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 Classic Airframes Mitsubishi A5M4-K Claude Revisited

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Posts : 158
Join date : 2017-02-17
Location : Northern Connecticut, USA

PostSubject: Classic Airframes Mitsubishi A5M4-K Claude Revisited   Mon Feb 20 2017, 09:30

[NOTE - COPIED FROM THE TMWCF - Originally posted by Propwash]

Back in January, 2016, Spectrenav (Mike) posted his review, and build, of the Mitsubishi A5M4 "Claude" fighter by Classic Airframes (C/A). You can read it here:

His experience was not of a fun and rewarding build, but of frustration and not one he would like to experience again. I commented, at the time, I also had a C/A of the A5M4-K version of the Claude. The "K" version was the tandem two-seat advanced trainer for the Imperial Japanese Naval Air Service (well into WWII after the A5M4 had been withdrawn from front-line service). I had hoped my build and experience with a C/A kit would be different.

Sadly, it wasn't.  frustrated

My experience was very similar to Mike's which is a shame as it had such great potential. But there is so much unnecessary work needed just to get parts to fit that it becomes a personal grudge-match to complete it. I overcame, while using a great deal of colorful language, most of the obstacles (with a LOT of effort that was not rewarding at all) the kit threw against me. But I almost went ape-nuts crazy with the very _last_ pieces to assemble - the windscreens, which were pathetically bad.

Without further adieu, let's get the pros and cons out of the way:


1. I felt the decals were really nicely done and some of the best I have encountered in a kit.

2. Instructions and paint/decal callouts were clear and easy to follow.


1. The resin parts required constant trimming, filing, trimming, filing, you get the idea? None of the resin parts quite fit together without a great deal of work. Then you get to repeat the process over and over trying to get things to fit in the injection-molded plastic.

2. Some sadist SOB at C/A decided that it was impossible to just include a plastic one-piece propeller in the kit. To easy! They instead chose to make the propeller hub out of resin and then make the three separate blades of plastic. The best part is they did not drill any of the holes for the blades in the hub or include a shaft on/for the hub - which you get to fabricate yourself and drill-out as well. Argh! frustrated

3. You get two different types of landing gear with the kit. Spats or struts. Now the assembly instructions say that most, if not all, of the K-models used the strut landing gear. However, they go on to say that there isn't really any reason to think that _some_ didn't use the spats anyway.  :/  Well, good thing they included the spats as the struts were to large to accommodate the wheels and did not have any way to attach them if they did! Get ready to scratch build something else!! So I used spats. Crying or Very sad

4. Finally, what almost caused me to through this PITA at the wall, the windscreens. The windscreens consist of one for the front cockpit and a different one for the rear. They are vacuformed, fairly clear, and have the frames molded in a decent manner. Each set comes as a single piece which needs to be cut free from its identical half. If all goes well you would have, after separating them, two front windscreens and two rear.

Well, you guessed it, I tried using the new spru-cutters I have (that work wonderfully btw) to trim the excess side of the front windscreen mold. It shattered immediately through one of the two making it unusable. Okay, change in plan, now I spent the next 30 minutes carefully "sawing" through every little part of the windscreen with my razor knife. One down.

Using what I learned from the front windscreen disaster, I carefully did the same to the rear windscreens. After 20 minutes (I got faster!) I shattered the screen I was working on when I attempted to cut a slit through the front of it for that post that is between the cockpits. I then noticed something wasn't right. I held-up the remaining rear windscreen to the cockpit and found it wouldn't fit anyway. IT WAS THE WRONG SIZE AND SHAPE!!!YARGH!! frustrated  fighting

So that is why I only have the front windscreen.

There you have it. I wouldn't recommend this kit to anyone unless I really disliked them. It is a shame, really, as it didn't turn out to bad. But even then it was not worth what was needed to get it that way.


Do not mettle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

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