I decided to go with a small scale jet for this weekend build (Labor Day 2017), and it really turned out to be a gem. This is the first Meng kit I’ve built, and I am very impressed. And just as with Hobbyboss’ Hawk 200, I regretted choosing this as a weekend build- it’s just too nice of a kit to rush through.
The only complaint I can level at the kit is that it’s not 1/48 scale. While not quite as precise as Eduard’s 72nd scale hellcat, it’s not far off from it.
The cockpit is a bit basic, with a simple tub with side console detail, a bare seat, a stick, and a simple instrument panel. I dressed it up with an aftermarket ejection seat originally intended for a F-5. Simple but nicely detailed wheels wells are inserted in the fuselage, along with the cockpit tub, and it closed up nicely with nothing to do but smooth the seam out. The instructions want the tailpipe inserted at this point, but I left it out, as it goes in fine later.
Once the fuselage was finished, the left and right one piece wings slotted in perfectly. Once the glue was set, I added one of the small side panels for the guns, added nose weight through the other opening until the center of gravity was well forward, and then closed off the other gun bay. The tail planes fit so well they could be left off until the end, which aided painting.
Being a veteran of the US Army, I decided to go with the US Army scheme. At one point, the Army had decided to evaluate several light jets for close air support, and tested Northrop’s F-5A, Douglas’ A-4, and the Fiat G.91. Ultimately, the US Air Force squashed the Army’s jet aspirations, but we did end up with a colorful jet with “Army” emblazoned on the side in the process.
Colors are all Tamiya, with the orange being a mix of yellow and clear red. I found that yellow and red produced more of a pinkish/salmon color, but the clear red worked nicely.
Weathering was… none. I simply applied a panel wash. Decals are from the kit, and they worked very well. The carrier film’s edges are a bit too wide in my opinion, so I recommend trimming those closely. The landing gears doors- all ten of them- are a slight bit fiddly, but if you take your time, they’re not a problem.
Overall, this is a great little kit. It’s a fun build, and I think it looks really cool, especially in the bright Army markings.