MPM 1/48 Fairey Fulmar Mk.I Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||June 2007||Manufacturer||MPM|
|Subject||Fairey Fulmar Mk.I||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||48056||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Best Fulmar available in this scale (the only one in styrene in the scale too)||Cons||Front cockpit cannot be displayed open|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$55.00|
If the aircraft looks familiar but not the name, you're not having a case of deja vu (well perhaps you are) but these familiar lines are of the Fairey Fulmar. The reason these lines look familiar is that Fairey created this design as an incremental improvement to the Fairey Battle that preceded it. The design, designated as P.4/34, was developed in 1936 in response to an RAF requirement, but lost out to the Hawker Henley.
Shortly thereafter, the Fleet Air Arm was looking for a two-man fighter aircraft that could operate from its fleet carriers and operate on extended missions over water. While the Fulmar was not a dogfighter, it was going to be quickly available at a time when Britain was bracing for war.
The aircraft was armed with eight Browning 303 machine guns in the wings and while not well-matched against the single-seat land-based fighters of the axis, it still held its own in the Mediterranean theater and helped to stalk the Bismarck. By 1942, the Fulmar had been replaced by other aircraft as fighter aircraft and stayed aboard the carrier as long range reconnaissance aircraft.
If you were having a case of deja vu at the design of the Fulmar, you're probably having another case of it with this kit. Doesn't this look like something you'd expect in a Classic Airframes box? The molding technology is identical and so is the detailing (these are good things).
Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on five parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. Unlike a Classic Airframes kit, this kit is all styrene, there are no resin parts to limit this kit to an intermediate or advanced builder. This is a limited run kit however, so some experience with fitting and trimming is required to achieve a nice result.
Even though no resin parts are provided, MPM has rendered the smaller interior details in styrene and these should look very reasonable with some good painting and detailing inside the front and rear cockpits.
The main landing gear wells are boxed in with separate parts to capture all of the shapes inside that area of the wing.
The landing gear itself is nicely done and is far simpler to assemble than that Battle!
The propeller is three-bladed but you can see six blades provided on the sprue tree below. The kit provides two different types of propellers and you'll need to check your references to see which one your aircraft used. The paint scheme instructions don't tell you which prop to select for a given scheme.
The front cockpit has the windscreen and sliding canopy molded as one piece, so unless you undertake some surgery here, the front cockpit will be displayed closed up. The rear cockpit has a three-piece canopy, but these may not be suitable for sitting atop one another to display that cockpit open either.
The kit provides markings for three aircraft:
- Fulmar Mk.I, N1892, 6K, 809 Sqn, FAA, HMS Victorious, 1940
- Fulmar Mk.I, N2005, 7C, 803 Sqn, FAA, HMS Formidable, 1941
- Fulmar Mk.I, N4032, 7R, 800 Sqn, FAA, 1941
If you're looking for an interesting (and different) subject to try your hand at limited run kits, this MPM beauty is just the ticket. With no resin or vacuform parts to add complexity, you can get the feel of a decent limited run kit before you step off into the more complext multimedia limited run kits.
My sincere thanks to Hobbyshop.cz for this review sample!