Eduard 1/48 Fairey Fulmar Mk.II

By Scott Hackney

Introduction

A Fulmar is a bird that looks superficially like a gull, but are unrelated, and are in fact petrels. Fulmars replaced Skuas, another bird. You may think I’m crazy, but these are the facts!

OK, so Fairey Fulmar was an early war Fleet Air Arm (FAA) aircraft that replaced Blackburn Skua. For a carrier borne fighter the Fulmar was rather large. The Fulmar owes its size to both its pedigree and its design philosophy. 600 Fulmars were built between 1940 and 1941.

The Fulmar was based on a replacement aircraft for the Fairey Battle and you can certainly see the family resemblance. The philosophy of the Fulmar was twofold. The FAA wanted a two man crew to handle the navigation duties over water. Also the FAA believed their aircraft were for “blue water missions”. They were not supposed to tangle with land based fighters like the Bf-109. One might call this idea into question, but that was the plan. Actually Fulmars shot down 112 enemy aircraft making it the number one Fleet Air Arm fighter of WWII!

The Kit

In 2007 MPM released the Fulmar Mk I. This is a really nice kit representing the early Fulmars. Eduard followed up the release as they are known to do with several beautiful color etch detail sets and a masking set. In 2008 Eduard released their own Fulmar, this time the Mk II. Both kits are from the same molds, but Eduard’s Mk II has the color etch and masking set included -bonus! The MkII has an increase in engine horsepower and are “tropicalized” as represented by the extra scoops under the chin.

The kit itself is beautifully modeled in light gray plastic. The engraved surface detail is nicely rendered with both panel lines and rivet detail. Make no mistake this is big, well done kit loaded with extra details provided by etched metal.

The Eduard color etch adds a lot of rich detail to the cockpit. The clear parts are thin and clear with no distortions. A minor issue here is the pilot’s canopy which is molded as a single piece. A little careful surgery and the sliding piece will easily slide back exposing that beautiful cockpit.

A little test fitting revealed no obvious fit problems and that feeling is echoed by builds of the MPM MkI. There are decals for five schemes, all the same color, but with some interesting diversions. The yellow tailed Fulmar represents an aircraft from Operation Pedestal, the heavily armed convoy carrying supplies to Malta. Another scheme has American markings. Many FAA aircraft that participated in Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa carried US markings. I’ve read the US markings were to avoid confusion by having only type of roundel, and the British were trying to lower their visibility. I don’t know which one is true.

Conclusion

Fulmars served until February 1945 as Fulmar Mk II night fighters, so there was at least one more version of this bird in some company’s future. Eduard’s Fulmar Mk II is a welcome addition to a growing line of WWII FAA aircraft.

Thanks to Eduard for supplying the review kit.

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