by: Andrew Jackson [ ]
BackgroundThe Airspeed Horsa was along with the Waco "Hadrian" and to a lesser extent, the Hamilcar and Hotspur, the most important allied assault glider operated during the Normandy landings (Operation Overlord) and later on, Operation Market Garden. Built of plywood and fabric the Horsa could carry up to 25 fully equipped paratroopers a jeep or various artillery pieces.
The kitThe Box is a typical FM top opening affair and is quite oversize with the kit contents able to rattle around inside.
The instruction sheet consists of two photocopied pages with handwritten diagrams and multi language written instructions to the right of each page.
The kit itself consists of 13 sprues of injection moulded plastic plus 2 small clear sprues holding the side port hole windows and the main canopies. The main fuselage parts and the wings are moulded in a traditional grey colour and although very rough round the edges seem quite robust and in shape! There is lots of flash on most of the parts and it is clear that a lot of test fitting and cleaning up will be needed to get a great result. The wings have lots of scratches and a rough texture to them.
The interior sprues are moulded in a lighter grey and to be honest this is where the kit falls down! The plastic feels rough to the touch and there is flash everywhere, a lot of the parts are either mismoulded or are so badly attached to their neighbouring part that they have become one. The plastic feels chalky to the touch and there are ejector pins absolutely everywhere. Fonderie have tried to replicate every spar and bulkhead running through the airframe and from a quick glance over the sprues no two parts are the same shape or the same size.
The most disappointing part of the kit for me, though I may have received a bad kit, is the canopies (there are 2 sets). These are in a very bad way. The moulds are so rough for these that they are not clear at all and there are bubbles and big scratches all over them. And both are the same so I'm not sure whats going on there! The frames are quite deeply moulded so I don't think a major sandpaper and polish session is going to do much to help and the bubbles are trapped inside anyway so they are effectively ruined from the start.
The kit comes with one set of markings and surprisingly these are quite thin and in register. However there is no diagram to aid placement of these, and in fact there is just a paragraph for painting which says top is green and brown and bottom is black and that's it.
ConclusionSo there we have it. I must point out that those used to FM kits will probably think this is an OK kit, and looking closely the fuselage halves and wings are perfectly acceptable with a lot of cleaning up, and it seems more likely that more of these will get finished if the canopy issue can be rectified than say the Halifax or Hampden.
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