Last in the line of Mew Gulls, the one-off E.3H (the so- called "Super Mew") was the personal mount of its designer, Edgar Percival. While each aircraft in the series looked essentially similar, the E.3H was a brand new design, and first flew at Luton Airport in 1937. Registered as G-AFAA, its racing career was cut short by WW2 when it was loaned to de Havilland for propeller trials, only to be written off in a landing accident in 1942. The remains survived the war but were never repaired, and G-AFAA ended its days on a bonfire at a garden fete at Percival Aircraft's Luton headquarers.
Dekno Models Have released a delightful little resin kit of the tiny "Super Mew". The kit arrives in a neat and attractive "matchbox" type carton, with the contects well protected in a slide-out tray. The model comprises:
18 x blue resin parts
1 x vacuformed canopy
Decals for a single colour scheme
The casting is very good indeed on the sample kit, with just a whisp of flash to clean off here and there and no bubbles or other blemishes to worry about. As a wooden airframe, the Mew Gull's exterior was essentially smooth, with just a few panel lines which are neatly engraved on the model, plus subtly represented fabric control surfaces.
After a quick swipe with a sanding stick to ensure the gluing surfaces are smooth, the fuselage halves clip together very precisely. The one-piece wing has excellent sharp trailing edges and is a snug fit - in fact mine will need easing very slightly to ensure the correct dihedral - and with any luck the resulting joint at the roots shouldn't need filler. The rudder is separate, but other control surfaces are cast in situ
A few details
The cramped cockpit is pretty simple, consisting of just a seat, control column and instrument panel. There are no rudder pedals provided, so you might want to add those, but in photos available on-line of the preserved Mew Gull G-AEXF and the interactive 360-degree view
of the RAF Museum replica they are effectively hidden from sight. However, the online shots do give an idea of the other type of items likely to be fitted, such as the throttle on the left hand side and the compass on the right.
The vacuformed canopy is good and clear, with well defined framing, and should sparkle nicely after a dip in Future/Kleer. (Note: no spare is included, so be careful trimming it to size.)
The propeller is cast as one with the spinner and has beautifully thin blades - I wish more mainstream props were this delicate! The cowling has a deep cooling apperture, and you may want to add a cylinder inside represent the front of the Gypsy Six.
The undercarriage comprises a tail skid and spatted mainwheels. The wheels are cast integrally with the spats, but the crisp definition gives the illusion that they are separate parts.
The final details are control balances for the ailerons and rudder.
Instructions and Decals
The instructions are neatly printed on two sides of an A-5 sheet. The construction is broken down into four stages and the drawings are clear and easy to follow. with several data-views to highlight details. The painting guide gives generic colour matches for the exterior, with Humbrol 78 (RAF Grey-Green) for the cockpit.
Decals are provided for the Mew Gull in its civilian racing colours. Although it was impressed for service in WW2, I've yet to see a photo of it during its wartime career, so I don't know if it was ever repainted.
I've read that Dekno Models' decals are home-produced, and some earlier reviews have highlighted registration problems. Maybe the way they're printed has been changed recently because, while they're hardly "Cartoscale" quality, those supplied with this sample should be perfectly usable. (Note: the actual decals look much better to the naked eye than they appear in the accompanying photo - the apparent fringing is down to the metallic ink proving hard to scan.) Two patches of Royal Blue are provided from which to cut trim for the tips of the wings and tail, but I'll just use it as a colour reference to paint the markings.
Dekno Model's E.3H Mew Gull is a charming little kit and should be a straightforward build. It is simple enough to be suitable for newcomers to working in resin, but will also satisfy more experienced modellers. The real shock is just how
small the aircraft was; it's dwarfed by any 1:72 WW2 single-seat fighter. Recommended to anyone with an interest in Golden Age aviation.
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