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Saturday, November 14, 2015

SBS 1/72 De Havilland DH88 Comet green version completed

Here is the review and building article of this green version:
And here is the previous SBS DH88 Comet I built (Black Magic):
And yes, I had to build another one.
They are simply irresistible.
Quality, detail, fair price (for a resin kit), excellent fit, perfect surface, good engineering, nice clear parts, sound photoetched parts, well-printed and well-behaved decals, thin parts protected in their blocks with smartly located "ears" and an iconic subject.
And they only require that you be careful, work carefully and accurately and pay attention to what you are doing (i.e.: not watching the Adams Family whilst you try to superglue the fuselage sides together.

Being this my second SBS DH88 (and fifth DH88 counting the 3 Airfix ones), here is my piece of advise to present and future builders:
Carefully wash the resin parts (as you would do with any kit of any nature) to remove the release agent. You may wash them in a plastic tub with a mild soup solution and a soft brush, still on their pouring blocks. DO NOT LOSE ANY PART, watch out, they may detach from their blocks (or brake if you are careless). Rinse them. Let them dry alone on a paper towel or similar. (If you needed to be told this, and you didn't know, please go back to square one and start to learn how to build kits, or you are here for a very exciting ride, to say the least).  
Detaching/cutting out  the resin parts out of their pouring blocks is easier than in all resin kits I dealt so far with, but still requires accuracy, sharp tools and a steady BUT GENTLE hand. I used a JLC thin saw (thanks once more, Steve Kallan!), a new Xacto (replacing the blade frequently, it pays off) and a (new) razor blade. Do not hurt yourself. Look at the provided leaflet, the gray areas are the ones to be removed. Do not remove small parts from their blocks until you have painted them and need them (seats may have their thin supporting buttresses removed, but their stem still attached to the block to handle them and paint them).
Hot water -as usual- may be used to straighten a part (one of my stab tips and a wingtip were very slightly curved). The process is simple: you pour on hot water or dunk the bent section into it for a little while (few seconds) and then simply straighten it with your fingers (do not burn yourself).
Some of the cavities where the tongues go (yes, the parts are keyed!) have a little  leftover resin. Either you carefully remove those tiny blobs or cut the tongue on the part accordingly to clear them.
The resin employed on this kit is very forgiving: it cuts superbly, flexes enough, can be sanded if needed (wear mask) and is rigid enough to sustain manipulation; but, once more, be gentle and careful. It is not magic resin after all.
And more specifically: on the fuselage sides, the recesses for both compasses and both throttle quadrants are smaller than the thongs/pins that should lock there. Either carefully enlarge the recesses or shave the parts' prongs. These are small not lose them!
I had a hard time in the first model painting/assembling then separately and later on trying to glue them on the fus. sides. This time I glued them there and later added the photoetched throttles and painted the compasses, before joining the fus. sides. By the way, the P.E. throttle levers again will need those slots on the quadrant enlarged (a pointy sharp blade should do).

Some details, if you want to bother with them:
-The tailskid in the original was slightly different.
-The original planes did not have the additional shoulder seat straps, only lap belts. The model's details were probably based on the restored red DH88, which shows a modern seat belt arrangement.
-Green had two smaller additional instruments/dials on top of the coaming, on both sides of the central one which is provided with the kit.
-You may like to add the counterweights of the rudder and elevators, but have to be very subtle and careful, they should be really tiny. Better leave them off than mar the parts or make bulky ones.

A very good and complete kit of high quality of a beautiful and significant design. I usually build more esoteric and arcane things, but this was absolutely ideal as a "vacation" from scratchbuilding :-)


  1. This one is also really nice. Only one is missing ;-)
    Which reference of colour did you use for the green ?

    1. Hi Eric: just educated guess, as it many times has to be done with these sort of early types when no "hard evidence" is available. A few press descriptions mostly, but nothing really definitive. I am an artist (painter) by profession and tried several hues until I decanted for the one used.

    2. Hi Claudio,
      Thank you for your answer. I understand your answer as my main interest is for WW1 planes ;-)
      I will start my series with the red one.

  2. Beautiful work as usual Claudio; ditto on the shade of green; also-I've always been leery of resin kits because of the fear that the wings will droop over time like they're made of caramel. Any advice on how you can prevent this in your experience? thx!

    1. Hi there:
      Thanks for your kind words. I have several resin models, a couple from about may be ten years ago. No problems, but they are all relatively small models with no significant weight. It may be a different story with larger/heavier wings. I do not use resin for landing gears, though, ever, and many times place metal pins in strategic places if posible for joining the large parts.