With the cockpit assembly complete, I’m able to move on to the R-1340 and the engine compartment. The compartment itself really starts with the cockpit as the whole motor assembly mounts to the firewall that has already been attached to the cockpit framework.
The R-1340 Wasp itself was developed in the 1920s, with its first run in December of 1925. It was the first motor of the famed Wasp series that powered US Army Air Corps and and US Navy/Marine Corps aircraft through the second world war and beyond. At 6,200 feet, it could pump out 600 horsepower. Plenty of power to get new pilots trained to fly the high performance fighter aircraft of the day.
Kitty Hawk does a nice job on the detail side of the R-1340, but it doesn’t come through on the execution. To start with, every single piece of the motor assembly had this ejector pin flash.
Not only do I have to get these cut off, I have to cut them off carefully enough to not break anything else off, especially on the ignition ring. And the ones on the engine halves must be cut off deep enough that they don’t interfere with gluing the two halves together.
Once they’re off, the engine halves and ignition ring can be test fit. The halves fit ok. There is still a tiny gap in spots but they are on the back half and won’t be visible inside the cowl. However, every rod on the ignition ring needed to be trimmed in order for it to sit on the engine correctly.
With everything trimmed to fit, it actually does look like a nice representation of the Wasp.
Setting the main components of the engine aside, I removed the rest of the assembly from the sprue. The rest of the pieces didn’t fare much better than what the engine did.
The motor mounts that attach the engine to the already assembled cockpit are extremely fragile. It doesn’t help that the sprue gates holding them on are huge.
There is really no excuse for this –
Trying to get these off the sprue in one piece was an effort in futility. Of the 4 sets of motor mounts, 3 of them broke during removal. And that wasn’t even being barbaric and cutting with sprue cutters, I used a razor saw. Once they’re free of the sprue, you still have to be careful with them. I had one break while holding it on the cutting mat to clean it up with an Xacto knife. It just pulled right apart.
Fortunately, most of the engine pieces won’t be seen, these included. After breaking all the mounts and getting them back together, I decided to forgo cleaning up the remaining gates and just left them alone. As I said, they’re going to be buried in the fuselage anyway.
Once everything was off the sprue and cleaned up, it went together without much of a fuss. The fit wasn’t perfect. As I noted during the dry fit of the engine, there was still a small seam where the halves went together. I used some MEK to try to melt the plastic a little more in the area and get it to close up.
The only area that really gave me a problem was the motor mounts. They don’t have a real positive location and they like to move around in their locating holes. I solved this by gluing with Tamiya Extra Thin and, while it was still setting, I stuck the motor mounts into the cockpit assembly to keep the mounts aligned. I then stood the whole thing up on end and allowed the weight of the motor to put some pressure on the motor mounts. Once the TET was set, everything was lined up properly.
Getting all the exhaust pieces lined up correctly was challenging, but again, it won’t be seen so it doesn’t need to be perfect. (I say that in regards to this build. If you’re planning to open the cowl and make everything visible, it will need some more attention.)
Eventually, everything was primed and painted. Areas that won’t be seen I left alone. Painting was done with a variety of brands, including Mr. Paint, Alclad, AK Interactive, Vallejo, and Tamiya. One thing to note, there is no dataplate included with the kit that should go on the crankcase. It’s not necessary, but it’s one of those little details that can really add to a build.
With everything painted, the engine assembly was attached to the cockpit. The straps connecting the cockpit and engine assemblies were added after they were attached. The instructions don’t show them very well, so I don’t think they are in correctly, but they work. They are another part that is hidden anyway.
At this point, the only thing left to do is paint and attach the prop.
The propellor assembly goes together without any problem. The hub is made of 4 pieces – the two hub halves and the counter weights. I didn’t fill the gap between the two pieces of the prop hub as it’s two pieces in real life. The prop blades fit rather well into the hub and should be pretty secure once glued.
The hub itself isn’t very solid in the crankcase though. There is just a small nub that fits into the crankcase. It’s something I’ll have to be careful with later as I’m sure it will break pretty easily. This is something that could have been remedied by just extending the length of the pin. Another area that wasn’t thought out well by the Kitty Hawk engineers.
The Hamilton Standard decals gave me a bit of trouble. The yellow in the decal didn’t fill the area, so half of the writing isn’t visible. The carrier film also folded under so it may need sanded once it’s dry.
But it’s together. This whole subassembly fought me, but it’s put together, painted, and attached to the cockpit assembly. That whole group has been attached to the starboard fuselage half.
Up next, we’ll focus on the assembly of the fuselage and the rest of the main components. Check back soon for part 4!