Cafe Reo Big Bird Volume 2 - Assembly Tips

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The Cafe Reo Big Boys Twin Engine Volume 2 are excellent.

There are 10 models in total to collect: 3 x He.111 German Bombers (including Rommel's desert special); 3 x P-61 USA Interceptors; 3 x Japanese Mitsubishi G3M bombers; and a solitary series special, the BAC TSR-2 Cold War Bomber.

All models are fully pre-painted and significantly assembled. However, they require some modelling skills to complete.

The first thing to watch for is when removing the fuselage, especially of the He.111. These are fully assembled including all turrets, canopies, etc., and retained in a clear sleeve by a small blister. Don't try to 'prize' the fuselage out, it will spring out at you and scatter in pieces! First crush the small blister and lift the fuselage out carefully.

All parts are 'push' fit and generally fit well. However, for secure assembly you really need to glue all parts using liquid Polly. Also, a number of parts are quite thickly pre-painted (canopy frames, wheel doors, wing slots and lugs, bomb and torpedo pegs, etc.) and this excess paint needs filing off / drilling out of holes, to allow a neat assembly.

Each model comes with alternative and fully painted parts to enable either a wheels up or wheels down display.

General Assembly:

1. Where necessary, remove any loose canopies and then glue in place. (Poly-clear is ideal, or if impatient like me, liquid poly and hold for 3 mins.) Before gluing upper turrets first glue any machine guns in place (G3M and He.111.)

2a. The wings are pre-assembled in upper and lower halves. Partially split then glue them together, especially if you wish to have the undercarriage in the lowered position.

2b. If you intend having a wheels up display, first install wheel door covers followed by under-wing armaments, fuel tanks, etc..

2c. If you intend having a wheels down display, first install under wing armaments, fuel tanks, etc.. Then install the wheel assemblies. Finally add the wheel door covers - many of the pegs / holes need filing.

The engine cowlings can be a real pain - especially with the Japanese G3M Nells! The inner engine part is rarely aligned with the outer cowling. The easiest way to align them (without dismantling and rebuilding) is to put the cowling partly in place against the wing simply to restrain the inner engine part, then turn the outer cowling until the two parts are aligned. To make life easy, cut / file off the lug on the top of the wing (which receives the cowling) before starting assembly. Also, if you look the wrong way at the G3M props, they fall off! To re-attach, put a blob of blue tack in the inner cowling then glue on the prop. When set, remove blue tack.

With the P-61s. Install the tail booms to the wings, the wings to the fuselage, then slip in the connecting tail wing and hold assembly for 3 mins until glue is set. If you want a standing display, remove the upper canopy and insert lead weights in the nose.

Each basic model comes with 2 alternative decals. These are excellent. But watch out! Incredibly, the backing is trimmed to fit the decal shape, therefore letters such as 'N' on the He.111 are not on a block backing. Same applies to the crescent moon lass text on the P-61. Theses decals can easily collapse and fold in on themselves if you try slipping them off the backing sheet using a paint brush! Ease them carefully and directly from the backing sheet onto the model.

For a professional finish, it is essential to pre-gloss all areas where decals are to be fitted. When dry, the models should then be painted with either satin varnish (e.g. P-61) or mat varnish (e.g. He.111).

Although the models may take a little effort to complete, they are quite superb, as the final photographs show.

Enjoy, Mehusla

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