Hobby Boss 1/48 MV-22 Osprey Kit First Look
|Date of Review
For decades, designers have been trying to overcome the speed limitations of the helicopter while preserving its vertical take-off/landing capabilities. While there is some promise with the coaxial counter-rotating rotors of the Kamov family of helicopters as well as the Sikorsky X2 compound helicopter, Bell Helicopter has been developing the tiltrotor concept since the 1950s starting with aircraft like the XV-3, and advancing the technology with the X-22 in the 1960s, and the XV-15 in the 1970s. The V-22 Osprey was the first practical application of the tiltrotor technology, starting development in the 1980s and entering production in 1988.
The Osprey had a number of developmental problems which were identified and rectified through engineering and/or training, including a crash at Pinal County Airport in 2000 (where I used to drop skydivers) that was attributed to operating the aircraft in certain cross-wind conditions. Unlike many other weapons systems acquisitions in recent years, the military services stayed with the aircraft where it entered operational service in 2007 as the MV-22B with the US Marine Corps and in 2009 as the CV-22B with the US Air Force.
In the 1990s, Italeri released the first kit of the V-22 Osprey in any scale. That kit was released in 1/48 and was the only kit for many years until Hasegawa released their excellent 1/72 kit. The Italeri kit was based on the early developmental airframes which lacked the various sensor bumps, FLIR turret, air refueling boom, and antenna suite. The kit was also engineered at a time when Italeri still used a mix of scribed and raised surface detailing, so there was no issue with the assembled model slipping out of my hand. HobbyBoss has just released their MV-22B in 1/48 scale and it looks impressive out of the box. The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on eight parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched parts. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Very detailed cockpit
- Photo-etched crew restraints in the pilots' seats
- Detailed entryway area behind cockpit
- Separately molded cockpit door with jump seat may be positionable
- External forward entry door molded closed (?)
- Wheel wells have nice structural detail but no plumbing
- The main cabin has structural detail top, bottom and sides
- Plumbing and ductwork in the main cabin is not provided
- Passenger seats are all depicted stowed
- Positionable rear ramp and door to see inside the main cabin
- Engine nacelles are movable
- Wing can be moved between flight and stowed positions
- Choice of flight-ready or stowed propellers
- Many external sensor, antennas, and other details for the fuselage
Markings are provided for a single example:
- MV-22B, 166483, VMMT-204, GX/20
- The most amusing part of the kit are those main cabin and jump seats - they're all molded to look like toilet seats. You'll need to use plastic strips to depict the seat cushions and supports to depict any of these seats down for use.
- The ceiling in the main cabin has structural detail as mentioned above, but the full-scale aircraft has lots of details on that ceiling that are missnig, as are the various ducts along each side. We might see a replacement ceiling or overlay rendered in the aftermarket, but none of the details up there are very difficult to scratch together.
- The movable features are something that might be interesting to illustrate how the V-22 can origami itself from flight-ready into a smaller footprint for storage
- The only decal example provided is a bland school aircraft, but you can go to the aftermarket for more interesting examples.
- The interior (cockpit, entryway, main cabin) sections are built-up separately and are fit inside the fuselage halves, similar to the Italeri C-130s or Academy CH-53E.
- The forward entry door can be removed with careful surgery, but it will need to be kept intact or rebuilt to pose in its open position(s)
While the details inside the main cabin might be disappointing, they're not at all visible with the rear ramp and door closed. That said, this is now the best MV-22B kit in any scale less than 1:1 as it does go further for interior details than the Italeri or Hasegawa kits, even using the available aftermarket products. I really like the option of stowed propellers and the ability to move the wing into stowed position to use up less room on my model shelf. From what I understand, this kit flew off the shelves (pun intended) as soon as they arrived and we'll be seeing Ospreys on contest tables soon.
You'll note that there is a new importer for Hobbyboss kits here in North America as MRC has picked up the product line and have kits that have not otherwise been available in some time. Actually, with the bankruptcy of Squadron/MMD, MRC is now the exclusive importer for HobbyBoss. Check them out or have your favorite hobby shop do that for you.
My sincere thanks to Model Rectifier Corporation for this review sample!