1/72nd Minicraft PBM-5 Mariner
I found the Minicraft PBM-5 to be an enjoyable build but not without its challenges. For the most part, the kit is nicely engineered with clean crisp parts and finely recessed panel lines. On the negative side, I found that the PBM-5 is a re-pop of the Minicraft earlier release of their PBM-5A. I never have understood why they released the PBM-5A version first since it was not the predominant version of the Mariner. In any event there is little difference between the two kits. The PBM-5 kit retains the wheel wells of the -5A version but provides 'plugs' to cover over the wheel well openings. I found the side fuselage plugs to fit well but the nose wheel bay was a different story. Perhaps it was just me but there was much difficulty in sealing and finishing that area as well as the underside of the bow at the front of the fuselage. That kit could have been much easier to work with had Minicraft actually re-done the fuselage with those areas being solid. The prop hubs were very undersized and had to be replaced. All three turrets required care to get a proper fit, especially the nose turret. All in all, it's a good kit and one I'd recommend as a fine addition to any WWII Naval aircraft collection. I chose to model a PBM-5 from VPB-21 and worked from a photo that I have included at the end of the photo section. The Mariner was finished with MM enamel paints consisting of dark sea blue (lightened up a bit with some flat white), intermediate blue and flat white. I applied Testors clear gloss on the areas where the decals would be. After the decals were applied and dry, I over-sprayed the entire model with Testors clear flat to blend everything in. The decals were from the set offered by Caracal Models (sheet CD72015) and they were a pleasure to work with. I've included some WIP shots to give some idea of how she went together. As always any comments, observations or critiques are welcome. Thanks for taking a look at her.