Saturday, February 15

Flaps away as we look at the third PE set for the Tupolev Tu-2 with Gary's review...

We finish with a flap – or two Gary’s “trilogy” of Eduard Photo etched improvement kits for the Tupolev Tu-2 from Xuntong models. These sets add a lot of depth to the wings and if you have this kit they are worth a look. 

Designed for: Xuntong Models Tu-2 kit
1/48 scale
Photo Etch parts: 1 fret
Available from: Eduard directly & most model shops

This photo etch detail set from Eduard provides a replacement set of landing flaps for the Tupolev Tu-2 kit by Xuntong (pronounced Shun Ton) Models. The set contains one large PE fret in traditional plain brass
The flaps on the Tu-2 are interesting in that they straddle the engine nacelles. This means that for each wing you will have to make up an inboard and outboard flap section.

The flaps themselves are standard “split-flaps” which means that only the bottom section of the flap moves while the upper wing surface remains fixed (ie the flap “splits” during operation).
These type of flaps offer modellers an opportunity to add some nice detail to the model which will be in a fairly visible area on the model.
Xutong do not provide separate flaps in the Tu-2 kit so this makes our work a little more involved, first step will be to remove the plastic sections from the lower wing trailing edge to accommodate the brass parts.

It will be necessary to completely cut away 4 sections (two on each wing) and then thin down the bottom of the upper wing surface. I suspect you may even get away without this second step as the brass is very thin but it’s something to keep an eye out for during construction.
Once you have prepared the kit wings it’s time to start bending some brass. If you are new to working with brass parts the Eduard instructions do not hold your hand as much as I would like. For example the very first part to be cut out and bent requires no less than 6 bends to make the correct shape and yet Eduard simply shows you the finished part. I realize that working with PE brass is considered an advanced modeling skill but a few pictures showing the intermediate bending steps for some of the more complex shapes would not be that hard.

I have learnt that when working with these sets you need to plan out the bend sequence in your head before you attack the PE parts as they can be quite unforgiving if you make a mistake. Take your time and as the saying goes, “measure twice, bend once”
Eduard have done a good job of providing all the delicious flap interior detail, but of course this means that we have to assemble all the hinge and actuator parts to make it come to life. These parts are small in 1/48 and the use of one of the many commercially available bending jigs will make this (and future PE projects) much easier.

PE is great for any parts that represent sheet metal on the real aircraft. What is not much good for is anything that is tubular like rods, pipes or wires. With this in mind it’s not un-common that you are required to supplement the PE parts with either plastic/metal scale rod or copper/lead wire. In this particular set Eduard specifies the use of 0.5mm rod for reproducing the actuating rods.
Ribbing and spars are also added to the larger sections (which on the real thing provide strength and rigidity). For these long thin parts I’d recommend the use of the thinnest super glue you can find and apply it to the parts once they are in place.
Last step once the four sub-assemblies is complete is to glue them to the wing where we previously cut the kit. Take note that the engine nacelle overlaps the flaps so you will need to do this BEFORE you glue on the nacelles.
The brass itself is provided as single large sheet. Eduard are masters at designing PE sets and as long as have the right tools to help you along the way to cut and bend the parts I expect this set will perform well.

I’m glad to see that Eduard for the most part has stopped Nickel plating its PE sets. I always found this made the brass harder to work with and other than making the brass look nicer (avoiding tarnishing) was of little or no value.
I am a big fan of these sort of detail sets. They are an inexpensive way to spruce up a model. Unlike many of the detail sets which cover things like wheel wells and interiors that are seldom seen on the finished model, flap sets are very visible and help us go a long way towards our ultimate goal as modelers, to make a convincing replica of the real thing.

Gary Wickham

This kit is available from Eduard directly & most model shops - thanks to them for sending these for review.