BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT: Being a bit of a Tempest aficionado, I have built what heretofore have been called the “best” Tempest kits previously available (the older Eduard profipack kit in 1/48 and the Special Hobby 1/32 offering). In both detail and fit this kit is a monumental step forward and will no doubt be a stunner when detailed with the resin and photo-etch available. This kit is not for beginners as there are many small parts and careful detail work that made even a “quick build” take approximately 7 hours. The smaller clear plastic parts like the several under-wing lights, have fit issues that should be addressed prior to painting. There are no other real issues with the kit and little filler will be necessary. However, to get the most out of the build we would recommend HGW fabric belts, Eduard photo-etch flaps, Eduard resin exhaust and wheels, plus a Barracuda replacement seat.
THE BUILD: This build is from the so-called “overtrees” boxing of the Tempest and does not come with any of the masks, photo-etch, decals or instructions. That is perfect as unvarnished builds are geared towards illustrating the underlying quality of the kit without all of the extras.
In any event, the instructions are available online through Eduard.com and the first two substantive pages of the instructions consist of roughly 8 steps to assemble the cockpit. In many of these steps various photo-etch details and/or decals are called out. While the cockpit can be built using only the kit plastic (note: the rudder assembly is available as plastic instead of PE by using parts E67, E14 and 2x E65), some of the important details and levers are only in the photoetch. The Tempest’s cockpit is hard to see, once buttoned up, so this isn’t really a problem for some modelers (and the regular boxing of the kits will have the necessary photoetch, anyway). I would also surmise that most serious builders will opt for the beautiful Eduard resin cockpit already on the market.
Many of the cockpit parts are small or very fragile. The latter is especially true of the cockpit sidewall tubing (parts D17 and D4). Great care must be taken to separate these from the parts trees and even with the most tender touch, mine broke in several places. Tamiya super thin to the rescue.
My only real disappointment with the cockpit is the detail of the seat and the inclusion of photo-etch belts. Having transitioned to HGW fabric offerings, or similar, it is hard to go back to the look of metal belts. I noted at the 2019 IPMS nationals, the judges even commented on metal belts and how they don’t do most builds justice. The seat itself is the only place in this whole model where I was truly disappointed with Eduard’s effort and that has already been addressed by Eduard’s resin cockpit set and other aftermarket vendors.
In about half the time to build the cockpit completely, one can get the fuselage together. The fit here was superb with Eduard’s engineering of the prominent radiator assembly being the best I have seen in a Tempest. The cockpit, radiator, and tail wheel well fit perfectly between the two fuselage halves that went together flawlessly and will need no filler.
Next we move on to the main gear bays. The Tempest’s landing gear and surrounding well are deceptively complex affairs. This is a place where both prior Tempests really struggled for their own unique reasons not worth discussing here. The fit of these parts is as close to Tamiya quality as I have ever seen from Eduard and that is important given that proper landing gear alignment requires multiple parts with very little play. Even more impressive is that with no more effort than a clean snip from the trees and a slight sanding of the nubs, the wing tops and bottoms enclosed the complex wheel well without issue. My one complaint, while minor, is the decision to break the wing joint through the middle of the closed flaps on the bottom. This will either require filling and sanding and obliterating a great deal of the superb detail on the bottom of the wing flaps, or cutting out the flaps and dropping them using Eduard’s PE option (the latter is the route I will take when I do a full-build of this kit).
Where this kit blew my mind is the fit of the wing to the fuselage. With some minor test fitting and a couple swipes with a sanding stick, the wing met the fuselage with no seam to be found. That’s true, at least along the top of the model. The bottom, while there is no seam requiring any sort of filler (unusual for Tempests to date), the fuselage to wing joint will require some sanding and reworking of obliterated detail. I don’t see any way around this.
Once you get past the wing assembly, everything else generally goes together very well, with a few exceptions worth noting. The control surfaces fit beautiful in the neutral position; the cockpit has a rather ingenious surround that drops in without issue; even the windscreen and canopy were impressive. The remaining trouble areas were the clear parts not already mentioned, the leading edge gun port assemblies, and (if you rush it) the landing gear and gear doors.
The navigation lights on the wingtips fit reasonably well but for a competitive model these will need to be filled, sanded and polished. The lights on the fuselage around the horizontal stabilizers fit well enough, and sit in a position where they would be hard to fill, sand and polish anyway. The remaining under-wing lights will need several iterations of test fitting to get to sit properly (if not to be shaped into position and polished), or to be replaced altogether with a product like Bondic.
Eduard provides inserts for the gun barrels and assemblies to accommodate multiple variations of the Tempest wing. These, like most areas where manufacturers try to force multiple versions from a few molds, require some time and attention to make fit properly. There is no secret here that I could find other than to fit and fiddle until its as close to perfect as you can get. I do not think you will be able to avoid at least some sanding, re-scribing, and riveting here. Also, you might want to try to find some alternatives to the plastic barrels installed in the kit, such as Master Model turned brass barrels.
The landing gear and gear door assembly had the only molding flaw I noticed. There is one ejector pin mark that will not only be visible, but relatively difficult to remedy without destroying some beautiful detail work. If the builder test fits all of these components and uses the alignment schematics provided in the instructions, it is only a matter of time before the most impressive 1/48 Tempest yet produced is sitting proudly on your workbench.