by: Drabslab [ ]
AMK: Avantgarde Model KitsReleasing a kit, any kit, under such branding is a bold statement. It raises the clients’ expectations of what is inside the box to high levels. That box, with expensive looking box-art and posh colours, further increases hopes for finding an exclusive, high quality kit.
All that is very nice as long as the plastic inside lives up to that promise. I wonder if I will be able to avoid bias opening that box and not act like a fundamentalist rivet counter by giving this kit a much harder evaluation than usual.
I will in any case not be able to avoid to compare this kit to the Kinetic offering that I reviewed for Aeroscale a few months ago.
The boxThe box promises a single unassembled model kit in 1/48 scale with 285 plastic parts, PE Fret, extra metal parts and a translucent fuselage. The box art is very nice, and reveals as well that this kit has been made in China.
It also points to the www.amkhobby.com website where I find a ton of professional pictures of the kit, and a built example made by a renown modeller. Unfortunately, there is very little text, some of it in English, and some of it in Spanish (I think).
While it is very nice to see what miracles a professional modeller can do to a kit (any kit) it does not tell me much about the quality of the Fouga kit itself. I have seen stunning results of the same person on kits that are complete dogs.
The plastic partsThe plastic looks exquisitely moulded with very fine detail. Strangely enough for a new mould, there is some flash left and right, and there are a remarkable number of very visible ejection pin marks. It appears that those marks are very carefully placed where they will become invisible on the finalised model. Checking this be a constant matter for attention when constructing the kit.
Studying the plastic shows that the manufacturer really intended to make an exceptional kit. One can make a standard “closed model” but that would be an enormous pity and a terrible waste of fine plastic.
The kit is designed to build it with as many fuselage plating removed and as many hatches open as one can find on the real thing. Much of the internal fuselage content is also available ranging from gas and oil tanks to electronic bays.
I assembled some of these goodies to see if it all fits and yes, the fit is perfect but pay attention to those pesky ejection pin marks.
This whole kit is just begging for a maintenance diorama.
There are even two fairly detailed engines present. With the engine covers removed this will be a marvellous sight. Unfortunately, (unless I am turning blind) AMK has not added the heat shields that protect the oil and gas tanks in the fuselage from the engine heat. As no maintainer would install an engine without first placing those heat shields, it becomes a bit odd to make those engines visible in the model.
There is no transport stand foreseen in the kit so it is not possible (unless when scratch building it) to portray the engine outside the plane.
Even with all hatches and fuselage parts removed, it will be difficult to view all these nice internal works. That is why the fuselage sprue is also available in transparent plastic. The only negative on those transparent parts is that they also show the same pin marks as the grey plastic parts, and this time it will be very hard, if not impossible, to hide them.
For me personally this transparent plastic does not add too much value. Planes are not transparent! However, I anticipate many sleepless nights for modellers with advanced modellers syndrome trying to decide which fuselage part they will leave transparent, and which one in “normal” painted plastic.
Those plastic parts that are supposed to be transparent, also on the real plane, are of high quality.
The metalThe kit contains a fret with some PE parts like seat belts and air brakes.
It also contains a fancy plastic box with metal parts. The front wheel frame, the machine guns, the landing gear …
If I would not have been convinced of this kits quality, now I am …
Strangely enough, the metal parts are also available in grey plastic as if adding those metal parts was a last minute decision after the moulds were already made.
The decalsDecals are included for a German Flugzeugschule A, a French Patrouille de France, a Belgian “The last of the many”, and a Belgian “Red Devils” model.
The instruction sheetA 21-page glossy magazine…
Giving a perfect overview of the various building steps and options. The only thing missing is an indication of when to use the long wing tip fuel tank, and when to use the short one.
For such high end kit, I would have expected more information on colours of individual parts.
The Kinetic …Well, it’s a very different kit. I evaluated it last year as being an excellent kit with the huge bonus that it is offering two complete kits for the price of one. Today, I find the Kinetic for 42 euro in Belgian shops, the AMK is costing around 50 euro. This means that the Kinetic is certainly still in business.
In fact, both kits are catering for different markets. The Kinetic is somewhat simpler and straightforward, the AMK aims at the modeller who wants to make a special maintenance diorama, or a special “see through” model.
… and the AMK
It easily succeeds being an avant-garde model but is missing some elements to be truly perfect.
*A transport stand for the engine
*An option to build the engine without the exhaust tubes
*The heat shields
ConclusionThis is a promising kit that yet again raises the standard for model manufacturers. It also demands for outstanding modelling skills, very good documentation, and the determination to do the kit justice. AMS addicts can combine it with the Kinetic kit for some very special diorama’s, and scenes.
AMK does not hide its ambition to make the highest standard kits around. I sincerely hope they continue on this path. Aiming high however is also opening the door for some (unjustified?) criticism.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.