This is a test fit of the major components with the cockpit assembly in place, no glue used at this stage. Arma did a great job with the engineering. Tolerances are tight but show no need for trimming to get a good fit. The one area where you could get into trouble here is if the cockpit components do not seat properly and spread the fuselage, the wing joints are a tight fit so there is no margin for error.
Everything is glued in place here using MEK from the hardware store. The thin glue works great if the fit is good, and careful alignment of the parts means there will be no wing root seem to fill later.
Arma’s wheel wells extend all the way back to the main spar, just like they’re supposed to. The panel with all the rivets directly aft of the well displays a subtle “oil canning” effect, as do the flaps. I have not seen this attempted before in 1/72 scale, it is difficult to see but a nice touch! I went ahead and mounted the landing gear legs in order to support the model while the paint dries. The legs will need masked and care must be taken in handling to prevent breakage, but I thought the trade-off was worth it.
The flaps and inner wheel well doors on the Mustang were held in place by hydraulic pressure, and drooped down when the engine was not running as the pressure bled off. When parked, the flaps on Mustangs are normally down, Arma has molded them as separate pieces with tabs to show them dropped. If you want to show them raised, just cut off the tabs and they’ll fit just fine. Here I have sprayed the leading edge of the flaps with Alclad Bright Candy Apple Base to represent the polished Aluminum surface and taped them to a card for further painting.
Here the transparencies are in place with the vinyl masks applied. These worked fine on the relatively flat panels, but the compound curves on the top of the windscreens and the landing lights were hopeless so they were replaced with masking tape. The windscreen sits a little proud of the fuselage and sanding the base of the part did not remedy this, so there will be a step to fill and reduce at the forward edge.
A problem with mounting the gear legs early is masking can be difficult to remove without damaging the delicate legs. I have tried to keep the tape loose around the legs while still shielding them from overspray.
A general view of the workbench. All the kits have been given a coat of Mr. Surfacer 1000 to check for flaws. Small parts are taped to cards for painting. The landing gear leg covers showed some sink marks, these were filled, sanded smooth, and re-primed. There is also a small sink on starboard side of the fuselage which needs filled.
Part IV here: