The MF-11 'Shorthorn' is one of the true greats of early aviation, there were probably more British pilots trained on it in the first two years of WW1 than any other type, and it was used until the last days of the war as an initial trainer. .. however at the start of the war, the 'Shorthorn' was actually frontline equipment for the Allied nations. Many soldiered on in the Middle-Eastern theatre long after they were withdrawn from the Western Front, but it is as a trainer that the 'Shorthorn' is best remembered.
The most notable feature of the MF-11 would have to be its wealth of rigging .. it was said that in order to check for correct rigging a bird was released within the structure .. if it found its way out, there was a loose wire somewhere. The basic design of the MF-11 was a nacelle containing the two man crew, engine and fuel tank, this was mounted midway between the two wings. The wings themselves are in three sections with four bays of struts and massive amounts of rigging holding it all together. The tail is carried on twin booms attached to the rear spar of the centre section.
There may have been some vacform kits of the MF-11 released in the past, but this is the first injection or resin kit I am aware of.
Opening the box, one is confronted by all the parts packaged in a plastic bag, each wafer separated from the others in its own compartment. Besides the resin parts, there are four rubber tyres, a fret of Photoetch, decals and preformed wire for the tail booms.
The resin is among the finest cast I have yet come across .. the fuel pressure pump even has its hose attached to it. Other resin parts include: nacelle, engine (with two styles of exhaust), cylinders, solid wheel covers, struts (lots of these), landing skid, propellor, seats. The wings are very nicely cast, and are the thinnest I have yet seen. . however the detail is limited to the upper surfaces only, the underside is completely smooth. Separate ailerons are a nice touch. . these are also very thin.
The photoetch fret includes spoked wheel covers, aileron horns, 'spectacle' type control column, elevator horns, spark plugs (?), instrument panels, undercarriage spacers. The spoked wheels have sections cut out of their rim, this allows them to be pressed into the correct shape using a special resin jig which is included .. a nice touch that.
The tail boom is preshaped out of wire, sadly this is the only out of scale component. . However there aren't many options for replacement.
Decals are for a generic french machine . . . or perhaps they could be considered to belong to an RNAS aircraft after the original red/white markings had a blue circle added. .. making, to all intents and purposes, French markings on a British machine.
For a kit of this complexity. . not in parts, but in construction, decent plans are a must, and Omega does not disappoint. They provide four pages of drawings ranging from exploded views of the nacelle, to five sets of rigging plans showing where all the lines go.
A well done kit that I am glad I'm not building myself. I would have to recommend this one for the experienced builder *IF* all rigging is intended to be added. If built OOB with no rigging, it shouldn't be beyond the experience of any competent modeler.
My thanks to Lubos Vinar of VAMP Mail Order for the review sample. Watch IM for a full build in a few months time