What lies within

And so for the big moment – opening the box to see exactly what we have to work with. Aside from the required instructions, stencil guide and decal sheet, it’s the copious quantity of plastic that draws the eye. And oh boy, is there a LOT of plastic……

possibly the largest plastic part I’ve ever handled!

I knew this would be a large model, but I hadn’t actually grasped how big. I’m looking at a wingspan of 48cm, and a length of 45cm. For comparison, my Lightning is a meagre 14cm wide and 24cm long. Ignoring the display considerations for now (and reasonably so), there could be spatial problems ahead when assembling the air frame and attaching the wings.

A check of the parts is always a good place to start. Luckily, nothing was loose in the bag or missing, so I’ve got everything I need. However, a closer inspection reveals a few issues that will need sorting out.

Plastic kits are the product of an injection moulding process, and as such, there will be side effects of this manufacturing. A couple are highlighted here:

Pin marks – a series of pins are used to remove the plastic from the mould, and the result of putting a pin into soft plastic is that you can mark it. Normally these are in an unimportant area of the part, however in some cases these marks can be present in an area that may end up on display. For example, these pin marks in the cockpit area will need removing.

Oil – as with most moulding processes, a lubricant is required to help plastic flow and removal. Once again, residue from this oil can end up on the parts, such as here on the main fuselage (red circle).

The black circles are also pin marks. While these don’t appear to be as critical as those in the cockpit, it would be good practice to remove them. The oil definitely needs removing, and this can be done by washing the parts in hot soapy water.

Sink marks – as with most things that cool down, plastic contracts; so any uneven cooling of the parts may result in unsightly “wrinkles” in the surface. Generally things look pretty good, however there are some marks towards the tail of the fuselage – unsurprising given the size of the parts. This too will need filling and smoothing; unless I really want to have an out-of-scale dent in my model!

All in all, this doesn’t look too bad. There’s a bit of remedial work needed to make sure some surfaces are smooth and I’ll go over how we do that in a later post. The first thing however is to wash the parts in hot soapy water to make sure they are clean of oil and any other residue.

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