One good thing about short run kits is the fact that you can build a lot of aircraft that would never have been produced by mainstream manufacturers. The Grumman JRF "Goose" is one of these. To be honest, I don't know much about that particular floatplane and it is not one of my favourites! So why did I buy this particular model? The answer is because of the kit itself.
The amphibian flying boat Grumman G21 "Goose" was designed originally in 1936. Two engines, entirely built in metal, its design was based on the famous J2F1 "Duck". The first flight was in 1937.
The JRF5 was the most produced version with 190 machines. Total production was 367 planes from 1937 to 1946. The "Goose" flew with the USAAC, the US NAVY, the RCAF and the RAF during World War Two. France, Japan and Portugal also used it after 1945. Today, thanks to the rigorous anti corrosion process used by Grumman, about twenty of them are still flying.
The first time I saw Signifer's kit for real (not in magazines) was in a Model Shop in Paris in August 2004. It was displayed for preview and the detail and the perfection of the resin parts amazed me. It was not for sale at that time but I knew I would get one. So as soon as my Local Hobby Shop received two of them I picked up one and here it is.
The kit comes in the usual cardboard box with a nice illustration on the front cover and some pictures of an already build kit on the back as painting guide. When you open the box (picture 1), it's like having Christmas and Birthday at the same time: two plastic sprues, an instruction booklet, two decal sheets and resin! A lot of resin! Tons of resin! To see the parts, you have to take them out of no less than 7 plastic bags (picture 2). Each of them being equivalent to a highly detailed aftermarket set, and here you have 7. It's only when the resin pieces are lined up on the workbench (picture 3) that you realise the overwhelming task that awaits you if you plan to build the model. Sure, this is not a kit that will go together in a snap.
The main pieces of the kit are moulded on two light grey plastic sprues. There are two fuselage halves, three pieces for the wings, the engine cowlings, the propeller blades, the passenger cabin floor and some smaller items. The moulding is typical of short run but of the highest quality considering the technology used. The surface detail is fine with precise engraved panel lines and rivets (picture 4) and with almost no flash! It should be noticed that the injected plastic sprues have been produced by MPM.
Now to the resin parts, are you ready? Here’s the listing of them (see also pictures 5 & 6):
- item1 Complete cockpit (floor, instruments, side panels, seats and rear bulkhead).
- item2 Radio compartment (instruments and seats).
- item3 Complete passenger cabin (four seats and rear bulkhead).
- item4 Complete forward station (floor, side panels and anchor).
- item5 Complete gear bays with weighted tires.
- item6 Two highly detailed P&W Wasp Junior engines.
- item7 Separated ailerons and rudder.
- item8 Two floats.
- item9 Two bombs.
- item10 A lot of detail parts, and, and, and...
The detail of each resin part is amazing and will require a good paintjob. Be warned you will have to use a very small paintbrush, but the build should be easy, as there is no photo-etched stuff to deal with. Everything is already on the resin parts, the moulding is excellent and I noticed only a few air bubbles. The guys at Signifer are real hardcore modellers and I recommend you to take a look at their website. (see link at end)
For the clear parts you have four (?) different mediums (picture 7): injected plastic (windscreen), vacuformed plastic (alternative windscreen), acetate sheet (side windows) and transparent resin (navigation lights). There is also some copper wire and metal rods as well. Frankly, I think everything is provided in the kit to make an accurate replica of the Grumman floatplane. If your still want to add some more, you should consider going to the doctor for a visit.
With the decals provided in the kit (two sheets) you will have the choice between four paint schemes: US Navy, U.K., France and Japan (picture 8). Unfortunately, there are only paint schemes guides in the booklet so you will have to check for references for the decal's exact placements. This is curious considering the overall excellent quality of the instructions guide (picture 9).
If you are searching for a challenging and original project, look for Signifer's Goose. The kit is full of high quality resin parts and will be a real contest attraction once finished. Considering the amount of items provided in the kit, the price is very competitive. If you would build an equivalent mainstream kit with 7 aftermatket detail sets, you would pay three times the price of Signifer's kit. I'm very happy to have this kit in my stash as it is one of the best designed kits I've ever seen. It's a true multimedia kit made by modellers for modellers!