MB-329 in 1/72 scale: kit review & modelling report of the ITALERI kit
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The same Italeri model was also released as MB-339PAN as kit #1380 in 2016.
But in this kit the canon pack sprue is not provided in the kit and it has now plastic in dark blue as it is supposed to be finished as a "Frecce Tricolori" aerobatic display team jet.
Some of the instructions are printed in colour for the different Frecce aircraft numbers of the year 2016 season with decals as well:
The kit was not made as per kit but used for a conversion to a MB-339C series aircraft for a New Zealand Air Force jet. For that purpose, a conversion set was bought from KIWI from New Zealand.
Several KIWI sets were released, I had the set with Italy and Eritrea decals from Oldmodels included. The set is pretty expensive, double the price of the kit!
The set has different fuselage halves to account for the slightly different nose shape and vertical tail antenna fairings and decals. Also, a resin tank probe and its fairing is supplied. Here a comparison is seen of the nose shapes as seen in the MB-339C series of the KIWI set:
The KIWI parts have quite thick mould gates, use a razor saw to avoid damaging your modelling knife because of the hard grey plastic.
Than sand the surfaces flat and remove any flash, particularly at the tail fairings. Also sand the trailing edge of the vertical tail as thin as possible.
For the tail pipe, a piece of bomb was set to suggest a jet pipe. The remainder of the parts needed are from the Italeri kit. Again, add nose weight!
Assembly needs putty and sanding. Make sure to align the wing halves and let dry for a few hours.
It was also decided to droop the wing trailing edge flaps. This is not so difficult: inscribe deep, use a razor saw and clip off. The flap leading edges need putty to get a smooth nose.
Some gaps in the cockpit sides were closed up with card. After drying, putty was needed also at the vertical tail surfaces. Some small amounts of putty still needed at the wing-fuselage joints.
Sanding was easily done. Next, my usual base coat was airbrushed with Revell 75 Aqua "steingrau".
The kit was to be finished as a MB-339CB of the New Zealand Air Force no. 14 squadron as flown in 1992. It has a wrap around camouflage scheme for which was airbrushed these Gunze Sangyo Mr Hobby acrylics: light green FS34102 with Gunze H303, dark green S34079 H309 and grey FS36081 Gunze H301. A paper mask was used while airbrushing. The lower air brake #31A was to be set drooped down, the 2 holes in the brake were opened up and the part than airbrushed as well with the gear doors.
I painted the landing gear bays off white. The cockpit interior about FS36231 and curiously the floor base in front of the seats leather brown which is not "standard".
There are after market decal sets for a New Zealand MB339CB but I designed the decals myself and these were laser printed for personal use.
A few extra "NO STEP" and no step foot prints and low visibility light strips were also printed. The decalsheet is one sheet so each one had to be cut out with fine scissors.
I used Kiwi "flightless bird" roundels from an XTRADECAL set #72260.
The smaller parts were set like the landing gear with the gear legs painted aluminium and a few hydraulics lines from very thin metal wire. Cockpit got some bits for extra detail with seat straps made from painted tape. Anti-collision lights were painted red and blue and a few antennas added as well and the pitots.
The model got now a semi-matt varnish coat airbrushed with my usual technique.
The canopy was set open and a "ground" holding bar set as well from a thin metal strip.
This jet model got an extra pitot tube made from a metal needle at the vertical tail, a small tube at the lower fine base and that was it!
[area: 268,000 sq.km | population: 5,1 million | capital: Wellington| GDP nominal 48,000 USD per capita ]
The Aermacchi MB.339 CB replaced the Strikemasters in the 1990s. Some 18 jets were delivered from 1993 and in service until 2012? The only 3 air force bases are Ohakea, Whenuapai near Auckland and Woodbourne.
For more information about the New Zealand Air Force look at the Strikemaster page here...
Another Italeri kit #1380 was to be made as MB-339 CM of the Malaysia Air Force. This thus also needs a "-C" conversion. This air force got 8 of these advanced jet trainers, see info on this Malaysian page
But I did not use the rather expensive Kiwi set now for this "C" conversion, but did change the kit parts myself from scrap. The nose is pointier than the kit fuselage nose and it needs tail fairings.
Make a cut in the nose....
.... sand and putty.
The "-C" vertical tail than needs an extra fairing on leading edge and top rear. All can easily be made from plastic card and blended in with putty.
The remainder of the kit can be made as per kit instructions and add nose weight. But this model would get drooped flaps: a TIGER saw and the sharp X-acto knife separated these.
The long thick wing tip tanks of the -C series were set as per kit but needed that the curved wing tips were sawed off and sanded flat. Than the tanks were installed.
Also it was decided to install the gear legs and doors before applying a base grey coat. Normally I don't do this but gave it a try as these parts can be reached by a hand paint brush.
A few wing pylons were also set in place and the various wing leading edge fences. The usual base coat airbrushed is Revell 75 Aqua "steingrau". NOTE: I forgot to install the fairing of the refuelling probe, was done later; but better to install it at this stage!
The overall grey coat of the Malaysian scheme was airbrushed Sea Grey BSC 381 with Gunze Sangyo Mr Hobby 335 acrylic. The gear bay interiors were brush painted dirt white.
The tyres were painted tyre black, a mix of matt black and some grey paint.
The cockpit interior was painted medium grey, instrument covers very dark grey and the noses of the tip tanks "off white".
The MB-339CM scheme has the later style Malaysia Air Force roundels. The decals were home designed and laser printed by a third party with an OKI printer that can also print "white". There is a "Tiger" in the tail marking.
The Malaysia MB-339CM has a few special antennas, these were made from thin card. The refuelling tank probe was installed with it fairing, I forgot this earlier on; this RFP is a part in the Kiwi kit and was blended in with white glue. The low visibility light decal strips were also applied.
[ Sorry... I forgot to make a photo at this stage.... ]
The next thing to do was to airbrush a semi matt varnish with my usual technique.
The cockpit was detailed. The advanced cockpit got a HUD display, the various CRT cockpit displays with some decals and brush painting. The seats got harnasses/ straps made from painted tape and some metal buckles from the spares box.
The canopy was installed opened up. On the canopy edges, black edges were made with a permanent marker, hooks were set from plastic sprue and a few rear view mirrors from scrap. That completed the model.
[ area: 330,800 km2 | population: 33 million | capital: Kuala Lumpur | GDP USD 10,000 per capita nominal ]
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF; Malay: Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia (TUDM) was established in 1958. Malaysia
used the first generation MB-339A for over 20 years with some 13 jets
delivered from 1992. To train Su-30MKM pilots, 8 MB-339CM advanced
trainers were ordered in 2006 and delivered in November 2009 and
2010, coded M34-15 to -21. They were used however only a few
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Created Jan 4, 2022