So, onwards we go and into some serious model making. We are going to see how to do a wing-folded Fairey Fulmar. First of all, the base kit.
I decided to use the Special Hobby one because it was on offer for half price. The down side is that this conversion set is for the Revell kit.
However, the Special Hobby is a better kit overall so I decided to make do.
The conversion kit is a photo-etched sheet in brass, mainly covering plates for the edges of bits of wing you have to chop up to do the folding, plus some inserts for the undercarriage bays. The latter are not needed on the SH kit because they are pretty good already. There are also some hinges plus the radiator inlet covers used on the Mk.II Fulmar.
So, first things first, give the kit a bit of a wash to get rid of any mould release oil that may be left over, give everything a first primer coat and start assembly.
Two things are immediately annoying with the SH kit, as I have encountered on the previous Fulmar builds. First of all, the sprue don’t have numbers next to the components. In the past I have just gone back and forth to the sprue layout diagrams in the instructions to make sure I had the right bits. However, this time I wrote the part numbers on the sprue with a very, very fine-tip marker pen.
Secondly, there are no alignment pegs on anything so getting the wings and the fuselage halves mated accurately is a bit of a faff, especially when there are bits inside that also need alignment. Still, got there in the end. I used a very fine saw blade to cut the wings up into their movable pieces for the folding mechanism.
Once they were cut up I could lay them out for marking out where the camouflage was going, as it is easier to paint in pieces. All the end plates from the conversion kit were superglued on and given a green chromate colour. The fuselage was put together around a nicely-detailed interior assembly (as with the previous kits) and the wing stubs added.
On with the canopies (with hand-cut paint masks saving a few quid) then on to paint.
The wing sections were painted first than assembled with the flaps folded upward over the top surface of the wing. Here you can clearly see how cool the blanking plates look. I have also added some hinges and the fuselage stays that keep the folded wing from banging into the fuselage. Then I added the undercarriage to the stubby fuselage and painted that, adding bits like the propeller and the exhaust stubs that were painted separately.
Then I added the decals (which always make a ‘plane come alive, I think) and turned my attention to mating up the wings and the fuselage.
Now, with the conversion set there is a slot and tab arrangement on each side for attaching the wings at the hinge point. However, as this is not the Revell kit, the small differences in design mean that the blanking plates needed to be slightly modified to fit and so the tabs and slots wouldn’t line up. So, I cut a couple of bits of convincing-looking photo etch (the linings for the undercart bays I didn’t need that I mentioned before) and used them to make simple tab hinges. When painted up, they don’t show too much. The issue was supporting the weight of the wings, as they tended to twist on the hinge. My solution was to cut a tiny peg from 1mm polystyrene dowel and use it as a spacer between the tailplane and the wing. It can’t be seen once the wing is on and holds it in just the right place and right height. The a dab of PVA glue on the fuselage stays gives a third joint that keeps the whole thing in place nicely. Then it’s the usual finishing touches – clean up the canopy, add the radio mast and aerial wires and a final coat of varnish.
And so we now have three Fairey Fulmars, the Mk.I and Mk.II with a wing-fold Mk.II. Fulmars done.