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  1. Arado Ar 196B Revell 1:32 The Arado 196 is probably one of the most well known of the Axis floatplanes, and it certainly was one of the best of its class. But it is the twin float version that most people know about as it was the most popular with around 537 aircraft built. The single float version, of which only a maximum of ten were built is, obviously not so well known. In October 1936, the RLM asked for a He 114 replacement. The only stipulations were that it would use the BMW 132, and they wanted prototypes in both twin-float and single-float configurations. Designs were received from Dornier, Gotha, Arado and Focke-Wulf. Heinkel declined to tender, contending that the He 114 could still be made to work. With the exception of the Arado low-wing monoplane design, all were conventional biplanes. That gave the Arado better performance than any of the others and the RLM ordered four prototypes. The RLM was also rather conservative by nature, so they also ordered two of the Focke-Wulf Fw 62 design as a backup. It quickly became clear that the Arado would work effectively, and only four prototypes of the Fw 62 were built. The Ar 196 prototypes were all delivered in summer 1937, V1 (which flew in May) and V2 with twin floats as A models, and V3 and V4 on a single float as B models. Both versions demonstrated excellent water handling and there seemed to be little to decide one over the other. Since there was a possibility of the smaller outrigger floats on the B models "digging in", the twin-float A model was ordered into production. A single additional prototype, V5, was produced in November 1938 to test final changes. In February 1938 an Ar 196 V4 carrying the registration D-OVMB and serial number 2592 was trialled as a test aircraft. The aircraft was fitted with a ventral float in which the fuel tank, two smoke dischargers as well as emergency provisions and additional ammunition was carried. The further in-service testing of the Ar 196 B was carried out during 1940-1941. The Model The kit comes in Revells usual slightly floppy end opening box which really should be redesigned. The box art is very attractive with and artists impression of the prototype V4 in its element. On opening the box you're faced with a raft of sprues. 13 in light grey styrene, and one in clear styrene. The package is completed by the instruction booklet and decal sheet. The majority of the kit is the same as the twin float variant released by Revell back in 2011, with only the floats being produced as new parts. There is a lot of work to do before the modeller can close up the fuselage, as the 196 had a ladder-like framework within the fuselage, which is visible through the cockpit aperture, a large hole in itself. Construction starts with the pilot's position, mated to the bulkhead between him and the observer, with radio equipment festooning the backside. The ladder sections have various parts added before they mate to the solid floor section, and detail throughout is good. The radio and instrument panel faces are suitably detailed for this larger scale, although there are doubtless wires and additional detail that could be added with the right references. It is worth noting that the rear cockpit seems to have been lined with sheet plywood or similar to stop the spent casings from the rear armament from finding their way into the workings of the aircraft. Check your references for confirmation if you can, and grab some thin styrene sheet cut to shape if you plan on replicating this. Once the cockpit and "chassis" is complete and painted, the engine compartment bulkhead attaches to the front, and you can begin adding the fuselage around it. The BMW radial engine isn't added until later in the build, but the detail and part count here is high. With careful painting and weathering it should build up into an excellent focal point of the model. The cowling is made up from a number of parts, allowing the modeller to leave part or all of it open to expose as much of the engine as they wish. There is also a choice of prop with a spinner or without, so check your references. The wings come in the traditional upper and lower halves, and have a rather sturdy looking spar arrangement sandwiched between the halves, plus a full set of poseable flying surfaces. You can choose here to pose the wings folded for stowage, unfolded ready for flight or with one wing folded one extended to show off the model's features without taking up too much display space. Care is needed here, as the construction of the wings differs considerably depending on which version you choose. Ploughing on without looking at the little black explanatory pictures could limit your choice later in the build. The tail, with one piece elevator is built as a single unit and slots into the rear of the fuselage later in the build along with the movable rudder. The large single main float is made up from five parts, the float halves, top deck and two internal bulkheads. The instructions call for 50g of weight to be placed in the nose of the float to prevent it from sitting on the rudder at the end of the float, although if you’re going to use the stand this problem is alleviated by the way the supports are moulded. The modeller is provided with optional rudders, either deployed or retracted. Whilst the four support struts look pretty rugged, they probably won’t take too much handling to break, unlike the much stronger supports in the earlier kit. There is a fairly clear rigging diagram to follow, and where Revell state to use cotton, the modeller can use whatever they are most comfortable with. The small outrigger floats are provided in two halves with three support struts, one of which is bifurcated and these are then attached to the lower wings and rigged as per the instructions, although this particular diagram is less clear and you may want to use your references instead. Also under the wings there are two hardpoints to which the cradles and small bombs are fixed The transparencies are clear & crisp, but the various parts are assembled from flat parts separate from the cockpit aperture, and here you could run into trouble if you either get the angles wrong, or use traditional cement and cloud the parts. It would be advisable to use a non-solvent glue like GS-Hypo Cement and build the parts in-situ to ensure you get the angles right to give a good join with the cockpit sills. Masking before building the assemblies could also be a good idea, to avoid cracking the joints with excessive handling. Decals The decal sheet includes markings for just the V4 prototype, D-OVMB, but does also have a fair number of stencils, plus the instrument panel. The red band and swastika are not included, only the white circle on which the swastika would be placed, so you’ll have to paint this area and use aftermarket decals if you wish to display this. The underside registration letters are large and will need some softening/setting solution to help bed down properly as although the carrier film is relatively thin. This goes for the side registration letter too. Conclusion Much like the earlier twin float kit, this is a beautiful model and will make a great companion piece with the two shown side by side. It certainly looks different, and yet familiar at the same time. I really like this aircraft and it’s great to have it released in this scale as it offers so much more in the way of detailing possibilities. Very highly recommended. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit or
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