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1/48 MPM He 177A-5 with Nautilus wing spar

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Well, after another hiatus, I'm finally working on another model again. Kids have finally learned to stop destroying kits, and now are wanting to build themselves, so i feel safe to begin again (4 out of my last 5 kits have met an untimely demise... either mid-build or shortly after the post build). For a test run, I built the 1/144 C-17, and receieved quite a bit if help from my 7 and 5 year olds who were happy to assist! So once complete, and armed with a new air compressor (I went with a 4 gallon hitachi for those who rememeber my last topic concerning compressors - I dig it so far), I decided to dig deep in my stash and start something worthy of my harder and steenbeck infinity!


So, with that being said, my topic for today is MPM's 177:




nice kit, but boy does it have some.... issues.... That being said, for a short run kit, its not too bad; just can't always follow the directions verbatim, lol. The only aftermarket item I have is the Nautilus Wing Spar I bought on Sprue Brothers many moons ago. Though, I wish I had thought it out a little more and got a bit of the eduard stuff just to spruce it up a bit. However, it's probably best I stick with the OOB for the time being, till I know 100% it'll be safe, haha. 


So far, I've assembled most of the major portions and have them masked in preparation for spraying the interior portions, cockpit, and wheel wells with Mr. Hobby RLM 02 (sorry for the over-general nature of these initial pics - I got the idea of doing an in-progress thread about half-way through my current progress).


What's not pictured just yet, and I'll do it once I get home, is the landing gear. Why MPM broke down the landing gear the way they did, is beside me... it feels a lot more flimsy than it should, and makes me wish I had sprung for the metal aftermarket gear if I had the foresight. I'm open to any ideas to strengthen them. Otherwise, I'm going to see how the second set of gear goes together before I decide whether to cut gear and just make it a "gear up" bird or not.


Here's what I have so far:


Overall, I dig the cockpit detail. 





Wing spar being glued in - I figured too much glue couldn't be a bad thing in this instance...




...or this instance.




The wing spar was a little disappointing in that once it was fixed to the wings, the spars didn't fit snugly into the cross members. The copious amounts of wood glue rectified that though!


I actually glued the wing to the fuselage before glueing the spar to the supports, and It worked out pretty good! I'll do the same to the other side.








The resin bits are a nice touch.




The chute for the spent casings didn't reach as intended in the directions, so I made it work.




And that's it for now. More to follow!

Edited by Skyraider Maniac
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Very cool! Gonna follow this build for sure.


 The historical pictures I have seen do not do that nacelle justice. It is so much beefier than I would have guessed. 


 Looking forward to seeing more,



ohh...and I have a three year old who loves to "Make airplanes with Daddy" but I guess I have been lucky cause she hasn't broken anything yet! I just give her a couple of small clamps, and old brush, a file, some sand paper and a few toy planes to mess around with. Fingers crossed for the future of my collection.


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On the subject of not following MPM's directions to the letter...


There's a lot of little nuances with their directions... like, they were in a rush and didn't bother to proof read or something before heading off to the printer. The landing gear numbering is backasswards. I didn't bother to dry fit the landing gear (my bad), and just put it together per the directions... well, I went to install the gear aaaaaand..... it was backwards - which was confusing as heck as I literally applied the numbered parts as identified in the directions. Applied glue to loosen and swapped out the parts between the legs - talk about a pain in the butt... I'm just glad I caught it in time.


Anyways, Dry fit, Dry fit, Dry fit with this kit, cause just because it goes together on paper, doesn't mean it will on plastic... I can't say dry fit enough. Though, the saving grace is it's a soft plastic. Gaps really aren't bad, stuff just doesn't quite like to go together as intended. The old monogram B-58 plastic was far worse to deal with, and a bigger gap-queen.


So, issues with the gear...


so these struts...2AA06E77-220F-4A6B-A90E-211FBC6768ED.jpg

...these struts don't work as designed. They're the ones in the shadow (the red lines are the approximate shape of said strut) that actually support the gear in the bays. The instructions tell you to put them on prior to mating the wings together.... No, don't do that, because they can't sit flush in the spot they were designed to go in order for the gear to sit right. I literally had to break them and reset them just to get them to sit properly. So anyone attempting this subject in the future... note to self.


These struts...



...these struts can't sit in their support struts as designed either, and attach to the gear as shown in the instructions (we'll just say they're more like guidlines at this point). I had to apply more glue to make them plyable in order to twist them to some degree in order for them to sit in place, and attach to the gear. Probably could install that support strut at the time of the gear too... probably would work out best.


so they have these nifty little grooves for the rear portion of the gear to sit in to get the right angle.... only they don't, so again, dry fit. 



I felt quite exacperated by the gear.


So more on these goofy directions...


The directions had these inlet guide vanes for the intake installed BACKWARDS in the instructions... oh, and they're a little bit short, but at least they're going the right direction....



The way they had them, the narrow end would've been at the front..... and it would've looked worse...


One of my favorite instruction gaffs, is this:



This is both vague, and wrong. Thankfully, there's google, and it helped me get the placement right. It's not rocket science...


at least I don't think so... The funny part is that the plastic is at least correct to the airframe, regardless of the instructions, haha. 


I do think it's neat how it lines up properly with the bomb sight inside the cockpit! I think in plastic, they pulled it off well. 




So even with my misgivings about the gear so far, she is capable of standing on her own!



The wing is pretty much done - these little joints are a pain in that they only marked the location of 2 out of the 4, so you had to guesstimate the distance (I could've broken out a ruler, but I felt eyeballing was good enough in this instance).




I probably should've mentioned this in the original post, but for color options - Option B all the way 😄



I know I've griped a bunch about this kit so far in this post - it is a pain that the instructions seem to have arrived on the short bus - But I still really like this kit - it has good detail (for the most part), and I'm not dealing with frankenplastic. Honestly, I'm not even done with this one and I want to do another (that green looks good too...). Aside from it's quirks, it's a pretty solid kit. Anyhoo, that's it for now.

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3 hours ago, rom said:

Nice work!

We dont see so many of these beasts.

Thanks! And so true. I think it was a great pity the americans, brits and french scrapped the remaining ones after the war - would've been cool to see one up close. Heck, I didn't know they existed till I saw the kit for sale on the forums about 8 or 9 years ago, back when I bought it. Made me do some research, cause even though I've read a bunch of luftwaffe books, never saw this plane referenced till I went looking for it.


2 hours ago, martin_sam_2000 said:

Very cool! Gonna follow this build for sure.


 The historical pictures I have seen do not do that nacelle justice. It is so much beefier than I would have guessed. 


 Looking forward to seeing more,



ohh...and I have a three year old who loves to "Make airplanes with Daddy" but I guess I have been lucky cause she hasn't broken anything yet! I just give her a couple of small clamps, and old brush, a file, some sand paper and a few toy planes to mess around with. Fingers crossed for the future of my collection.



Thanks! and it is pretty beefy. I like the look of the plane in general - I think its one of their better looking bombers (if only the engines worked as good as it looked, haha). 


I always worked on my kits after they went to bed, and put them (where I thought) they were out of sight, out of mind; but then I'd come home and find them trashed 😕. Lost my B-58, A-6E, He 219, Do 335, Mosquito, and my captured P-51D all the same. I still have the A-6E as I think it's salvageable, but boy I haven't worked up the courage to go back to it yet... saddens me every time I look at it 😞. That being said, I totally understand where they're coming from... models are really cool! I'm totally glad though they're willing and able to help now, instead of accidentally destroying them from wanting to play with them, lol. Heck, they almost fight over getting their opportunity to help daddy - I have to remind them I have more models from where these came from, and take turns. Makes me happy 🙂  The hobby is certainly still alive in this house!

Edited by Skyraider Maniac
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  • 2 weeks later...

So quick update:


I got a lot of the major sections finished, right now I'm just performing the tedious task of masking to get ready to apply RLM 02 in the interior sections. So here's what I've gotten so far:


Tail MG151 position:


Pretty simple; I like how it turned out. The resin cannon is a nice touch. 










Left wing assembly:




The wheel bay alignment proved troublesome on this side; but I think it had more to do with the aftermarket spar assembly than the kit itself.




Left wing is also now attached to the left fuselage half:



Lots of wood glue used for the spar; I'd say it dried nicely.


Left side landing gear:

I was ready for the shenanigans this time, as I suspected, the instructions were at fault:


64ED946E-1DB2-4DB6-A184-EC01F110F7D7.jpgyou see, parts number J26 and J12 are mislabeled in the directions: Those physical parts are sitting next to their paper numbers, note the difference.... knew it wasn't me, haha:wasntme: :soapbox:


the gear and their "correct" lay out:



and final product:


much better than last time!


installation in the bays went a little easier this time as well, now that I knew what to expect. Gear alignment looks a lot better this time around too:






And now she's capable of standing on her own; can't wait to get the interior painted so I can glue the halves together!






Anyway, that's it for now. Hopefully interior can get painted this weekend!

Edited by Skyraider Maniac
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  • 3 weeks later...

Nice work. I had one of these kits once. Earlier version, but with the resin and PE additions. Really wanted to build it, but realized I had nowhere to put it. Sold it. So, I build it vicariously through you :thumbsup:.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I know I've been rather quiet since my last post - the 177 is still sitting, masked, and ready for paint. This 1:1 scale project has had me busy since then....






As you can see, it's finally getting back together. as soon as I can get this wrapped up, I'll be right back to the 177! (Which I'll definitely be ready for after this... :bandhead2:)

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  • 4 years later...

Man, it’s been a hot minute :tumble:


Not much progress still on the 177 (she’s still waiting for paint), been busy since finishing flight school, plus I’ve been helping the kids with their models (most recently a still-in-progress B-17 and the 1:144 scale Saturn V).


It’s next on my block, I promise 😁

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Great work, SM!  I've spent a lot of time (back in Covid, and recovering from quad bypass surgery) with this kit and the Classic book. You're not the first to puzzle over the kit gear, so no worries there.  In later development of this brute the landing gear were modified when the nacelles were lengthened. It's maddening to interpret this from period photos, and there's always some nazi fathead standing right in the way of those details. Sigh.  Keep up the good word, and I'll get back to my eternal Mohawk- cheers!

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