Eduard has released a boxing of the very good 1/48 Hasegawa Mc. 202, which is enhanced by the addition of two photo-etch frets (one pre-painted), resin parts and a paint mask. Not only that, but you get Cartograf-printed decals with markings for 6 colorful Folgores. It is an amazing offering.
Like most airplane model construction starts with the cockpit and with two photoetch-frets it means you are going to have quite the detailed “front office”. Some plastic parts need to be modified, removed or replaced, including parts of the cockpit floor, cockpit sides and instrument panel.
Note that on the left cockpit side there is a wheel –mounted on top of PE box. If mounted as indicated in the instructions -or at least on where I think the instructions indicate it- there is interference of the wheel and the seat. I really don’t know what the problem was if it was the instructions or me.
When closing the fuselage, I had a bit of trouble with the back part of the cockpit floor/cockpit side. I had to do some sanding to improve the fit of the cockpit tub and be able to close the fuselage. Maybe this was related to the issue I had with the left side wheel in the cockpit?
Other than the above-mentioned problem, all that PE works in your favor, adding lots of detail and not giving you any trouble. In particular the instrument panel is gorgeous and while it seems complex to assemble, it was not. The seat harness PE might look a bit confusing, mainly because –to the best of my understanding- the cushion goes on the seat backrest, not in the seat pan.
Once you close the fuselage, assembly moves into the wing and wheel well. I strongly recommend assembling the wheel well first, including the bulkhead on the back of the wheel well and to glue that subassembly to the lower wing. Then present the wheel well/lower wing subassembly to the fuselage and finally add the top wings in place. That will ensure you have minimal to no gap in the wing-root, plus a properly aligned wheel well assembly. This is my 3rd Hasegawa Macchi and I’ve found that to be the best method to approach the wing/fuselage assembly.
Based on the markings you choose you will need to assemble the early or late air intake (resin part) and choose the horizontal stabilizer size appropriate to that variant. A note on the resin air intakes: both early and late versions have been cast with the air intake opening in the “closed” position. This means they are relatively shallow in their openings.
While air intakes with deep openings (ie “open” position) tend to be more impressive, most Folgores had their air intakes in the “closed” position while on the ground. Typically the intake will be closed after landing and remain closed until time to take off. After all, you don’t want to have dust and debris to get in the intake.
After the main assembly was completed I started working in the landing gear and oil coolers. You get a small feast of photoetch and resin parts there. The oil cooler requires no less than 6 photoetch parts to assemble and the landing gear will need to be modified to receive the multiple photoetch parts. They significantly enhance the looks of the gear.
I choose not to use the anti-torque scissor photo-etch piece in the landing gear as I was worried I would mess up the parts. They are small and very exposed. I was worried the photo-etch landing gear cover could get bumped and damaged. That was my personal decision. I’m sure the model would look better with the photo-etch parts. Nicely casted resin wheels (even with the Pirelli name on them!) round up the landing gear.
At this point, I prepared the model for painting (did some very minor seam sanding) and I painted the lower grey/upper sand, making sure to wrap around the wing leading edges. I also choose to paint the fuselage white band.
The smoke rings were Tauro smoke-ring decals (not included in kit), on top of a coat of Future. Once the smoke ring decals were in place, I applied another layer of Future and I applied the Cartograf-printed decals. They worked great. Thin, good color density, perfect register and the conformed to all shapes and recessed panel lines.
After the third coat of Future, I applied a wash to all panel lines using Tamiya Panel Line Accent Brown (enamel wash), which I liked as it gave the model a bit of a “sand and dust” finish.
I was getting close to the finish line and I had still yet to paint the canopy. The pre-cut masks are great to work with. I was ready to paint the canopy within about 10 minutes.
Installing the aerials (made out of E-Z line) and a flat coat rounded and finished the model.
I spent about 50 hours working in this model, more than I normally spend in a single engine airplane (I’m normally in the 25 hours range). Considering all the photoetch parts, resin and smoke-ring decals I’m not surprised I needed more time.
Even with the increase in total time, I never lost interest in this model but I admit, I was also building an Eduard Weekend F6F-5 along the way to have a few “easy” modeling evenings here and there...
In my personal opinion, this is the ultimate boxing of the Macchi 202 in 1/48 scale. If you want to go further you can add the Eduard resin wheel well aftermarket set (#648278) and the Eduard brassin exhaust (648281) which I actually used on this model. The Eduard brassin exhaust review elsewhere in this website.
Considering all the photoetch and resin in this model I will highly recommend this kit to the experienced modeler (not that I think of myself as one, however, I was able to pull it off). This model pushed my modeling envelope –due to all the detail- and I feel very happy with the way this model turned out.
I would like to thank Eduard Models and IPMS/USA for the review sample.