Welcome to Part 2 of our Mirage Hobby 1/48 PZL P.42 build. In this part, we’ll endeavour to get our project ready for primer then paint. First, we have to perform some delicate surgery
As you can see above I used my jewellers saw to remove the tail for Step 18. Not at all a difficult job if you have the right tool for this type of plastic. Soft plastic requires a higher tooth count per inch or centimetre (TPI/TPC). Thus, the smaller teeth won’t tend to bite into the material deeper causing you to push harder and possibly have the blade skip off onto your good surface.
In Step 19 the instructions call for each side of the tail to be cemented to its side of the fuselage. This sounds logical, but in reality, the overall fit has issues. It made more sense to have the entire new tail section fitting well before adding it the severed main body. Otherwise, you’ll have a bigger challenge to make the two halves fit at the rear, front and middle. You’re going to have to fill and sand anyway so having one area to deal with is better than a multitude. Use some tape to keep the halves aligned then gently use the saw to make the cut.
A fine engineer’s marker is perfect for highlighting the seam line Mirage Hobby have moulded as a guide, but this recessed line is faint. You’ll also have to eyeball the lines before you cut because, again, the fit is off. As careful as I was I’m still half a millimetre off at the top.
This is why cutting the halves separately is a bad idea. DO NOT assemble the tail yet or attach to the main body!!! Step 19 also shows removing some plastic at the very back of the upper machine gun recess, but I caution you to perform this after everything is cemented into its proper place later in the build or more filling will need to be done.
Before assembling any of the vertical stabilizer parts in Step 20 you’ll need to test fit and make some deep refinements to the connecting point of the horizontal stabilizers first. There are no connection pins so once again use some good Tamiya tape to hold them aligned.
The Builder’s Guide asks you to cement the flap, but what needs to be done later will make it more difficult if it’s in place.
Step 21 has you bringing some components together, but since you’ve read the manual thoroughly several times and planned ahead you know not to add the belly gunner assembly. Note in the picture above that the frame for the spare ammo canister is now installed. I waited to do this knowing there would be an issue with the width of the back fuselage. This where I test fitted the back section of the new tail and adjusted the inner frame width with the walls.
Overall this section went together relatively easy provided you cement from front to back and not all at the same time.
The bright orange thing is a piece of soft foam from a child’s air gun. Use what you have on hand, but something that will push apart the bottom halves of the inner walls to meet the outer fuselage. This also helped with keeping the upper part of the inner walls flush and ready for cement.
As a final touch, I bent and painted some copper wire to resemble conduit and painted the top of an instrument clear red over silver.
As shown above, in the CAD drawing Step 22 looks fairly straightforward. The horizontal supports have to come to a specific point in order for the flaps to fit flush, but out of the box they are far from fitting properly.
First, the ends of the tail wing on both sides have to be sanded thinner and Second, the slot in the supports have to be gouged out little by little and test fitted repeatedly so you don’t take out to much.
Even when you do this special attention needs to be paid that both are perfectly vertical before the horizontal flaps can be added. I found my dental tool with the scraping tip ideal for this precision work.
Take your time and you’ll get it to fit, but be aware there will still be a gap at the ends of Part D 9 (the upper half of the rear wing) with Parts D 12 and D 13.
Step 22 still has me scratching my head. Having a manufacturer instruct you to fill a section of a kit is not unusual, but A. why didn’t Mirage Hobby add this? And B. why didn’t they make a more pronounced parting line for the flaps being that the centre is now one solid piece? Or is it? The small nub in the centre of part D 11 is off by a millimetre and needs to be fixed anyway so I’ll fill as instructed… maybe. Oddly enough the box art does not show this centre section filled.
Turning the page to Step 23 you’ll find parts for the wings and their assembly. The recessed panel lines are very wide and deep, thus far to over exaggerated. For the scale, these gaps would be several inches and need to be softened. Riveting is the first step in pulling this off then a liberal coat(s) of primer will also help.
Before joining the flaps and ailerons onto the wings make certain you have fitted the wing halves and all necessary sanding is done.
Then relax and do your riveting. For this project, I used RB Productions “Rivet-R” which fits on the handle of a hobby knife and works great. The pattern is very distinct when used at an 80-degree angle and doesn’t require any athletic force. The really neat thing is because the teeth are so defined you can slip one in a previous hole and change direction or re-rivet if the hole needs to be more pronounced from sanding or filling.
I highly recommend this tool over the Trumpeter brand for many reasons, but most of all because you can easily see what you’re doing. Plus it’s less expensive than other purpose made brands.
Now we come to Step 24 and my largest bone of contention with this kit. Mirage Hobby or ANY manufacturer has challenges, but a serious effort has to be put into one, if not the most, important area. To spend the amount of time, which clearly they did, on the interior only to have a poor canopy is shocking. The plastic shows warped images beyond, has lines throughout and a mottled texture.
Thankfully the pilot and operators areas can be posed open or the detail inside would be such that you wouldn’t want to show it off to anyone, especially in a show environment.
What’s a shame is the raised framework was so well done it made masking a breeze. I borrowed a trick from a well known YouTube channel “Scale-a-Ton” and put a flashlight on some clamps as a stand and then with a #10 and #11 blade went to work. Also there are gun sight and grab handle photo-etched details which really add to the interior look.
Both the upper and two of the belly windows needed to be done and would have given a fantastic view of the man hours put into creating the inside detail. I did get a slightly improved clarity after dipping everything in Pledge Floor Care Finish or Future Clear depending on which part of the world you live.
Next is Step 25 where we add the belly windows for the pilot and what I believe is the bomb sight and/or camera. This step requires some test fitting of the wings with roots and fuselage at the same time.
Gaps can be reduced if you spread the fuselage belly, yet there will still be some due to the soft moulding of the connection points. Sadly you can’t have one big gap on one side and none on the other of the upper wing roots. These parts have to be placed with the fuselage centred or the entire look will be thrown off and, trust me, VERY noticeable.
I’d hold off cleaning up the flash from these parts until everything has been test fitted repeatedly and cemented.
The window frames need attention for the clear parts to fit snug and flush with the belly but will look nice when you’ve got them seated.
There is no positive connection pin, slot or tab on the floor for the operator’s pedals, yet there is a slot on the part. Simply use a fine pointed marker and eyeball where this should be properly placed.
A little added detail to the bomb site/camera and the underside of the cockpit before the belly pan gets cemented.
This area with the arrow needs to be finely shaved and sanded for the wing to fit at all. Once rough tested can be tuned further.
The best way to deal with the height or step in this joint is the old fashioned way… hold it. There is just enough space to put your little finger inside and push out the fuselage while pressing down the upper wing root. That said if you know of a clamping tool that can perform those same act my fingers did then let me know… please.
Soft mould quality which will have to be filled even with the best of efforts.
Tape close to the area to be filled so there’s less cleanup and avoids sanding away important detail.
I used 3M Bondo Glazing putty because it’s super easy to sand, leaves a fine finish and has a noticeable colour against the grey plastic.
Once the main body’s cement had cured overnight it was safe to plug the unique P.42 tail wing assembly in place and carefully level it.
I opted to leave the wings off for this since the belly was level and the wings may have thrown that off. Then I took measurements of each side from a flat surface I was using for an even height plus the relationship to the lines on the surface of the kit. I’m happy to report that it looks pretty good.
After sanding the filler some scribing and re-riveting were done. Once again let me state emphatically that these tasks are not insurmountable. They take time yes, and worth it if you’re interested in this subject.
Step 26 asks you to attach the engine assemble. The moment you see the engine cowling parts you’ll know right away to leave this step for later.
Test fit it of course but wait until the cowling is built, filled, sanded, primed and painted. Please note how much darker the engine bezel is with the light tint of smoke and dull coat.
In Step 27 we finally have something that resembles an airplane with the wings being fitted.
As you can see by the photo even with thoughtful planning and execution there are still gaps.
One side fits well on the top and poorly on the bottom and vice-versa.
This is the reason why you should not assemble the wings as per the Builder’s Guide. It is by far easier to add the flaps later or they get in the way of fitting the wings properly. Naturally, you’ll add the ailerons first, but keeping these parts separate until needed will allow you to rivet them easier after they’ve been trimmed to fit the installed wings. A thin coat of Mission Model Primer was put down in preparation for a second sanding and/or fill if needed.
As a gesture of good fortune for all the fitting fun, Mirage Hobby has included photo-etched parts that hide the gaps very nicely and look great.
But not just the upper wing! Thanks for that!
This step ends page five in the instructions and Part 2 of the build. As always, any constructive comments are welcome and thank you for taking the time out of your day to follow along.