Saturday, 29 December 2018

Big D Builds A Ferret (Badly)

Disclaimer: If you are looking for tips on how to make your plastic models look better then oh boy, are you in the wrong place. If you want to see what happens when a man with no fine motor control tries to build a model kit then read on. Serious modelmakers may want to have a few stiff drinks before continuing because I'm about to upset you.  

 After building yet another Spitfire I promised myself that the next thing I made would be a bit more exotic.  So on my next visit to Waterlooville Models (which isn't in Waterlooville. Don't ask) I was scanning the shelves for something that was within my budget and limited skills when I saw the box above and immediately thought "Yep. That'll do me."

 Now at this point even the aircraft buffs are thinking "How come I've never heard of the MB6? Also, who thought "Night Ferret" was a good name for a fighter?"  so some explanation is required.

 Martin-Baker came up with a couple of interesting fighter designs during the war, culminating in the 1943 MB5
 Pic sourced from - which has a great article on this prototype. 

The MB5 was a promising design, being fast, well-armed and possessing a decent range but by the time it was ready to fly in late 1944 there was no real need for it any more. The RAF already had an armada of Spitfires and Tempests which could handle what was left of the Luftwaffe and it had been decided that the next generation of  fighters would be jet-powered.  The MB5 is therefore a classic example of a "What-if" aircraft.
 The MB6 is a hypothetical 2-seater development of this design.  So a what-if version of a plane that was already what-if  to begin with. 

Seems reasonable to me. Lord knows there's loads of kits of speculative Nazi Wunderwaffe on the shelves so why can't we have an RAF equivalent? 

Digressing for a moment, although I do find it fascinating to see what weird and wonderful jets could have served with the Luftwaffe, is anybody else a bit disturbed by the enthusiasm certain people show for them. "If the war had gone on a bit longer then the Germans would have had all these cool jets and stuff and that would have been awesome."
To which my reply would be 
A. They would still have lost and B. You realise you're basically cheering for the Nazis right? What's wrong with you? 

Moving on. 

Opening up the box I was immediately struck by one small detail.

 Why have I got two fuselages?  No idea. But this does mean that at some point I'm going to have a go at kit-bashing. All I need is some wings.

I was also quite glad to see that the contra-rotating props came in a nice, easy format. Gluing individual prop blades in place is a right sod and I'm convinced that half my Spitfires have the propeller-blades on backwards.  
As we shall see, this is the last time I could use the word "Easy" in regard to the MB6.

 In this little cockpit section there are  11 different parts. All of them very tiny. I've built entire kits that have maybe 20 parts full stop.
  Remember also that this is a two-seater.
 Yes, I know it looks like crap. Read the disclaimer again. 

 There's something else that didn't help.  In the Airfix kits I'm used to there's all these helpful little tabs, slots and pegs to show you where all the bits should be.  AZ Models clearly think this is cheating so they don't do any of that.  I also had some issues with the instructions being a bit ambiguous as to how things fit together. I had to jiggle the rear cockpit around a bit before I found a configuration that seemed to work.  
   Next stage was to glue the fuselage together
    I didn't get it quite right so I deployed just a little putty to smooth things out a bit.

  There's more on the underside.
  Oh dear. That's not pretty. 
What you can't see - the inserts for the wheel wells.
That's because I gave up trying to fit the sodding things and threw them out the window.
Nobody is ever going to look in there anyway.

 More putty. More sanding and fitting the undercarriage, which was surprisingly easy. 
I had to improvise a jig to keep the MB6 in position while the glue dried. 

 The props are now on, the guns are in place after a lot of fiddling and some swearing and I've painted the whole thing black because I'm lazy.  I don't have any Night-Fighters in my collection so this is really going to stand out. 

Hmm. Wonder where the radar on this thing is? I'm assuming the wingtip pods.

For some reason a lot of kits nowadays don't give you a radio aerial so I had to improvise using one of the struts that was supposed to go into the undercarriage.  When I lost tiny Undercarriage Strut #1 under the fridge I had to raid my spares box for something more or less the right size.  

Fuck it. Nobody is going to look that closely anyway. 

My whole modelmaking philosophy summed up right there, folks.

  I deliberately left the canopy and the exhaust stubs until after I'd applied paint so now let's see what the Night Ferret looks like once I glue those in place and add the decals. 


  I wasn't overkeen on the decals as they seemed a bit fragile. I'm also not entirely sure a Night Fighter would have nice big white bits on the markings but this is a hypothetical aircraft so once again, fuck it.

  So there you go, another model for my growing collection. The MB6 is a striking design which looks really cool in Nightfighter colours and I reckon I can feel pleased with myself.

  I'm not great at making models and this sure as hell does not stand up to close inspection but I really don't care. I could make myself upset about the talent I don't have  - or I could run with it, do the best I can  and have fun.  

Now what am I going to do next? I fancy doing some sort of jet...maybe something a bit unusual.

I wonder if there's a kit for this oddity?

.     Picture sourced from
Read the article to go with it: The Gutless Cutlass: This Vought Jet Was So Bad Pilots Landed and Quit Flying!

That's All Folks. 

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