Big. This model is big. It’s technically not an ICONX / Premium Series model, but it might as well be. I don’t quite know how they managed to make something this big with only 3 classic-size Metal Earth sheets. It’s quite impressive. And it’s gorgeous, too. The camera did not do a great job of capturing the colors on this model, to be honest, because they really pop in person. Thank you, Fascinations, for sending this model to me to build and review. Now I just need to figure out how the heck to display it with all my other aviation models, since it dwarfs them all rather handily.
There are a lot of little details to absorb when looking at this model. The most obvious one is the gunnery bubble on the nose of the plane (okay, so that probably has a proper name / term, but I don’t know it, and I’m not going to pretend like I do). But there are some other nice additions, like the other gunnery slot in the tail of the plane. Not to mention the folded up landing gear, the inset nature of the engines, the wide tail, and the plentiful extra window cutouts all over the fuselage (yep, I know that one, apparently). Oh, and there’s the graphic painted on the side of the plane, too.
This is another build that I expected to be rather challenging. And I wasn’t that wrong, honestly. There are a lot of curves in this build, and not all of them are simple. And a lot of them are really guesswork when it comes to figuring out how big (or small) the curve is, and where exactly it needs to end up being. That long fuselage has a mixture of curves and flat areas, and if you don’t guess right, the wings might end up a little wonky (or, like in my build, you might end up with gaps from tabs that are not fully secured).
This model is not afraid to start out with a challenge, as the very first thing you get to work on is the fuselage. And this aircrafts fuselage is interesting, with large flat areas on the side of the plane, and rounded top and partly rounded bottom. And then, because even that is too simple, the back half of the fuselage tapers that shaping, both horizontally and vertically. Then you get to round off a pair of flaps at the top of the back. Thankfully, you can look far ahead in the instructions and find that the slots in the middle of part 29 to guide you for how narrow the tail end needs to be. As for the front end, I used the shape of the windshields to guesstimate how wide the fuselage is supposed to end up.
The next thing that looks scary is forming that caged window nose of the plane. And it is definitely a delicate part of the build, but it’s not as scary as it looks. Just take your time, and consider pre-shaping the sides down before inserting the cockpit interior. Wait to secure the tabs until after you’ve gotten that interior in place, but shaping it beforehand gives you more freedom to use shaping tools. After that, just look ahead to part 28 to guide you in how much to round the cage in towards the middle. Thankfully, this isn’t as hard as it looks because of how the designers separated the elements of this cage. Oh, and the gun emplacement in the back is a bit delicate, but rather easy to handle.
Forming the front edges of the wings, on the other hand, is actually harder than it first appears, at least for me. Looking at the model, I didn’t realize how the curve tapers out well before the end of the wing, which is quite hard to get formed into the wing. And I thought I figured out a great way to deal with the trouble of getting the narrowest part of the curve established, as well as just the edge in general. I wrapped what I could over my cylindrical object, and then rolled another cylindrical object along the edge, pressing firmly as I went. It did a really good job of getting the last bit curved over! But it also caused the paint to flake off. So… might be good for a silver-only model, but not this one!
Now, when it comes to figuring out the correct amount to curve and shape the wing, they do provide a nice “blue shape line” diagram. However, I would suggest that you use the etched outline of the wing on the body as well, complete with test-fitting the curves / tab-alignments.
I made a bit of a mistake, when reading the instructions. When I saw the little blue lines indicating how to form the engine cowlings, I interpreted one of the arrows as being an indicator to fold the dozens of flaps at the front in to shape the narrowing conical section. Don’t be me. Don’t make that mistake. You will want to be able to use a cylinder to help shape it back into a cylinder once you’ve attached both halves of the wing together. I had a lot of trouble with the first wing on this very thing, and decided I shouldn’t do that on the second. Then when reviewing the instructions, I realized that the blue arrow was just the backside of the curve over line. Oops.
The next challenge with the wings, for me, was that I didn’t realize what was supposed to happen with part 14 on the wings. For one thing, the diagram makes it look like you barely fold the flap over, but I had to fold mine hard over. On top off that, when I joined the two wing halves together later on, I found that I hadn’t folded it far enough for the wheel (from the top half) to clear it, and it make the wing bulge in the middle in a funny way. So, yeah, consider folding it much father, and making sure that it is fully clear of the hole in the wing once attached.
And now, the part that caused me the most trouble – joining the two halves of a wing. This was extremely difficult for me, but partly because I didn’t take the time to figure out which slots were the “blue holes” referred to by the callout in the instructions. I got out a magnifying glass and figured it out later – it turned out that the print of my instructions was slightly misaligned and the blue lines were printed over the black or gray areas, so they were hard to see. I wish I had seen them, because I wonder if getting the right shape to the outer engine cowling to turn out better. I’ve highlighted which slots / holes are supposed to be attached first below, with the purple arrows. In addition, I missed the detail of the tab on the back of the outer tip of the wing. For some reason, the instructions do not have the usual faded lines / outlines for the tab and alignment line when it’s behind a part in this one place. I’ve added it below so that it hopefully stands out more.
Okay, yay! You’ve finished the wings! Now time for a bit of a chill, attaching the wings, and the bottom of the plane. And now you probably finally get to realize why the front bit of the nose-cone window-cage is attached so much later in the build – because the gun that sticks through it is attached to the bottom of the fuselage! But that little part (#28) is a bugger to get attached. It’s tiny, easy to drop, and continuously trying to pop off the tabs once you’ve aligned them (at least for me). And then securing those tabs. Look at the instructions… it says to fold those tabs. FOLD THEM. Those tabs are sticking off a strip of metal that’s barely more than a millimeter wide. They are aligned through slots that are in a strip of metal that’s barely more than a millimeter wide. You gotta be kidding me! This is a perfect opportunity for a twist and fold. Give it a bit of a twist, lock it in place, and then fold that tab over. And be careful while you are at it. That cage is delicate and you don’t want to have to finesse a kink out of that, do you?
After that, you just gotta build and attach the tail (which just has a little frustration on how much curve-in to put at the front edge of the tail wing), then put together all 4 engines. Which, honestly, was not that hard. They designed this section quite well, and I really like how it actually is inset into the engine cowlings. But honestly, I didn’t have a whole lot of trouble, just made sure to pay attention and get them all secured in roughly the same alignment. And now you’ve got yourself one sweet looking and vibrantly colored WWII bomber.
But wait! You’re not done! You’ve still got to build that stand (assuming you are not going to be displaying the model by hanging it from some fishing line). And this stand is rather a unique one. Much like many recent flying vehicle stands, this one is designed to allow you to remove the model when you want. But unlike others I’ve seen, this one seems designed to cradle the plane’s fuselage. Seeing that beforehand, I decided to shape the cradle (part 38) first, actually forming it around the fuselage of the plane itself so that it would be a pretty close fit. Of course, I then had to remove the plane and work the curves in tight, but it seemed to work fairly well. But those sharp edges at the top of the cradle gave me pause… I didn’t want them scratching up the paint job, so I added a bit of a curve outwards at the very top. Just enough so that it wouldn’t scratch the paint on the fuselage, or the wings if they ended up resting on it somehow.
Phew. That was a lot more reviewing than I thought I would be doing for this build, especially considering that I completed it in two sessions totaling under 3.5 hours of build time. As always, I’ve recorded the build session in case you need a reference of how a particular section is handled. And hopefully my hands are in view – I’m working on getting better at keeping them there and hopefully have a solution for that worked out here. Also, I’m going to try to do something about the contrast issues. This is all based on me assuming the build videos are useful, lol.