Friday, October 19, 2007

Trumpeter 1/72 Fairey Gannet - Part One


When Trumpeter announced its imminent release of a 1/72 Fairey Gannet in 2006, U.S. modelers were left with two questions:

1. What is 1/72 scale?

2. What is a Fairey Gannet?

Well I can assure you that even though the Fairey Gannet looks like somebodies idea of an aeronautical joke it is indeed very real. And yes Mark Smith, 1/72 scale is not dead.

Those of us with a more Commonwealth bent were excited by the announcement of a Gannet as Trumpeter had recently released a stunning Wyvern that may be one of the best 1/72 scale kits ever. Not to mention the only previous Gannet in the scale was a Frog example from the 1950s. It contained about 7 pieces and featured quicksand pilots on flat surfaces and no wheel wells. Frog were kind enough to include landing gear and a clear canopy, so I guess we should have been somewhat thankful. Test shots of the new kit soon surfaced on the net and it looked like the hopes of a Gannet to Wyvern standards were dashed. The kit appeared to be nice, but not stunning. Who needs bomb bay detail and folding wing options anyway? (Well I’d have liked the option...but heck what do I know?) Plus a few Germans could be heard chanting “Wait till 2007. Revell AG will answer your Gannet prayers. Wait till 2007!”I’ve never really understood German and Revell AG said nothing about a Gannet so we all wondered what the Germans were so excited about.

Late in 2006, after the exchange of way too much cash my Gannet arrived in the mail. The large box was torn open post haste and at first glance the Gannet looked nice. From about two feet the molding and surface detail looked good. Much as in the case with my models, moving in closer did not flatter the new kit. Detail is sparse. The cockpit has lots of parts, but all interior surfaces are flat, no molded in detail what so ever. Main gear wells are devoid of detail. The surface detail is ok. Some of it is quite fine, but lines tend to just end near joint lines and not continue over the joint. There is flash and especially injector pins everywhere. The clear parts are very thick and have a huge seam line running down the center. Well this might take a while... That night I visited the Green household and Rick was awed by the kit. Well what do expect from a guy who builds biplanes? Anyway, I started assemble right away. Dry fits did not look promising. Filler would be necessary, especially with the nose/cowling piece and the insert for the under fuselage radome. And whose idea was it to put a huge injector pin in the center of the nose gear well. Hey someone actually put detail there...did you have to ruin it? Decals are provided for two Fleet Air Arm and a German option. They look ok, but one of the stencils has a very unique warning. It reads “DANGER - KEEP OFF - THE SPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED.” So watch out spassers...Trumpeter has warned you! I was disheartened and returned home thinking that maybe those Germans were right...

As I write this missive, I’ve started painting the cockpit and assembling the wings. Looks like filler will be necessary on most joints. At this time I’m going to ignore the lack of cockpit detail...it is painted all black in there anyway. The flaps are meant to be installed extended and again are devoid of detail. Not to mention you don’t see many pictures of Gannets with the flaps open on the ground, so I may see if they will fit retracted. I’m disappointed with the kit, but since then I’ve also purchased the trainer version and an Xtradecal decal sheet, so it appears I will be fighting with these kits for a little while. I will report back with Part Two when/if I actually finish the thing. Just don't expect Part Two any time soon...

I’m glad that we have a newer Gannet kit, but I wouldn’t call it state of the art... I just wish that the good Trumpeter tool guy made this kit, not the less interested in his work guy. Not to mention with a price over $20 for a 1/72 prop, I expected more. Since the kit wasreleased Revell AG have indeed announced a new Gannet for release in 2007 or 2008, so my suggestion is that you may want to wait a little while. Revell AG do excellent work and it wouldn’t be hard for them to trump the Trumpeter kit and offer their version at a much better price with more detail and better moldings.

1 comment:

Stevenson B Canyon said...

The Spassers is a good name for a band.