by: Ted Hayward [ ]
IntroductionThis much-anticipated release from AFV Club shows that this company from Taiwan is about more than just armored fighting vehicles. Moulded in an appropriate gray color, this newest aircraft release from AFV Club includes just enough detail to satisfy most, while not having too much in the way of tiny, fiddly photo-etched parts: sometimes less is more. As such, it could easily be built by a beginner over the course of a few weekends.
As a newcomer to aircraft, and more used to larger 1/35th scale subjects, this build is something even I can tackle with success. Clear parts are blemish-free, and the colorful decals seem to be spot-on register.
Following standard procedure, construction begins with the cockpit. The only visible ejector-pin marks in this kit are found annoyingly on the face of the recessed seat back – a few scrapes with a small, angled blade is required. An interesting feature of this build is that the entire forward section of the fuselage is completed as a separate entity, before moving on to construction of the rear fuselage. Attaching the wings and tailplanes left no noticeable gaps or unsightly seams, but care is needed to properly align the upper and lower halves of the rear fuselage.
The only cause for worry came when attaching the PE details to the canopy leading edge –I dreaded fogging the clear part with CA cement, so instead used a tiny dab of 2-part epoxy. A novel feature of this kit is the inclusion of captive vinyl grippers (part R) hidden inside the removable drop tanks, allowing for different load-out options of weapons sets which will be released as accessory sets.
Included are crisp and well-printed decals for 4 aircraft:
- Royal Malaysian Airforce (12 Squadron)
- Singapore AF (144 Squadron)
- US Navy (VFC-13)
- USAF (64 FWS 57 FWW)
This kit offers good detail for veteran builders, leaves room for some super-detailing, yet goes together easily for a beginner aircraft builder (me). I found the 16-step instruction booklet to be clear and easy to follow, with no build problems. The fit poses no issues, with plenty of locating slots for fiddly parts. As construction goes, I found this easier than most tank kits from AFV Club. A few holes do need to be opened-up, depending upon optional parts: I simply drilled-out all holes, then filled the unused ones with a smear of putty.
High points of this release include a fret of photo-etched metal details for the air intake screens and canopy leading edge. Options include the choice of either 275 gallon or 150 gallon drop tanks, a cockpit boarding ladder, wingtip missiles and/or ECM, open or closed engine vent louvers, separate flaps and leading edge brakes, positionable fuel-filling port covers, and raised or lowered landing gear. I expect the after-market crowd will offer some PE seatbelts, and possibly gun bay interior details – the access panels of which are already separate parts.
Comparing this to other 1/48th scale aircraft kits in my stash, the detail is as crisp and well-defined as any offering from Tamiya; the recessed panel lines and rivets being very nicely moulded. This Tiger II should be leaps and bounds ahead of the ancient Monogram offering. As an added bonus, the first production run also includes a frame-worthy print of the box art. 2010 really is the year of the Tiger!
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