Eduard 1/48 Fulmar Mk.II Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||May 2008||Manufacturer||Eduard|
|Subject||Fairey Fulmar Mk.II||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||1130||Primary Media||Styrene/Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Nice update to the MPM kit||Cons||One-piece front cockpit canopy and windscreen|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$44.95|
The Fulmar was a Fairey design for a long-range, carrier-based fighter that provided a good mix of endurance, horsepower, and firepower. The designers made the aircraft with two crew members, the pilot and a navigator/wireless operator. At the time, this mix was believed to be best for long over-water missions.
Powered by the Merlin VIII, the Fulmar was optimized for low-altitude operations and its eight machine guns provided the aircraft with a punch. While the aircraft wasn't as fast or maneuverable as its land-based, single-seat opponents, the Fulmar provided effective during the early stages of the war.
In addition to its fighter role, the Fulmar's range proved valuable as the aircraft was a valuable asset in the chase of the Bismarck with the navigator being able to wire updated positions back to the Royal Navy in pursuit. Nevertheless, the type was becoming more vulnerable as the Luftwaffe improved its own air arm. By 1942, the Fulmar was being withdrawn from front-line service in favor of higher performance single-seat fighters.
MPM released this kit in its Mk.I configuration last year, and Eduard has come forward with this release as the Mk.II. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on five parts trees, plus a single tree of clears. As with the MPM release, this kit is very nicely detailed and the relevant surfaces are textured to replicate fabric covering.
Two frets of photo-etch are provided, one of which is color-printed using Eduard's high resolution process. The instrument panels and cockpit sidepanels have very clear detail replicated in full-color. The larger fret has a wide range of parts to replicate fine details including main gear doors, centerline radiator flap, intake screens, wheel well internal structures, and lots of other details that just can't be replicated in effectively in styrene.
With all of the nice detailing in the front and rear cockpits, it is rather disappointing that the forward canopy and windscreen are molded as a single part, so you cannot easily pose the forward cockpit open. I say easily since experienced modelers with a very fine razor saw can turn that into a two-piece assembly with a little care, bit given the thickness of the clear parts, you might consider using the styrene clears as masters and vacuforming the clears so that you can get more scale thickness out of these parts and pose the canopies open.
The kit also comes with a set of Eduard's famous yellow masks which will come in VERY handy in masking off all of those window panes! Thank you Eduard!
Markings are provided for five aircraft:
- Fulmar Mk.II, X8812, 6F, 809 Sqn, HMS Victoria, 1941
- Fulmar Mk.II, DR639, OL, 806B Sqn, HMS Illustrious, 1942
- Fulmar Mk.II, DR641, 6B, 809 Sqn, HMS Victoria, Operation Torch, 1942
- Fulmar Mk.II, DR726, BOX, 784 Sqn, HMS Ravager, 1944
- Fulmar Mk.II, X8566, V, 889 Sqn, Fayid, Egypt, 1942
The decals are nicely printed and don't have the roundel colors separated into different layers like some US hobby companies are doing these days. Once again, thank you Eduard!
This is a nice looking kit and should be a straightforward build in the right hands. Modelers who are accustomed to building limited run kits, who know how to take the extra time to dry-fit and trim the parts will have a good experience with this model. With all of the photo-etched details that go into this model, you'll definitely be taking some care anyway. Since there are no resin parts in this project, there shouldn't be many surprises here.
My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!