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Italeri 1/72 AW.101 Merlin 'Skyfall' Quick Build

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2012 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject AW.101 Merlin 'Skyfall' Scale 1/72
Kit Number 1332 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Nice detailing Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $41.95

Quick Build

For some background of this subject and a look at this kit out of the box, look here.

This kit arrived at the Cybermodeler labs shortly after the iHobbyExpo 2012 show and upon opening the box, it was evident that this was a test shot rather than a production kit. What's the difference? The sprue trees all looked good though the windscreen on the clear tree was a short shot, meaning that it the styrene had not completely filled into the mold; the decal sheet was a color print rather than a decal; no instructions were in the box; and the box was a prototype made for the show. Given those conditions, I was curious to see how the kit would go together given that there were no instructions and I have no operational knowledge or experience with this aircraft type.

I didn't photograph any of the in-progress steps since any resemblance of my quick-build to how Italeri recommends assembly will be strictly coincidental. As with our regular quick-build format, assembly is done with liquid cement and no fillers or paint are used.

The kit went together quite nicely taking the logical step of building up the flight deck and main cabin first. The windows all fit into their respective holes very nicely. I didn't install the seating or armament inside the main cabin since I was going to build this test model with the doors closed. There are three doors, one hatch mounted into the sliding door on the starboard side, and a ramp at the rear of the main cabin under the tail.

With simple dry-fitting of the sub-assemblies, it was easy enough to figure out where everything went and assembly was straightforward. The rear fuselage halves fit nicely to the forward fuselage and likewise the tail mounts cleanly to the rear fuselage. A touch of filler will be required here and there to blend a few minor mismatches such as the fairing over the cockpit that meets the engine doghouse over the main cabin.

The only spot where I wished for three hands was assembling the main landing gear sponsons as these are three parts that come together around the main landing gear struts. Like the rest of the model, these did fit together nicely and probably wouldn't be as challenging had instructions walked me through the process.

You can see here that the model went together quite nicely even without instructions. Total time spent was just a few hours and part of that time was spent ensuring I wasn't about to do something stupid.


It looks like I'll have to see the new Bond movie to learn what was unique about this particular Merlin's configuration, but I'm definitely impressed with the fit of this kit and the possibilities it might have for future variants. Italeri engineered this kit to fit very nicely together and I can only hope that we'll see this subject in 1/48 scale in the future.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!