CMK PR16 CONVERSION AND THE CMK EXTERIOR SET
RAAF MOSQUITO PR16


RAAF PR16 A52-600


by David Harvey

 

Review Type

First Look

Scale:

N/A

Price:

$14.95 AUD from Red Roo

Contents and Media:

1 x Razor saw with fine and regular saw blades

Advantages:

It does it's job

Disadvantages:

Limited cutting depth

Recommendation:

Highly Recommended

 

Introduction

I had recently completed the Tamiya Mosquito done in all over Foilage green and still had a fetish for the Mosquito. My main problem is that I dislike natural metal / silver schemes as I consider them boring so most of the RAAF Mosquitos were not going to be done. I had a look around and found that the RAAF actualy used the PR16 after the war in and around Australia. After having a further look around I also discovered that CMK produced a conversion set for the 1/48 Tamiya PRIV kit to convert it to the PR16.

Whilst I was waiting for the Mosquito kit to come into the Albury Hobby Centre I visited Snowy Mountains Model shop and splashed out on the Mosquito exterior set as well as the PR16 conversion. I thought that if I was going to do some plastic cutting I may as well go the whole way.

Construction

Once I had both the CMK sets and the Tamiya kit I read over the instructions and realised just how much cutting I would have to do, this is in fact the biggest conversion I have ever done. To make life easier for myself I marked all of the areas that were to be cut out for resin replacements. In the photographs below all of the areas marked with black lines are to be removed from the kit.

Once all of the areas were removed I also cleaned up the resin parts by washing them in warm soapy water prior to cutting them off the injection blocks with my motor tool.

I started on the cockpit by grinding away a considerable amount of plastic on the side walls to enable the resin sidewalls to be fitted. I dislike this manner of putting in sidewalls as it is much easier to replace the whole of the front cockpit as in the Cutting Edge cockpit update for the Mosquito. I also had to install the wiring for the wire looms on the walls as the wiring on the placards supplied looks very bad as the end of the wire looms / side walls are not hidden by the rest of the cockpit. The cockpit halves are separate from the fueslage but it makes it much easier to assemble the complete fueslage by joining the cockpit sections to their relevant fueslage section prior. The kit has locating lugs for the cockpit sections but these need to be removed to enable the new air intakes to fit up against the fueslage at a later stage of construction. This lack of lugs makes the cockpit/fueslage joint a delicate assembly that I had to reglue a few times. The cockpit interior does not sit that well in the fueslage as the access door in the resin insert does not line up that well with the fueslage door hole.

The fueslage also requires holes to be drill for the camera lenses and the instruction sheet for the conversion gives good locations for these holes. CMK gives you the lenses to be placed inside but I figured that they would not be seen inside the fueslage so they were not installed. One of the holes needs to be drilled once the fueslage is together as it is along the joint underneath. The fueslage goes together reasonably well though I did find that the cockpit area had a slight bulge to it that requires care to avoid. I think that it was poor fitment of the cockpit by myself that caused the bulge. The filling and filing of the joint was only hampered by the fine detailing of the Tamiya kit eg panel lines. The holes for the cameras require some PE to be fitted around them as frames. This was a very fiddly business as I haven't used a great deal of PE and have heaps to learn about it, especialy the application of superglue to small areas. The tail planes and rudder fitted to the fueslage easily with little fitting required. The raft box on the top of the fueslage behind the cockpit was also slightly different in size to the area on the kit that is removed. I found it difficult to get it to fit just right.

Next on the construction line was the wings. The kit wings had a considerable amount of plastic cut off to enable the new engines, air intakes and flaps to be attached. With the CMK exterior you also get the front and rear of the wheel wells to replace the bare plastic of the original. The new engines require careful fitting as they are not quite the right size to fit the kit nacelles, the resin is slightly smaller in width. The joints for the engines to the nacelles are also fragile due to the small contact area between them, this is made worse by the requirement to remove sections of plastic to enable the resin wheel bay sections to fit in correctly.

 

The next area fitted in was the area for the flaps to be attached. CMK provide four pieces of resin to fit into the flap areas and it took a considerable amount of fitting as well as swearing to get them fitted just right as they are also the incorrect size. These pieces of resin need to not only have the thickness trimmed but also the rest of the dimensions involved. These sections for the flaps also have to be fitted in conjunction with the new intakes on the front of the wings. This combination of several pieces of poor fitting resin put a halt to the construction process for several months due to frustration!

 

Once the area behind the flaps is sorted out you have to fit the flap hinges. These consist of several pieces of small resin that are easily lost, luckily CMK provide a few replacements for them. Prior to fitting these parts you have to decide at what angle that the flaps are to be at. From several requests for photos and information on AMI, it turns out that the flaps on the mosquito are rarely seen deployed down whilst on the ground. Most of the photos that exist of them with the flaps down are of aircraft that had crashed on landing as they were put up when on the ground. I decided that as I had the bits, and it did happen occasionaly, I would have the flaps deployed down.

As can be seen in the photos above, the resin air intakes are also not the right size for the kit. As with other resin parts for this conversion they are also a fraction small. The intake assembly is one piece of resin per wing with a photo etch radiator for inside the leading edge. The resin is too thin along the thickness of the wing compared to the original kit intake and so it requires filling on the engine/intake joint as well as not aligning well with the fueslage. Once the wings are together they were then fitted to the fueslage. Thankfully they fitted with little requirement to do much filling. A small amount of filling was required for the area around the resin intake on the front of the wing.

I then moved onto the preparation of the canopy. CMK provide a vacform bulge to be added to the top of the Tamiya canopy. This requires careful trimming and surgery of the Tamiya canopy to enable the vacform part to fit in. Have I mentioned that I can be ham fisted yet? Of course I stuffed the job and had to do some extra surgery. During all of this the canopy cracked in a highly visible spot which I couldn't repair. To add to my woes, remember that I said that there was a bulge in the cockpit area on the joining of the fueslage? The fitting of the canopy bought this out, luckily I was able to do some work on the fueslage exterior to ensure that the canopy fitted. As I had stuffed the original canopy I thought I would purchase the newly re-released Paragon canopy, unfortunately this canopy is for the Airfix kit, bugger!

Paint and Decals

As I was at a halt due to the canopy I continued on with the rest of the kit. I had finaly assembled the main parts of the aircraft and moved onto the painting of the PRU Blue. I purchased a tin of the Xtracolour PRU Blue as I had heard some good things about this paint over the years. On trying it I couldn't get the stuff to work as it was too thin and would not give me any coverage. I then resorted to my old favourite, Humbrol. I applied two thin coats of the Humbrol PRU Blue and it worked well, too well it turned out. After allowing the paint to dry for a while I applied some coats of One go varnish to the whole kit. At some stage I must of handled the kit and left greasy finger prints all over it as the varnish showed this up quite well. I had to strip the paint job back and start again. On the second go of painting and varnishing it worked just right.

As there are no sets of decals for this kit and I wanted to model the aircraft in the photo at the top of this article, I had to scrounge around for the markings. I made the markings from some Aussie Decals generic RAAF roundels and some grey numbers that I had received from David Edwards some time ago. All of these went on without a hitch along with the relevant kit markings. I then put a coat of varnish over the top and let that dry.

The undercarriage, undercarriage doors and all the other delicate bits were then placed on the kit. The mud guards on the wheels can be detailed a little by doing some very fine drilling of litening holes. You can in fact buy replacements from Ultracast but it is easier and cheaper to just drill them out yourself. The tail wheel assembly is another area that requires a bit of extra care. It comprises a resin assembly to replace the lower part of the tail wheel leg and the tail wheel itself. This assembly needs some strengthening of the joint between the resin and the plastic part.

This is where the kit comes to a crashing halt as I have to source a canopy to replace my stuffed job with the original. When the canopy problem is sorted out I intend to give it a small amount of weathering to highlight all the panel lines and all other detail as well as possibly some exhaust staining.

The saga continues!

After a considerable amount of time I heard that Paragon had reissued the canopy for the PR16 to suit the Tamiya kit, naturally I sought it out and bought one. Like all vacform type canopies I can only urge you to take your time and trim little by little with heaps of test fitting. Once it was the right size I stuck it to the model with a combination of super glue and wood glue. Prior to painting the canopy I masked it with scotch tape, this proved very difficult due to the variety of curves on the canopy.

Once all was ready I resprayed the kit as required as well as the canopy with Humbrol PRU Blue. I then added all the small bits to the kit and added the antenna from EZ-Line that I bought from Red Roo.

Recommendation

As you can see from the images below the conversion came out very well, it is in fact one of my more favourite models to date. The whole conversion took two or so years to complete but in the end was worthwhile. The biggest thing I found with the CMK conversion sets is that very few of the bits are the correct size for the kit is supposed to be for. They require thorough test fitting and a fair amount of filling to make them fit. But this is made up for by the cheaper cost and the hours of 'pleasure' gained to make them fit.