When MPM released their Fulmar Mk I last year, the breakdown of the nose section made it obvious that a Mk II was planned too. So, the arrival of the later version itself is no surprise, but what is surprising is that it hasn't appeared as another MPM kit - instead, it's a limited edition release from Eduard.
Needless to say, the styrene parts are basically identical to the original kit - the difference being a new sprue containing the new oil cooler inlets, different exhausts and propeller blades and an auxiliary fuel tank. The big change thanks to Eduard's involvement is a comprehensive set of etched parts, which both add detail and make good some omissions, along with a welcome sheet of kabuki-tape painting masks. All told, Eduard's Fulmar Mk II comprises:
120 x grey limited-run styrene parts (some also included as etched replacements)
13 x clear styrene parts
110 x etched parts, some pre-painted
Decals for 5 x colour schemes
With the main parts unchanged, I'll refer you to the review
of the original MPM kit for an overview and concentrate here on what's new.
The etched details come into play from the word go, replacing many of the heavily moulded interior details. So, there's new beautifully pre-painted instrument panels and various consoles, delicate compass holders (with compasses this time) and new rudder pedals, plus various smaller items that MPM missed first time around. Some of the original plastic parts need surgery to fit the etched details, but construction doesn't look overly difficult and the new parts are a dramatic improvement over the old.
A disappointment in the MPM version was the lack of any seat harness, so it's nice to see Eduard include excellent pre-painted belts for the pilot and observer.
The cheek oil cooler intakes are obviously new and they benefit from etched debris guards and an outlet flap.
There are a number of extras for the main wheel well. The doors have added framing, but the most obvious addition is retraction mechanisms for the inner doors, which were very noticeable by their absence compared with photos of the full-sized aircraft.
Instructions and Painting
Eduard have redrawn the instructions, colour coding things to show where the new details are added and old moulded details need to be removed. There are colour notes for most stages and these are keyed to Gunze Sangyo paints. A full-page diagram covers the painting masks - and these are a real bonus with the Fulmar's long multi-panelled cockpit canopies.
A full-colour painting guide illustrates five decal options:
A. s/n X8812, "6F", 809 Sqn. FAA, HMS Victorious, late 1941
B. s/n DR639, "0L", 806B Sqn. FAA, HMS Illustrious, June 1942
C. s/n DR641, "6B", 809 Sqn. FAA , HMS Victorious, wearing US stars for Operation Torch, November 1942
D. s/n DR726, "80 X", 784 Sqn. FAA, HMS Ravager, February 1944
E. s/n X8566, "V", 889 Sqn. FAA, Fayid, Egypt, July 1942
The decals look good quality, being thin and glossy with a crystal-clear carrier film and precise register. A note of caution: on the underwing roundels you can see the limit of the white ink underlying the red centre, but this will hopefully be less apparent once the decals are applied.
Eduard's Fulmar Mk II looks very good, building on what was already a fine kit with a comprehensive set of extras. It's important to realise that the plastic parts aren't produced using Eduard's in-house state-of-the-art moulding technology - this is a limited-run model, albeit a very good one, so some extra modelling skills are required. So, beginners should get a few more kits under their belts before tackling the model, but experienced modellers will relish the chance to build an important WW2 naval fighter.
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