MPM 1/48 Morko Morane Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||1999||Manufacturer||MPM|
|Kit Number||48039||Primary Media||Styrene, Resin|
|Pros||Unique subject, nice detailing||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
The Finnish Air Force used the French-built MS.406 as one of their primary fighters during the early years of WW2, during the Finnish-Soviet conflict. As the aircraft became obsolete against rapidly improving Soviet AF fighters, the Finnish Air Force decided to re-engine the MS.406 with the Soviet-built Klimov M-105P engine and matching VISh-60P propeller. The Germans had captured an abundant supply of these engines and propellers and made them available to the Finnish AF. In contrast, the original engine was the Hispano-Suiza 12Y31 engine of 860 hp, whereas the Klimov M-105P was rated at over 1200 hp! The conversion was a great success and all surviving MS.406 and MS.410 aircraft were brought up to the "Morko" standard. The Morko remained in service until September 1948.
MPM's latest offering represents the souped-up Morane in 1/48 scale. While the kit is primarily light-gray injection-molded plastic, MPM also provides an abundance of cockpit details and other essential details in nicely molded resin. The resin is molded by CMK and the quality is excellent. The plastic parts (fuselage, wings, three-bladed propeller, etc., all feature finely scribed details. The canopy is vacuformed and clear, though only a single copy, so get it right the first time!
The fuselage halves dry-fit together nicely. There are no locating pins/holes in the halves. The fit of the upper wing halves to the lower half is also good. In fact, there are locating stubs in the wing halves that, then assembled, appear to reduce the risk of splitting open a seam in the wing in case it is inadvertently squeezed. The only spot that appears to require any care is the join of the lower wing half with the fuselage - with some careful filing and fitting, it will probably be the only spot where the slightest bit of putty will be required.
The wheel wells are molded separately from the lower wing half and appear to provide scale depth for the gear and mains when retracted. There are no locating pins/tabs for the fuselage-to-horizontal stab joints, but liquid cement will make short work of these joints.
Overall, there do not appear to be any ejector pin marks or sink holes in the kit.
The kit decals are very nice, and provide marking options for two different aircraft, one with July 1944 camouflage and the other with Summer 1946 camouflage. To get past the European swastika ban, the early style of Finnish roundel has the center removed and as a separate piece, which will take some care in getting aligned just right. Registration on the rest of the decals is perfect, and the white of the later style roundels looks to be quite opaque, which is good considering the dark camouflage colors they'll be going over.
This kit will add another eye-catcher to your quarter-scale flight line. Recommended!