First to fight IBG Big scale PZL P-11c
Well, the first Allied fighter in European WW2 skies anyway. Contrary to some accounts, the Polish Air Force was not destroyed on the ground early, but their aircraft were dispersed to designated War alert fields, having been on a war alert footing. This allowed the prime fighter of the PAF to get into the air in some numbers. 125 Kills were claimed by P-11 types before the collapse so we can assume they got about 60, not bad for an obsolete design. A better accounting of the PZL design history and war service can be found on 'ol Wikerperdia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PZL_P.11
So to the model. Oh the model. Upon first examination of the Polish IBG Company's 1/32 P-11c I was highly stoked. The detail of the corrugated skinning was beautifully done, the many raised rivets looked so cool on the fuselage. The engine was well done, and the interior-busy busy with a lot of etchings. I got the Limited Edition boxing, which included a pilot figure and 3D printed Machine gun barrels. OK, let's go.
The biggest issue I had with this one was the tiny attachment points on almost every part. Tiny pins, tiny notches, tiny holes. Even the fuselage halves had weird notches on the parts instead of flat surfaces. This made for a LOT of interesting episodes. The engine parts, mounts and especially interior components like the seat, were just a real PIA. Test fitting was impossible, so it's glue and pray, or tear it apart and glue again. The holes/pins on the engine mounts attach to the interior structure and they were not enough to align things, so I snuck in little styrene gussets to get some strength. BUT before these dry, make sure the fairing for the front of the fuselage fits...have fun.
In the meantime I had painted the interior aluminum and some black boxes and a leather mapbox, all the color call outs the instructions gave you. Luckily my kid had a monograph with some good interior shots, including the only survivor in a Polish museum. Turns out there were many colored knobs and widgets, the instrument panel represented with many individual decals, that were quite colorful. The etched seatbelts look good too, and after the fighting, the interior looked pretty good. Four open panels are provided, to show the MG and radio details, and I decided to do these open. Detailed MG ammo feeds and mounts are given, more on these later.
So let's slap the fuselage together and move on. Fiddle, trim, fiddle trim squeeze. The engine mount issues came in at this point. Finally, some semblance of together. The rest is easy now. Hahahahaha. The wing halves fit all right, but the center section...nope. Had to be shimmed out with sheet styrene to match up. Wing to fuselage...nope. trim shim fill repeat. I had intended to paint the wing separate but no dice. I left the struts off to paint separate. Something looks funny. Are the wings drooping? Or does it supposed to look like a seagull? Find a front planview.The Pulawski wing is a shallow triangle in front view, the bottom being pretty flat, and the planview shows the bottom line level. No way those struts are going to put that wing up where it belongs. So Bill the engineer cut and extended the struts with shaved sprue extensions, till they put the wings in the "somewhere close" position. Somewhere along the 68 year old line, I must have picked up some patience I never had, the old Bill woulda flew this one into the bin a while ago.
Painting involved using Hataka's "Orange" (lacquer) line. The Polish khaki looked too light to me so I darkened it with some Polish Armor brown. I am tired now and won't go into the rest of the problems (painting issues, trying to decal over all that wonderful surface detail, landing gear, stabilizers,) except to mention the Machine gun mounting which was another royal PIA involving more shims to hold them in proper place. I managed to glue the inspection doors on without fuss and the antenna turned out pretty good and at last fini. Stan the Polish flyboy painted up very nicely after I repositioned his arm.
After all that it looks "Pretty" good, I can't look too close at it, there are way too many paint and decal issues on this one (No Nationals for YOU!). But I wanted a big P-11 and I have one. Oh remember how neat the fuselage rivets were? Look at the real item. The fuselage is a smooth as a baby's A--. It's a lovely War.
Oh and all the pic files entered beautifully, thanks Ed. Man.