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Supermarine Seagull V

 

Valom 1/72

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Valom No. 72014 Seagull V
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media: 77 mid-grey short-run plastic parts on two sprues, 8 very clear injection moulded plastic parts on one sprue, 54 PE parts on one fret and 15 well cast resin parts on five casting blocks, excellent decals for two aircraft plus a 19 page A5 instruction booklet with history, parts plan, 25 build diagrams (including rigging) and 4 pages of paint/decal instructions.
Price:
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Long overdue subject in this scale; adequate interior detail from front to back of fuselage; excellent resin; two very clear canopies (one with a separate roof so it can be displayed open); very nice decals including Foot-step walk ways.
Disadvantages: Setting up the strut mounted engine and nacelle with individual struts is going to be challenging compared to the way Matchbox did it.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for experienced modellers.


Reviewed by Glen Porter


Valom's 1/72 scale TBD-1 Devastator kits will be available online from Squadron.com
 

FirstLook

 

When I got back into modelling about fifteen years ago, I was amazed to find that most of the old favourites were still around. Although Frog had gone, Airfix, Matchbox, Heller and Revell were producing much the same 1/72 scale kits as they had when I was a kid forty five years earlier. Some new names had appeared, Hasegawa and Academy amongst others, and their products showed that many of the old kits just didn't cut it any-more. I could have written a book on all the aircraft I would have liked to see redone with modern technology. Well, slowly, over the last ten years, many of those wishes have come to fruition to the point where there aren't many on my wish list that have not been done. This Seagull/Walrus kit from Valom in the Czech Republic strikes another from the list.

Between the wars, the Australian Government asked Supermarine to produce a successor to the Seagull III, already in RAAF use, but suitable to operate from the five Australian cruisers. What emerged, was a some what old fashioned looking biplane seaplane with single pusher engine mounted high between the wings. However, it performed so well that the RAF and the Royal Navy soon became interested and it stayed in production for most of the Second World War and in use long after it.

Only Airfix and Matchbox have ever produced Walrus kits in Braille scale. Airfix's attempt was a disaster, the Matchbox Walrus was quite good and has just been re-released by Revell. Evan though its a biplane, it still builds quite well but with absolutely no interior, raised panel detail on the fuselage and trenches on the wings it's time it was replaced with a more modern kit. Well, here it is.

Valom has produced two almost identical kits of the Walrus and Seagull V with the only alteration between the two being the box-art, instructions and decals. They are short-run kits so a bit extra cleanup will be required, not as much as some kits I've seen but still not quite up to the standard of Special Hobby and other MPM based kits. Indeed, after having a close look at both sprues, I could find no parts that I thought would need replacing. The surface detail is very crisp on both fuselage and wings and far superior to Matchbox's. Although interior detail is a bit soft, most of it won't be visible once the fuselage is closed.


 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Interior details include, in plastic, front and rear floors, two bulkheads, three of the four seats, tables for navigator and radio operator, ten spare M/G magazines and some other items that I couldn't identify. In resin there is the fourth seat (radio operator), both control columns (one folded), a rope reel, two oars and the two Vickers K Guns. Photo-etched parts are supplied for the rudder pedals, seat belts and instrument panel. Other resin parts include the engine, wheels and four bombs.

The injection moulded clear plastic is as good as any I've seen. There are two main canopies, one with the roof separate in case you want show the interior, two side windows, a landing light and two rear hatches (one closed and one open). What you don't get is a front hatch which I think is a pity as you will rarely see photos of these aircraft with the guns deployed.

 



Decals have no printer's name on them but they look to be in register with good colour density and minimum carrier film. Apart from the national markings and serials, there are black foot-step walk way markings suitable for both silver and camouflaged aircraft. The decals cover two Seagulls, a silver one, A2-4 on HMAS Perth in 1941 and the same aircraft, fully camouflaged as displayed today in the RAF museum at Hendon.

My only criticism of this kit is the engine nacelle and support struts. In the Matchbox kit, the four front struts were one piece as were the rear. The centre section of the nacelle top and bottom could be glued together, add the two strut frames to the front and rear, glue a nose cone on the front and another piece on the rear and the whole thing could then be mounted on the fuselage as one unit. Whether you glue the three piece upper-wing together first and mount it on the upper struts or just the centre section of the upper-wing, it greatly simplifies mounting that wing with-out jigs and what have you. In this kit the eight struts are all individual parts. You are going to need about twelve hands to get it all set up and in the right place with that slight off-set in the engine. As I have two Matchbox kits, I'm going to try to adapt the Matchbox parts to fit the Valom kit. This may mean I will have to also use the other Matchbox struts as there is a slight length difference.

In summary, this is a super detailed kit compared to the earlier offering but it could be a real challenge to build and as the Czech currency rises its also getting a bit expensive. If you are not fussed about detail and money is a bit tight, you might prefer to opt for the old Matchbox kit at around $5.00 at a swap meet or a bit more new from Revell.

Otherwise, Valomís Seagull is vastly superior in terms of detail and surface features, and will be very suitable for experienced modellers.

Highly Recommended to experienced modellers who love detail.

Thanks to Valom for this review sample.


Review and Images Copyright © 2006 by Glen Porter
Page Created 28 August, 2006
Last updated 27 August, 2006

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