|Scale Mates model info
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Merit International is not one of the most well known brands but they have some interesting models. This one is a Grumman J2F-5 Duck. The -5 was a late model of the Duck. The kit is well moulded with fine details. Panel lines etc. are not exaggerated and generally it gives a good impression. The canopy is moulded in one piece which is a shame. It would have been nice to have an open option. Most parts are attached to the spruces in an intelligent way as to minimize damage as you separate them.
The decal sheet is has two different markings options.
The instruction sheet is reasonably good and clear. There is a separate painting and markings sheet in glossy colour print.
To tell the truth I started out with Classic Airframes Grumman J2F-(1, 2, 2A, 3, 4) Duck but a lot in that kit left a few things to wish for. Having looked into this kit I decided that it was a far better start. The only thing is that I was going to do a J2F-2 and the engine part is very different from the J2F-5 that this kit is. So some conversion job was needed.
The cockpit was a lot better than the Classic Airframe kit with both an upstairs and downstairs compartment. The only draw back is the cockpit hood is in one piece so there's no easy way to build it open position. So this time I didn't spend too much on the inside as most of it wouldn't be visible. Instead I focused on the conversion I needed to do. The front part of the fuselage on the Classic Airframe's J2F was a separate part so I decided to use this together with the engine in that kit. Cutting away the front part of this kit I replaced it. The fit wasn't really good but with a great deal of putty I got it into shape. I became a bit wide making it harder to fit the exhaust pipes and engine cowl but better than nothing.
Fitting the top wing turned out to be a really big challenge. Even though I spent some effort into placing the struts on the top wing first to ensure all the angles etc. it still took me some force and super glue to get it into place. As the kit is quite good otherwise it came as a bit of a disappointment. As a contrast the landing gear turned out to be really good. It has a lot of struts and the horrible construction of these on the Classic Airframes kit was one of the main reasons I switched to this kit. On this kit they was quite easy and became very sturdy when done. Even though I decided to mount them at the end and not before closing the fuselage as the instructions would have you do.
I pre shaded the kit before the final paint. The plane I was aiming for this time was the liaison Duck they had at Midway Island at the Battle of Midway. This meant I wanted the standard grey/blue the U.S. Navy used in 1942. So I used the following colours from Vallejo’s Model Air series:
I used the national insignias from the Classic Airframes kit and the BuNo (1209) and the NAS text I printed on an empty decal sheet with a laser printer.
Having done things a bit complicated with the conversion was a bit unfair on the kit. Generally it is a good kit. The biggest challenge is to get the top wing in place. Also I'm missing instructions on how to add wires to the construction.
Panel lines etc. are well done. Most of the parts fits well.
Getting the top wing in place is hard. Also a double decker should always have guides on how to draw the wires. A one piece canopy is also a drawback.