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Signifer 1/48 JRF-5 Goose Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2008 Manufacturer Signifer
Subject JRF-5 Goose Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48001 Primary Media Styrene, Resin, Vac
Pros Excellent interior and exterior details Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (Euro) 30.00€ (about $38 USD)

First Look


In early 2004, I was pleasantly surprised to see the JRF Goose as a 1/48 scale kit. Produced under the Czech Model brand, this was the first time I'd seen this amphibian in kit form. Normally when a new kit arrives, it receives the standard in-box review, which I indeed started, but I had no sooner completed the photos that I had the kit on the bench and started working on it. I was having so much fun with the subject that I forgot my review! I wound up combining the in-box with a build-up review and you can see the results here.

When Classic Airframes released their J4F Widgeon kit, I thought about doing another Czech Model JRF kit to see if I could try some new techniques to overcome some of the fit problems of that kit. That's when I saw the retail price had soared from $49.95 to $64.95 and I abandoned that project.

I saw that Signifer had released their own 1/48 JRF Goose kit, but I assumed that it was a re-box of the Czech Model kit, but was I wrong! There is no comparison between these two kits!

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on two parts trees, plus a single clear parts, and three bags of resin details. Where the Czech Model kit was mostly styrene with some resin details, this kit provides the basic airframe in styrene and the vast majority of the details are in resin, and what details there are to behold!

The first step in this project is a diagram that provides an overview of the airframe and where all of the parts go. This is a very nice approach to getting oriented to the individual steps that follow.

The instructions don't clearly show this, but one of the first steps is to glue the fuselage halves together. This allows the styrene or vacuform (your choice) windscreen to be installed early-on without any obstacles. You insert the interior subassemblies through the top of the fuselage where the wing would sit.

The first published step is not the cockpit, believe it or not. It is the nose compartment that is a resin tub that contains a life preserver, anchor, and rope. This isn't wasted detail either as the hatch ahead of the windscreen is molded separately so you can depict those doors open and have something very nice to see inside.

The side windows are pre-cut acetate. You'll have a bit of a challenge to get these flush with the exterior of the fuselage, but you can alternatively use Fotios Rouch's clear epoxy technique for side windows in this build review.

The cockpit and main cabin interiors are exquisitely detailed. There is even a full radio rack for the main cabin to support the aircraft's reconnaissance mission. The seats have molded-in lap belts, and there is a positionable cabin door between the flight deck and main cabin.

The engines are cast in resin as is the engine fairing that goes from the firewall to the wing. The cowling halves are styrene and install around the engines once they're mounted up to the fairings.

The ailerons, rudder and elevators are all separately molded from the wing, vertical stab, and horizontal stabs (respectively) to allow you the option of positioning them to your taste. The flaps and main cabin door are molded closed, but it wouldn't take much to open those.

The kit provides markings for four JRF-5s:

  • JRF-5, French Navy
  • JRF-5,
  • Goose, RAF
  • JRF-5, JMSDF

The instructions provide three-view color paint charts with paints identified in Gunze and Humbrol numbers.

This is easily the best Goose model produced to date and these are definitely not the styrene parts from the Czech Model kit. What's more, the Czech Model kit costs around $25 USD more than the Signifer kit for a model with far less detail. As with any multimedia kit, you should dry-fit, trim, dry-fit, and dry-fit again before applying the cyano/cement. Now I can dig out my Classic Airframes J4F Widgeon and do my Grumman amphibian build in style!

My sincere thanks to Signifer for the review sample!