- Published on Monday, 25 November 2013 00:00 James Hatch
1:48 Salmson 2A2, Mid Type
Catalogue # 12-480002
Available from GasPatch Models for €39.50
Salmson's are a lot like buses. You wait for one, then several come along, almost all at once. Just prior to Scale Model World 2013, GasPatch finally released their range of 1:48 Salmson kits. These have been a labour of love which have been a work in progress for quite some time now, and GasPatch have released this in three versions, with SP&R receiving the 'Mid Type' kit. Also, these guys have just pipped Wingnut Wings with the first Salmson kit to market, with the 1:32 WNW kit being due in mid-December. As GasPatch have taken such a long time in preparing this very first kit release, I'm quite excited to see what they have come up with.
The GasPatch Salmson 2A2 kit actually comes in a deceptively small, but heavy box which is crammed full of plastic parts. In fact, this one contains 227 plastic parts and 74 photo-etch pieces, so you certainly have no weekend project on your hands here. Box artwork can initially make or break the modelling 'experience', but thankfully it's full marks in this department. A superb painting of a French machine is flashed with the Gaspatch logo, printed in gloss, next to the satin artwork. Very classy. This is a top opening box, which commands a little work to prize the lid from the bottom tray.
Inside the box, SEVEN tan-coloured styrene sprues, and ONE clear sprue account for the plastic parts, with the inclusion of a small number of unused parts which are applicable to the other Salmson releases. TWO photo etch frets are included, as is a full colour, 30 page A5 instruction manual, acetate parts sheet, a jig assembly drawing and a laser-cut cardboard jig. Pretty comprehensive? I think so, but we'll look further.
All styrene sprues are individually bagged, and a number of smaller sprues which share the same gate, and are co-joined, and share a single packet. You get the feeling that removing all these sprues is going to be problematic when it comes to trying to pack them away again.
Simply put, this is the wing sprue. Whilst the lower wing is moulded as a typical port and starboard unit, the upper wing is moulded as full span. Both upper and lower wing are moulded with separate ailerons too; also found on this sprue. Wing rib and fabric detail is subtle. The fabric itself has a very fine surface representing the material texture, and the ribs are clearly seen between the taught fabric panels. Strut points are clear, and small indents exist for rigging points. You might want to drill these a little further with a micro-drill bit.
There are no locating lugs as such for the ailerons, but there are a number of tags on the lower side of the aileron locating point. I suggest you perhaps use a little soft copper wire to fasten the ailerons to the wings.
The only other parts to reside on this sprue are the wing struts, with their very fine locating pips. A number of moulding gates will need to be trimmed back, so be careful not to remove any strut material.
Another sprue containing major airframe parts. There are actually three fuselage 'halves' supplied here, but one of them, with a larger cowl blister, pertains to the other Salmson releases in this range. The fuselage itself is actually broken down further with the upper forward deck and rear stringered section being individual parts. Having the upper rear part separate is useful in not having to try and hide a seam running right down the spine. If you want beautiful detail, totally sharp and convincing, then you've got it with this release. Stringer and fabric detail is subtle and authentic looking, and the forward louvered cowl area is so sharp that you would swear the louvers are moulded 'open'. They aren't, but I really think you would find it hard to pique what these guys have achieved in 1:48. Other plate and rivet detail on the cowl and fuselage is also beautifully rendered. With regard to that cowl, if you wish to have the engine on show, you will need to use a fine saw to remove certain panels.
Internally, the fuselage has beautiful constructional detail, with the only ejector pin marks sitting in an area which will be entirely covered by panelling. You get the impression that this kit has been incredibly well thought out throughout its design stages. Indentations exist into which you insert the various fuselage frame sections.
The Salmson has elevators which were the same design as the Eindecker machines, in that the whole horizontal stabiliser moved in order to affect airflow over this region. The same applies to the single piece rudder, except that the Salmson had this pivot on am axis for which stabilising struts were secured between the rudder top and the elevator. An unusual design. The manual says you can replace these struts with a double rigging wire, which does confuse me a little. As with the wings, the control surfaces of this model are exquisite.
Other parts on this sprue are the forward cowl ring and shuttered radiator ring, propeller, cowl-mounted gun sight, and the plastic version of the lower fuselage shutters. A PE option is also included for this.
This sprue is actually broken down in sub-sprues, and is the one I mentioned earlier in this article as being joined by a number of gates. Each sprue is identified as C, Ca, Cb and Cd (no Cc). Strangely enough, there is a Ce, but this is a clear sprue. All sprues within the 'C' category tend to deal with specific build areas. The initial 'C' deals with the Salmson's 9Za 9 cyliner radial engine. This is typically broken down into forward and rear halves for the actual cylinder bank, and the two rockers per cylinder head are also individual parts. You'll need to exercise some patience here, but this should look great when complete. Exhaust gas manifolds, pressure equalising pipework, and induction piping are separate parts, as are the ignition lines which are supplied as photo etch parts. The engine mounting bracket will need a few holes drilled into it, but this is only due to limitations with the moulding process. Overall detail is as good as anything I've seen in this scale before.
'Ca' deals with the gunners MG mount, and also includes an MG-mounted camera!
'Cb' contains various MG options. Individual ammo drums are included here too.
'Cd' is the undercarriage sprue. On here you have both early and late type wheels for US and French machines. The undercarriage is quite conventional is its breakdown, except that the bungee suspension parts are moulded separately.
As I mentioned, this is the clear sprue, containing both pilot and gunner windshields, pulsameter, and camera lenses. Should you wish though, you can supplant the windshields for some photo etch and PE alternatives. I think that would look a little better, despite the clear parts being very good. Moulding and part clarity is excellent.
Every kit has a main detail sprue, and for this kit, this is it. Here you will find TWO cockpit floor parts, of which one is only applicable to this release. All cockpit internal parts, with a few exceptions, are to be found here. The cockpit itself is immensely detailed, and contains a myriad of both plastic and PE parts. Plastic parts for this area include the fuel tank, side wall frames, wooden consoles (covering those internal ejector pin marks), gunners seat (can be fitted in a stowed or deployed position), compass, signal lamp, instrument panel, Morse telegraph key, magneto, pump, rudder pedal assembly, control stick, pilots seat and separate cushion, seat framework and also other camera parts, to name but a few.
Again, alternative parts are supplied for the gunner ammunition drum stowage area. You can opt to plug various boxes together to create this, or a PE option is supplied. I personally think the PW would look better, but if PE isn't your thing, then you won't suffer for using the plastic parts, as they are superbly detailed and will fit together easily.
If detail is what you want, then you have it in bucket loads with this cockpit.
Don't forget, this is Gaspatch's first kit release, and if subsequent releases are supposed to be a learning curve, then these guys are already way along that path, as parts are minutely detailed and nigh on perfect in their execution. Parts breakdown is very good, and no flash can be seen, or sink marks. Seam lines are minimal and there is no issue with ejector pin marks.
TWO frets are included here. The first is for engine detail, including ignition leads and engine mounting parts as well as what look like earthing points for the cylinders.
Fret #2 contains general detail for the Salmson interior, as well as seatbelts, PE windshield frame, MG mount parts, tail skid parts and various MG reticules etc.
Both frets are bare brass and are superbly etched. Part tags are very thin too. Also in this wallet is a small piece of acetate which includes the windshield options.
This rather nifty inclusion helps you to align the bottom wings properly to the fuselage so that everything is at the correct angle and attitude. A small paper plan is included which shows the lower wings fitted to the fuselage. Also finely printed are the positions for the jig parts. The jig itself is laser etched into a small piece of card. Assembly is easy and shown on the jig plan itself.
If you like high quality manuals, then you won't be disappointed here. A satin finish, 30 page A5 booklet contains some of the most beautiful construction images I've seen, in full colour, with clear notation, and also individual parts named so you at least know what you're assembling. Option for either Photo Etch or plastic parts are clearly defined, and the manual starts with a colour parts plan which looks almost photographic, and shows parts which aren't destined for use.
Colour reference is given throughout, but only in terms of names, with no actual paint colour codes given. I would have liked to have seen codes for Tamiya, Gunze etc, so you'll have to check your references for this aspect.
The latter end of the manual is taken over for the FIVE schemes which are included in this release. These are printed in full colour with easy decal application reference. The schemes are:
- French Sal 259
- French Sal 16
- French Sal 1
- USAS 91st Aero Squadron
- USAS 1st Aero Squadron
The manual also includes internal plumbing and rig drawings, as well as actual rig being represented in different colour lines on the constructional images.
DECALS & MASKS
A single large decal sheet includes both national and squadron markings, as well as a small number of stencils. Cockpit instruments and map are also printed here too. The cockades actually cover the wing and the ailerons, but they are printed as single parts on this sheet. There are some templates on the rear of the instruction sheet which show you where these should be cut in order to apply. The rudder decals are supplied as a large tricolour block, and you need to use the given template in order to shape this for application. I can't understand why the decals weren't already supplied in shape, ready for application. It is pretty common.
There is a small correction sheet supplied for the charging horse emblem too.
All printing looks to be nice and thin, with minimal carrier film too. Colours look authentic too, and everything is in perfect register.
Masks are included. One has a '15' on it for the markings. I'm unsure as to whether this is a correction or a fix for a decal omission. The other mask sheet contains masks for the wheel hubs and windshields. All are die-cut onto vinyl sheets.
Apart from the decals conundrum and the lack of paint codes, there is nothing I can really say that is bad about this release. This has to be one of the finest 1:48 WW1 releases I have ever seen. In fact, possibly one of the best 1:48 kits I've seen, outside of the recent Eduard Spitfire release. This is a kit which I wouldn't say was for beginners. I'd aim it at perhaps an intermediate modeller as a starting point, with some aspects perhaps being more suited to an experienced modeller. Nothing here looks like a limited run kit. These parts are every bit as good as any of the big players in this industry, and when assembled, this will be eye-wateringly gorgeous!
VERY highly recommended
Our sincere thanks to GasPatch Models for this review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.
...WAIT...that isn't quite it!
We do have something else that Gaspatch sent here which can be used specifically for this kit:
1:48 Darne Lewis Half Heatsinks
Catalogue # 13-48027
Available directly from Gaspatch Models for €9.00
'Darne Lewis'? Basically, this is a Lewis gun which was produced in France, by the Darne company. These looked like the regular Lewis, except that the gay cylinder was sheathed in wood.
Gaspatch's release is packaged into a small, clear blister pack, with all resin parts inserted into a specially laser cut-out piece of foam, as per their other detail sets. This can't be a cheap way of packaging, but does ensure they hit your doormat in a safe manner.
EIGHT piece of salmon-pink plastic are included in this set. TWO guns are supplied, as well as two ammunition drums each, and a spent cartridge bag. Unlike resin sets though, with this 3D printed set, there are NO casting blocks to remove. Detail is absolutely amazing, with the smallest touched represented in about as much perfection as you can muster at this scale. I hope the photo here shows you just how good these actually are.
When you open the paper insert, the gun is shown as a beautiful graphic, with various sections given colour indicators. Assembly will be very easy.
If you are building this specific version of Salmson, please DO think about including this set too. It will be the cherry on top of the cake.