Wednesday, December 23, 2009

John Ratzenberger's Frog 1/72 Gloster Whittle E28/39 Pioneer

To support the SIG display at Telford, I signed on to do the Frog "Pioneer", a model of England's first jet aircraft. I knew little about it and shamefully can say I haven't improved much on that -- one reason being the builds were Out of the Box so I didn't take off on one of my AMS fits.

I got the bagged kit from E-bay and it was in fine shape. I didn't know until then that Frog had royally botched the scale on the kit, with evidently the wings taken from 1/72nd scale drawings and the fuselage from a 1/64th scale drawing. Looking at any pictures of the real aircraft, the discrepancy is obvious. Frog provided two pilots -- one standing and one seated -- and it appears they got them from two different "scale drawings" as the seated one is very small and the standing one very large. Regardless, the seated pilot is needed to fill up the very empty bathtub cockpit. Continuing the criticisms, the gear doors are very, very thick and the interior of the intake wrong. One the other side, it goes together cleanly with little difficulty or fill. It does require nose weight to keep it from tail-sitting.

I did nothing to the kit, building it right out-of-the-bag, so to speak. I painted it with appropriate colors from the White Ensign Colour Coat series. There is some "controversy" as to the exact configuration, as a prototype it was under continual modification, and the matching color schemes and markings at any one time. I chose to go strictly by the marking instructions provided by the kit.

But not with the kit decals, at least not the second time. Giving the paint plenty of time to dry, I applied the kit decals using Micro-Sol/Set and let them dry over a day. It appeared I could get away with them, but when I then hit it with DullCoat they started rolling and peeling off. Unfortunately, I went off to do something else and didn't see this happen or I could have reduced the damage to the paint -- by the time I got back the Dullcoat had glued the rolled up decals to the surface. After much work, I got them off but then had to repair some paint damage. I reapplied kit markings but using all aftermarket decals and all was well.

I can't recommend the kit, given the major scale discrepancy -- I understand there are other, in scale, kits of this aircraft available.