by: Michael Spitler [ ]
Originally published on:
The KitThis short-run kit by the Czech company AML comes in a rather flimsy end opening box with two main sprues, one PE fret, one acetate sheet and a vacuformed pair of windscreens. Attachment points are rather heavy and will require considerable cleanup, and a few of them are in somewhat hard to reach places in between the alignment pins on the lower wings.
DetailThe kit comes with finely engraved panel lines, so fine that they probably won’t withstand much sanding. There are also some inconsistencies in the lines. Some are more heavily engraved than others, while others are so light they actually fade to nothing in a few places, so some light rescribing will be required in places. Also, one of the toeholds on the starboard side of the fuselage could use some reshaping, as the recessed inner area is filled in. One of the mounting holes for the exhausts on the starboard side is also filled in, and will have to be drilled out.
The radiator grille seems a bit simplified to my eye. In one of the few reference photos I have been able to find (thanks to Steffen Arndt) the grille appears to have a raised bar running up the middle, while the kit grille is flat. A thin piece of strip styrene should correct that. On the positive side, the instruments that will go beneath the rear instrument panel are crisply done, and should respond well to dry brushing.
The interior of the fuselage has most of the internal metal tube structure well represented, and along with the provided photo etch and acetate instruments should build into a nice cockpit out of the box. However, if you want to build the trainer version you will have to cast a copy of the front seat and build a new control stick, as only one of each is provided with the kit. In my kit, one of the vacuform windscreens has a corner that didn’t form completely, making it useless, so in this case the only real choices are the variants with a rear gunner instead of the trainers.
Test fitThough a limited run kit, the fuselage does actually come with some alignment tabs to aid in keeping everything lined up. The halves are bowed out slightly at the front and back, but otherwise the fit is good, and will require only light seam filling. The vertical tail fin also has acceptable fit, though some filling at the seam will be needed as well. The trouble only begins when the horizontal fins and lower wings need to be fitted. The holes are too shallow and need to be drilled out, and serious amounts of flash need to be cleaned off the wing and fin roots to ensure the proper fit.
Instructions and decalsThe instructions provided with the kit are decent, with seven steps all in exploded view format. The colors are given with their name along with the F.S. number and Humbrol color, if available. There are decals and painting instructions for 5 aircraft, with the most spectacular scheme of what appears to be free hand lozenge shown on the back of the box. However, the instructions on the back of the box don’t make it entirely clear just what color the propeller must be painted, while the instructions inside the box do specify the propeller color. Also, on step 3 of assembly, the instructions are rather vague on the positioning of PE part #7 on the gun ring, a problem compounded by the scarcity of good references. They also do not provide any rigging instructions other than what is seen on the box art.
The decals are in perfect register and appear to have been made by a third party company called Propagteam. I have not used decals made by this company before, but from what I have read in reviews of other AML kits they should work well.
ConclusionThis kit is far from approaching the quality of Eduard, but with intermediate or better modeling skills it should be possible to craft this kit into a good representation of the He-45. Some small details will need to be built from scratch, but with the photo etch provided you shouldn’t need any aftermarket parts. Lastly, at $15.00 you get a lot of value for your money.
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