This is the first chance I've had to see any of Hobby Boss's Easy Assembly range, so the D.520 came as quite a surprise to a modeller more used a diet of semi-short-run quarterscale models. The packaging is very striking, with the parts clipped securely into a moulded plastic tray inside a sturdy little cardboard box. The system certainly works well - and it gives excellent protection for the canopy.
The kit is very simple, as you'd expect from the name of the range, consisting of:
26 x grey styrene parts
1 x clear styrene part
1 x metal propeller-shaft
Decals for 2 x colour schemes
The moulding is very good, with hardly a trace of flash, no sink-marks anywhere and ejector pins kept mostly out of harm's way. The surface finish consists of engraved panel lines, which are a bit on the heavy side, but should look fine under a couple of coats of paint. Fabric control surfaces are quite subtle and there are some neatly done details like cowling louvres and trim tab actuators.
Construction breakdown is very unusual. The wing is moulded in one piece, complete with a pitot tube, and includes the bottom of the fuselage, from the nose right back to just in front of the tailwheel. The fit of the main parts is tight and precise and, unusual as it seems, the breakdown of the parts actually offers some advantages over standard kits - the panel lines in particular run around the fuselage more consistently than often seen. The trailing edge of the wing is a bit thick, but you could reduce it to a more true-to-scale appearance at the expense of the fabric finish on the underside. Conversely, the tail surfaces are nice and thin.
The biggest surprise in the kit is that there are no cockpit parts to add - all the detail, such as there is, is moulded integrally with the fuselage. This comprises just a seat and a very thick control column. Other areas are more conventional, with the undercarriage showing quite good detail on the wheels and impressively thin wheel-doors. There are separate exhausts, cowling intakes and a radio antenna under the fuselage.
The propeller offers a choice of spinners and is designed to rotate. It's quite cleverly designed to plug into the nose as a complete unit, so it can be left off until after painting.
The canopy is nice and clear, but the large locator tabs included for easy assembly will be visible after it's painted and fitted. On the plus side, the tabs probably mean it could be clipped into place without cement.
Instructions and Decals
The assembly diagrams are neatly drawn, breaking the construction down into just three basic stages. One or two colours are keyed to the parts and these are for Gunze Sangyo paints.
Two colour schemes are illustrated in colour on the rear page of the instructions:
1. D.520 no. 90, "Blue 2" of CGI/3 in Battle of France markings.
2. D.520 no. 248 in colourful Vichy markings.
The decals look quite good quality - thin and glossy. The register of the blue centres of the roundels is slightly off and the blue maybe a tad pale on the review sample - but you could always put this down to "scale effect". The camouflage diagrams are a little muddled, with fewer GS paint colours named than indicated, and French enthusiasts may baulk at the idea of painting the topsides in RLM 76...
Hobby Boss's Easy Assembly Dewoitine D.520 is ideal for younger modellers, but would also make a great "weekend build" for experienced builders looking for some light relief from larger projects. Despite the simplified detail, it's certainly not a toy and the kit will be attractive built out of the box - meanwhile, the determined superdetailer could add a lot to the cockpit to produce a real little gem.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Cheap and easy to build. Well moulded. An attractive subject.Lows: Lacking detail, particularly in the cockpit.Verdict: The easy assembly makes this great for encouraging youngsters and it's also ideal for anyone looking for a quick build without getting bogged down in detail.
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...