A note to the people at Revell

So, I find myself with an abundance of free time, as there are no pubs within walking distance of my new place. At the local craft store, where I was buying picture frames, I was startled to see an entire aisle filled with plastic model kits: mostly cars, but some aeroplanes. I decided that, for the first time since I was 12, I’d get one.

I’ve had a lot of fun putting it together, but there have been some substantial shortcomings. The kit was for a P61 black widow, a twin-boom fighter from the end of WWII. First: the kit came without the first page of instructions. The first instruction I have is “take the cockpit you assembled on the previous page and glue it into the hull.” I also suspect the page with where to put all the decals is missing. Revell has many PDFs of instructions for free on its site: I emailed them and asked for the P61 plans, as they weren’t listed. I was informed that spare parts required proof of purchase in a rather snitty email. After replying I need data, not parts, they forwarded the email to their technical department. But still, that was the pissiest email I’ve gotten in a long time.

So, the plane. It’s hard to say what issues are due to my lack of skill, the design, or to lack of the instructions. I actually looked up photos of the real-live airplane on the internet to figure out how to assemble to cockpit, which was sort of fun and sort of… not. Oh! The three crewmen are about 200% too large to actually fit in the plane. What am I supposed to do with them? Pose them outside in some sort of airfield tableau? There’s also, for reasons that defy logic, two extra peices that form a barrel. I assume this is set dressing for the tableau?

So, they give you decals for nose art, but, the nose of the plane swings open to reveal the radar setup inside. But if you want to add the nose art, it crosses the seam between the nosecone and the hull, so your naked dame’s legs will get torn off the first time you move it.  A landing gear mudflap quite clearly seen in the photo on the box is not mentioned in the instructions. Also, the plane is so tail-heavy that it needs a clear rod cemented to its underside to have it stand up straight.

Overall, I’ve had a gas putting it together. It came out much better than the ones I did as a child, though I still made some sloppy mistakes. Because I used too little glue (in an effort to avoid overdoing it as I always did in days past) the hull and the tail booms aren’t held together very well, and have a pretty obvious seam.

I’ll probably make more, but that pissy email from the Revell folks makes me wish I had an alternative brand to try. Oh! And the store only has allied WWII aircraft. I guess I shan’t make two and hang them up on the roof as though they were dogfighting.


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