Kit: Folland F.43/37 Scale: 1:72
Kit type: Resin with metal parts
Decal options: none UK price: £24.50
Magna chooses exceedingly odd prototypes from time to time, but I confess that this one has grown on me. When Their Airships were considering a whole range of new and more powerful engines in the late 1930s they considered that it would be useful to have a simple and uncomplicated aircraft in which to test them, with space for observers as well as the pilot, and ordered 12 airframes from Folland to Specification F.43/37.
Although they sometimes flew with a Hercules as what was described as a ‘slave’ engine, much work was done on Centaurus, Sabre and Griffon powerplants, some of the airframes flying with more than one engine type during their career.
While it wasn’t quite ‘made by the mile and sawn off by the yard’, Folland’s F0.108 was still a fairly angular aircraft, and its plain shape helps to make it simple to build. I would recommend this kit to the first time resin modeller, if the subject attracts. Magna’s usual approach gives hollow, but still quite substantial fuselage halves which present good surfaces for your preferred superglue (mine is usually one of the Roket range). Each wing half is one-piece, and like the tailplane halves they have stubs which fit into recesses in the fuselage; be careful to retain them when you’re sawing off the pouring block. There is a cockpit interior with separate instrument panel and control column, and white metal undercarriage legs and tail-wheel, and propeller blades.
As always Magna provides two sets of transparencies, and as well as that over the pilot’s cockpit there are four ‘windows’ etched onto a sheet of acetate. However, I followed my usual preference of filling the spaces provided with Kristal Kleer. The strange dorsal fairing above the cockpit has a T cross-section and I’d like to know precisely what its function was! The instruction sheet camouflage diagram lists the colours as dark green, dark grey and yellow; my reflections on these are in the accompanying Tailpiece, and I used Xtracolor’s Ocean Grey and Trainer Yellow. There are no decals provided, but Modeldecal sets 36, 41 and 42 are recommended, plus prototype ‘P’ markings from Almark set A23. The instructions also give the invaluable reference, Aeroplane Monthly for June 1991.
The result is an unfamiliar-looking aircraft, and I think it’s unlikely that it will be kitted by anyone else. It appeals to me, and I recommend it on both those grounds. Magna has a Sabre-engined one to follow; there were at least two different forms of cowling for the big Napier, and I hope they’ll pick the more pointed with the wing-mounted radiator, which looks even odder than this one with Bristol’s powerful radial.
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