Sunday, July 04, 2021

Sword Fairey Gannet AEW.3 - not as simple as it looks

 You may remember, a few years ago, me telling you about an ex-Air Scout colleague - John Sillett - who joined the Royal Navy and flew Gannet AEW.3 aircraft during the Rhodesia crisis. I built a model of one of the aircraft that he flew using a CzechMaster resin kit, given to me by an SBX customer, plus some AlleyCat decals.  Check out that blog post. Well, that model finally fell apart and died. I recently found out that Sword had released a plastic version in 1/72nd so I decided to have another go.

Given that I found the resin kit to be somewhat tricky, I was expecting an easy ride but it was anything but. I have a series of images rather than a blow by blow account. I will then fill you in with what went wrong and what went right.

What went right is fairly easy. Not much but I ended up with a reasonable model which, if you stand a bit further back, looks OK. The decals went on well, the basic paint job was good and the masking didn't bleed. 

What went wrong? 
  • I got the line between the dark sea grey and the sky wrong on the nose - I didn't bring it in at a sharp enough angle. I only noticed this as I was putting the decals on so I had to carefully mask off the decals and paint the new line in. 
  • I got the undercarriage bay on one wing in the wrong place. This was easy to do as there were no real markers for where it should go but I didn't realise that part of the setup was the support for the undercarriage leg. As I set the bay too deep into the wing, I had to make a new support for the leg out of plastic card. It worked ok though.
  • I lost the radio aerial so had to put in a new one made of a piece of piano wire.
  • I thought that I had lost the small door on the front undercarriage so I made a new one. After sticking it on and painting it, I found the original!
  • In the instructions, the wheels attach by sliding onto pins on the u/c legs. However, there are no pins, just some small stubs. As a result, the front wheels wouldn't stay on so I had to use super glue on them. Now I find, after coming back from the club, that one wheel has fallen off and is now missing!
I have ended up with a model that I really wanted except that there are some issues which mean that it really isn't possible to show it to anyone. For instance, I came in today meaning to put it on my mirror turntable and take a video of it turning. However, with the  wheel missing, it looks ridiculous. It is such a shame. I expect that I will throw it away and have another go sometime now that I know the pitfalls. Lucky that it isn't an expensive kit.

The image below was taken at the club meeting so both front undercarriage wheels are in place.