RVHP 1/48 HU-16B Albatross Kit First Look
By Fotios Rouch
|Date of Review||September 2008||Manufacturer||RVHP|
|Kit Number||48038||Primary Media||Resin|
|Pros||Nice detailing throughout||Cons|
|Skill Level||Advanced||MSRP (USD)||$266.00|
The Albatross history goes back top 1944 with the order for the development of an amphibious aircraft that would be a flying boat crew trainer and also a search and rescue aircraft.
The first flight took place in October of 1947. The Albatross looked much like the other flying boat designs of WW2, with a deep hull-like fuselage with high-mounted wings and engines. It was powered by two Wright R-1820 radial engines.
The aircraft saw service in Korea, Vietnam, and served with the Coast Guard. Many nations used the Albatross in the SAR role.
This is the latest release from RVHP. This model has been in the works for the longest time and I cannot even remember the first it was announced. It is understandable though because it is a huge kit and both mastering and producing such big kits is a laborious effort.
The kit arrived in a very sturdy box with all the parts individually sealed in plastic bags and also taped down inside the box to avoid damage in transit.
The first impression was that RVHP has made strides in their quality.
The resin was practically flawless and very straight in part due to the packaging process. There is a lot going in the production of cottage industry kit like this.
Number one is the making of a good master. This is evident here in the good shapes, fine scribing, totally hollow fuselage, etc.
Number two is the quality of the molding. It is of no use to the modeler to have a great master reproduced poorly. Here too RVHP has done very well.
Number three is the whole presentation and all the value added items that make the high overall price more palatable.
So let's have a look at the kit contents.
The fuselage is very much like if it was injected plastic. Very smooth, no surface flaws or scratches and very thin. It will be a breeze to clean and assemble once the interior is done. The interior parts are well detailed and very convincing for what is going to be visible under the canopy. The main fuselage cabin is totally empty though and it would probably be best to paint the inside fuselage surfaces black and be done with it. The nose thimble is a separate part and this is where the new ASW nose will be added later on in future releases.
The main wings are provided in five parts. The center portion is hollow and seems to fit together pretty good. The outer portion of the wings are cast solid. They do not feel heavy and this is a good thing because they will have to be supported by the hollow inner wing section.
All the smaller parts look well cast with very good detail. The modeler will have to remove the pouring stubs and this will be a bit of work.
The clear parts are provided in vacuformed heavy clear plastic and in clear resin. The clear plastic will need careful removal and it does not appear that it can be done with scissors due to the plastic thickness. I think I will use my sharp razor saw for the main trimming and file the rest down as I test fit. My clear part images did not come out very well but the transparencies are very good, especially the vacuformed ones.
The metal parts provided are well cast and should easily carry the weight of the model. Examining the model indicates that the assembly of the landing gear will be the most challenging part.
There are two decal options, one for Vietnam in a camo scheme with a little PanAm globe on the tail and a very attractive USAF SAR scheme in silver/yellow/orange. There is even a correction set of decals for some stripes that did not come out right.
This is a very interesting subject and a very nicely executed model.
The price seems high but it is more like what do you compare the kit to. There are resin kit companies that charge about as much for their similarly sized kits (Collect Aire) and some that charge less (Fisher Model & Pattern). The hobby is not going to get cheaper any time soon.
Recommended to resin kit builders and to those who want to make the jump from plastic to resin.