There’s not much information generally available about this aircraft. There was only one produced and it was destroyed on the outbreak of hostilities with Germany. The aircraft was basically a PZL 23A Karas with twin rudders and modified ventral gun position. It was first flown in April 1936 and after testing it was passed to the 1st air regiment and then to the aviation cadet school in Deblin. Lessons learned in testing it were integrated into the PZL 46 Sum, the planned replacement for the PZL 23. This kit is basically the PZL 23 Karas kit with an extra sprue to account for the modifications to allow you to convert it to a PZL P.42.
The kit comes in a standard top opening box. All the parts are mounted on 4 sprues which are sealed inside a single bag. Attached to the front of the instructions is a resealable bag containing a clear sprue, a small decal sheet and two small photo etch frets. The instructions are printed on semi glossy full size pages.
The box contains:
- 119 plastic parts on 4 sprues
- 61 PE parts on 2 frets
- 12 clear parts on 1 sprue
- 1 decal sheet
- instructions booklet
- There are also another 29 plastic and 3 PE parts not used.
The sprue attachment points are reasonable and any ejector pin marks are either out of the way or on the sprue and not a concern. I noticed a tiny amount of flash on a couple of the parts but nothing to worry about. The level of detail on the parts of the kit is very good with subtle recessed panel lines and raised detail where appropriate. This kit however is not for beginners. There are no pins and holes to aid with alignment of such things as the fuselage halves and the upper and lower wings. This kit might typically be described as a short run kit. You will have to do some surgery to this kit and remove the aft end from the two fuselage halves and add a new aft fuselage. The cutting line is however conveniently located on a panel line.
The instructions are very clear and are shown on large black, white and grey diagrams. The kit is built in 37 steps displayed over seven pages. Colours and extra notes are indicated throughout the instructions. The actions for each step are described below:
- unusually the build starts with putting the propeller together
- next the engine is assembled and the propeller mounted on front
- in the third step the pilots seat and flying controls are assembled and photo etch seat belts are added.
- In this step a 7.9 mm machine gun is produced from plastic and three parts of photo etch
- the seat and mount for the machine gun made in the previous step are assembled and there is a note recommending you to fit this to the aircraft at a later stage
- this step assembles a rotating magazine dispenser presumably for use with the machine gun position just made
- step seven is the biggest step of the whole build and takes a complete page of the instructions. It consists of painting the interiors of the fuselage halves which come as separate parts from the fuselage halves themselves. The instrument panel and other panels in this area are made from plastic. A decal from the decal sheet is placed on the instrument panel to provide the instruments. I’m thinking the decal sheet goes on the back of the plastic and you paint the front of the plastic black. Then the two fuselage half interiors are brought together sandwiching all the cockpit pieces between them.
- Step eight simply makes the wheels
- this step is an option depending on whether you want the undercarriage legs to have the bottom half of the spats or not. This step fits the full spats
- this step 10 is used if you decide to build undercarriage without the full spats, although both the decal options for this kit show full spats. In this step the wheels are fitted to the undercarriage legs.
- this step adds the upper half of the spats to the undercarriage legs
- step 12 simply adds a glass lens to a light on the front of the upper part of the spats on the undercarriage legs
- this step starts to build the retractable ventral machine gun and bomb aimer’s must position, starting with bending one piece of plastic in the shape.
- In step 14 we trim the edges of the part we bent in step 13 and also cut another part. It might be easier to trim the edges of the part which is bent before we actually do the bending.
- Step 15 we join the two parts have worked on in the previous 2 steps
- step 16 adds a machine gun to the ventral gun position
- this step adds one small piece of photo etch to the ventral gun position
- in this step we do serious surgery and remove the tail from the two fuselage hearts
- and now we add the two new rear fuselage halves to the existing, but now shortened, fuselage
- in this step we build a horizontal stabiliser
- step 21 seasons joined the two fuselage halves together with the already built crew compartment and ventral machine gun position sandwiched in between.
- Step 22 adds the horizontal stabiliser and twin tails to the back end of the fuselage. There’s a close-up of how the tails go together.
- In step 23 you build the wings with separate ailerons and instructions to sand the trailing edges to make them thinner.
- Step 24 adds the main canopy which can be fitted with the pilots canopy in the open position and if you want the rear cockpit open there’s a recessed line you can cut across to open it up. There’s also some small photo etch parts fitted around the cockpit and inside the canopy at this step.
- Step 20 sees the the wing roots and part of the wing directly under the fuselage added.
- Step 26 adds the engine to the front of fuselage
- step 27 adds the wings and it appears the wings have locating points to line them up and hold them in place.
- Step 28 adds the tail skid and some photo etch under the wing
- step 29 adds photo etch on top of the wings
- step 30 is building the slats that fit on the leading edge of the wings. The slats are made from photo etch and you have to bend them to have the same shape as the leading edge of the wing before fitting them on top of the vertical ribs you would have already fitted.
- Step 31 has you drill out the end of the exhausts with a 0.8 mm drill
- step 32 has you fit the engine cowling halves.
- In this step with it a piece underneath the engine
- now we fit another two pieces to the right of the fuselage in the area of the cockpit
- in this step we fit engine exhausts
- we add a single photo etch gun sight in front of the cockpit
- the final step adds 6 pieces of photo etch to the left-hand side of the fuselage
The colours are called out throughout the build for all the sub-assemblies. On the last page of the build instructions the colours are indicated by name, Vallejo and Humbrol reference numbers
There are two decal options one from 1936 when the aircraft was being tested and one from 1939 when it was a maintenance training aircraft at Dublin. Both decal options are quite simple with the aircraft being mostly green with sky-blue underside. The only difference is the fact that when the aircraft was being tested it had white riders compared to the later green rudders. The front of the cowling also appears to be slightly different colours in the two versions. The decals themselves are nicley printed, thin and with minimal backing. You also get 4 sets of numbers 1 to 0, 2 sets in red and 2 in black, although I don’t see them indicated on the instructions anywhere.
Overall this is a nicely detailed model of an aircraft that no one else has produced in this scale or any other. The kit will need a few skills to make everything align properly and cutting the tail off the aircraft and adding a new one is not for the fainthearted. That being said if you have a few kits under your belt this would be a good first step into building some more complicated kits. The excellent instructions and hints should put you on the right path.
I found this kit available at Mirage Hobby for $34.20 plus shipping.
Many thanks to Mirage Hobby for the review sample.