Roden 1/72 Felixstowe F.2A
A mainstream injection moulded kit in the manly scale of this important WW1 flying boat is something I thought I'd see about the same time Satan started snowshoeing to work in the morning.Though I have yet to hear any reports of sub-zero temperatures in Hell, Roden have not only proved me wrong they've once again outdone themselves with this fantastic new Felixstowe.
Moulded in their usual light gray styrene there are, according to the box, 229 parts including the beaching trolley. There is a bit of flash on some of the parts but nothing to cause any concern and nothing like some of their earlier efforts - the LAGG-3 in particular which was more flash than parts! The two Rolls Royce Eagle engines consist of no less than 30 parts each and are beautifully done. The Lewis guns and seperate ammo drums are exceptionally fine mouldings which may prove a bit difficult to remove from the sprue and clean up but will be well worth the effort and as a bonus there are two extra guns and four extra drums supplied which can be donated to the spares box. Roden might do well to market their guns and engines as seperate accessory packs as they are a big improvement on the somewhat crude white metal items we've had until now.
The wings have nice subtle rib representations and sharp trailing edges and there are two different styles of ailerons included. I particularly like the fact that the lower wing centre section has spars moulded in which fit into slots in the fuselage (hull, to be proper) sides and are then covered by the upper hull piece. This should ensure a nice strong mounting for those long wings. Roden would have you construct the entire wing assembly including struts, engines and propellers as a seperate unit before installing them on the hull but I'm not sure if I would go with that method personally. Wing struts are as close to scale as you can get without compromising strength which will be a necessity with that huge upper wing.
Roden have captured the rather complex hull shape very well, this being split into two halves and an upper decking, the latter with beautifully done fabric areas around the cockpit. There is a fairly comprehensive interior, more than adequate given the fairly small cockpit and gun positions. Roden/Toko's earlier kits were somewhat lacking when it came to fit but a test of the hull parts shows that they have made vast improvements in this area and I don't anticipate any major problems putting this together, despite it's size and complexity. The eighteen part beaching trolley is a nice inclusion and will make displaying this monster much easier. If I can find a shelf big enough for it that is.

Click as you can.

Markings are included for four aircraft, three RNAS and one post-war Chilean example - a rather bizarre choice that last one and one I had not seen before but full marks to Roden for originality there! Two of the RNAS choices have the so-called "razzle dazzle" paint schemes (which to my mind is how an F.2A should look), the blue and white one featured on the box top and, my personal favourite, a red and white example (N4251) based at Felixstowe in 1918. Painting a complex scheme of chequers and diagonal stripes over that rotund boat hull will be about as much fun as running the 300 metres with a porcupine shoved down the front of your pants....
Decals look nice and thin and registration is excellent with the exception of the white outine of the small roundels being slightly off. These are for the rather plain RNAS version (sans "razzle dazzle" paint job) which I don't plan on doing anyway so I'm not concerned about it.
Roden continue to amaze and impress me with their choice of subjects and continual improvement in quality. If there was a Warped Plastic "kit of the year" award this would definitely get my vote although the proof of course will be in the building. Being a big fan of biplanes and WW1 in particular this stuff is right up my alley and Roden is quickly becoming my favourite model company. I just hope their appeal isn't limited to a few barmy individuals like myself who couldn't possibly buy enough kits (though I do my best) to sustain a company's profit margin. For the moment at least, there doesn't seem to be a lack of new releases from Roden so I can only hope they are doing well and will continue to do so for a long time. Looking forward to their Sopwith Camels which can finally put the ancient Revell and Airfix examples out to pasture.