Roden 1/72 Felixstowe F.2A
Review by Steve Jantscher
|Plastic Quality:||A- (flash)|
|Decal Quality:||C (white out of register)|
Once again Roden comes to the rescue by providing another seldom if ever modeled WWI aircraft, this time in the guise of the Felixstowe F.2A flying boat. This model continues the relatively high standards they've already set with some of their smaller WWI kits.
The F.2A is a heavily modified version of the Curtis "American" flying boat. The British designer of this modified American design was LCDR John Porte of the Royal Navy, and the models name comes from the Naval Base at Felixstowe England. After many design changes to the Curtis flying boat, and numerous failures, the version called the F.2A was accepted for service, and contracts were awarded to the Saunders firm for production of the finalized F.2A, while Curtis began licensed production of the same model in the United States under the name H.16. The long range, inherent stability and soundness of design led the F.2A to be well received in the ASW and anti-Zeppelin early warning patrols for which it gained fame.
Roden's kit of the F.2A is very nicely molded, with fine petite recessed detail and an average amount of flash. Some clean-up of parts will be necessary, but Roden seems to be reducing the amount of flash with each new offering I've seen. I was also impressed by the many very petite location holes for control horns and various other very small parts. This kit is also one of the first from Roden to include a dedicated page to the proper rigging. This will be a very extensive part of the construction, as well as the interesting geometric design paint schemes provided as options with the kit (paint schemes and decals are provided for four different aircraft, three Royal Navy, and one post war Chilean plane).
Some of the highlights of the kit include a couple of bombs for armament, delicately molded machineguns, a very nice looking 18 piece beaching trolley, a suitably detailed interior (with room for more scratch built effort) and 28 piece engines providing a very nice level of detail for the scale. The obvious tricky construction will come in aligning the multi piece wings with all the interplane and engine support struts, and then attaching the fuselage below those wings in a uniform and level manner. Obviously, the serious builder will want to construct a jig of sorts from foam board or other material to aid in the alignment. Once the wings are together and sturdily mounted to the fuselage, the tedious but not too difficult job of rigging the aircraft begins.
The decals look to be nice, thin, and of the glossy variety, however my copy had the white just slightly off center, leaving the roundels with a variable thickness outer ring. This seems to be a recurring theme in recent RAF offerings from Roden. These should easily be replaceable from aftermarket sources, but that shouldn't be necessary.
I'm sure that those already interested in WWI aviation will want one of these kits. Obviously this kitting fills a void. Others, who are sitting on the fence about WWI subjects, or the scale, may be pulled in due to the beautiful paint schemes available. When finished the model will measure nearly 8 inches long by 16 inches wide.
Note: also included in the kit, but not shown below is a clear spru with two windshield pieces.
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