Airfix 1/48 Merlin HC3

Coming in a large box the new 1/48 Merlin has now been released by Airfix.  First reaction to looking through the contents of the box was simply that I am impressed.  Quite clearly they have put all the research into this one and the detail both inside and out is excellent.  With the troop seats in the main cabin they even provide you with the option for them to be folded up for loading cargo, or folded down for carrying troops.  Even the door mounted guns are an option to fit.  The internal cabin also has detailed side walls inside, using additional parts for those to fit along with the main fuselage halves.  The rest of the detail inside and out is equally good, along with the large rotor blades that will result in a large model which gives a good indication of the size of the Merlin itself.

The instruction booklet runs to 21 pages and involves no less that 138 stages in the construction process!  You will also need to work out where you take breaks to paint the interior parts and apply transfers (more on them in a moment) before you fix the fuselage halves together.  So not a quick build I suggest but one which will result in a really super model.  Perhaps the one thing absent which might have been included are any crew figures, either for the cockpit or the door gunners.  Not the end of the world however.  Meanwhile the detail in the rotors, both main and tail is equally good as the detail we find all around this airframe.

Marking options are provided on a separate sheet, and although all are the same overall green colour, you have options for 5 different machines, including one which carries the markings of an old wartime Halifax as a memorial.  Then though comes the 'extra' element to talk about.  In all the recent Airfix releases they have been including extensive numbers of airframe stencils to apply.  For the Airfix kits of old these were largely ignored, but these days they include them pretty much as standard.  For the Merlin that means you have hundreds.  More to the point, while half are for the exterior, the other half are for use inside the main cabin, so need to be applied at that point in the construction sequence.  I suggest that you will need to be prepared for this and patiently apply them to get the marvellous detailed finish that this kit will allow.  I have no doubt that some aftermarket companies will do etch detailing sets for this fine new model but for most modellers I reckon that the contents as supplied in the box will be challenge enough as it is.  Airfix have excelled themselves from the looks of it.  Next thing will be to have this built and see how it goes together.

Our thanks to Airfix for our example.

See the Airfix website for more details of their ranges