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 Azur 1/72 Latecoere 298 torpedo bomber

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

PostSubject: Azur 1/72 Latecoere 298 torpedo bomber   Mon Feb 20 2017, 10:10

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

Whoa! I may sneak the last HoS entrant of 2016 in. ;-)

This is a kit I have had in my stash for a couple of years now. I had not built it as I wanted to get the correct paint colors for an early WWII French float-plane (not as easy as it sounds). I finally got around to doing research and getting colors as close as possible without doing a custom paint blend. I really looked forward to this build as the Latecoere 298 is a very cool looking aircraft (imo). Unfortunately, things didn't go well and this kit (my second Azur build) will probably stop me from building another from this manufacturer.

But first...

Latecoere 298

Designed and built in the mid-1930s, the Latecoere's first flight was in May 1936. It was designed as a float-plane torpedo bomber which could also dive-bomb with conventional bombs or depth charges when necessary. Flight testing ended with positive results and an initial order was placed, by the French Air Force, for 24 aircraft in 1937. Additional orders would be placed for a total production run of 121 aircraft until production ceased with the advent of WWII.

Before the Fall of France, the aircraft patrolled the North Sea and English Channel for German shipping. As the war progressed, they were pulled from that duty and used as ground-attack aircraft against bridges and German positions. After the armistice with Germany, the remaining aircraft were dispersed for use by the Vichy-French military, and the Luftwaffe.

Following the end of WWII, remaining 298s were used by the as training aircraft for the French Air Force until they were retired from service in 1951.

The Latecoere 298 was powered by a twelve cylinder Hispano-Suiza water-cooled engine capable of producing 880 HP (max speed approx. 165 MPH). It had a crew of three and was armed with three 7.5mm machine guns (two firing forward from the cowling and one on a swivel mount in the rear of the cockpit).

The Build

While there aren't that many parts, what was there required a great deal of work to make ready for assembly. Parts were covered in flash, bumps, swirls, etc. The instructions were generally okay. The decals, however, had issues (more on that later). There is a small selection of PE parts (most I think would have been better if made in plastic). The canopy was a wretched vacuum-formed mess that was very brittle and shattered when being cut to fit. :/

There is almost zero detail inside the cockpit. I did nothing to improve it owing to the scale and because I had to glue the canopy back together (so seeing inside was not the greatest anyway). Gluing the fuselage together is where the problems really began to crop-up. The part to which the prop attaches didn't fit the opening in the front of the fuselage. It was the wrong shape and had to be cut, trimmed, and sanded to allow the fuselage halves to join.

Wings and tail sections were next. All parts being butt-fitted without any guides whatsoever (ALWAYS a big pain). These were easy compared to the fiasco that awaited me with the floats. The panel lines on the model are very faint and any sanding / touch-up work you do can, and will, obliterate anything which points to where parts should be attached. That happened with all the struts for the floats so I had to make a best guess as to where everything went (the instructions were quite vague in this regard). The aforementioned butt-fitting did nothing to help. I spent several days on this part of the build before saying screw-it (sorry) - yes, I had given-up on doing it as it should. It was either accept it for what it was (a mess) or toss the bugger out. frustrated Obviously I did the former.

Painting was good. I tried to give it detail with a wash but the panel lines didn't do much but make it look sloppy. So I did another repaint. Rolling Eyes I applied the decals which are super-thin. I then realized that no tri-color decals were included for the horizontal stabilizers. Okay - my model isn't getting those. I then thought to add the shark mouth (which, btw, Azur thinks you will paint the red between all the tiny shark teeth Rolling Eyes ) but the decals shattered when I tried rolling them around the curved cowling. Nope - not getting that either.

So what I ended-up with is an okay rendition of this interesting aircraft. The floats are somewhat off-center, the canopy is shattered and was filled with glue to repair it, and the decals for this particular plane missing. Aside from that it isn't too bad (if you squint while looking at it). This is a cool aircraft marred by a poor kit (or poor builder - but it is my review so I will blame the kit). To be fair there are some wonderful builds of the 1/48 (and some 1/72) kit online. So did I get a bum kit or are my skills not ready for this? :?




















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