by: Michael Spitler [ ]
IntroductionDuring a regular trip to the local hobby shop, I came across this little bird and it immediately caught my eye. With its clean lines and low wing profile the Nardi F.N. 305 looks more like a fighter than a trainer. Being tired of doing nothing but biplanes (sorry Stephen!) I decided to get this kit for something a little different from what I had been building.
The KitOpening up the box, one is surprised to find that the whole kit only consists of one styrene sprue, one photo-etched fret and one block of resin with two seats and the nose attached. Luckily for me, the included vacuform canopy comes with a spare, so that I was able to horribly botch cutting out the first one without ruining the project. According to what was advertised on the box, the kit was designed in France, and tooling and production was done in the Czech Republic. This multinational collaboration resulted in a kit with nicely engraved and raised details that are nice and consistent. Decals for three aircraft are provided, one French, one Italian, and one German. This gives the modeler a nice selection of paint schemes to choose from. The instructions are understandable and correct, for the most part. My only complaint would be that the directions for connecting the reinforcing spars for the landing gear are inaccurate. According to photo references the spars should join at the same spot on the landing gear, like a ďVĒ, while the instructions would have you do otherwise.
The fitEverything fit very nicely even though there were no alignment pins, with the only seam filling needed being at the seam between the wings and the fuselage. The vacuform canopy does seem a tiny bit too wide for the fuselage, so some care should be taken to make it fit correctly. Perhaps because I did not use sufficient clamping force on the nose of the aircraft, the resin nose was not tall enough to join to the fuselage without leaving a considerable step. I solved this by making sure the top was aligned and placing some Apoxy sculpting clay on the bottom of the nose, and then carefully smoothing it out with water until it was flush with the rest of the resin nose. The cockpit floor and rear bulkhead fit perfectly in the fuselage, with hardly any sanding to do at all. The provided photo etch instrument panels were a bit trickier, especially the rear one, which has to be placed just right otherwise it will get in the way of the canopy. My only complaint about the fit would be that the holes for the landing gear donít seem to be correctly placed. I ended up just trimming off the pins on the landing gear and butt joining them in the correct position, which solved that problem. In all this was quite a trouble free build for a limited run kit!
Painting and DecalsI chose the French paint scheme, which would give me a chance to try a NMF for the first time (Well, not first, but the P-51 I did when I was still in elementary school and only had a brush doesnít count...). My first attempt didnít satisfy me so I bought some superfine sandpaper and smoothed out the rough spots. The second coat was much better as a result. The kit provided decals were thin and sunk into the engraved detail nicely. I then used a wash of Payneís Gray and finished the job with a final coat of my own mixture of Tamiya Flat base, Future and rubbing alcohol. It gave the aircraft a slightly more satin sheen than pure Future would have done (I used only a tiny amount of the flat base).
FinishingAfter the painting was done I attached the photo-etched control levers, landing gear, propeller and miscellaneous parts. I lost the bracing struts for the landing gear so I ended up making my own from brass rod. I found that one of the probes sticking out of the leading edge of the wing didnít form correctly, so I replaced that with more brass rod. The reference photos I have of the aircraft show that the exhaust tubes are not flush with the fuselage, but instead stick out a bit, and are swept back. I corrected this using some 1/16th aluminum tubing cut to size and beveled on the gluing end so that they were swept back like in the photographs. Finally, when attaching the propeller I had to drill out the hole in the back of the hub so that I could properly attach it to the nose. Once this was all done, the model was complete, and it only took me a little over two weeks to finish working a bit at a time in between other projects!
ConclusionThis was an interesting subject to model. It was my first model created using photo-etched and resin parts, but they didnít present too much of a problem given that there are only a few of these parts. For someone who wants to build their first multimedia kit, and get familiar with resin and photo-etched parts, I would highly recommend they buy this kit. At only about $15.00 you donít have too much to lose if you botch this model.