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woody37

Morane-Saulnier MS-406C-1 - Azur 1?72 Build Review

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Following Paul’s recent review of the kit, I’ve followed on with a build review of this pretty little fighter. Despite the box being named ‘Red & Yellow Stripes’, I have tackled the build being the coward I am by choosing the only scheme in the boxing not to include the stripes! Not only are the stripes small in 1/72 scale, but the camouflage patterns are rather complex too and I wanted to complete the review in a timely manner. So, with my declaration of cowardness out of the way, I shall proceed!

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Construction starts with the cockpit. Fitment of the parts and the instructions to support them I found to be a little vague in this area. Detail is adequate given that there is no open option for the canopy. The interior detail in the side walls has slots to fit the cockpit tub in, indicating a vertical front and rear bulkhead, but the only way I could get the parts to fit was by having the rear bulkhead to which the seat attaches to at a slight incline for everything to join up. The other issue I found was that I’m sure that the etch seatbelt is in fact a 1/48 one. If you look at the seat and etch belt in the red box compared to the instructions, the seatbelt is vastly over scale and wouldn’t fit into the seat. I got round this by simply cutting sections out of the middle of the belt and gluing the remains to the seat. The instructions call for you to supply your own rod to make the frame behind the sear armour panel so I did this using brass rod. The gun sight inside the cockpit is another part that I just couldn’t figure out. The instructions show it to mount on the instrument panel protruding forwards, but doing so would prevent the windscreen from fitting. It’s simply too long. I got round this by making a smaller one to fit the glass sight which was made from a piece of acetate.

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Well all this sounds like a bad start to the kit, however once I overcome these issues, most of the build was straight forwards and a delight to make. With the cockpit painted using Tamiya XF25 mixed with some black and the wings assembled, the aircraft soon came together. If you’ve not built Azur kits previously, they are typically short run kits, a feature often being a lack of location pins for the components. This didn’t prove to cause any problems during the build. I used liquid poly glue and strips of masking tape to hold the parts together until the glue / welds cured. I’d recommend against using superglue for this step as you will probably require some final micro positioning before the glue cures due to the lack of location pins. Use of filler in the construction was minimal with a small amount used to tidy the top of the engine. I had to rescribe the panel lines across the top of the engine nacelle once the two halves were blended. The wing to fuselage join was excellent, again a small amount of filler used to blend any imperfections. On assembling the tail planes, I used brass rod instead of the kit struts. Because I’d chosen to do the ‘simple’ scheme, I was able to add the struts at the assembly stage. If you choose to go for one of the more complicated schemes, I’d recommend leaving these off until after painting.

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Once the main components were fitted, the canopy was added and masked. This isn’t one of my strong points, but I never had an Eduard mask set so had to do it the old fashioned way, bring out the swear box! It was primed with Halfords primer and some pre-shading using the interior colour I had left over. The surface detail is quite stunning so I was looking forwards to getting the paint on it. Despite Mike giving me some Lifecolour paints to use, I got some Tamiya colours and followed the instructions posted in a recent thread thanks to Troy Smith:

Brun = XF-10 Brown
Khaki = XF-49 Khaki, XF-5 Green 2:1
Gris = XF-25Light Sea Grey, XF23 light blue 2:1
Gris fonce [underside] XF-25 light Sea grey, XF-2 White 2:1

Thread HERE

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Painting started with the lower surface before adding a few drops more of white to give some variation to the panels. This was then masked off before the top grey was added, again slightly lightening to add some tonal variation. The green and brown followed respectively, the whole lot done within a few hours given the benefits of acrylic paints.

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A coat of Kleer from the airbrush preceded the decals. I have to say that these decals were some of the best I’ve worked with. They are strong, but thin and went over some complex small compound curves with the aid of Daco decal setting fluid. Even the rudder decal went on fine around the training edge, this is something I've never been able to do well previously! Kleer was again sprayed on. A wash of oils in white spirit was used to bring out the detail in the surface.

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Adding the undercarriage required some care. Whilst the main legs have square lugs to locate into the wing, the diagonal struts appear to just sit against them. Fortunately, there is a good diagram in the instructions showing the correct angles at which everything should set. I left off the sticky out bits until the end for obvious reasons. Again, brass rod was used this time to make the guns and the pitot tube in the wing instead of the kit plastic parts. The landing lights were done by painting steel over coated with Tamiya clear red / green. The model was completed by spraying with Alclad matt varnish. I like this because you can build it up to get the finish you require. Simply applying less will give you more of a sheen.

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Conclusion
Whilst this kit is a little trickier than a mainstream kit such as Airfix, it is still within the capability of a novice builder. Although the interior bits are a bit vague and questionable and the kit lacks location pins to aid construction, assembly is quite straight forwards and produces a stunning representation of the Morane Saulnier fighter. An open canopy would have been a good option if I was to criticise it. I really enjoyed the build despite a few parts that led to some head scratching and would certainly recommend it if you want one of these in your collection.

Review sample courtesy of logo.jpg

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Nice build.

Stripes on the next one :winkgrin:

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Just found this one, Woody. Looks very nice indeed, well done that man! Good job! :)

Cheers,

Bill

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