a pair of brass rods into both wings through the assembled fuselage to serve as mainspars for additional strength.

You can detail the flight deck to whatever extent you'd like, but the clear parts are also cast clear resin and there is only so much clarity you'll achieve with these parts, so simple may be better for that flight deck. You will see the seats, and larger details, so plan accordingly.

You're going to need weight in the nose to keep the model from becoming a tail-sitter. The instructions don't indicate the amount of ballast required, but you'll want to use as little as possible to avoid undue stress on the resin landing gear.

The kit can be configured as a patrol aircraft or in one of several configurations as an electronic surveillance aircraft (as usual, more gear and more crew were added over time).

The kit comes with a large set of decals to replicate essentially any of the P4Ms produced, either while they served as patrol aircraft or in their later configurations as electronic surveillance platforms.

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This is going to be an easy build and a fun project. If you're interested in Navy patrol or reconnaissance aircraft, or even in Martin-built heavy metal, this nice model is just the ticket. While I usually build in 1/48 scale, there are just some subjects I'd rather not see in that scale or else I'd have to find a bigger house.

This kit is recommended to modelers with some experience in resin kits.

My sincere thanks to Nostalgic Plastic for this review sample!