As usual, IPMS USA are, as usual, appreciative to Eduard for kindly providing an outstanding example of one of their new items to review, and to the IPMS USA reviewer corps leaders for sending it to me..
This set is one of the few times I have opened a box and said “what HAVE I gotten myself into?” Yes, I asked for it, but the answer is because I thought it would be a cool addition to the kit. I didn’t realize how much there was to this set…
Enclosed are several pages of drawings and detailed instructions, and two complete engines along with cowling, hoses, and some wiring runs. Boxes galore, magnetos, supercharger with more defined details… it’s a true miniature of the Merlin.
The detail is far and above what is provided in the Tamiya kit’s engines, which are out of the box very well done except for wiring; the screw and rivet detail is fantastic, including inside the cowling; look at the side by side pictures for an idea of what an improvement this will be for a diorama or just overall interest in the model. All you add is paint, cement, and wire for hoses and electrical connections. I pulled out my box of lead wire, superglue, and lots of brand new sharp #11 blades, and began…
You start by carefully removing the pour stubs from the parts you are working on at the time. Use an extra-fine saw for most of the parts,… and, (This part is important,) note the stubs have the part numbers (and Eduard’s emblem) on the pour well pressure tag on the stub. Do NOT remove them and clean up until you are ready to use. Unless you really like having a jigsaw puzzle match with a high-value resin set.
The beginning involves the engine mounts; these are strong but fragile… slip with the knife and ruin an engine bearer. Several parts attach to the mounts, and then these are set aside. The engine firewall is up next, with the main gear mounts protruding from the bottom. Lots of little bits here.. and some wiring.
Next up: Engine block and cylinder banks. Following the instructions, drill holes where shown from the inside on the recesses of the cylinder banks, then move on. A jig is provided to hold the cylinders in correct position while the glue is curing. Don’t glue it to the engine, it will be required for the second engine… and there would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth anyway if you could not get the jig off the engine core.
You add header covers (which have the Rolls-Royce emblem clearly on them) and then the center injector fuel distributor section. This has the only Photo etch used at his point, where the manifolds have PE gaskets. They fit perfectly, but can be tricky; pay attention to alignment here.
This is also the step where you add the external spark plug leads, and insert the spark plugs. Yes, I said spark plugs. The set has over 24 micro-sized plugs to install in miniscule holes. Attaching the ignition leads to the ends, well, dude, that’s your thing to figure out. I superglued mine.
Use your favorite wire to attach the plugs to the distributor line, which is cemented to the side of the engine. You will find superglue works but it’s easy to overdo it. A generator is attached here to the left (port) side of the engine, and you will have to fabricate the drive shaft between the generator and drive assembly from plastic rod that you provide.
The supercharger is up next, and much of the accessories and magneto parts are added as well. Moving to the bottom of the engine, the oil pan is installed along with the oil sump pump and lines.
The nose gearbox follows, along with the prop governor and various lines and boxes. The engine shaft has detail in the form of drive splines; this kit will not be a motorized option. Paint the engine with black primer, and finish with a semi-gloss black overall for EVERYTHING (according to many sources)… a few parts have different colors, but not many. The engine bearers are interior green, and the cowling parts are bare metal interior, with camo exterior.
The engine exhausts are provided either for the night-fighter shortened stacks, or the later day-fighter open six-barrel per side fluted stacks. These are hollow in the end and look fantastic. Just remember to remove enough resin to let them sit in place in the exhaust area well.
The engine is offered up to the now-connected engine bearers, and then cemented to the firewall. This was the only time I had to refer to the kit engine (which was built in parallel) to ensure the firewall was at the correct angle.
At this point you have a very fragile engine, firewall and bearer set, ready to install. The hoses and cleanup of the engine mount beams took a lot of careful cleaning and light work with sanding sticks and the #11 blade, so be prepared to deal with that. I had a great opportunity here and took advantage of it. A dry-fit of the engine into the wing section shows everything goes in where it is supposed to on the kit.
End of build for one engine; time does not permit me to build the second one (right now) but after the first I know where things need to be more carefully assembled by yours truly. Eduard continues to lead the pack with aftermarket resin details, and I appreciate the opportunity to craft all these parts into an example of one of the best engines of World War II. Thanks again Eduard!