Viper Mk. II
Moebius continues to deliver some very interesting products, and the Viper Mk. II is another in the growing list of Moebius kits. This model is in 1/32 scale and includes several features. The Viper can be displayed with gear down or mounted on a base with gear up. A resin pilot figure is included. The decals are of the traditional waterslide variety. The instructions are rather unique in that they are presented to the builder as a “briefing paper”, complete with the Colonial Headquarters Seal at the top of each page. The “briefing paper” approach is fun and it encourages the builder to “get into character” during the assembly process. The instructions contain some excellent color images as well as some accurate and well done line drawings. These images and drawings will help the “crew” to avoid some mistakes that can be made during the assembly process.
It is important that the “briefing papers”, (sorry, still in character there….) the kit instructions be followed carefully. There are several steps along the way that are sequential in nature and failure to follow the instructions will result in some difficulty as one proceeds through the assembly process. I speak from experience. I failed to install part number 8, the main engine intakes at the proper time. In order to rectify my error I had to cut the part in half and insert each half separately. No harm was done in the end but it would be wise to avoid such mistakes.
My sample kit arrived with a damaged part. The rear portion of the left fuselage half, part number 1, was warped. I checked with several friends who have built or purchased a Viper and they reported no such damage to their model. I also checked a couple of Vipers at a local hobby shop and they were all free of this damage as well. My assumption, therefore, was that my particular kit was probably damaged at the factory and was not caught in the inspection process before packaging and shipment. (Editor: See addendum at bottom of this review)
The warp proved to be unfortunate in that it caused a misalignment of parts throughout the construction process. The engine component, part numbers 18 and 19, had to undergo a little surgery before it would fit into place, and a rather large lip along the fuselage seam directly behind the canopy had to be filled in and sanded down. Probably the most significant issue resulting from this damage was that the vertical stabilizer, part numbers 23 and 24, did not align with the centerline of the fuselage. Some reshaping was done on the locating pin of the vertical stabilizer and that rectified the misalignment.
Let me repeat that of the seven other Viper kits that I either inspected or that were inspected by friends, only my kit exhibited that warped part.
There are some parts that need some special attention.
On both part number 13’s, which are the outer main gear doors, there are mold release marks and raised part numbers that must be removed during the assembly process. The same issue exists for the cockpit side panels, part numbers 21 and 22.
All of the parts for the landing gear need a little work with a round file and sandpaper to remove the very small amount of “flash” that one might find in the weight reduction holes.
Looking at the lower fuselage component, part number 9, one will see some words, molded onto the surface. These words read, ““Universal Network Television”. Sandpaper removes the lettering without much difficulty.
After having assembled them, the main gear struts will require some work along the seam lines. Failing to need the instructions may result in the “skids” being placed on the wrong struts resulting in the skids facing backward. The information contained in the instructions and the images shown in that part of the instructions are clear and, if followed, will result in proper assembly of these key parts. One important item which is not clearly shown, however, is that there are some alignment grooves on the gear that match up to an alignment pin molded on the interior surface of the fuselage component. Continue to test the alignment and positioning of the gear until you get the pin and groove in the correct position. Failure to do so will result in the landing skids meeting the “ground” at an improper angle. Be aware of the fact that the main gear struts must be installed prior to the assembly of the fuselage.
To counter the very minor issues detailed above, the wing halves fit together very well with little worry about gaps along leading or trailing edges. In fact, no seams appeared along the mating surfaces of the wings. Also, the fit of the cockpit tub inside the fuselage was tight and resulted in a straightforward and putty-free installation. Finally, the canopy fit precisely in place and required no sanding or filling.
The cockpit is a highlight of the kit and contains considerable detail molded into the side consoles and the instrument panel. The clarity of the canopy ensures that the cockpit will be fully visible without having to “open” the canopy. The decal sheet contains a number of “dials” and panels for the side consoles. Two decals simulate a range and targeting screen display. A combination of the decals along with some highlighting will result in a very impressive cockpit.
Speaking of decals, a nice touch provided by Moebius can be found on the decal sheet. There are some extra markings provided in case one wants to paint the red “Squadron” markings on the Viper rather than using the decals for those Squadron markings. I chose to paint the red Squadron flashes on my Viper and I used those extra decals. A few decals broke in half during the application process but my guess is that I rushed the process and didn’t soak the decal long enough. I did not use the pilot figure included in the kit. It should be noted that the figure is well casted and requiring a minimum of clean-up. The decal sheet includes Squadron patches for the pilot. The decals snugged down nicely and are clean and crisp. Any silvering disappeared with an application of Solva-Set.
I highly recommend this model for the Sci-Fi fan. While some care must be taken to get the model assembled, with patience and with adherence to the kit instructions, a great looking model will be the result.
Thanks to Moebius for providing this kit.
Non-kit items for the Viper
Battlestar Galactica Viper Mk II Photo-Etch & Decal Set for MOE 1-32 by Paragraphix. This PE set is mentioned only as an option for the Viper Mk. II and no recommendation should be implied by its inclusion. This item can be found via an internet search and can be purchased for about $25.
Addendum: The following response regarding the defective parts [mentioned in the body of this review] was received from Mr. Frank Winspur of Moebius Models:
"...on any warped parts, we will replace for you without a problem, it does happen on occasion. Part number of the Viper. MarkII is 912. MKVII is 916."
This speaks very highly for Moebius' customer service!