|Air Collections 1:48 P-66 Vultee Vanguard
by Steven M. Perry
This kit comes from a new Polish company - Air Collection, produced by Kagero & 303 Enterprises. The kit comes in a nicely printed box 8.75" x 10.5" x 2" which opens from the ends. Out come 2 sprues with a total of 52 injection molded parts, a white metal engine & prop and a vacuformed clear canopy. There is also a decal sheet with American and Chinese
markings. The instructions are wordless and consist of an exploded view diagram on one sheet and a parts tree map on another sheet.
The decals look nice on the sheet, but I have not used this brand (Techmod) before and cannot say how they will perform wet. The metal castings are well done. The prop blades are thin and there is very little cleanup to be done on either of the metal pieces. The clear vac canopy is quite nice, though I wish they had provided two.
The sprues are of a light gray plastic with nicely recessed panel lines and other surface details. The plastic is a little softer than the norm, but the parts are molded thinner than average and this may give them more flexibility. There is a slight texture to the surface of the moldings.
This looks like it will disappear without damaging the recessed details when kissed with some fine sanding film and a coat of primer. The only thing negative about the kit is that there is quite a bit of flash. This is thin and is easily removed. Hey, it keeps all the little parts from breaking off and getting lost.
There are separate pieces for interior cockpit structural frame members as well as the seat, stick instrument and sidewall panels. These would benefit from a few scratched details and some aftermarket seatbelts and instruments, which would really make into a nice cockpit.
One thing I really like about the molding is that the wing root fairings are part of the fuselage halves. This puts the join line with the wing panels out away from the fuselage side and easier to work on when it comes to the fill and clean steps of construction.
I like the box labeling. They tell you right on the top that this is a Limited Edition kit and it is "Only for Experienced Modelers". In addition to the side panel color profiles of the American and Chinese versions, they also provide color profiles for Swedish and British versions. These are clearly marked as "Not Included". A nice history of the type is printed on the back. Again their honesty comes through as they clearly state that the combat use of the P-66 in China waits for historical study.
All in all the Air Collection P-66 Vultee Vanguard is a better than average limited run kit of an obscure subject. It looks to me that Air Collections is producing a line of very buildable kits. Certainly more of a challenge than the top of the line kits from major manufacturers, but no immediately apparent major obstacles. Hopefully these folks will be able to expand their line and provide more subjects not beaten to death in the mass market. Other projects listed are He 114, Po-2 & PZL P-24 in 1:48, and a P-66 and IAR-80 in 1:72.
Aviation Usk F2G