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MPM 1/72 scale Vickers Wellington Mk.Ic

Manufacturer: MPM Ltd., Mezilesi 718, 193 00, Prague 9, Czech Republic, www.mpm.cz. Available from International Hobby Supply, 8839 Shirley Ave., Northridge, CA 91324, 818-886-0423, www.internationalhobby.com
Price: $32.98
Comments: Injection molded, 129 parts, decals
Pros: Good detail, improved locating devices, good decals
Cons: Problems fitting wheel wells and engines, no geodetic pattern inside long side windows

Don't think the Wellington's nickname "Wimpy" has anything to do with its service record. The Wellington was the prime medium bomber for the RAF through much of World War II. Rather, the name came from the Popeye cartoon character J. Wellington Wimpy.

MPM's 1/72 scale Wellington Mk.Ic kit includes markings for five different aircraft, including the famous 75 Squadron aircraft that Sgt. Ward flew on his heroic Victoria Cross mission. Molded in dark gray plastic, the major parts feature both recessed panel lines and raised detail that accentuate the Wellington's geodetic "basket weave" internal structure. Unlike previous MPM kits, this model has locator pins and tabs that help align and attach the parts.

The instruction sheet is a 10-page document that includes a brief history, a painting-and-markings diagram, and a 12-step assembly guide. I was happy to see the parts had numbers, but was disappointed with the vague placement in some of the diagrams. Paint guidance for individual parts was also a little confusing.

MPM did a good job capturing the underskin geodetic structure on the wings and the aircraft interior, but did not include it on the long rectangular windows midway on the fuselage. Photos of Wellingtons show the structure inside these windows. I was happy to see that Sgt. Ward's aircraft had these long windows painted over, so I didn't worry about trying to simulate the structure.

The fuselage interior was molded with cut-outs in the mid-section of the fuselage for the waist guns. Guns are provided, but there are no mounts and no mention of them in the instructions. Perhaps they are intended for a future kit.

Assembly was straightforward, but to strengthen the fuselage around the area of the long windows, I scratchbuilt a bulkhead to fit inside the fuselage at the rear of the window area. Some fit problems slowed assembly. The two-part tail-wheel housing, which must be attached inside one fuselage half before closing, is too narrow to fit the tail-wheel strut. I widened it with strip styrene. Once all of the interior subassemblies were installed, the fuselage halves went together without problems.

I did have problems with the main gear wells in the wings, having to shave off the tops to get the wing halves to close. The wells are nice, though, each split in right and left halves. However, they are too narrow for the landing gear struts, and too wide for the strut braces. The gear doors hide the braces. Locator pins are molded on the doors, but there are no holes for them.

Although the kit provides individual engine cylinders and a central cover plate, the instructions fail to show where the engines are to be positioned inside the nacelles. By inserting the engine in the nacelle and dry-fitting the cowl, you can judge how far back the engine needs to go in and how close the propellers will be to the cowl. The mounting peg on the propellers is pretty short, so be careful. I also recommend using super glue to attach the cylinders so they won't break off when you push the engines inside the nacelles.

I painted the top sides with Model Master RAF dark earth and dark green, then masked and painted the remainder of the model gloss black.

After painting, I added the remaining small parts and applied decals. They were thin, well printed, and reacted well to decal solvent.

The model measures very close to scale based on the dimensions listed in Squadron/Signal's Wellington in Action.

Despite the fit problems and tedious masking of the camouflage, MPM's Wimpy took only 20 hours to finish. I highly recommend the model to anyone who can handle fit problems. I'm glad to have a new Wellington in my 1/72 scale collection. Nice going, MPM.

David P. Anderson

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