The joy of kits that fit

Some models I build are so rough and need so much work that it’s like hitting yourself in the face with a hammer because it feels so good when you stop. When you get into that sort of masochistic pattern, you need to build a really good-fitting kit.

Today, I built the wings for the FineMolds Zero. The way they molded the wheel wells, you have to attach the upper wings to the one-piece lower wing before you attach the lower wing to the fuselage. This gave me the heebie-jeebies – usually, doing this leaves you with a monster seam at one or the other wing root. But I followed the directions, and I was astonished to find that the wing now virtually snap-fits to the fuselage with a minimal need for filler. Tamiya kits seem clunky by comparison.

It’s been a long time since I built a model with such a good fit. The last two that stood out in this way were the Hasegawa Beaufighter and the Hasegawa A-1J Skyraider. These, like the Zero, fit together so beautifully that your progress is almost unsettlingly rapid. I had to do dumb stuff on those two to slow myself down – I built a full interior for the Beaufighter, and I ordered an engine for the Skyraider that became the hostage of a Canadian postal strike. Still, the feeling of making stride after stride on a project – and not sacrificing the detail and build quality – is tremendously exciting and recalls the old days when you could knock a model out in a weekend and be happy with the finished project.

After brawling with numerous MPM kits (the FH-1 Phantom, XF-85 Goblin and the P-40L Warhawk, most notably), rehabilitating old Monogram kits (the F7F-2 Tigercat), resuscitating old Airfix kits (the AW Seahawk, a real battle), and matching wills with Azur kits (Maryland, my Maryland), the Zero is a real bit of therapy. Instead of sanding joints, and then restoring panel lines and lost detail, I can plan my next steps. It requires much more thought than pure elbow grease, and that’s kind of the way I prefer it!

I am going to slow myself down a bit – I’m going to swap in an aftermarket Sakae engine – but I can build around this, right up to the point of adding the landing gear. I’m also going to add a Quickboost gunsight. But unlike some projects, which feel like uphill battles every step of the way, this model has a relaxed feeling to it, and it’s good for me and for my hobby.

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1 Comment

  1. The Revell Hunter and the Tamiya 72nd Corsair were those kind of kits. THe Hunter required a little fiddling, but not much. The Corsair is still the best fitting kit I’ve built so far. I have two of those Fine Mold Zeros. I am glad to hear they are that nice.


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