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Grand Phoenix 1/48 scale "Ultimate"
Seafire FR.46/47

 

Grand Phoenix

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: #005
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 43 parts in pale yellow resin; 1 photo-etched fret; 1 sheet of self-adhesive masks (for canopy and wheels); two lengths of copper wire. Also included in final package (but not in review sample) Airfix 1/48 scale Seafire FR.46/47 kit; acetate instruments; Aeromaster decals for three marking options
Price: USD$64.95 from Aeromaster / Grand Phoenix website
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Excellent base kit (Airfix Seafire 46/47); ambitious and comprehensive details added to cockpit, engine and wing folds; addresses several kit shortcomings; relatively simple engineering; good quality instructions; three decal options; very effective use of multimedia.
Disadvantages: Some modelling skills required
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


Grand Phoenix's 1/48 scale "Ultimate" Seafire Mk.46/47 may be ordered online from Squadron.com

 

FirstLook

 

When they were released in the 1990s, the Airfix 1/48 scale Spitfire 22/24 and Seafire 46/47 kits were acknowledged as perhaps the best Spitfire/Seafire kits produced in any scale.

I built one of these kits - the Spitfire F. Mk.24 - back in 1998,* and it was a fairly straightforward and pleasant project. The only issues were a somewhat underdetailed cockpit (with a thick-sided seat and solid spade grip on the control column), and a slightly peculiar pair of cylinder head bulges on the engine cowls.

The new century has seen a heightened expectation of kit detail. Grand Phoenix has now delivered detail in bulk to the Airfix 1/48 scale Seafire FR.46/47.

At Telford in November last year, Grand Phoenix announced the forthcoming "Ultimate" line of model kits. These would be good quality existing kits repackaged with multimedia details and high quality decals. The 1/48 scale Grand Phoenix "Ultimate" Seafire FR.46/47 is the first of this series, and should be available in hobby shops soon.

I was fortunate to recently receive an advance sample of the resin parts, photoetched fret, masks and instructions that will be included in the package. Please note that I did not receive the entire package - the Airfix kit, Aeromaster decals and acetate instruments were not available at the time. However, I do have an Airfix Seafire in my personal collection and the quality is every bit as high as the Spitfire that I built in 1998.

Multimedia components include 43 resin parts cast by Aires; 1 photo-etched fret from Eduard; 1 sheet of self-adhesive masks (for the canopy and wheels); and two lengths of copper wire. The kit also includes high quality instructions that incorporate all the plastic and multimedia parts. The resin and photo-etched parts add detail to the engine area, the cockpit and the wing folds.

The quality of casting of the resin parts is excellent.


 

The Engine

The engine is the jewel in the crown of this package. Detail is gorgeous, yet the number of parts has been kept to a minimum. For example, the engine block is cast with the cylinder heads, crankcase and numerous other details already in place, simplifying construction considerably.

 

 

In addition to the engine itself, the kit supplies engine mounts, firewall and replacement engine cowls. The cylinder head bulges on the resin top cowl are a noticeable improvement in shape and location compared to the kit parts.

 

 

The nose of the kit fuselage will need to be carefully cut off to accommodate the new engine. The cuts are all along panel lines, which should ease the task.


 

Cockpit

The cockpit builds up into a self-contained unit, with a fuselage floor that includes structural detail, rear bulkhead, pilot's armour plate, a nicely detailed seat correctly suspended over the control rods, new sidewalls, control column with separate yoke, instrument panel, gunsight and forward bulkhead.

 

 

The port sidewall features an open space for the pilot's entry door. You'll certainly want to leave this open to display all that lovely cockpit detail.

The raised detail moulded to the interior of the kit fuselage will have to be removed before the resin cockpit can be installed.

 

 

The seat is further enhanced with a photo-etched harness. Small photo-etched parts will also be added to the sidewalls.

 

 


 

Wingfolds

Assembly of the wingfolds are simple in the extreme. One resin part is inserted in both mating sections of each wing - four parts in total. That's it.

 

 

The Seafire 47 was the only aircraft in the family to feature powered wingfolds. I checked several reference and could not find any evidence of the wings folded with ordnance in place on Seafires of any Mark, so you should probably ignore the instructions and leave the rockets off if you plan to fold the wings.

 

 

Conclusion

 

I was delighted to hear the announcement of the Grand Phoenix "Ultimate" series, and I am very impressed with the multimedia parts that will be included with the premiere release.

The resin and photoetched parts will significantly add to the detail of the original model but, as with all multimedia kits, extra time should be taken to ensure that these new elements fit properly. A few minutes test-fitting can save hours of frustration later in construction.

With all the resin, photo-etch, Aeromaster decals and masks in the box, you certainly won't need to add many after market options! Well, maybe a vacform canopy...

The Grand Phoenix "Ultimate" Seafire FR.46/47 looks like a very impressive and accurate model.

Highly Recommended

Thanks to Gaston from Grand Phoenix for the review sample.


* Yes, I know that the Spitfire F.24 in the 1998 article is supposed to be in Hong Kong; and yes, I realise that it looks like Julie Andrews is about to burst out from behind the plane singing "the hills are alive with the sound of music...". Six years ago I was still experimenting with techniques (as I continue to do now), and on that occasion I used Photoshop to superimpose the model and base over a background photo. In retrospect I probably should have chosen something less alpine!


Review and Images Copyright 2004 by Brett Green
Page Created 05 May, 2004
Last updated 05 May, 2004

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