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A Dutch in French service: Azur's 1/72 Koolhoven F.K.58

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Thanks to the hosts, who accepted this one as a less than 25% built, I'm happy to present my second entry for this GB.

This is a subject I'm sure not too many know about. To be honest, I didn't even know its existence before I bought this kit !

Bit of history: Frederick Koolhoven was a Dutch aircraft designer who worked for Armstrong Withworth during WW1. After the war he returned to Holland and started his own company. The F.K.58 was a fighter designed by the company in 1937 after a request from the French Government. It was not the most advanced design of the era, however it was better than France's own MS.406 and in the build-up to WW2 the French placed an order for this type with the intent of basing these in the colonies. In the end only 17 aircrafts of this type were built and the type was used in a small number of operational sorties over France, with one loss and no victory scored. Two different engines were used on the French aircrafts and this kit represents the variant with the Hispano Suiza 14. A later variant with a Gnome Rhone engine as also issued by Azur

Why would I buy a kit of such an aircraft ? As explained in the thread on the D.510, the local flea market has been for a while one of my main sources of plastic, thanks particularly to a Bulgarian guy named Ivan who often had some interesting things. This kit was part of a batch of short runs that he had for a while, of which most ended up in my stash. Thanks again Ivan !

To the kit now: as most know, Azur is one of the many label used by the MPM group and mainly consists of subjects with a French flavour. The box is typical MPM:


The plastic too would be familiar to anyone who's built a recent MPM short run kit. Alla parts are quite good, with very little flash and good detail. Of course being a short run we're not talking Tamigawa crispness of details here, but this is a very decent kit and compares well not only with short runs but also with several mainstream manufacturers (Italeri for example). As this was started a while ago, some parts are already glued (the wing) and others have been separated from their sprues.



The box also includes a PE fret and some resing goodies, wheels and engine.


The engine had been previously assembled and painted. There are better engines around, but this does not look too bad in the end


The small decal sheet includes markings for two schemes worn by the second prototype and for a French machine, that is of course the subject I've chosen.


One of the reasons why I chose this kit is that I've never built any model in the French WW2 scheme. I'm looking forward to try this and hopefully the kit will be simple enough to build.

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I almost, almost opted for this and the Vautour. If I have time ill do the other engine version of this kit.

Would be great if you do, would make for an interesting comparison. And there will probably be more Fk.58s on the GB than there have ever been operational at any given time.. :lol:

Made a small start with the cockpit. Painted everything in a light blue grey (lifecolor's FS 36320) and added PE seatbelts and pedals. Then I realised that I could have added a couple of boxes on the wall, will paint these later.


I changed the construction sequence here.. the instructions are IMHO pretty bad and it was not easy to understand where part A16 has to go, In the end I glued this to the cockpit floor. In this way I have the right distance from the engine firewall. Mind, the cockpit floor does not seem to have anywhere to be glued in the fuselage...

The pedals attachment solution has also been changed. The kit proposes to glue the pedals on some plastic... pedals. I removed the latter and glued the PE parts on a plastic rod

Anothe thing to note: the solution proposed by the kit for the frame is fine for those who like me just want to add an unusual type quickly to the collection. In reality however the frame should be closer to the seat ! I've seen a brilliant build on a russian forum where the modeller did a great job and he scratchbuilt the frame in the correct position

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Fitting the cockpit in place was not the easiest thing here. Moreover, I realised that it would have been better had the seat not been glued in place, so I removed the seat. Here's a picture of the seat with its belts


Not bad for a 1/72 scale kit...

The cockpit was then glued only after having assembled the fuselage halves. This allowed me to dryfit these on top of the wings, so that the cockpit floor could rest in the right place over the wing spar. The wings were then glued in place. Adhesive tape was needed to set the wing to the right dihedral...


The two white plastirod bits visible in the cockpit are where the seat will be glued. They also raise the seat a bit over the floor. Glued as it is the seat would be on the floor...

After the tape was removed, I was left with a good fit on one side of the wing-fuselage joint, but bad fit on the other side


To be fair I believe this was my fault more than else. I should have prepared the parts a bit better. Some thin plasticard and filler should sort this area.

Another visible problem is that the raised features behind the cockpit opening partly disappeared due to the sanding needed to sort the fuselage halves junction. I will have to reinstate these somehow. I'm thinking of two possible solutions:

- erase completely and redo using aluminum tape

- mask and build up using filler and/or paint

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All joints have been sorted and time came to insert the engine into the cowling and attach this to the fuselage. No big issue here


With the glue setting, I started to look at the underwing machine gun pods. The barrels for these are separate pieces that however don't look too good. They are also attached to the sprues with very heavy gates and cleaning them may not be the easiest thing to do. The solution will be to replace them completely with brass tubes. To allow these to be inserted, the pods were drilled. Here's one done while the other is waiting


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Glad you like it Antoine ! The more I work on this the more I find the Fk.58 quite an attractive subject. Granted, it was not a good fighter and this is not the easiest kit to build, but I'm glad I've bought it and I'm building it.

The long weekend was very positive for the little Dutch in French markings, although it was a nightmare for a number of other reasons (not least that I lost a drill bit and parts from another kit I was working on...). Mind, it was not all easy and the short-run nature of the kit showed in several occasions !

The tailplanes were something I really did not like. Not much because of the parts themselves but because their root was not the same length as those on the fuselage !


Not nice at all ! The tailplanes are butt-jointed to the fuselage, however I decided to drill holes and insert steel pins to make the assembly stronger. I'm glad I did this because the gap at the leading edge required a lot of work and I'm sure that the joint would have failed during the sanding sessions without some reinforcement

Another area that required attention was the wheel bay. With all the parts assembled, it would have looked like this:


Hmmm... too many gaps there ! I've no idea what the real wheel wells looked like, but I decided at least to eliminate the gaps by gluing a shaped plasticard part and filling some smaller gaps. Now the result is a bit better


With the wheel well sorted, I could complete the cockpit before attaching the transparencies.. There were only two parts to add in theory, both needed to represent the frame behind the seat. Well, here's some advice for anyone building this kit in the future: they don't fit anywhere ! It's very hard to understand where they are supposed to be glued and something must be done to sort them. In the end I had to add some supports so that they could be glued on something and also had to shorten the rear part. It wasn't fun but in the end I got there


The picture above also shows how I sorted the taiplanes: filler mixed with superglue added where needed, followed by some heavy sanding. The sanding affected further the already damaged raised areas on the fuselage top.

After I sorted the tubular frame I also found that the seat was not glued correctly on the centerline... nothing to do here, I could not detach it. My mistake, I should have glued the seat as last part in the cockpit. Again, anyone building the same kit in the future, keep this in mind ! Actually, the whole cockpit assembly is not easy, the position of most parts is very vague and the instructions don't help much.

With the cockpit and tailplanes sorted, I could glue on the single clear part. The kit does not cater for an open cockpit solution, not a problem for me as I'm not bothered with this kind of build. Besides, the closed cockpit wil help hiding somewhat the off-centre seat... At that point, I could also add the engine intake and the exhausts

The kit also provides a blanking plate for the intake.. now I believe this intake would have some sort of filter ! Actually I call this intake, but could be the oil radiator, I'm not sure. In any case a thin blanking plate is no good so I added some plasticard to increase the thickness


The exhausts are again not great. The fixing points on the fuselage are well marked, however the shape of the parts makes no sense and if glued as they are, they would point all over the place. The study of some pictures showed roughly the angle they had with the fuselage. of course they also need some drilling... and here I totally forgot to take any picture !

Anyway, with the canopy, intake and exhausts glued, I had to take a decision on the tailplanes struts: glue them or leave them ? If glued in place, they would interfere with the painting of the camo scheme, so I decided to leave them off and add them after the painting stage. I hope this is not going to be a mistake...

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With most parts glued together, it was time to mask the cockpit (using Vallejo's masking fluid) and prime ! My favourite primer is Tamiya's never had a problem with this.

Here's the Fk.58 primed:


Two things are visible: first an annoying gap at the rear of the cockpit, that however could not be sorted whatever I tried.

Then there's one positive: the raised areas on the fuselage top reappeared !!!

This was achieved by masking the areas and then spraying some very heavy coats of primer. In this way I built up the required thickness.

And just before dinner yesterday evening, I decided to start spraying some proper paint. The choice of the right paints has not been easy ! Armed with an old issue of Replic, that had pictures of a surviving Caudron 714, I looked at all paints in my stash to decide which were the best for the various colours. Now, I'm aware that the Caudron and the Fk may not have used the same paints, but at least the base Gris Bleu Fonce should be the same.

In the end I decided to use Italeri's FS.36173. This is actually slightly lighter than the right colour should be, but this suits me as the following washes may darken the result.


The picture above also shows why I can't really sort the canopy gap: the canopy is too narrow at the rear ! I could actually build up this with filler and that is probably what I'll try, using Vallejo's putty as this can be wiped with water

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Good work so far Giorgio, so glad you brought this curiosity to the GB.

Looking forward to how this turns out.

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It is indeed a curiosity: only a few were built and they saw almost no use.

What has seen a lot of use lately is my new airbrush ! For some reason, I got into my mind the idea that the WW2 French camouflage scheme has soft edges. For some reason I then decided to try and spray the scheme freehand ! This is something I haven't done in ages and back in the days the results were not good. Now, with 15 or 20 more years of experience and a brand new double action airbrush, I hope I can do better !

And here are the first results, after two coats of chocolate brown and one of olive green:




Some areas clearly received too much overspray, for example the outer brown area on the starboard wing and the band below the cockpit on the port side. Here some more grey will have to be sprayed on to remove the excessive overspray. The 2 coats of brown (Vallejo 872 from the standard range) IMHO worked well and I don't think I'll add any more. The single coat of green on the other hand is very light and a second coat will be sure required. The colour I used was Lifecolor's FS 34079. I chose this as I read somewhere that the Khaki in the French scheme was an olive green. I've based the scheme on the Azur instructions that mention grey, chocolate brown and khaki, I understand that however some French aircrafts used "vert" instead of khaki, not sure if this applied to the FK.58 or not.

I have to say that I sometime feel the urge to work a bit more on the scheme by spraying some lightened colour inside the panels and so on... Hmmm, I should better keep it simple for this time !

Edited by Giorgio N
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Thanks to all for the nice words !

Coming along nicely Giorgio. I always freehand tbh, saves time and with practice can achieve just as good a finish as masking etc. Just need a good airbrush.

I see that another thing is needed: the right thinning ratio ! I've struggled to get a good finish with the green because I could not thin the paint right, always ended too watery and even at very low pressure it was hard to control. I had better results with the grey and the brown. Guess that I still need a lot of practice before mastering the art...

Using vallejos and lifecolors is also not maybe the best choice. These paints tend to dry on the tip and even using retarder I had to clean the needle a few times during each painting session.

I've now sprayed the last green coat, followed by some touch-ups in brown and grey. The camo look quite nice now, just let the paint dry and I'll take and post a couple of pictures. It really is a good looking scheme, very unusual in an attractive way

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As promised, here are the pictures of the completed upper surfaces



The green is now properly applied and overall I'm pretty happy with the results. There are some areas where things could have been better, but for a first attempt and freehand spraying on what is afterall a relatively small 1/72 model I can consider myself satisfied.

Now I have to start thinking of the lower surfaces. I don't really have any idea of what the Gris-Bleu Clair used on these aircrafts look like. The instructions suggest a gunze colour that however would be more grey than blue while color pictures seem to suggest something more on the blue side

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